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Flax seedsLinum usitatissimum
Flax
Because humans have been growing flax for so long--at least since ancient Egypt--this herb has an enormous amount of magic associated with it. It is dedicated to the goddess Hulda, who taught humans how to spin. At American wedding celebrations, people would kick up their feet as high as they could in order to help the host's flax grow taller. A lot of flax magic is connected to date or time. For instance, in New England, women danced in the sun on Candlemas in order to make the flax grow well. In Romania, it was considered bad luck to work with flax on a Friday, as Mother Friday (Frigg) ruled spinning and weaving and would be offended; in Wexford County, Ireland, people thought it very bad luck to spin flax on Saturday afternoon or the eve of a holiday. And in Belgium, women did not spin on Shrove Tuesday in order to prevent the flax crop from failing. In Germany, the distaff was dressed with tow on New Year's Day, but it could not be spun there or the year's spinning would not go well. In West Scotland, on Halloween, bundles of flax, broom, and heath were tied to a pole and lit, to be run around the village as protection. Knotwork magic with flax cords goes back at least to Roman days. Flax seeds are often used as a symbol for money in charms, such as putting flax seeds in one's wallet to increase wealth, or in one's shoe to protect against poverty. Because of its connection to Frigg and Hulda and its use in poulticing, this is a Venus herb.

FriggFlax has been grown since ancient times, its fiber spun into linen, cords, and lamp wicks, and its seeds pressed for oil and the meal fed to animals. Because the seeds produce a glue-like substance when wet, flax seeds have often been used as a poultice in folk medicine the world over. This variety of flax has been bred especially for seed production and so branches more than flax grown for fibers (I hope to have flax seed bred for fiber soon). Each flower forms a capsule containing 4-10 seeds.

How to Grow Flax
Sow in the ground in spring, barely covering seed and gently pressing in 1/2"/1cm deep and 1/2-1"/1-4cm apart in an area with full sun. If you plant too close, plants won't make as many seeds (fiber flax is planted closer to reduce seeding and make straighter stalks); too far apart, and weeds will be more of a problem. If soil is sopping, wait till it dries out a bit, or the seed will rot before it germinates. This is a hardy seedling, able to stand temps down to 28F/2C. It takes 95-100 days for this plant to get to harvest stage, when most of the seed capsules are brown. Pull off the seed capsules and crush to release the seeds. This plant gets 30-36"/75-90cm tall. Don't grow it in the same spot every year; rotate it for better plant health and soil fertility--this is a hungry plant. Bugs don't usually bother flax. General growing info

Linum usitatissimum
Organic Omega Flax to grow plants for seeds
200 seeds $3.25

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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Honoring Hulda & Frigg
Money Charms
Venus Herb

2010, 2016 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission