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Mentha pulegiumMentha pulegium
Pennyroyal
Amongst Celts, this magick herb is associated with the Venus-linked Great Mother.  It contains the planetary metal for Mars (iron) and has some Mars qualities, for instance, causing sweating (heating) that has been used to chase away a cold. It is also associated with the Moon because of its ability to sedate and calm. As part of a charm for a silver tongue, an infusion of pennyroyal can be touched to the lips. As a preparation for being inititated into the Eleusinian mysteries of ancient Greece, people drank pennyroyal in barley water. Tradition has it that this was one of the herbs used to line the manger in which Jesus slept. The Romans used the leaves of this herb as an insect repellent, and during the Middle Ages, it was a strewing herb that freshened the air and got rid of bugs.  Sailors during the Renaissance purified their drinking water with it (and it helps prevent seasickness) and according to some, sprinkled it on the ocean itself to calm violent waves. Also, in the Middle Ages, people believed that drowned bees could be revived by being placed on a bed of pennyroyal ashes. These together with mints' affinity with water imply that pennyroyal is worth investigating for Water magick. Some Old English sources assert this plant protects against dwarves, so if you have a lot of dwarves around, give it a try. Seriously, I wonder if this might have been a charm worn during early mining. This plant is also known as Pulegium, Run-by-the-Ground, Lurk-in-the-Ditch, Pudding Grass, and Piliolerial.

Pennyroyal toxicity and abortions.

This Venus-ruled herb has been made into a tea and drunk to start menstruation, and it has a reputation for causing abortions. But does it really do that?  Here is an article about pennyroyal toxicity by a registered herbalist in the UK. Besides comparing the toxicity of this herb to that of the OTC-painkiller acetaminophen (called paracetamol in England), he makes the point that pennyroyal does not cause abortions.  The American College of Clinical Pharmacy agrees, asserting that no documented case of this herb causing an abortion exists. The idea of using this plant as an abortifacient appears to be a misreading of Culpeper, who said it was sometimes used to expel a DEAD fetus. This misinformation has just been repeated and repeated, with no one even checking Culpeper.  If you need an abortion, contact Planned Parenthood for help finding one. Scroll down on that site to a form where you can enter your zip to find a center near you.  Pennyroyal has many uses for magickal ritual, including as a help for exploring the border between life and death. Use this magick herb to explore that borderland magickally, not physically.

How to grow Pennyroyal: Sow on surface and keep moist to germinate in 15 days at room temperature. Transplant to moist, rich soil in partial shade, especially where it's hot or the sun is intense.  It likes fertilizer, so every month or so, side dress with composted manure or organic mushroom compost. It gets 6-12"/15-30cm tall, and the usual spacing is 18-24"/45-60cm apart. Harvest as the flowers begin to develop. It's hardy to zone 6 (to -5F/-20C). It can be propagated by root divisions and by cuttings once it is established.  Mint can be invasive, so keep an eye on it, grow it in a container, or plant it where it has plenty of room. General growing info

 

Mentha pulegium
Pennyroyal
100 seeds $3.50


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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Honoring the Great Mother
Mars Herb
Magick with Words
Water Magick

2004, 2017 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission