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Cinquefoil engraving Cinquefoil Herb
Potentilla species

Cinquefoil is usually considered to be a Mercury herb, because it normally lies along the ground and spreads quickly by its thin but tough stalks. And the Mercury association makes sense, given cinquefoil's long association with divination and magick. For instance, Agrippa includes cinquefoil in a recipe for Mercury incense and said that cinquefoil drives away devils and helps one to resist poison. When "fingers" are mentioned in old grimoires, it is usually this magick herb that is meant. Nowadays it is put into a bath to help with prophetic dreaming, burned as an incense for divination, stuffed into dream pillows (see dream pillow recipe below), and is a component in modern-day flying ointment. Cinquefoil is associated with the sign of Gemini. Top

The Venus Perspective

However, cinquefoil also has some Venus to it. It contains a lot of tannin and so is astringent, like many Venus herbs, and it is sometimes used in love magick, as in dreaming of one's future mate. Perhaps the Venus association also is due to the fact that this herb is connected to Beltane, Ostara, and especially Midsummer. In the Victorian language of flowers, cinquefoil stands for "beloved daughter," which also fits with Venus. The five points of the leaf indicate the orbit of Venus as seen from Earth, but they also represent love, money, health, power, and wisdom. In Hoodoo, where it is more well known as five-finger grass, it gives protection in court cases. It is also the patron herb of fishermen. Top

Its Many Names

Cinquefoil is also known as five-finger grass, five-leaf grass, five fingers, hand of Mary, five-finger blossom, potentilla, synkefoyle, sunkfield, synkefoyle, synkfoule, common cinquefoil, creeping cinquefoil, oldfield cinquefoil, witches weed, bloodroot, cinq feuilles, crampweed, silverweed, goosegrass, goose tansy, moor grass, and pentaphyllon. Top

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

Cinquefoil, chopped
1 oz. $5.70

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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic

Flying Ointment
Love Magic
Protection Spells
Beltane, Ostara, Midsummer Celebration
Mercury Herb

Dream pillow stuffing

4 parts lavender
4 parts wormwood
2 parts chamomile flowers
2 parts mugwort
1 part cinquefoil
1 part elder flowers
1 part linden flowers and leaves
1 part marigold flowers
1 part passionflower
1 part rose petals
1 part rosemary
1 part spearmint