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Verbascum thapsusVerbascum thapsus
Great Mullein

This magick herb has been protective in various cultures. In ancient Greece, Ulysses defended himself from Circe's magic with mullein. In the old days in France, people would pass sprigs of mullein through a fire on St. John's Eve (better known among us as Midsummer) in order to protect cattle from sickness caused by sorcery. In England, putting mullein under the butter churn could bring back butter that had been witched away. European travellers carried mullein or stuffed it into their shoes to protect them from attacks by wild animals (and also to make walking more comfortable). Nowadays, dream pillows are stuffed with mullein to protect against nightmares. It is mixed with dill, salt, and fennel and sprinkled around haunted areas to repel malicious spirits or ghosts, and it is a substitution for graveyard dirt in the recipes of various spells. Top

This magick herb also has various connections to the idea of returning, which we can see as a Saturnian power (emphasizing borders and staying inside them). For instance, in Great Britain it was used to help bring back children who had been kidnapped by fairies. Various Native Americans knew a good thing when they saw it and used this Eurasian native that became naturalized in North America to return people to their right mind. For instance, the Hopi mixed the leaves with osnomodium to be used as a smoke by crazy people and those who had been betwitched. The Navajo wrapped the leaves in a corn husk to be smoked to help a mind return if it was lost, and the Potowatami smudged unconcscious people with the leaves to help them return to consciousness. Consider mullein useful in centering the spirit and add it to the pipe smoked as an aid to astral work.

Mullein was also a ceremonial smoke for the Isleta and Thompson Indians. I read mention in various sources on the web that mullein is one of Woden's Nine Herbs, but looking the actual charm, I don't think so. Top

Many disagree about the planetary correspondence of this magick herb. Agrippa said it belonged to Mercury. The leaves do have a high concentration of aluminum, a Mercury metal, and in the past this herb was given to affect the mind, for instance, to bring back people who were unconscious or who were mentally ill. Culpeper thought it was a Saturn herb, on account of its medicinal actions. As a biennial, it is also a slow herb (slowness is a Saturnian quality),  taking a year to produce a rosette of leaves and only flowering in the second year. The seeds likewise show a Saturnian slowness in their long viability - up to 35 years. It also has a Saturnian love for borders, growing along roads, train tracks, or on the edge of woodlands, and for areas that are rejected for agricultural purposes ("waste lands"). Some argue that it is a Fire herb, because its dry leaves make an excellent tinder and it gets one its common names, hag's taper, from the practice of dipping the stalks in fat to make a quickie torch (by the way, the "hag" in "hag's taper" was originally the word "hedge"). Finally, the leaves contain iron and the fuzz that covers them is a softer version of prickliness, so this can also be viewed as a Mars herb. Indeed, it has played a part in various Mars-ruled activities, such as hunting: Navajo hunters rubbed a tea of mullein leaf on themselves and their horses for strength. Top

Mundane Uses
Verbascum thapsus flowers In ancient Rome, women used mullein flowers to give their hair yellow highlights. It's said that Quaker women, who were not allowed to use makeup, rubbed their faces with the leaves to make them rosy - the fuzz is irritating to some people. The Atsugewei rubbed their bodies with mullein leaves during sweat lodges. The Abnaki made a necklace for teething babies from the root. A tea from this herb is slightly sedating; boil 1 tablespoon of dried leaves or root (or for a sweeter tea, the fresh or dried flowers) in 1 cup of water for 5-10 minutes, then strain through a coffee filter to remove the hairs, if using the leaves. The leaves were smoked in the past to soothe irritation caused by coughing from TB, asthma, or general lung irritation. The leaves also contain a small amount of rotenone, an organic pesticide. Birds enjoy eating the seeds. This plant has many, many names: it is also known as Aaron's rod, Adam's flannel, beggar's blanket, beggar's flannel, beggar's stalk, big taper, blanket herb, blanket leaf, bullock's lungwort, candlewick plant, clot, clown's lungwort, cow's lungwort, cuddy's lungs, devil's-tobacco, duffle, feltwort, flannel leaf, flannel plant, fluffweed, graveyeard candles, great mullein, hag's taper, hare's beard, hedge-taper, ice leaf, Jacob's staff, Jupiter's staff, lungwort, lus mor [great herb], miner's candle, mullein, mullein dock, old man's flannel, Our Lady's flannel, Quaker rouge, rag paper, shepherd's club, shepherd's staff, St. Peter's staff, torches, torchwort, velvet dock, velvet plant, white man's-footsteps, wild ice leaf, witch's candles, witch's taper, woolen, and wooly mullein. This fall I hope to have purple mullein seeds available, and Iam starting black mullein and white mullein so as to have those mullein seeds in a year or so. Top

How to Grow Mullein
Barely cover seeds to germinate in 12-15 days at room temperature. Transplant 12-18"/30-45cm apart in full sun. Mullein is hardy in zones 4-9 (down to -30F/-34C). The first year the plant forms a rosette of leaves. In the second year, a huge stalk can shoot up 84"/213cm. The fuzzy leaves are pretty much deer-proof, but the skin of sensitive people can be irritated by the hairs. Mullein makes a huge amount of seeds. When the stalk turns brown, cut it off and shake the seeds out into a bag or leave them for the birds to eat. General growing info Top

Verbascum thapsus
100 seeds $3.75

This seed is subject to state-specific shipping prohibitions.

Buy some dried mullein leaf

Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Protection Spells
Hunter's Charm
Graveyard Dirt
Mercury/Saturn Herb

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