The Three Artemisias: Sacred Herbs of the Goddess
by Rev. Dee
Artemisia is a group of plants that are, like the mints and sages, part of the aster family. While many Artemisias are grown for botanical and healing purposes as well as for ornamentation, we will talk about three of the Artemisias that I have brought together as a Summer/Autumn blend for incense or asperging. So let’s meet the Artemisias, the sacred herbs of Artemis!
Artemisia vulgaris: In English, it’s called mugwort. Its magical properties are thought to be strongest around the summer solstice, when it is often harvested and dried for usage then and later in the fall. Mugwort is used in dream pillows to help induce psychic dreams, and it is an ingredient in Rev. Dee’s Psychic Visions incense as well as in The Three Artemisias blend. It is burned for protection and cleansing of negative energies. Chernobyl, the Russian word for mugwort, was burned by the Eastern Slavs at Midsummer, it is still considered a sacred herb for cleansing. Like its cousin, Wormwood, it was taken in olden times to expel worms from the digestive tract. It has been used since pre-Christian times in both Western and Eastern Europe, and was sacred to the Druids.
Artemisia absinthium: Ah, wormwood! It contains strong magic and psychoactive properties, even moreso than its cousin mugwort. Wormwood is the darling of psychoactive alcoholic beverages: “Vermouth” literally means “wormwood,” and of course, the properties of Absinthe, the Green Fairy, are legendary. Absinthe is legal again after almost 100 years of prohibition, and once again it is used by artists, writers, and other creative people for inspiration. Wormwood not only banishes bad spirits but also invites good ones. Medically, it expels worms and soothes intestinal cramps. Spiritually it is used to smudge or asperge, especially at the summer solstice, autumnal equinox, and Samhain. A hoodoo use is to keep a package of it in your car’s glove compartment to prevent accidents. Contrary to popular belief, “chernobyl” does not mean wormwood! It means mugwort. A similar Artemisia was used by the Aztecs to induce psychic visions, and wormwood and its effects were described as far back as ancient Egypt.
Artemisia Tridentata: Big sagebrush is not one of the Salvias, like garden sage or white sage, although its uses are similar. Of course, the sages and the Artemisias are closely related. Big sagebrush is used in the American West as a smudge to cleanse, purify, and bless the home and ceremonies by the Luiseno Indians and many other Native tribes and nations. It is also made into a salve for arthritis pains; mugwort can also be made into a salve for bruises and abrasions. Big sagebrush may not be as well known as sweetgrass and sage among the Native American smudges, but it is considered just as holy and benevolent. Groups like the Rincon Youth Storytellers in Southern California are keeping alive the lore and legend of this plant and sell it during the summer and fall pow-wow seasons.
Rev. Dee’s Three Artemisias blend contains all three of the Artemisias discussed here, and can be burned as incense for cleansing, blessing, and protecting. It can also be soaked in hot water and then the water used for asperging if you don’t wish to have smoke in your home. It can also be used as an incense to help induce psychic dreams, to aid in divination, and when doing spirit work. Use it also as ceremonial incense for the Summer Solstice, Autumnal Equinox, and Samhain/Dia de los Muertos. It should NOT be burned in an enclosed space if children are present. The Three Artemisias are sacred to Artemis, Diana, Hecate, Mars, and all Moon deities.
Medicinal Plant Project: Ongoing study of the medicinal plants of Rincon: https://rinconyouthstorytellers.com/projects/
Wormwood in Hoodoo Folk Magic, Spell-Craft, and Occultism: http://www.herbmagic.com/wormwood.html