Sunday, December 13, 2015

Herbarium: Holly


Gender: Masculine
Planet: Mars
Element: Fire
Powers: Dream Magic, Luck, Protection
Magical Uses and History: Holly's association with Yule is centuries old, dating back to the Romans who hung holly in their homes and attached boughs to gifts during Saturnalia and the Druids who decorated their homes for the sylvan spirits. The edict of the Church of Bracara supposedly forbade Christians from decorating their homes with holly at the same time as the Pagans, leading to Christians decorating just days before Christmas. However, because the tradition was so deeply rooted in society, Christians began decorating with holly during most of December. Old Christmas carols are full of allusions to holly, including the song The Praise of Christmas which sings "When Christmas's tide comes in like a bridge, With holly and ivy clad..."

Holly is hung in the home for protection against lightning, poison, and evil spirits as well as to bring luck at Yule. If planted around the home, as many people today still do without knowing why, it is supposed to guard against mischievous sorcerers with it's sharp leaves and red berries. Holly is also carried to increase luck, especially in men since it is a masculine herb while ivy traditionally brings luck to women.

If you wish to make your dream comes true, pick nine leaves of holly after midnight on a Friday and wrap them in a white cloth using nine knots to seal it. Tuck it under your pillow and your dreams should come to fruition.

Holly can be used in a number of spells including:
     Dream Magic
     Love Spells
     Protection Magic
    
Medicinal Uses: Holly berries are used by some for their purgative nature, but I strongly advise against this. Unless you are a skilled herbalist, holly berries can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration which can result in death. The leaves of certain varieties, however, can be used to fight digestive issues, fever, high blood pressure, and rheumatism. Varieties to use include Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon holly), Ilex aquifolium (European holly), and Ilex opaca (American holly).

Preparation and Dosage: Holly is to be taken internally. Using dried leaves, place 1-3 teaspoons in 1 cup of hot water and allow to diffuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink up to three times a day. As a tincture, take 2-4 milliliters up to three times a day.

 

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