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Wort-cunning is the magickal use of herbs. Whether it is Frigga bestowing an Apple for fertility, Thorr being saved by a Rowan tree, or Idunna giving the Gods apples (some believe that it was actually crab-apples) to keep Their youth, all plant-life resonates certain energy patterns.

When my Northern European ancestors came to Vinland (America), they brought with them herbs for healing and herbs that were known to contain certain magickal influences. With these herbs they also brought the landspirits of the herbs.


Forget not, Mugwort, what thou didst reveal, What thou didst prepare at Regenmeld. Thou hast strength against three and against thirty, Thou has strength against poison and against infection, Thou has strength against the foe who fares through the lands!

And thou, Plantain, Mother of herbs, Open from the East, mighty within, Over thee chariots creaked, over thee queens rode, Over thee brides made outcry, over thee bulls gnashed their teeth. So mayest thou withstand poison and infection, And the foe who fares through the lands!

This herb is called Stime, it grew on a stone, It resists poison, it fights pain. It is called harsh, it fights against poison. This is the herb that stove with the snake; This has strength against poison this has strength against infection, Thou has strength against the foe who fares through the lands!

Now, Cock's-spur Grass conquer the greater poisons, thou thouu art the lesser; Thou, the mightier, vanquish the lesser until he is cured of both!

Remember, Mayweed, what thou didst reveal What thou didst bring to pass at Alford: That he never yielded his life because of infection, After Mayweed was dressed for his food!

This is the herb which is called Wergulu; The seal sent this over the back of the ocean To heal the hurt of other poisons!

Lay of the Nine Twigs of Woden

These nine sprouts against nine poisons. A snake came crawling, it bit a man Then Woden took nine glory-twigs, Smote the serpent so that it flew into nine parts, There Apple brought this to pass against poison, That she nevermore would enter her house!

Thyme and Fennel, a pair great in power, The Wise Lord holy in heaven, Wrought these herbs while He hung on the cross; He placed and put them in the seven worlds to aid all, poor and rich.

It stands against pain, resists the venom, It has power against three and against thirty, Against a fiends hand, and against sudden trick, Against witchcraft of vile craetures!

Now these nine herbs avail against nine evil spirits, Against nine poisons and against nine infectious diseases, Against the red poison, against the running poison Against the yellow poison, against the green poison, Against the black poison, against the dark poison, Against snake-blister, against water-blister, Against thorn-blister, against thistle-blister, Against ice-blister, against poison-blister, If any poison comes flying from the east or any comes from the north, Or any from the west upon the people.

Christ stood over disease of every kind. I alone know running water and the nine serpents heed it; May all pastures now spring up with herbs, The seas, all salt water, be distroyed, When I blow this poison from thee!

The above is from an ancient Saxon herbal called "The Lacnunga." Whenever one of the above herbs was used, the paragraph that contained that plant was spoke as a charm over the herb to imbue it with power.

When harvesting or cutting of a part of any tree or plant, remember two things - The Landvaettir and the rune Gyfu. If permission is granted by the Landvaettir, pick the plant and leave an offering - Gyfu. Also, make sure that you don't over-harvest an area or plants. Leave something to go to seed. You want to ensure that there will be plants and herbs to harvest again next year.

By the eleventh and twelfth centuries in Europe, most of the old pagan religious practices were all but replaced by the Christian variants. Old festivals had been whitewashed and turned into saints days. The "cunning-folk" who knew the ancient ways of wart-cunning, now called upon Jesus, Mary, and the saints in their herbal charms. Occasionally though, the heathen influence lingered...


Last updated: August 12, 1998
Due to all the lore that surrounds most herbs, this will be a 'work in progress.' Which means, refresh the pages to see what has been added!