Ah, Heather! It was very nearly my name as my Mum very much loved the plant but in the southeast, it did not grow as well, and certainly not as prolifically, as it does in the north country. Heather is the 3rd vowel of the Ogham alphabet – Ura – and it is for Summer Solstice, 21 June. It is not a Celtic Birth Tree Ogham, however, if you are born on this day there is no reason not to claim it for your birth tree! As Summer Solstice / Litha is the coming Thursday, I thought Heather should be celebrated.
Heather [Calluna vulgaris] is called the “Flower of Passion”. One of its energies in magick is passion – pure, raw, unbridled passion to be exact. And not just passion, but its consequences and all. This may be down to the time of year and that the flowering of Heather heralded a time of rejoicing and self-indulgence for our ancient Celtic ancestors. Mind, you would think they had enough of this during Beltane, but if you think of Beltane as passionate, think of Litha as the after party! I love this excerpt from The Wisdom of Trees by Jane Gifford:
LESSON OF THE HEATHER
“Heather is a symbol of passionate love, of sacrifice, and self-control. In the first place, heather represents enthusiasm and sensual pleasure, and the benefits that can be enjoyed from spontaneous self-expression. But within this lust for life and exhilaration lies a deeper lesson of the consequences that may arise out of unbridled passion. The Celts believed that you are always totally responsible and accountable for the outcome of your actions, so you were wise to be sure of your own true nature before totally abandoning yourself to the potent delights of heather ale and the pleasures that it could bring. Unchecked, heather is short-lived and unproductive but if burned yearly to the ground, it re-grows with fresh vigour. The lesson of the heather is that a necessary balance must exist between self-expression and self-control for both to be enjoyable and effective.”
Heather can be used for magick involving maturity, consummation, general luck, love, ritual power, conjuring ghosts, healing, protection, rain-making and water magick. Heather is often worn or carried as a good luck charm. It is said that a sprig of white Heather placed in a special place of silence and meditation has the power to conjure ghosts or spirits. To do this, pick a sprig of white Heather at midnight, place it in a glass of river water in the darkest corner of your home. Sit and think of a departed loved one and it is said that the loved ones’ shadow will visit you.
In the language of flowers and the gifting of them, Heather means “admiration”. Heather can be used at Midsummer /Summer Solstice to promote love – carry red Heather for passion or white Heather for cooling the passion of unwanted suitors.
Heather is useful in Faery magick and is said to ignite faery passions and open portals between their world and our own. The fae honouring Heather are attracted to shy people.
As a water herb, Heather is very useful in weather magick. When burned outdoors with Fern, the herbal smoke of Heather attracts rain. Bouquets of Heather and Fern can also be dipped in water to call rain.
Heather has been and is used for antiseptic, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, and sedative purposes. It has a long history of medicinal use. It is a good urinary antiseptic and diuretic, disinfecting the urinary tract and mildly increasing urine production. The flowering shoots are antiseptic, astringent, chloragogen, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, and mildly sedative. The plant is often macerated and made into a liniment for treating rheumatism and arthritis, whilst a hot poultice is a traditional remedy for chilblains. An infusion of the flowering shoots is used in the treatment of coughs, colds, bladder and kidney disorders, cystitis etc. A cleansing and detoxifying plant, it has been used in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis and gout. The flowering stems are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.
Energies: Passion, Protection, Luck
Stone: Red Garnet
Deity: Uroica, Venus, Erycina, Cybele, Nechtan Mac Labraid, the Cupbearer of the Tuatha De Dannan, guardian of the sacred well of Segais and husband of Boane, after whom the river Boyne in Ireland is named. Also, Osiris and Aphrodite.
Other Names: Common Heather, Heath, Lyng, Scottish Heather
The king in the red moorland
Rode on a summer’s day;
And the bees hummed, and the curlews
Cried beside the way.
The king rode and was angry,
Black was his brow and pale,
To rule in a land of heather;
And lack the heather ale.
Many thanks for reading and we hope you have enjoyed our little offering on this week of Litha / Summer Solstice. If so, please share via the social media buttons below and leave a comment and a like, please? Be sure to stop by on Thursday for more on Summer Solstice! Bright and warm blessings to all x
The Wisdom of the Trees, by Jane Gifford