By Isabella @TheWandCarver
From Plant Lore, Legends, and Lyrics, by Richard Folkard, Jun, London 1884:
“ENCHANTER’S NIGHTSHADE.—Formerly the Atropa Mandragora used to bear this name, but by some mistake it has been transferred to the Circæa Lutetiana, an insignificant plant named after Circe, the famed enchantress, probably because its fruit, being covered with hooked prickles, lays hold of the unwary passers-by, as Circe is said to have done by means of her enchantments. The Mandrake was called “Nightshade,” from having been classed with the Solanum tribe, and “Enchanter’s” from its Latin name Circæa, a name which it obtained, according to Dioscorides, because Circe, who was expert in herbal lore, used it as a tempting powder in amorous concerns.”
An interesting little book which, if I understand correctly, sounds almost more like an apology for his bad information in the preface rather than a preface. But as it was of some interest, I just had to include it… take from it what you will.
You’ve seen the pretty pink slips waving in the breezes over the last month or so. They are quite small and may be white instead of pink. If you haven’t, try looking in shady places where the ground is moister such as shady woodlands, coppices, and perhaps in some hedge rows. If you have seen them, you have found Enchanter’s Nightshade. If you’re not familiar with Enchanter’s Nightshade or Circaea lutetiana; this nightshade is a member of the willowherb family, Onagraceae. It is not related to other nightshades such as the deadly nightshade.
The genus name comes from the enchantress Circe of Greek mythology and the specific designation is derived from Lutetia, the Latin name for Paris, which was sometimes referred to as the “Witch City”. Despite its name it is not especially toxic but contains a lot of the astringent tannin. The plant is native to Europe, Middle Asia, Siberia, United Kingdom, and the eastern United States and Canada. It grow in woods in deep shade and moist environments on nitrogen-containing clay.
Circe was a powerful Grecian witch who, with the help of herbs, muttering incantations, or praying to her strange gods, could turn men into animals, or create unsubstantial images of beasts. She often called to her aid Nyx, Chaos, or Hecate. But as witchcraft may make a victim also of him or her who practises it, the nights of Circe could be wasted in fear because of the uncontrolled visions that filled her house. And so, for example, the walls and chambers of her palace could seem to be bathing in blood, whilst fire could seem to devour her magick herbs. That is why it was a relief for her when daylight came, and she could bathe and clean her garments, forgetting the scaring nightly visions. Circe also liked to attract others for the mission of sex magick, therefore it could be thought this is one reason this kind of nightshade is called Enchanter’s.
Enchanter’s Nightshade is a useful herb for aiding in the Laws of Attraction. Not only the love kind of attraction but to attract whatever it is that you want in your life, including wealth, health, and any number of things. As a rule, Enchanter’s Nightshade does not attract wealth itself but it aids in the Seven Laws of Attraction where you attract what you need and want into your life. You may use it in the usual ways which you do for spell work, mainly useful in loose incenses to be burned over a charcoal disc. This is a particularly good way to use it during meditation. It is also useful in spells for binding, hexing, and love. Mainly you may read that you use Belladonna [Deadly Nightshade] for hexing but those of us who would rather not, I have found that Enchanter’s Nightshade – absolutely no relative of the Deadly variety – works just as well. It is also said to be useful for shapeshifting and transformation in which you would drink it as a tea, however, be certain you have the correct herb before ingesting. Take all due precautions and then take them again.
For enchanting or simply attracting the lover of your dreams, make a sachet of dried Enchanter’s Nightshade to carry with you when you have opportunity to be near this person. In our Love witch bottle necklace, Enchanter’s Nightshade is an ingredient. You may also use with other dried herbs which attract love, such as Vervain, in a loose incense to burn during spell work for love. And, of course, if you prefer making poppets, use the Nightshade in those as well.
According to Nicholas Culpeper, The English Physician and Complete Herbal: “It is a cold Saturnine plant. The common Nightshade is wholly used to cool hot inflammations either inwardly or outwardly, being no ways dangerous to any that use it, as most of the rest of the Nightshades are, yet it must be used moderately. The distilled water only of the whole her is fittest and safest to be taken inwardly: The juice also clarified and taken being mingled with a little vinegar, is good to wash the mouth and throat that is inflamed; But outwardly the juice of the herbs or berried, with oil of roses and a little vinegar and ceruse laboured together in a leaden* mortar, is very good to anoint all hot inflammations in the eyes. It also doth much good for the shingles, ringworms, and in all running, fretting, and corroding ulcers, applied thereunto. The juice dropped into the ears eases pains thereof that arise of heat or inflammations And Pliny saith, it is good for hot swellings under the throat. Have a care you mistake not the deadly nightshade for this; if you know it not, you may let them both alone, and take no harm having other medicines sufficient in the book.”
In medicine Saturn presides over the skeletal system, skin, teeth, gall bladder, spleen, and vagus nerve. Saturn symbolised processes and things which were dry and extremely cold, and was therefore inimical to life. It governed the melancholic humour.
Nearly all I can find about the use of Enchanter’s Nightshade for nowadays is using it as an astringent for skin maladies. Oh yes, and the [*] above – please do not use any leaden vessel in the preparation of herbs for health and physical use. I don’t think I need to say it, still, there can always be that one 😊
Zodiac: Capricorn and Aquarius
Element: Earth and Water
Powers: Healing, Love, Binding, Hexing
Other Names: Sorcerer of Paris, Witch’s Grass, Great Witch Herb, Wood Magic Herb, Paris Nightshade, Herb of St. Etienne, Southern Broadleaf Nightshade.
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Nicholas Culpeper, The English Physician and Complete Herbal [17th century]
Richard Folkard, Plant Lore, Legends, and Lyrics [Jun, London 1884]