It’s not the season for heather, but we just got back from Wales where there was such a profusion of it that I wanted to share. To get started, here is some heather lore you can use for magic and healing.
- Latin name: Calluna vulgaris
- Folk or Common names: Common Heather, Ling, Scottish Heather
- Ruler: Hestia or Vesta, Isis, Aphrodite
- Planet: Venus, Sun
- Element: Water
- Gender: Feminine
- Parts Used: herb, flowering shoots, dried or fresh flowers, or oil.
- Basic powers: general luck, love, ritual power, conjuring ghosts, healing, protection, rain-making and water magick.
Heather pixies live on the moors where the heather blossoms. They have transparent or golden auras and wings that you can see through. Unlike faeries, they do not hide from humans as pixies are are related to humans and have friendly temperaments. That said, heather pixies have a reputation for being pranksters. For example, they are known to lead people off into the woods so that they become lost, then they abandon them. So, it’s best to stay away from them lest you be unpleasantly surprised.
The ancient Picts brewed heather ale that was so delightful that the brewing methods were a closely held secret. While modern brewers have recreated new blends, there is no record of how it was done in old times. The use of heather beer is recorded as far back as 2000 B.C.
When the last two Picts, a father and son, were captured by their enemies, their captor offered them life in exchange for the recipe for heather beer. The father said he’d give it on the condition that the son be put to death first. This they did. The father then said, “You could wrest it from my son, but you’ll never get it from me.” The secret of heather ale was never revealed.
A similar beverage called heather mead is referred to as the “water of life.” It’s mild and is served with meals.
The Scottish say that white heather only grows where the faeries have been.
When giving heather as a gift, historically it means independence and good luck. In Victorian times when giving flowers was a way of expressing things without words, purple heather meant beauty or being worthy of admiration. White heather meant luck, protection or fulfillment of dreams.
Magical Uses for Heather
Heather can be woven into charms that can be used for good luck or protection against danger, particularly violence or sexual danger. For this reason, it’s great to travel with. If you’d like a modern piece of heather jewelry, check out Heathergems.
Brides use heather in their bouquets to attract good luck, fertility, and peace.
The ogham for heather is a vertical line with three horizontal lines crossing it. This character, Ur, is the ogham of passion and luck. It can be drawn on a purple amethyst and used in meditation to enhance clarity. You can also use this for healing.
New moons are a great time to use heather on your altar as they are great for new beginnings or initiations. Other uses are self-discovery, enhancing physical beauty, and bringing a peaceful resolution to any conflict.
Adorning your home with heather will attract friendly spirits and create a peaceful atmosphere. Used outside, they can attract faeries to your garden.
Need rain? Burning heather and fern together will aid in magic designed to bring rain. You can also bundled heather and fern together and use them to sprinkle water on the ground for the same purpose.
Scottish farmers carried burning heather torches around their fields at the Summer Solstice to attract fertility for their crops and cattle. You can also enhance fertility by burning some. “Fertility,” of course isn’t just about having babies, but assuring that whatever seeds you are planting bear fruit.
If you aren’t able to hear the voices of your ancestors, add purple heather to your altar. This will enhance your psychic powers and spirit communication abilities.
If your love spell needs extra power, add white or pink altar for three days.
Carry red heather to ignite passion or white heather to cool down admiration when it’s not reciprocated.
Tie heather on the bedpost to help recall and interpret dreams.
Heather in Healing
Heather’s healing properties are: anti-microbial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, anti-rheumatic, and diuretic.
Heather is useful for ailments of the genital and urinary systems, including stones, kidney and bladder infections, vaginal discharge, enlarged prostate, and menstrual and menopausal symptoms. It stimulates the flow of bile and urine, making it useful in cleansing and purifying teas.
Heather can also be put in salves for gout and rheumatism and to soothing skin preparations.
Heather may raise blood pressure slightly, so don’t use it if you have blood pressure issues.
People with a heather constitution worry over the troubles of others. Not the big things of life, but everyday things. They try everything to persuade or manipulate others to do what they think right. They like people to be dependent upon them, and they take pleasure in feeling that they are being of use and help to any in difficulty. Heather people don’t like being alone. They like talking about their problems.
Heather doesn’t grow everywhere. Still, it’s good for animists to get to know the energies of the natural world as it helps us to connect with it and use it for healing.