Plant Magic: Wisdom from the Green World

Whether you live in a city or the countryside, the magic of plants can be found everywhere and sometimes where you least expect it. Be open and explore the magic that surrounds you.

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Feverfew: Herb of Athena

The species name of feverfew, parthenium, is sometimes attributed to a legend that this herb was used to treat a worker who fell from the Parthenon in Athens during construction. However, the complete botanical name translates as immortal virgin (Latin tanacetum, “immortal” and Greek parthenium “virgin”) and links feverfew to the goddess Athena in her epithet Athena Parthenos.

Feverfew is an erect, branching plant with daisy-like flowers that grow in flat clusters at the top of the plant. The flowers have large yellow centers and short white petals. The yellow-green leaves are lobed with rounded segments; the lower leaves more deeply divided. The plant is strongly aromatic. Some of its folk names are bachelor’s buttons, fetherfoil, featherfew, midsummer daisy, and wild chamomile.

The Anglo-Saxons used it in a charm against attack from a spear-wielding she-elf. Worn as an amulet against the plague in medieval times, the odor was believed to also ward off evil spirits. As its common name suggests, it was used to treat fever and just placing it on a sickbed was regarded as a cure. Gypsies were said to have used it in place of chamomile. To calm an unruly horse, it was gently rubbed on its nose.

Regarded as a powerful healer for thousands of years, feverfew aids in sending healing energy to someone in need. Also helpful in recovering from heartbreak, place a few dried flowers in a small pouch to use as an amulet for your emotions. Include it in protection spells and in defense against jinxes. Of course, feverfew is the perfect herb to use to honor Athena.



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The author of over a dozen books, Sandra is an explorer of history, myth, and magic. Her writing has been featured in SageWoman, The Magical Times, The Portal, and Circle magazines, Utne Reader and Magical Buffet websites, and various Llewellyn almanacs. Although she is a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, she travels a solitary Goddess-centered path through the Druidic woods. She has lived in New York City, Europe, England, and now Maine where she lives in an 1850s farmhouse surrounded by meadows and woods.  


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