The hedgerows are full to bursting with berries at this time of year. Blackberries you can eat straight from the bush (but not if you are near a main road, probably best to avoid those ones), elderberries can be made into syrups, cordials and of course…wine. And hawthorn berries are excellent to work magic with.
Berries can be dried to use in magical spell work or the edible ones can be used in cooking for magical purpose too. Make sure to leave some behind when you collect berries as the plant needs to pro-create and birds and animals eat most berries to keep them going through the cold months.
Berries can be dried laid out on a tray or they can be strung onto a thread using a needle and hung up to dry. The dried berries can then be used whole in magical workings and incense blends or ground to a powder.
The bramble (Rubus fruticosus) grows all over the place and is extremely tough and hard wearing as I discovered when one seeded itself in the corner of my garden, they are really difficult to get rid of if you don’t want them.
Folk believed that blackberries had healing powers and anyone suffering from something like boils or rheumatism would be dragged through arches of brambles to apparently bring about a cure…sounds incredibly painful to me.
Sleeping Beauty had her own bramble forest, the plant does grow very quickly and her castle was indeed covered in no time.
Ancient herbalists would use decoctions made from the leaves, roots and stems for any number of ailments from sore throats to diarrhoea and piles and the leaves would be used for dressings to put on burns and scalds.
I think blackberries are a sure sign that autumn is on the way. The blackberry plant is representative of earth, the leaves water and thorns are fire so it is a good all round fruit. Because the plant produces fruit with lots of seeds and as the plant grows very quickly it is a really good fruit to use in prosperity or fertility spell work. The thorns can be carefully removed and added to protection pouches or witches bottles.
For magical spell work I would suggest drying the leaves or the roots because using the actual fruit makes an incredible mess. Unless you are looking for something to represent blood then the juice works incredibly well as a substitute. The inhabitants of the Faerie world also love blackberries.
Elder is a small deciduous tree (or shrub) that grows in woods, hedgerows and on waste ground the trunk is quite often crooked and low lying with rugged bark. It has dark green leaves that have quite an unpleasant smell but the flowers that appear in early summer are pretty and fragrant with large flat bunches of white flowers that ripen into berries that are green at first and then a dark purple colour by early autumn.
Described in the past as a ‘whole medicine chest’ in one tree the Elder is an excellent ingredient to use in healing spell work.
The stem was said to have been used by Prometheus to bring fire to man from the gods.
Also a tree of the Fae, sit and watch patiently on Midsummer night and you should see the Faerie King ride past…if you are lucky.
If an elder self-seeds in your garden it is said that the Earth Mother has chosen to protect your house (don’t cut the elder down without asking permission from the Earth Mother first). Preferably of course don’t cut any trees down at all.
There has been a bit of a dilemma with elder over the years, it has been a tree of life but also a tree of the devil, it was needed for its medicinal properties but also feared to be a witch’s plant – sometimes you just can’t win! Witches were said to be able to turn themselves into elder trees…I have yet to attempt it.
A tree of death, rebirth and reincarnation. The bark, root, leaves and berries can be used for making dyes.
Use in any healing spell work whether it is for physical or emotional healing also very good to use to break spells that were cast against you. Elder wands can be used to drive out evil spirits.
Drink elderberry juice to increase your intuition. Add elderberry tea to your bath water to help heal spiritual and emotional issues.
Add elder stems to incense blends to bring purification and protection to your home.
Hawthorn is a hedgerow plant that grows well even in poor soil and high winds. It has white flowers in spring that are followed by dark red berries in the autumn. Watch out for the spiky thorns though.
Associated with easing heart complaints I think it works well in love workings and spells to make the heart sing with happiness (awwwwww).
Hawthorn is a tree of the Fae forming the faery triad with oak and ash, the hawthorn offers a gateway to the world of Faerie.
The white flowers followed by the red berries have long been associated with fertility.
Dry hawthorn berries and thread onto black cotton and hang above your threshold or sprinkle the berries around the boundary to your home for protection.
Add hawthorn berries to your floor wash to purify your house. Hawthorn berries can be sprinkled around your home to protect your marriage or relationship.
Add to workings where you require forgiveness.
Use hawthorn in workings for protection, hope and warding against evil…yes another tree that protects against witches *sigh*, although apparently witches would shape shift into hawthorn trees to rest before flying through the night.
Article by Rachel Patterson
Photo by Pelle Martin on Unsplash