So around our lovely River Ouse (and in the back yards of various businesses, and on most waysides) stands the tall silvery turquoise spears of mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). Mugwort is related to Wormwood -remember Kylie Minogue’s Green Fairy in Moulin Rouge!, hence the distinctive deeply lobed, branched leaves with silvery undersides, and small flowers bunched on spikes.
Rub the flowers between the fingers for a burst of incense, a clarifying, intoxicating scent on a par with lavender in power.
This herb, sacred to Artemis and therefore of all women, encourages menstrual flow and can be used in lucid dreaming and dream divination. (NB: DO NOT USE INTERNALLY IF PREGNANT) On a more fundamental note, it also dissuades insects from where it is hung or burnt as a smudge as it contains strong essential oils.
Its easy to make your own smudge, to use in purifying ritual or as mossie repellent, you decide!
Step 1: Cut the top most 20cm off the top stem of each mugwort plant. Dry them in a rack or dry dark place til they are dry but still flexible.
Step 2: Pack them together all facing one way til you have a bundle 3cm in diameter.
Step 3: pick the leaves of the last few cm to make a handle (otherwise the stick will burn down to your fingers…ouwchie…
Step 4: Take red (or whatever colour really) thread and bind tightly in a spiral from base to top. then go from top to base again, in a spiral.
Step 5: Tie firmly at the base.
Step 6: Leave to dry completely (when it cracks off at the touch). if it is properly dried it will light.
To use: Light the far end of the stick then blow it out after a few seconds, move the stick around the room and around people (just not too close or they may singe!)