Buckthorn - Rhamnus cathartica - Old Herbs

   So setting myself a NEW Challenge - the Internet is swamped with the Herbal attributes as a Healing Tool…and in addition to that, there are some equally valuable snippets of those values used in Magicke & Ritual etc…
 We know that these have been known to steep back into the Medieval era, and maybe even further…many a Tome; Grimoire; and/or Manuscript held the 'Hidden Secrets' of their use…not all of them are in Barnes & Noble …

The Challenge is to see how much CAN be uncovered - that is too say, in the guise of its Magickal use etc…

Can we unravel the reasoning that was in place with the Practitioner at the Time, as well as the quaint desire for such humerous 'codes' to be put in place??
AS Practitioners ourselves - it is a major part of that process to look deep inside the mind/s, and see through their Eyes what was being fueled….

We should ask what was the purpose in its use - when - where and so forth…whilst at the same time being consciously aware that THEIR TIME no longer fits in with OUR Time!
In addition to all the above - we are always gonna be reminded that there is NO limit on the amount of information that can be available, and whilst - for now - there is a vast amount of resources to delve in….just as many more are continuing to be uncovered daily!!

We are gonna stop the Timeline of Adventure at the Gate of 1920's - what info follows that time is in many ways a regurgitated version of the previous 'documents' - redesigned etc…with often many changes made to suit the current climate of thinking etc.
Authors tend to insert their own values - and mode of thinking - which can be fine for them, BUT ONLY for them..
Our Spirit constantly reminds us that we are ONE - not a Clone - and so as ONE, the experience is not manufactured word by word with that which is written..

Used as a Guideline - Yes - used as an absolute copy - has its 'Price to Pay'!!!

….and of course in this Journey, we will be weaving in, and out of all sorts of Traditions… seperated ONLY by the distance of Lands…

  As stated in the Original List/s introduction - the Herbs may be known under several Terms…the very FIRST one on the List is a fair example…so lets take it from there??
  • Bone of an Ibis: Buckthorn - Rhamnus cathartica
  • Hart's Thorn: Common Buckthorn - Rhamnus cathartica
  • Ram's Thorn: Common Buckthorn - Rhamnus cathartica
   Let's start with what is consider basic reasoning…(Note: that in terms of "deemed" facts - not all are reliable - these are open to challenge)
As we unravel the 'Timeline' - it becomes easy to see how the changes occur - the growthh of the understanding be it via the Guides and Spirits - or by the Nature of another Practitioner, in another country, so very far away!

** Planetary ruler: Saturn ?

** Elemental ruler: Water ?

** Power of the Name: rhamnus - thorn bush, and Buck - Deer/Horned Male

** Time Line - Many Text state late 16th century ??
Not so - we know that Buckthorn was well known to the Anglo Saxons, and is mentioned as Hartsthorn** or Way thorn, and the Welsh knew of it in the 13th Century..
** Hart's Thorn - a Buckthorn Code name = Eikthyrnir, is a Stag which stands upon Valhalla in Norse mythology. … Eikthyrnir the Hart is called….the hart with Golden Horns
** Black ram-thorn - Buckthorn has Black berries

The Gaelic name for the Buckthorn is quoted as being >>> Muin (pron. 'mwin').
It is in fact 'Draighean', and in the Irish, it is called 'Ramhdhraighean'.

** Journey of Tradition - Europe,Western Asia, North-Western Africa

In terms of Magicke (be that under the guise of Folklore/Myth/Superstition and/or Religion) - it is often a delicate fine line - any and every statement can certainly, at the very least, be the intent within Magicke - mainly as Sympathetic Magicke…..

One Text refers to Buckthorn as being the "Crown of Thorns" - Christ's Thorn is a Palestine shrub of the Buckthorn family,

Alchenical references tend to take on a whole other slant:
Alder Buckthorn (the most popular in many Text) yields a Yellow dye, much used in Russia; when mixed with Salts of Iron it turns Black.
The same colour Dye, Glovers would use to give a Yellow colour to their leather.
In Germany, it was known for two values:
 Gunpowder makers, named it 'Black Dogwood' & for the same reason, it is also called Pulverholz ('Powder-wood').

The above NOW tells us two things: Yellow (Colour of the Sun) and Black (Saturn)

CHARMS - a Directive of Magicke
Here lies that trickle of infusion - taking the Herb from its 'Healing' Throne, and dipping it into the seductive pools of 'Sympathetic' Charm Magicke…

** Era of the Anglo-Saxon (5th to 10th Century):
 - Against sudden death of swine always put this in their food: boil glide, give to eat.
Also take Lupine, Betony and Hassock, Buckthorn, Cleavers, Viper's Bugloss, sing four Masses over them.
Drive the cattle** to the fold, hang the herbs on the four sides and on the door, burn them, adding Incense, and let the smoke go over them.

The Practitioner's reasoning was:
The Herbs however, had to have some special power, as it is used in several Charms against Elves. The Herbs were burnt on the four sides, which explains the four Masses,
 There was also the extended idea though, that the four sides themselves point to the Worship of the Sun.
** Slight note of humour - the Charm was for Swine - yet it is the Cattle that is involved..which gives indication that the above Charm became adapted - this Practitioner, who carefully noted it in works - deemed the Charm acceptable for Cattle!

So in this Charm we see an extension of Magickal Evident…:>>

Buckthorn is not alone - it is served with other Herbs…
The Number Four is important - 4 is seen as a representation of 'All Elements' - Fire, Air, Water & Earth
We have an addition of the Planet - SUN
The Charm is against - Elves
The Charm is NOT for Swine, but for Cattle!

                            Buckthorn against Elves.jpg

Next Charm…

A Drink against the Temptation of the Devil:

Buckthorn, Garlic, Lupine, Radish, Bishop's wort, Fennel, Hassock, Betony,
Hallow these Herbs, add Holy Water to the Ale.
And let the drink be in the room where the patient is, and always before he drinks it, sing three times over the drink:
                                 'Deus in nomine tuo salvum me fac'.
(Rough Translation:   "God is your name - God save me")

The Charm is important, because we hear that an Incantation is uttered every time the drink is taken. The Incantation itself is simple; it is in accordance with the pleasant character of the remedy, so different from 'Smoking out the Spirit' or even beating it out.

Again Buckthorn is not alone…
Hallow (Honour as Holy) & Holy Water is now considered an importance
There is again a repeating action - Three - The Number for the Trinity - Sing Three Times
The Practitioner reconmends 'Drink' - in this case ALE
This Charm is Deceptive -
that is too say the Practitioner is slipping it in 'Secret'..
This Charm is a 'Wife' Charm - Co-Partner is seeking that the Recepient is not to come home Drunk, waste funds and all that sad stuff!

From there - the extension towards Magicke is slowly seeped in..
As with other Thorns, this one could be used as a counter to Witchcraft.
(This kinda of statement always amuses me - the Practitioner creates Magicke against Witchcraft… ??!!)
There are records of this from Germany, for with a Buckthorn stick, a man can strike Witches, and Demons (Deamon - Spirit), and no Witch dared approach any vessel made of it…that is too say made of Buckthorn Wood..

Here our List expands -
Buckthorn THORNS
Buckthorn Wood
Witches & Demons

There are examples as far back as Ovid (which takes us back past the 16th Century mark), who described a Ceremony for countering a Vampire Witch. The final act was to put branches of Buckthorn in the window.
“it is said that the branches thereof, being layd in Gates or windows, doe drive away the enchantments of Witches…”

In this, the list again widens…
Vampire Witch
Buckthorn 'Web'

In another Text it mentions the Visitation into a 'Dripping Cave'.
(Dripping Cave tends to lure the mind into all sorts of horrors - although to the sain - we know that such Caves are ones close to a Water table… As a Practitioner of the Arts - we also know that Water is often only home to those Spirits that revel in that Nature…!!)
.."He sewed sprigs of Rowan and Wych-Elm in the hem of his waistcoat, thrust a Bible into one pocket, and a bottle of Gin into the other, and providing himself with a torch, and a Staff of Buckthorn which had been cut at the Full of Moon …he set out for the cave …”

Stave of Buckthorn
Full Moon - an Element of Time, as well as Planet
Gin - Elixer of Deathe - Rhyme of Saining ** (although the Magickal Values of Gin are yet another whole new platform !! often referenced as "the evil, haunting, persecuting Spirit ! )

                                            Soul Folkore Gin.jpg

   The above Image attributes to a Gin Myth Lore - "a Yorkshire Folktale about a beautiful and wealthy heiress known as Lady Sybil. She was captivated by the landscape; consumed by a yearning to become at One with Nature. To satisfy this craving, Sybil traded her Soul for the Gift of Witchcraft, allowing her to roam the moors she held so dear, in any form of her choosing".
(okay the above kinds slips of the beaten Path - but the Drink that memoralizes this Myth is Gin!!)..

To expand on the Gin use - we need to direct our attention to the Scots…Scottish Lowland Folk Magicke Corpse Saining Rite
In short the Rite (called a ‘Dishaloof’ ) ends with Attendants going out of the room, to return to it backwards repeating the **Rhyme of Saining’:within which is the verse "
Gin want that Soul to live"

Working Colleague pointed out another such Charm:>>

We know that earlier on Buckthorn was considered a Incense (part of a mix) as well as a form of 'Black-Gun' Powder..
So it comes as no surprise, that in the African Tradition they considered Buckthorn as a 'Sacred Bark' - is a frequent addition to various Incenses, and powders aimed at attracting Luck. It is also useful in Uncrossing procedures, particularly for people who may be down on their luck due to a Hexed state.

In a Scandinavian Text - they suggest that:>
" In the Springtime when the leaves are just coming out, take branches of 9 types of fruit-bearing trees, and especially, from those that leaf the first of all when now your shotgun has become Hexed.
Put these said branches in a strange or odd place, light them on Fire, lean so the shotgun is over them, and so the smoke goes up the barrel, then it will be good again, and he will get as payment whatever harm you will place upon him.
NB; Alder Buckthorn, Black Dogwood, must be one among the nine types, otherwise it won't work.

Within this Charm - there is added indication:
Time - Spring
Number - 9/Nine
Magicke - Hex Reversed - Karma
Element - Fire/Smoke

That NOW leaves just one question unanswered - the reference of Buckthorn >>> "Bone of Ibis"….

The Ibis is a Bird of the Water/s - so in that it seems a fair connection…
Ibis is given to the letter "A" - Among the Greeks, it was the symbol of a bad Augury in the Sacrifices, and the Ibis is mentioned in almost every article of Magicke under one aspect or another…so by uniting the Bucthorn to the Letter A - it units All the values of the IBIS's proposed Magicke??
The Egyptians laid powerful respect to the Ibis - "its plumage symbolises the Light of the Sun, and Shadow of the Moon, its body a Heart, and its legs a Triangle. It was said to drink only the purest of Water, and its feathers to scare or even kill the Crocodile."

I can certainly see how - for amongst the many Tools of my Art - the Ibis Bones and Feather is held VERY dear to me - it adorn s one of the Altars in place…..

The above details (as stated in the beginning) fosters changes in the Belief of how "Buckthorn" supports Magickal endeavors…. Each Practitioner of the Arts, has created his/her's own POTION - Metholodgy of Magicke, and even values of use…be that fueled by the then 'Spoken' fray of FolkLore shared amongst the less learned - or be that the dense Obedience to certain Elements - such as Teachers before etc…

Either way - what is does show - is that the course of the Magicke seeked, deposits its seeds as it sees fit…. It is too the Practitioner to unravel the "Seeds" ensure their Virtues can at least match their Purpose…..be consistant in their workings, as well as Responsible!!

What does NOT always work - is taking the 'Clone' Road - a shortcut of workings and efforts, without deeply seeking to at least understand the Elements/Components readily being applied…….and thus ensuring it fits into the scheme of things being activated…

So Now we can conclude in part the Magickal use of Buckthorn:>

** Planetary ruler/s - Saturn; Moon; Sun

** Season - Spring

** Elemental ruler/s - Water; Fire, Smoke/Incense - Air & Earth (Wood)

** Power of the Name - rhamnus - thorn bush, and Buck - Deer/Horned Male

** Effective against - Elves; Witch; Daemon; Vampyre

** Magickal Power - Reverses Hexes; Attracts Luck

** Used often with other Herbs - part of rather than in single acts

** Actions/Tools - Holy Water; Prayers/Chant/Mantra

** Ritual Drink - Ale; Gin

** Numbers - 3, 4; 9


(Copyright of Astropaths Grimoire c2020)


Last edit: by 'Light'

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