Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mardi: Herbal-Wise

Today's is the 600th post here at HQ, an accomplishment I am personally quite proud of. So I thought, by way of celebration, I would write about the most popular herb in hoodoo and certainly a universally used magickal herb: five-finger grass.

Also known as cinquefoil, five-finger grass gets its name from its distinctive leaf pattern. The compound leaves form five segments, similar to fingers. Each is said to symbolize a seperate grace or blessing: love, money, power, luck and wisdom. This is true for all magickal disciplines that use the plant, which is not, by the way, a grass but a flowering herb.

Cinquefoil grows wild in moderate and cool climates and was often the focus of old wives' remedies in pre-and early-modern Europe. A small bag of the leaves was hung over the cottage door to protect the inhabitants. The same would be hung over the bed or from the bedstead to protect the sleeper and ward against nightmares. Young girls were told to pick a cinquefoil leaf with seven "fingers", should they have the good fortune to find one, and bring it home. This was then placed under the pillow, particularly on auspicious nights for divination such as Hallowe'en or Christmas Eve. The cinquefoil leaf was said to bring dreams of one's future husband. I can find nothing about whether or not the same mechanism worked for boys wishing to dream of a future wife.

Scott Cunningham recommends making a tea of cinquefoil leaves. This is then used to wash the forehead and hands on nine consecutive mornings in an effort to undo malicious magick and curses.

In hoodoo, a bag of five-finger grass leaves is hung above a home's mantel but hidden from view. Hang the bag behind a picture, statue, stack of books, etc. Used with intention and replaced each new year, this trick is said to make it impossible for anyone - even the bank - to drive you from your home. A tea of five-finger grass leaves is added to floor wash to protect a home, clear away any crossed conditions (such as after a fight, an illness, or an unlucky event like the loss of a job) and bring better fortune into the home. The same sort of tea can also be added to baths for uncrossing, lifting jinxes and improving mental health.

A famous money drawing mojo is made from a five-finger grass leaf, a stick of cinnamon, and three mojo (fava) beans. Carry these in a green flannel bag and dress it frequently with whiskey or Money-drawing Oil.

According to Silver RavenWolf, five-finger grass is a "catch-all for Pow-Wow."  The five blessings noted above make the plant useful as they encompass "all that the Pow-Wow desires to receive and to give."  That's a tall order for one little herb. As in other disciplines, Pow-Wows also employ five-finger grass for hex breaking.

Bonne chance and thank you so much, one and all, for continuing along this journey with me.

Header: The Three Graces by Edward Augustus Bell via American Gallery


Timmy! said...

Congrats on post #600, Pauline! I think we could use some cinquefoil at our house these days...

Pauline said...

Me too! I wish it grew up here; that's always the easiest (and surest) way to get the herbs you need. Thank goodness for Lucky Mojo Co.!