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Thursday, June 23, 2011

MIPC: Yarrow Love Potion

"The party broke up, and the basketball playing boyfriend was leaving just as Ruth reached the door. They stood in the hall and chatted a few minutes, and then Ruth suggested in a friendly way that they go back to her own room where she had a hot plate and could make some coffee. So they did, and she brewed the coffee and put something in it--I think she referred to the ingredient as 'milfoil,' but I believe it was actually a part of a plant called Achille millefolium. From that night on, as far as I know, Ruth and the basketball player were a steady twosome, and he never looked at the poor little cheerleader again."

Summer of Fear (1977)
Lois Duncan

Commentary: More commonly known as Yarrow, Achille millefolium, has a long history in medicine as well as magick. Herbalist have used yarrow to promote bleeding as well as to stop the flow of blood from wounds, heal bruises, to bring up phlegm, and treat skin disorders to name a few. It should be noted that contact with Yarrow can cause allergic skin rashes. 

In magick, Yarrow has several uses most of which center around drawing love, and fostering psychic abilities.  According to Scott Cunningham, Yarrow attracts "love, friendship, and distant relations."   He also states that a tea made of yarrow flowers will improve a person's psychic abilities. 

In his book, Ozark Magic and Folklore, Vance Randolph states that yarrow is used by women in the Ozarks to make love-potions, however he fails to provide a recipe. The stalks of Yarrow have been used to cast the I-Ching and the flowers have been placed under the pillow to help you dream of your future spouse. 

I, personally, would not recommend anyone slip Yarrow into another person's food or drink for this purpose unless they are 1) absolutely sure that the herb is Yarrow 2) that the herb was thoroughly cleaned of any possible pesticides 3) that the Yarrow was properly dried and 4) that they were absolutely sure that they wanted this person to be devoted to them. 

All ethics aside, love is a fickle thing. Many a witch has cast a spell to gain the love and affections of someone only to find that once they got their wo/man they no longer wanted him or her. Not to mention how easily love can turn deadly. In addition, once you have your wo/man, you may find it hard to rid yourself of him or her as the grimoires and receipt books provide no antidote to the potion.

However, if you find yourself burdened with an ensorceled-lover and wish to be rid of him or her, Cunningham tells us that pistachio nuts are used in Arabic countries to counter-act love spells. In the Voodoo tradition, one of my teachers shared a powerful spell which calls for the dried remains of a black-widow spider. Still, I would not draw from this well too many times or else you may find that it has run dry and you are forever bound to a wo/man you despise.

Carolina Dean


Summer of Fear
Lois Duncan, © 1977

Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs
Scott Cunningham, ©1998

Ozark Magic and Folklore 
Vance Randolph, © 1947


Raven said...

Interesting! I've not tried Yarrow for this purpose before, but it's definitely going into my book.

Carolina Dean said...

This is the only book by Lois Duncan that I have read, but all my magickal friends seem to like her.

I don't know if you read my review I posted earlier but I really like that Mrs. Duncan did her research on this story. It really adds an element of realism and make the story that much better.