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These plants, funghi and insect illustrations
are part of my botanical oracle deck

Calluna vulgaris | Heather

Botanical Overview of Heather

  • Scientific Name: Calluna vulgaris

  • Common Names: Heather, Ling, Scots Heather

  • Family: Ericaceae

  • Description: A low-growing, evergreen shrub with small, scale-like leaves and spikes of tiny, bell-shaped flowers that range in color from pink to purple, and occasionally white. It grows up to 60 cm tall.

Calluna vulgaris heather botanical illustration

Properties of Heather

  • Chemical Constituents: Flavonoids, tannins, phenolic acids, and triterpenes.

  • Edibility: Flowers are sometimes used to make tea or flavor honey.

Distribution and Habitat of Heather

  • Native Range: Europe, Asia Minor, and parts of North America.

  • Preferred Habitat: Thrives in acidic, nutrient-poor soils in heathlands, moors, bogs, and open woodland. Prefers full sun to partial shade.

Medicinal Properties and Uses of Heather

  • Traditional Uses: Known for its diuretic, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Traditionally used to treat urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and rheumatism.

  • Modern Applications: Used in herbal medicine for its diuretic and antiseptic effects, particularly in the treatment of urinary and kidney conditions. Also employed in remedies for respiratory issues and to promote relaxation.

Magical Correspondences and Uses in Magical Practice of Heather

  • Element: Water

  • Planet: Venus, Mercury

  • Magical Properties: Protection, luck, love, and rain magic.

  • Uses: Heather is used in spells and rituals to attract luck and love. It is also employed for protection and to enhance spiritual connection. Heather can be included in charms, sachets, and ritual baths. It is often used in rain-making rituals and to invoke spirits of the land.

Folklore, Legends, and Mythology of Heather

  • Historical Context: Revered in Celtic and Scottish traditions, heather has been used for centuries in various cultural rituals and ceremonies.

  • Folklore: Heather was believed to bring good luck and protection. In Scotland, it was often carried by warriors for protection and used in wedding ceremonies to ensure happiness. White heather, in particular, was considered extremely lucky and was often sought after.

  • Mythology: Associated with the goddess Brigid in Celtic mythology, heather was used in rituals to honor her. It was also believed to be a portal to the fairy realm and used in practices to communicate with spirits.

Historical Literary Sources

  • Pliny the Elder's "Natural History": Mentions the use of heather in ancient Roman herbal practices.

  • Nicholas Culpeper's "The English Physician" (1652): Describes the medicinal uses of heather, particularly its applications for urinary and kidney issues.


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