This post is a bit off-topic, but I have to share.  Today is a lazy Sunday in the middle of summer.  We in VA had a real good storm yesterday afternoon (to include a shelter-in-place tornado warning while we had guests) and so today is a bit overcast and….it just feels lazy.

As my family is playing video games, I find myself ensconced in the SAGE course with Rosemary Gladstar that I am determined to finish!  I had used Yarrow with success over the vacation already, so I wanted to officially add it to my materia medica files for the class.  My first stop was A Modern Herbal by Margaret Grieve that was given to me by a friend.

In addition to being a vulnerary, Yarrow was also used as a divinatory herb.  One would tickle the inside of their nose with it’s feather-like leaves and say:

‘Yarrowway, Yarrowway, bear a white blow,
If my love love me, my nose will bleed now.’

Another cited use is to place a dried Yarrow-herb sachet under a ladies’ pillow to dream of their true love saying:

‘Thou pretty herb of Venus’ tree,
Thy true name it is Yarrow;
Now who my bosom friend must be,
Pray tell thou me to-morrow.’

The citation for the above rhymes gives attribution to: “Halliwell’s Popular Rhymes, etc.”

So this struck me because I used to be (who am I kidding, still am!) enthralled with a certain series I watched on TNT concerning female magic practitioners with a last name of Halliwell.   So of course I forsook herbal studies for a moment to indulge in a creative whim.



A man by the name of James Orchard Halliwell wrote several books.  One I found on Gutenburg Online Press was entitled Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales.  Within are virtual pages of rhymes, prose, a wonderful trove of what would now be considered “Old Wives Tales”.  I will certainly use this book to supplement my classes, but for now, I really must get back to the books.

~Pati D.

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