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Botanical Name: Atropa belladonna.

Common Names: Nightshade or Deadly nightshade, divale, dwale, banewort, devil's berries, naughty man's cherries, death cherries, beautiful death, devil's herb, great morel, dwayberry

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Sun

Element: Earth

Deities: Atropos, Bloduewedd, Venus, Aphrodite,

Folklore: Not to be confused with the belladonna lily known as Amaryllis or any type of illegal drug cultivated in 1999 which uses the same name. The name belladonna is Italian for beautiful lady. Drops prepared from the belladonna plant were used to dilate pupils, an effect considered to be attractive and seductive. Belladonna drops work by blocking receptors in the muscles of the eye that constrict pupil size. It is now rarely used cosmetically, as it carries the adverse effects causing minor visual distortions, inability to focus on near objects, and increased heart rate. Prolonged usage was reputed to cause blindness Atropine sulphate however, is still used in eye examinations.

Medicinal uses: Although notable for its unpredictable effects of toxicity Belladonna was among the herbs  provided to Queen Victoria to deaden pain as well as consciousness during childbirth.

Belladonna has been used in herbal medicine for centuries as a pain reliever, muscle relaxant, and anti-inflammatory to treat menstrual problems, peptic ulcers, and motion sickness. At least one 19th-century eclectic medicine journal explained how to prepare a belladonna tincture for direct administration to patients.

Belladonna tinctures, decoctions, and powders, as well as alkaloid salt mixtures, are still produced for pharmaceutical use in various functional gastrointestinal disorders. The tincture, used for identical purposes, remains in most pharmaceuticals journals.

Magical Properties: In the past, witches used belladonna with other typically poisonous plants  in flying ointment, which they applied to help them fly to gatherings with other witches. There are arguments that these preparations were designed to encourage hallucinatory dreaming. The inclusion of belladonna, and other herbs producea dream-like waking state. This is how contemporary writing on witchcraft explain that flying ointments might have actually worked.

CAUTION: Foliage and berries are extremely toxic.

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Herb of the Month: Belladonna

Rune of the Month: Tiwaz

Featured in: Elder Futhark

English letter: T

English translation: Tyr

Gender: Unspecified

Deity: Unspecified

Meaning: Honour, justice, leadership, authority. Analysis, rationality. Knowing where one's true strengths lie. Willingness to self-sacrifice. Victory or success in any competition or in legal matters.

Alliance and kindness. Mystery, psychic awareness, inner wisdom. Spiritual power and quest. Awareness within. Other philosophies. Kind, generous teacher and confidant. Dealing with psyche, a spiritual guide. What you seek will come. Be patient. Guard against unkindness, illegalities or immorality. He understands your emotional side and will be there if you are in trouble.

Image from the Fenestra Tarot.

Card of the Month: The High Priest

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