The Shamanic Herbal: Frey's Herbs


(Hordeum spp.)

Names: John Barleycorn, Barleykerne, Aleseed
Medicinal Uses: Vitamin-rich brewer's yeast is a byproduct of barley malting. The cooked grains can be applied to sores, and barley water aids convalescents.
Household Uses: Cereal grain, breads, malt for beer and ale.
Traditional Magical Uses: Barley is one of the great grains of the world, and the one most closely associated with the sacrificial grain god. It is a Lammas plant, planted late and harvested early, and used in Lammas altar sheaves.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Barley is sacred to Frey in his aspect as Ing, the sacrificial corn god. All barley products, especially the liquid ones, are appropriate to use as libations for him, and to ask his blessing in sorrowful places. As he is one of the Bright Guys, he is especially good to call on when one is depressed and unhappy.


[Cherry](Prunus spp.)

Names: Various - sweet cherry, chokecherry, black cherry, depending on variety.
Household Uses: Pies, jellies, jams, syrups, and anything else you can think of to make.
Traditional Magical Uses: Love spells, too many to recount here. Cherry juice is also used as a blood substitute in some rituals.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Cherries of any kind are beloved of Frey, and they are one of the Vanaheim plants. In fact, while the crabapple is a Vanaheim plant, the bred northern cultivars of apple are all sacred to Iduna, and thus Asgard plants. Cherries, however, are pure Vanaheim. They are also found in Ljossalfheim, spread there by Frey who has a hall there. Make an offering of cherries to him when they are in season.


[Coltsfoot] (Tussilago farfara)

Names: Horsehoof, Horsefoot, Foalswort, Ass Foot, Bull's Foot, Coughwort, Pas d'ane, Sponnc
Medicinal Uses: Flowers reduce phlegm and bronchial inflammation, and help the immune system. Leaves are used in cough medicine.
Household Uses: Smoked for herbal tobacco, and eaten young and tender in soups and stews.
Traditional Magical Uses: Protective charm for hoofed livestock.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Much liked by Frey, this plant is associated with the rune Ehwaz and can be used as a fast-travel charm. The leaves, when smoked, are said to cause visions. This plant has an affinity for the runes Ehwaz and Fehu - horses and cows.


[Hops](Humulus lupulus)

Names: Beer Flower
Medicinal Uses: Infuse as a mild sedative tea and bath soak. Female flowers contain estrogen and are used in tincture for menopause.
Household Uses: Dried ripe female flowers preserve, clear, and flavor beer. Male flowers can be parboiled and tossed into salads. Boil the leaves for a brown dye.
Traditional Magical Uses: Sleep spells, when sewn up in a pillow.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Another of Frey's sacred plants, hops are given magically to increase fertility and sexual energy. If your libido is flagging, you can propitiate Frey for help with an offering of hop blossoms.

Lemon Balm

[Lemon Balm] (Melissa Officinalis)

Names: Melissa, Bee's Delight, Balm
Medicinal Uses: Tea calms tensions and is good in herbal cold treatment combinations. Poultice is good on insect bites. Essential oil is an antidepressant.
Household Uses: Makes a truly wonderful tea. Good to plant around beehives. Leaf can be chopped into salads, sauces, fruit salads, jellies, and wine cups. Infuse as a facial steam and a wash for greasy hair.
Traditional Magical Uses: Drunk in tea, it gives longevity and banishes melancholy.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Frey is said to greatly enjoy lemon balm, and it can be baked into goodies, brewed into mead, or floated in ale as an offering to him. It can be used to call him, or to find which world he is in - he alternates between Asgard (where he is technically a hostage), Alfheim (where he has a hall), and Vanaheim (his home, which is where his wife lives, as she refuses to go to Alfheim or Asgard and he would rather not be long in Jotunheim).


[Rye](Secale spp.)

Names: Too may to list here.
Medicinal Uses: Carrier of ergot, poisonous fungus used as a painkiller (under herbalist supervision only).
Household Uses: One of the hardiest cold-weather grains in existence.
Traditional Magical Uses: Used in spells of fidelity.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Rye, like Wheat, is sacred to Frey. However, it recalls Frey's courtship of Gerdr, and his willingness to do anything for her love. As such, this hardiest and most weather-proof of grains is used in magic to keep couples faithful, and to rekindle love during hard times. Sprinkle it for weddings where couples differ in their faith, race, age, or have to love across some other divide. Better yet, serve it at the reception.


(Triticum spp.)

Names: Too many to list here
Household Uses: The ultimate bread grain of Europe.
Traditional Magical Uses: Spells of fertility and money.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Sacred to Frey, Wheat is the traditional sheaf on the harvest altar. It can be used with the runes Ing (which is the pictograph of a bound grain sheaf) and Fehu, indicating that one would like some money and that one is willing to sacrifice the labor necessary for it. Jera, the harvest rune, may also be added as one wishes. Ask Frey's blessing on such abundance.