The Shamanic Herbal: Loki's Herbs


(Alnus glutinosa)

Names: Fearn, Scottish Mahogany
Medicinal Uses: Leaf infusion is a refreshing footbath.
Household Uses: Alder has a long relationship with the element of fire because it makes the best charcoal. The bark gives a dye that varies from red to yellow to black with different mordants. The young shoots give a yellowish-grey dye; new shoots give a cinnamon color; fresh wood makes a pink dye and catkins make a green dye.
Traditional Magical Uses: First wood laid on a sacred fire in some traditions.
Shamanic Magical Uses: The Alder, as the tree of Fire, is much liked by Loki. You could use it to call him, but whether he came would be entirely up to him. Make an alder-wood talisman with the rune Ken/Kaunaz on it to help with skill in starting fires, and with discerning truth from lies. This is something that, ironically, Loki can help you to learn.


[Mullein](Verbascum thapsus)

Names: Aaron's Rod, Blanket Leaf, Candlewick Plant, Graveyard Dust, Clot, Doffle, Feltwort, Flannel Plant, Hag's Tapers, Hedge Taper, Jupiter's Staff, Lady's Foxglove, Old Man's Fennel, Peter's Staff, Shepherd's Club, Torches, Velvetback, Velvet Plant, Cow Lungwort
Medicinal Uses: Mullein is a classic cold herb; drink in tea to clear lungs of mucus and stop coughing.
Household Uses: Leaves can be placed in shoes when soles become thin. Leaf down makes good tinder for starting fires. Leaves can be used to wrap meat for preservation. Flowers can be used in facial cream to soften skin.
Traditional Magical Uses: Guards against nightmares when placed under the pillow, keeps wild animals away while traveling, keeps colds away, banishes demons, and is used as a substitute for graveyard dust. Mullein prevents against being enchanted by enemies, as Odysseus found when he used it against Circe. Mullein was dipped in wax and used as a candle, or dipped in oil and used as a lampwick, for medieval magical rites.
Shamanic Magical Uses: This plant seems to have been claimed by Loki. Dry it and light it up like a torch to invoke him, and perhaps he will come. Or maybe he won't. At any rate, he will take notice, and appreciate an offering. It can also be used with the rune Os to give skill in speechifying, something that Loki has in abundance when he wants to use it.


(Viscum album)

Names: Misseltoe, All-Heal, Birdlime, Devil's Fuge, Donnerbesen, Golden Bough, Holy Wood, Lignum Sanctae Crucis, Thunderbesom
Medicinal Uses: Despite its name All-Heal, Mistletoe is actually poisonous and should not be taken internally. Its healing properties are entirely magical. I actually suspect that Mistletoe is one of those plants that is a little different in its properties when it is found growing in other worlds, and that elsewhere it may be medicinal rather than poisonous.
Traditional Magical Uses: Besides being used as a love-spell for kissing under at Yule, Mistletoe has been used as a ward against lightning, fire, disease, and misfortune of any kind. It seems to be an all-purpose warding plant, used against bogeys and demons too multitudinous to mention. However, it is also the plant that Loki used to slay Baldur, and so it is also a plant of mourning. It has been associated with a whole slew of Norse gods; not just Loki and Baldur, but Odhinn, Thor, Frigga and Freya.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Mistletoe is a tiny but powerful plant that contains all the power of holy sacrifice. It has been associated with sacrificial religions of both the Germanic peoples and the Celts, and it is used when any kind of a great and holy and perhaps painful sacrifice must be made. Loki used it as the weapon to slay Balder, the sacred king. It can be used to add power to any working, but it must be accompanied by a sacrifice. The rune Ing is useful with Mistletoe. The power locked into this tiny, insignificant plant is amazing; use it carefully and only after much thought and prayer.

Sweet Flag Iris

[Sweet Flag Iris](Acorus calamus)

Names: Nithoweard, Sweet Sedge
Medicinal Uses: Essential oil is added to stomach teas, but use sparingly and infrequently.
Household Uses: Leaf buds and inner stems are used in salads and were a popular strewing herb for their scent. Root is used to flavor alcohol and can be candied; it is used as a fixative in potpourri and was once dried and ground for homemade toothpaste.
Traditional Magical Uses: Taken on riverboats to prevent sinking by mischievous water faeries.
Shamanic Magical Uses: This plant seems to be special to Sigyn, the second wife of Loki. To work with her, carry a talisman of the root carved with her name in runes. One of her gifts is that of marital loyalty in the face of hard times and social disapproval.