The Monthly Wort
The Monthly Wort will provide readers with detailed descriptions of specifically chosen herbs (aka “wort”, meaning a useful herb), splitting into 4 categories over the span of the month. Herbal History, Medicinal Uses, Magical Uses and Growing/Harvesting. In order to get the full scope of each plant, stay tuned every week as we delve into the spiritual and practical experience of Herbalism.
- Licorice Root and the Planets -
There is immense power in the herb we’ll be talking about today for the third installment of the Monthly Wort, starring Glycyrrhiza glabra. Spiritually speaking, the licorice plant is associated with the planet Mercury. Herbs under Mercury are largely responsible for communication and movement of thought, which is what licorice is quite adept at for magical purposes, something we will touch on further down in the blog. Mercury was said to be the messenger of the gods, and also the planet rules in the sixth house, which is the house of health. This fundamentally focuses on supporting lung health and the energizing of movement in both thought and breathing; as we know, licorice root has been used across cultures to help with dry coughs and flu symptoms affecting the throat and lungs.
Despite all of its Merc aspects, there is an unusual quality to licorice root in that it contains the planetary metal for Jupiter and displays certain qualities associated with it, such as its intense spiritual breadth. Under the domain of Jupiter, most herbs accompany acts of worship by adorning altars or being burned in religious ceremony. Specifically, rites of passage wouldn’t be complete without an herb from the Jupiter spectrum – that being said, licorice root was buried in tombs by the Egyptians to help the dead pass on into the afterlife, no doubt because of its strength of protection.
The correlation between these two planets makes it a bit mysterious, don’t you think? For an herb that is subtle and pretty above ground, but with power predominantly located beneath, the dichotomy of its planets is synonymous with its medicinal benefits as well: The care of the internal parts of ourselves that we don’t see. While Mercury dodges and hides behind craftiness and wit, Jupiter is boastful and full of zest. In its own way, licorice root finds the line between these two very intense qualities and feeds their needs from within. The liminal passageways open up, the throat is alleviated of tension and a sweetness is found on the breath. Licorice root is a truly fascinating example of a quiet potential.
- So Commands the Root -
When it comes to the magical uses of licorice root, one of its greatest qualities is its ability to bind and heighten power in spell work. While this can be a huge positive, it can get especially tricky when it comes to intention. This is not a matter of what good magic or bad magic is as much as it pertains to the results the user wants. The power of persuasion is one rarely mastered, although licorice root is certainly a great equalizer and has a good amount of oomf. When it comes to conjuring, it is a very assertive plant and Hoodoo practitioners have utilized licorice in commanding, mind-altering and control spells for generations. This can be anywhere from giving a push to a possible employer during an interview, winning your way through a spousal disagreement or just changing someone’s mind on a smaller scale.
Drinking a tea of licorice root can temporarily empower the user’s convincing proficiencies while sometimes something as easy as touching a person with its oil or burying a root near their home or workplace can achieve results. Kudos if you can get the person you’re affecting with the spell to actually ingest the root in one form or another. Note: Unless you want to answer some uncomfortable questions, the spell should probably be secretly arranged.
- Love, Lust, Fidelity -
Of course, who would use control spells if it weren’t for love? One of the most common kinds of spells Folk or Folk-curious people tend to use (and sometimes abuse) are love spells. Love itself is a very powerful thing and the pain from it can be just as strong, not to mention wicked. Licorice root should not be taken lightly, especially when acting in love or sex magic.
As we learned last week in The Monthly Wort Part 2: Medicine, licorice root is capable of raising a person’s blood pressure just from chewing on bits of the root. This reaction can be linked to the idea that it creates passion within people, particularly a lustful one. Centered in estrogenic properties, both European lore as well as Hoodoo practicing systems believe that licorice root specializes in lust, love and fidelity magic work. It can be added to love sachets that you or your beloved carry, chewed for sexual potency or sprinkled in the footprints of a lover to keep them from wandering. Sometimes simply drinking the tea can act as a stimulant between two lovers. To keep or attract, that is licorice’s act. Just remember to thank this slow growing root for its hard efforts!
That’s all for now, Folks! Join us next week as we cover the fairly tricky growing process for licorice root and the patience it takes to harvest it~