Herb of the Day: Belladonna (Atropa Belladonna)

Herb of the Day: Belladonna (Atropa Belladonna)
Warning! Poison!
Folk Names: Banewort, Black Cherry (not the edible kind), Deadly Nightshade, Death’s Herb, Devil’s Cherries, Divale, Dwale, Dwaleberry, Dwayberry, Fair Lady, Great Morel, Naughty Man’s Cherries, Sorcerer’s Berry, Witch’s Berry
Gender: Feminine
Planet: Saturn
Element: Water
Deities: Hecate, Bellona, Circe
Ritual Uses: The priests of Bellona, according to tradition, drank an infusion of belladonna prior to worshipping Her and invoking Her aid. Bellona is the Roman Goddess of war.
Magickal Uses: Today belladonna is little used in herb magick due to its high toxicity. All parts of the plant are extremely poisonous and there are still reports of death resulting from accidental ingestion.
In West European magick, this crone herb has been used for astral projection and is allegedly an ingredient in flying ointments; even now it is considered a witchcraft essential. It was once used medicinally in minute doses, but reaction to it was too variable for safety.
Toxicity: Our disconnection from nature and our refusal to take responsibility for knowing the natural world mean that we often have very distorted reaction to things like deadly plants. Some people seem to discredit all warnings about poisonous herbs, and others act as if a poisonous plant is as dangerous as plutonium. Neither is a helpful response. This herb is dangerous to life, but that does not mean it cannot be used in ritual at all, only that it must be used with caution. Don’t allow it to rest against your skin. If including it in a charm bag, make sure the fabric is tightly woven so that plant dust cannot get through. Wear gloves when handling it and do not touch your eyes or mouth without washing them first. If censing with this baneful herb, burn it in a well ventilated area. “Baneful” means that this is a deadly poison. People have died from ingesting it, so please don’t do anything stupid with it. If you suspect belladonna poisoning, go to the emergency room.
Posted By: Lady Becky
‘May we live in peace without weeping. May our joy outline the lives we touch without ceasing. And may our love fill the world, angel wings tenderly beating.’
The Universal Heart Center