Saint-John’s-wort

Saint-John’s-wort A genus of perennial herbs and shrubs bearing yellow flowers (Hypericum perforatum), believed to have the power to drive away the devil, Demons, witches, imps, Fairies, and Ghosts.

Saint–John’s-wort may have come from Assyria, where it was hung over doors during religious festivals as protection against evil spirits and influences. Because it flowers at about the time of the summer solstice (June 21 or 22), it played an important role in pagan religious rites and sun worship festivals. The Romans burned it in bonfires on Midsummer Day. The Greeks also used it in exorcism, believing that its fragrance would drive away evil spirits.

Under Christianity, the plant was rededicated to St. John the Baptist, whose birthday, St. John’s Day, is observed on June 24. Medieval priests continued the customs of the Greeks in using the plant in Exorcism, and it acquired the monicker “devil’s flight.” The Church also continued the pagan custom of gathering the plant at Midsummer Eve, to be draped about windows and doors and hung on the necks of children to protect them against illness for a year. Midsummer is not the only time the plant is effective: one may gather it any Friday and wear it on the neck in order to dispel melancholy and drive away all manner of spirits.

In the 17th century, Saint–John’s-wort was often used in the Exorcism of Demons and ghosts, and it was said to expose witches and protect against bewitchment.

According to folklore on the Isle of Wight, if a person steps on Saint–John’s-wort, a fairy horse will appear under him and race off with him for the entire night. See Charms AGAINST Ghosts.

Further Reading:

  • Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft. New York: Facts On File, 1999.
  • Magic and Medicine of Plants. Pleasantville, N.Y.: Reader’s Digest Assn., 1986.

Source:

The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits– Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007

See also

You may be also interested in :

Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure - Catherine Yronwode
A Master Grimoire of Oils, Herbs and Incenses: Their  Magickal Uses and Formulas  – Pat Kirven Sawyer
The Hearth Witch's Kitchen Herbal: Culinary Herbs for Magic, Beauty, and Health - Anna Franklin
Herbs in Magic and Alchemy: Techniques from Ancient Herbal Lore - C. L. Zalewski
Wicca Book Of Herbal Spells - Lisa Chamberlain
Veneficium Magic, Witchcraft and the Poison Path - Daniel A. Schulke
The Green Witch - Arin Murphy-Hiscock
The Practical Handbook of Plant Alchemy: An Herbalist's Guide to Preparing Medicinal Essences, Tinctures, and Elixirs - Manfred M. Junius