Plant Profiles – Datura

obeah woman whispers emma kathryn pagan witchcraft the house of twigs thot

An ointment made from the leaves is cooling and repelling

~ Culpeper’s Complete Herbal

Datura, oh Datura, my favourite of all the poisonous plants! Whilst belladonna is perhaps the most famous of the baneful herbs, the beautifully delicate and yet potent Datura has captured my heart and soul. Indeed, as the year continues to descend into darkness and as we approach Samhain and the thinning of the veil (or at least those of us in the northern hemisphere), my connection to these plants linked to the underworld deepens too.

Datura is one of those plants that is easily recognisable from its distinctive pointy leaves that have a somewhat unpleasant scent to its signature blooms. The flowers are creamy white and trumpet-shaped, and not unlike a beautiful woman skilled in the art of seduction who might dab perfume lightly on her neck to entice you in closer and closer still, the delicately beautiful scent of the flowers just begs you to lean in closer and to breathe deeply.

It blooms from mid-summer to mid-autumn and is apt for the season, for when the flowers have finished blooming they fall away to reveal little spiky balls that grow and grow. These spiked seed pods remind me of the horse-chestnut and sweet chestnut in their prickly cases, though instead of shiny large nuts inside, these pods contain hundreds of darkly potent seeds. I love the way they open and eagerly anticipate the spectacle, watching in delight as the first  crack appears, then seemingly all at once they burst open, spilling their seed onto the ground below. There’s something utterly magical about them and the process of becoming.

Whilst undoubtedly beautiful, there is more to this plant beside the aesthetic. Back in the day, Datura was used medicinally in a variety of ways. The leaves were smoked or burned to alleviate the symptoms of asthma and a juice would have been pressed from the leaves and used in the treatment of epilepsy. Whilst today, owing to its toxicity, it is no longer used internally (and I would highly recommend you do not use it internally, FYI), the seeds and leaves can be used to make an ointment that helps relieve deep muscular and skeletal pain.

As we witches know (and we’ve all seen the meme), a witch who cannot harm cannot heal and the Datura embodies this dual nature. This duality is echoed within its beauty and it’s potency but also has a personal meaning. This flower grows near to where I live, just outside of a scrapyard no less. In amongst the rubble and waste ground, the beautiful flowers can be seen flourishing. It reminds me of the rose that grows in the parking lot in the middle of the city in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series!

With all of that said though, for me, Datura is inextricably linked to witchcraft. Ruled by Jupiter, the ointment from the seeds and leaves can be used to help induce trance, hedge crossing, soul flight, lucid dreaming and astral travel. Whilst such uses might not be everyone’s cup of tea, Datura is a must for any witches garden. Even just working with the spirit of the plant offers potent results and will enhance any witchcraft practice. Essences can be made using the flowers by filling a glass bowl with water as pure as you can get it and letting the flowers float within. Let it lie beneath the sun for around four hours before mixing with a good quality spirit to a ratio of 1:1 before bottling up. Take three drops in a glass of water before bed or add to baths, washes and waters to use around the home.

Whilst it may not have as many applications as some of the other plants contained in this series, I just couldn’t not include this, my favourite of all flowers, poisonous or otherwise. Everyone should have the pleasure of feasting their eyes upon the glorious blooms and inhaling just a hint of its perfume at least once. I promise you will not be disappointed!

 

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My name is Emma Kathryn, my path a mixture of non-Wiccan Traditional British Witchcraft and Obeah, a blend that represents my heritage. A Devotee of Hekate, my witchcraft is what is needed when needed. I live in the middle of England with my partner, two teenage sons and two crazy dogs.
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My name is Emma Kathryn, my path a mixture of non-Wiccan Traditional British Witchcraft and Obeah, a blend that represents my heritage. A Devotee of Hekate, my witchcraft is what is needed when needed. I live in the middle of England with my partner, two teenage sons and two crazy dogs.
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