Plant Profiles – Wild Violet

wild violet the house of twigs emma kathryn witch Viola sororia

‘A violet by a mossy stone half hidden from the eye; Fair as a star

When only one is shining in the sky’

~William Wordsworth

My garden in spring is one of my favourite places in the world. Larger than my neighbours by more than half, I know I am lucky, even more so when you consider the gentleman who lived here before was an avid gardener and so it required very little effort on my part when I first took over stewardship of this land. But whilst my neighbours gardens are neatly manicured and pruned, my lovely garden is a little more wild.

In the farthest corner a huge linden tree grows. It’s been there for as long as I can remember (I grew up on the very same street, only a couple of houses away in fact). A Cotoneaster grows on one side of it and a wild cherry to the other. Beneath the boughs of these trees, wild violets do grow. They are just beginning to unfurl now, tiny purple flowers hiding among their heart-shaped leaves. They grow mostly in late winter and early spring but will have a second season of flowering later on in the year after the heat of the summer sun has began to fade and a cool tang returns to the morning air. On an early spring morning, this is one my favourite place to be, with only the birds and their morning chorus for company. This is the resting place of my beloved dog, a place chosen with care. She too loved this wild part of the garden and now the violets grow along her grave edge. A fitting resting place when you consider that violets represent peace, love and renewal as well as being a funerary flower.

And yet for me, the beauty of the wild violet, this beautiful yet overlooked flower represents hope, peace, protection and love as well as a quiet determination and inner strength.

Violets in Mythology

Perhaps the violets link to death come from its connection to the underworld. In Greek mythology, it was whilst out picking violets that Hades saw the beautiful Persephone and took her to the underworld.

Another story from the Greeks tells how Zeus fell in love with a beautiful woman who’s name was the Greek for violet, Iona. To hide her from the wrath of Hera, he transformed her into a cow and where her tears fell, violets did bloom.

The Romans too had their own story about this small flower and how they came to be. Cupid saw a group of beautiful young ladies one day. Not to be out done, the beautiful but jealous goddess Venus asked Cupid who was more beautiful, they or she? When Cupid answered the maidens were the fairer, Venus flew into a rage and turned the girls into violets, beating them until they turned blue.

These flowers are also associated with the virgin Mary due to her humility and the tears she shed when told she would carry the child of God,

Magickal Uses

Violets are associated with the planet Venus and so can be used in all types of love and glamour magick. Place flower heads in a warm bath along with a few drops of lavender essential oil to enhance you beauty and leave the skin glowing.

Place violet petals beneath your pillow for dreams to show the one destined to be your true love or what it is you truly desire. Violets are also associated with second sight, visions and the subconscious mind so placing them beneath your pillow also encourages prophetic and lucid dreaming.

Violets are a plant of protection, keeping malevolent and evil spirits at bay. You can use them as charms to ward off evil. Try carrying a sachet of them with you. Or alternatively plant in your garden or if you do not have one, a window box or place in a pot by the entrances to your home. As violets are associated with the crystal amethyst, they provide a link with the divine. Place on altars or places sacred to you.

Medicinal and Practical Uses

According to Culpeper, violets were used to ‘cool or heat any distemperature of the body’ including inflammation of the eyelid. The flowers can still be used in herbal and folk remedies today. They are a versatile flower that can be used in decoctions and as a poultice and are gentle enough to be applied directly to the skin. The leaves are antiseptic and are useful in treating minor scratches, cuts and insect bites. The plant can be used fresh and taken as a decoction or inhalation to help ease sore throats and hoarseness. It can also be used to aid in easing water infections and back pain associated with the bladder.

Make a cough and cold syrup with the flower by simply filling a small jar with the flower heads and covering with honey. Leave to steep on a warm windowsill for at least a week and strain into a clean jar. Take a spoonful as needed. This also doubles as a tasty treat and is delicious spread on warm buttery toast!

The flowers can also be frosted and used as a sweet treat or to decorate cakes and other sweet delights. Simple beat an egg white until it is not quite meringue stiff and add confectioners sugar. Take a violet flower by the stem and dip into the mixture. Place on a piece of kitchen towel until it has set and use as required. You can also make violet sugar by grounding the flower into sugar using a mortar and pestle. Place on a baking tray or parchment until dried and crumble with your fingertips into a clean jar. Use in teas or baking for a taste of spring!

For such a small and humble flower, the violet is so useful and full of charm, making it one of my favourite spring time flowers!

‘The violets in the mountain have broken the rocks.’

~Tennessee Williams

  • Author Posts
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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