Of Henbane and Poisons
My poison garden has sat quietly throughout the winter months. Some herbs have done well, others succumbing to the cold weather despite my efforts. I’ve not been as enamoured of my poison garden as I should have been. Whilst going through the issues of being detached from my Craft, I observed only basic courtesies of watering, feeding and mulching. I was as divorced from them as I was from everything else. Unfortunately, despite the care of a greenhouse, my daturas and brugmansia are looking a little worse for wear but I am hopeful they’ll come around to health once the weather warms. I haven’t been focused on the poison path of late, I haven’t felt called to it in awhile but as I gather myself to throw myself back into my path (in baby steps of course), I feel the need to reach out and connect with them. Apparently my subconscious agrees because a dream came that reminded me I had ignored my darkly delightful garden for too long.
Dappled sunlight filtered in through the lushly green trees creating a gentle checkerboard pattern upon the green earth. It was a beautiful spring day, neither warm nor cool but a balance of both, birds sang and insects danced. A perfect day for wildcrafting. Travelling to a strange place not known, overgrown and left to nature’s will, it is said that the Dark Lady, Belladonna, grows wild; her bounty full and generous. She is framed by weeds of nettle and black nightshade in a grove of silver birch, old growth trees and young saplings fighting toward the light. Hidden in amongst the grove of greenery I could see purple flowers and black berries. Approaching with caution and respect but with an eagerness to see if she was willing to share her bounty; I became surprised when I saw her berries were the size of Roma tomatoes yet her boughs did not bend or break. It was an incredible sight, plant after plant of Belladonna in its own tiny grove, shrouded by a hedge of flowering henbane, melting into the landscape. Belladonna was gracious enough to share herself with me and I was able to collect an impressive amount of plant material, and of Henbane. This long forgotten, green grotto hidden from view, almost forest like but yet not a forest, it hid its treasures well. I felt at peace in this place, so connected to the land and its inhabitants. They had reminded me of wishes not yet fulfilled and as I left this place with my bounty, I felt at peace with the path ahead.
There was also an old shed with antique glass bottles, didn’t know what that was about. The dream was so real, I could feel the weight of the berries in my hand, the scent of the grove, the freshness of the air, the dappled sunlight warming my skin in areas. It felt as though it was a real place and perhaps it was, perhaps I actually journeyed somewhere in my sleep. I used to spontaneously astral project as a child but could never recall where I’d been. I’m also a prolific dreamer (honestly, sometimes I have upwards of four in a night) so it could have simply been a dream. I tend to lean toward it being more because I can recall quite a bit of it with some clarity, whereas when I dream regularly, I know I have but I don’t remember what I dreamt of. It seemed to be important and I think it was a wake up call to pay attention to my poison garden, to get my butt back in gear since the weather is coming nice again.
My poison garden is soon to expand with the addition of Belladonna and new Henbane plants. I am hoping to grow a variety called Belladonna var Lutea – a yellow flowered, yellow berried version said to have been the preferred belladonna of witches. I’ve not always been successful germinating the seeds of this family so my plan is to try to kickstart it with Gibberellic Acid. If this is successful I may use it in future on other hard to germinate seeds. Gibberellic is supposed to be quite good on seeds that require cold stratification, which Belladonna, Henbane etc do. Fingers crossed!
I had also planned on experimenting ointment wise with henbane, datura and mandrake separately to test strength, reaction, experience etc however I have surgery next Wednesday so I won’t be. I had planned to prior to surgery since I had time, but alas, the Universe decided my time would be better spent coping with the pain of a blood clot in my thigh; not wanting to cause any issue, I have, again, suspended these plans. Although the clot is in the superficial vein, I’d rather not tempt fate. Hopefully everything resolves itself quickly and I can get on with what I had planned to do.
Happy Side Note: Went out to water my Daturas and give them some fertiliser and they’re sprouting lots of lovely new green leaves!