Monday, October 4, 2010

Celtic Tree Lore - The Medical and Magical Uses of Ivy

vy is associate with the Goddess because it grows in a spiral, which is one of her symbols. In winter we follow the spiral of energy down and within, and in the spring we follow it back up to the light, therefore it is also a good symbol for ones journey through the Wheel of the year.

Women were known to carry ivy as a means to aid in fertility as well as bring one luck. They also carried it to ensure fidelity. This is where the custom of the bride carrying ivy came from. It is said if ivy grows near where you live it guards one against negativity and disaster. Wands used in nature or fertility rituals were often entwined with ivy.

Dreaming of ivy is said to foretell of a broken engagement. If ivy is growing on a tree in your dream, grief may be in your future. If ivy is growing on a house, you will have wealth. It ivy is growing on a friend’s house it means that they will have good health. And lastly if you dream of ivy as a potted plant, you will have happiness.

Medicinally there are few remedies to be found as most ivy is poisonous. Yet there are some that claim to remove sunburn it is recommended to smear the affected area with tender ivy twigs which have been boiled in butter. It has also been used for toothaches, as an astringent , and as an aid to bring on menstruation. It also calms the nerves.

In regards to poison ivy, although it is quite irritable to humans, it serves a useful purpose. The small berries found on poison ivy fees a number of birds and small animals. They also use the tangles which the ivy form as shelter and for building nests. The oil found in poison ivy does not affect most animals yet to humans it can cause an irritating rash. It is so potent that an amount the size of a pinhead could make 500 people miserable.

This oil is not a water based fluid and therefore does not evaporate and can linger for as long as a year. Because it is an oil if it is burned it will vaporize and to those who are sensitive to it, they can get the rash simply by the smoke which would come from the vapors.


JoyceAnn said...

Hi Janie ~ Enjoyed reading your post about the ivy. We have lots of english ivy growing around our place , I love it , hubby hates it but he can't get rid of it (LOL).

And yes , you can get poison ivy from burning wood that has the oil on it , my Mom had a terrible case once from burning wood with poison ivy oil on it. I was blessed and don't have an allergic reaction to poison ivy.

~ Autumn Blessings ~

Jo said...

I love the shapes of different ivy: the colour-washes on the leaves and the way it persistently tangles and twists as it grows... just the coiling tendrils alone send me into raptures! Thanks once again for sharing all those little folklore anecdotes - they are always so fascinating.
Hugs xxx

Mother's Moon's Message said...

yes, I am currently struggling with a case of poison sumac.. the ivy doesn't effect me but the sumac that is completely another story.. we thought we had cleaned up all that was near to our pond and house yet the kittys like to bring me presents from the woods. (the oil on their fur of course). currently taking steroids right now to cease a bout of it.

Rue said...

I have an ivy plant I just adore. I'm lucky to not to have had any run-ins with the poison kind though!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

if you scroll down on my sidebar to where it says witches and cobbler i have the best recipe i make with peaches. it's super easy and a hit every time. i can't begin to tell you how scrumptious the mushroom sammies are. you should give them a try! i am such a lover of mushrooms!

Faerie Moon Creations said...

I adore ivy - I really loved reading this post. Ivy covers most of our front yard. My hubby often wants to trim it but I love how it twists and turns and spreads all over. :) I can never spot poison ivy - my hubby can. My father has a severe allergic reaction to it - so I assume I might too. Thank you for sharing. Theresa