Rooted deep in the earth, the queen towers high up to the sky. She stands tall and majestic. She doesn't mind noise and dirt, thrives splendidly in barren places, on railway embankments, on sandy hills, along roadsides.
For people, it has been a symbol of indomitable strength, courage, perseverance, and strength of soul. She is an ancient symbol of the Great Goddess.
A biennial plant, it first develops its leaf rosette close to the ground, which then looks like a wonderful mandala in autumn. In the second year, a high flower stem grows from its center. The end of the stem shines up like a candle with tiny, silky, yellow blossoms. The leaves of mullein are woolly and soft, the thick felt-like coat protects against drying out. In the past leaves were used in a variety of ways, dried as a herb, as an additive for herbal tobacco, as tinder to light a fire, as a wick for kerosene lamps ... in ancient times the entire dried plant was also used as a torch, when the tip was dipped in tar and ignited.
Mullein is said to have magical power as a weather protection plant - thanks to its connection to the sky, it can protect the home and yard from lightning strikes. As a healing plant, mullein is the focal point in the herbal bundle, a tradition that goes back to pre-Christian times. Lugnasadh (Lammas) was a Celtic harvest festival where people celebrated the “wedding of light”.
By solemnly collecting herbs, women honored the Great Goddess and gave thanks to the earth. This ceremony was accompanied by blessings. Originally pagan festivals were subordinated to the Catholic Church from the 7th century onwards and assigned to Christian Saints.
Today this feast is called the Assumption Day and is celebrated on August 15th. The name of the festival varies in some areas, it is also called The Consecration of Herbs. In southern Germany, herb bundles are tied together on this day and blessed in the church. To this day, herb bundles serve symbolically to ward off disaster and are supposed to protect against illness and storms.
Such a bouquet consists of 7 or 9 healing herbs originally consecrated to the goddess. In addition to mullein, elecampane, horehound, mugwort, agrimony, verbena, lady's mantle, yarrow, St. John's wort, valerian, elderberry or tansy can be tied in the herb bush. Alternatively, Mediterranean herbs can be added, such as rosemary, thyme, lavender, or types of mint. The herb bundles are stored under the roof or in the kitchen, later used as incense or for tea in winter.
Recipe mullein tincture
The mullein with its honey-scented blossoms is a valued remedy for coughs and chronic hoarseness. Collect fresh mullein blossoms, about a handful before midday. Put them in a sealable glass jar or small glass bottle and fill it up with brandy until all the flowers are covered. Let this tincture ripen in sunlight for 4 weeks, shake it briefly every day. The flowers can be filtered off after 4 weeks or they can remain in the glass.
Store the tincture in a dry and dark place. This tincture can be taken in case of hoarseness or cough, 9 drops 3 times a day before a meal.
Simone Meentzen aka Simi Ninati is an artist and herbalist from Germany. She founded Fiber&Heart in 2015 with nature studies, creating and teaching independent workshops and setting up her online shop. Follow her on Instagram to explore her handmade craft and herbal magick. www.fiberandheart.com
Text and Pictures © by Simone Meentzen