Saturday, October 29, 2011

folks gloves and ferns...

Sitting to greet at our front gate is the first foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, I planted here to flower.
Sometimes also called 'fox bells' from a northern European tale of a time when foxes were being hunted out. Distraught they appealed to their gods, who put these bells through the fields so they might ring and warn the foxes when hunters were abroad.
There is another explanation of the word 'foxglove' as 'folks glove' because they are worn by the little people.The Irish names for instance are lus na nban side, plant of the faery women, meirini puca, puca or faery fingers, mearacan side, faerys thimbles. Translated from the Welsh term, is goblins gloves, in Yorkshire they are called witches thimbles. In parts of Scotland they were called dead mans bells and if you heard them ring you were not long for this world.
Folks gloves leaves increase the activity of muscular tissue, especially that of the heart and arterioles, and have thus been used in treating heart failure. From her comes the manufactured cardiac drug digitalis that is cumulative in the body. She is a potent plant on many levels.

Another plant long associated for me with faery realms is fern. I had a strong urge to make a poppet with embroidery based on these some of the planets most ancient plants, also said to be a doorway into other realms. My mum recently gave me a cloth with ferns embroidered on it, and I was remembering how much i loved ferns as a kid, making gardens of moss and ferns for the fey. I stuffed her with dried rose petals that my grandmother collected and dried for her potpurri. Just a little reminder to go onto my altar of the magic of this time of year when growth is so verdant and nature spirits abound...

Resources: Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend 1972
                 Green Magic, Lesley Gordon

No comments:

Post a Comment