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Zodiac sign: Pisces, Sagittarius
Deities: any solar deity, Brigid (Celtic goddess of healing and poetry), Hecate (Greek goddess of witchcraft and necromancy)
The reputation of dandelion is interesting—it’s considered a delightful flower by most children, and an annoying, unstoppable weed by many adults. Those who bemoan the dandelion generally have no idea of its medicinal and even culinary benefits. If they did, they might stop spraying their yards with pesticides! Found all over the globe, dandelion is an efficient herb, as the roots, leaves, and flowers can be used for a variety of purposes. In fact, up until the 1800s, people actually pulled up grass to make room for more dandelions! Dandelion is also loved by bees, as it is one of the first sources of pollen to emerge after winter. For humans, the fresh leaves in early spring make lovely salads, and the flowers are used in jams and dandelion wine. The French phrase “dent de lion,” or “tooth of the lion,” is where dandelion gets its name. One age-old tradition associated with this plant is still followed today—blowing on the “puff ball,” or seed head, that the flower eventually becomes and making a wish. Another old belief was that the tallest dandelion in a field in early spring could predict the growth in height of the child who finds it. It also predicts weather, as it will close up like an upside-down umbrella at the onset of rain. Medicinally, the dandelion is a friend of the liver and the kidneys, and both dried leaves and ground-up roots are used in detoxification teas. Dandelion tea can also help with acne, eczema, and other skin issues. Dandelion’s magical properties are fairly focused on divination, interaction with the spirit world, and granting wishes. In addition to cleansing the liver, the tea can increase psychic powers, and pouring water over a bowl of the roots is a way of calling spirits. Dried dandelion leaves and flowers can be used in dream pillows and sachets to protect against nightmares. For drawing good luck to your life, bury a dandelion on the northwest side of your house. For wishes, use dandelion in the bath, and/or revive the childhood tradition of blowing on the seed head after speaking your wish! Some Witches use the fresh blossoms and green leaves for altar decorations during spring and summer Sabbats. They are also woven into wreaths and garlands, and even ropes that can be worn during these rituals. Likewise, late-summer seed heads with their slightly silvery hue make for nice autumn altar adornments. Dandelion is also known as blowball, cankerwort, priest’s crown, puffball, and wild endive. This is a fairly safe bet for amateur foragers, but if you go this route, look for dandelions growing in wilder places, away from roadsides and yards where pesticides and other pollutants can make them unsafe to consume.