Weeds for Witches Part II: Clover

bumblebee and red clover

Where it Grows: Wild Clovers can be found all over the Northern Hemisphere mainly in meadows and bright sunny spots. Some native, some naturalized. It will grow anywhere there are people and can also be found in South America, Africa, and Australia. It does like a little bit of shade and suffers in hot dry weather. The two most common clovers are Red Clover and White Clover. Red Clover is larger with taller stems and big purple to pink flower heads. White Clover is smaller, closer to the ground, and has smaller white flower heads and sometimes variegated leaves.

Growing & Harvesting: Clover is actually commonly planted by farmers as a cover crop or sown in fallow fields as it is known to naturally restore nitrogen to the soil. Scatter clover seeds all over your grass lawn in spring or early fall and you’ll never have to fertilize your lawn again. Clover doesn’t mind compacted soil at all so let your children run wild over it. Planting clover in your lawn will also attract honey bees and other beneficial insects to your yard. This is especially beneficial if you have a vegetable or herb garden that needs pollinating. Clover seeds are easily found in just about any seed catalogue or local garden centre. Continually harvest the flower heads of Red Clover as they bloom and dry them for a medicinal tea or for use in magic. White clover flowers are edible, but should only be eaten in small quantities.

Freshly harvested herbs

Magic: Clover is one of the oldest cultivated plants. It has been used both medicinally and magically since ancient times. Although modern folklore has this three-leaved plant being associated with the Christian Holy Trinity, the association of plants with three leaves goes much further back into Pagan times.  The ancient Greeks and Romans associated it with their triple Goddesses and the Celts considered it a sacred symbol of the Sun. It is the national flower of Ireland, but the association with St. Patrick is actually more modern. In folk magic Red Clover is used in a ritual bath to attract money and prosperity to the bather and is also used as a floorwash to chase out evil and unwanted ghosts. White Clover is used for breaking curses and is worn as a sachet or put in the four corners or a house or someone’s property to achieve this. The four-leaf clover is a very famous good luck charm believed to protect from evil spirits, witches, disease, and the evil eye. This familiar childhood rhyme for a four-leaf clover actually originates from the Middle Ages:

One leaf for fame, one leaf for wealth,
One for a faithful lover,
And one leaf to bring glorious health,
Are all in a four-leaf clover

All of these together are supposed to give one the happiest and most fulfilling life possible. Four-leaf clovers are also traditionally used to see fairies and other spirits, to heal illnesses, and to avoid being drafted into the military. Three leaved-clovers are worn as a protective talisman and two-leaved clovers are used by young women to get a glimpse of a future lover. With its three leaves, Clover is a very shamanic plant allowing one to see into and interact with the Otherworld. It is a good talisman of protection and power for traveling out of body and walking between worlds. Never underestimate the magical power of this simple and harmless weed. It also makes a good offering to Mercurial deities and can be burned with incense, added to ritual smoking blend, made into alcoholic brews, or left with a food offering.

Red clover and yarrow flowers

Medicine: Clovers are very good for both your health and your livestock animals’ health (if you have any). They are rich in nutrients and vitamins and the leaves and flowers can be added to salads or used as garnish. Use the new green leaves when eating them raw, but you can also add the tougher older leaves to sautéed or steamed greens like spinach and kale. You can even add the leaves into stir fries, soups, and pasta sauces, but add them last and just cook until wilted to retain the nutrients. Even the roots can be eaten when cooked. You can batter and fry Clover flowers just like Elder flowers.  The flowers of both types of clover can be used to make homemade wines, beers, or vinegars. Red Clover flowers are steeped to make a popular tea which, although drunk for pleasure, can be used to treat liver and gallbladder issues, stomach and digestive issues, as well as for women’s menstrual and fertility issues.

References:

Join the discussion No Comments

  • Harold Roth says:

    Clover makes a great “green manure” and an excellent living mulch under perennials. I use this in my garden every year, broadcasting short Dutch white clover throughout the beds. In the spring it germinates en masse and you can till it under in working beds and just leave it in perennial beds. It gets only 8″ high. Nice for shade areas, too. groworganic.com has a good rhizocoated version for a decent price.

  • sara says:

    I grow clover up against my chicken run. The girls cluck their hot henny breath over it all day, probably charming it to grow, and then when they get let out for supervised recess they mow it down at regular intervals. And it grows back, amazingly. Hens are known for turning even a field of weeds into a lunar landscape, but this mammoth red clover I’ve been growing keeps coming back.

    It is protective in one’s yard/property as well as on journeys. I used to have umpteen cats watching the hens all day, and we’re down to the one who isn’t a stalker but made friends with them when they first arrived.

  • Kim says:

    Red clover blooms, nettle leaves, and red raspberry leaves used together in a tea does wonders for the menses and I speak from experience.

  • Biddy Early says:

    It also has a lovely lemony flavor in green or potato salads! some will warn you against eating too much, but I’ve never minded how much I’ve eaten, then again, I’ve only eaten it as an addition…

  • Skayler says:

    Clover

    The clover is a plant that serves as protection against attacks by black magic
    Herbal tea for luck and abundance
    Ingredients:
    5 ml (1 teaspoon) of red clover blossoms (those very sweet red or white)
    5 ml of chamomile flowers
    250 ml of water
    5 ml of honey

    When the water will stay almost boiling water and add the herbs while the infusion is going to stir a little dot you say ‘water:

    That the gods grant me a blessed life
    What are my good fortune and prosperity
    That all my life
    All that is good and beautiful belongs to me

    add honey and drink this tea as often as possible … you’ll see it works!

  • Marilyn says:

    I’m happy to see that you often cite Cunningham’s “Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs” which often tends to get a bad rap in the “traditional” community due to its author being more “fluffy”. However, those of us who know a wee bit about our plant lore know that it is actually quite an excellent compendium of traditional lore associated with many diverse plants and deserves to be given its due! Can’t say much about his other books, but the herb one is certainly one worth having.

    • The bibliography of both the encyclopedia and his earlier Magical Herbalism are actually quite impressive. I own and have read many of the books he referenced and they are wonderful.

  • Oakmother says:

    So glad to find your blog!