Names: Candlewick, hag’s taper, hedge taper, king’s candle, feltwort, flannel flower, hare’s beard, velvet plant, Aaron’s rod, Adam’s rod, Jacob’s staff, Jupiter’s staff, shepherd’s club.
Where it Grows: Mullein is best known for being from the Mediterranean, but it also commonly grows in Europe and Asia. A few species of Mullein have naturalized in North America and Australia (esp. Great Mullein). Mullein is not invasive, but persistent. It needs disturbed soil in direct sunlight and isn’t usually a problem for farmers to weed. You can never quite get rid of it though because of the thousands upon thousands of seeds it produces which are shook free in a breeze. Look for it in wastelands, open fields, construction sites, and almost barren sunny hillsides and roadsides.
Growing & Harvesting: Mullein is easily transplanted from the wild in spring before June 1st. It does well in poor soil with good drainage, but will also do well with a mixture of earth, sand, and manure. Otherwise plant the seeds in November or early March as they need to over-winter in order to germinate. This plant is very child-friendly with its large leaves like velvet rabbit’s ears. Mullein makes an interesting addition to vegetable gardens, but you could just as easily grow it in a pot on a sunny porch.
Magic: Mullein as a single-stalked plant literally is the Hag’s taper. It belongs to the crossroads, to Saturn, and to the underworld. It it Hecate’s torch and Lucifer’s staff. It is a key and a door. Mullein resembles a torch with it’s tip covered in bright yellow flowers with orange and red pollen mimicking flames. Perhaps Hecate’s saffron robe was dyed with rich yellow Mullein flowers instead of actual saffron. The flowers were once used in ancient Roman dyes and pigments. Add the flowers to a recipe for a yellow magical ink – perhaps steeped in vodka with tumeric and saffron heated with frankincense or pine resin. Use for drawing prosperity sigils, sigils of the sun, wealth, success, and strength. Witches can use the soft leaves as candle wicks or soak the dried stalk in beeswax or tallow to make a torch for rituals of necromancy. Mullein is used to see manifestations of spirits, to see into the otherworld, and to commune with the spirits and deities who dwell there. It is used for divination and dream work or a combination of the two (prophetic dreaming). Mullein protects you in your sleep helping to combat both evil spirits and nightmares. As it helps one to fall asleep when ingested, Mullein makes an excellent tea to encourage prophetic dreams and as an aid in lucid dreaming or astral travel while asleep.
2 parts Mullein flowers
1 part Poppy flowers
1 part Mugwort
2 parts Spearmint
Blend Mullein and Dittany of Crete with traditional spirit summoning ingredients and you’ll have an incense which, according to folklore, will allow you to see spirits. Grind with a mortar and pestle and burn on charcoal during ritual after having created sacred and protected space.
The Witch’s Necromancy Incense
Dittany of Crete
Another blend that can be used to help manifest spirits for necromantic rites is one noted by Cornelius Agrippa in his work The Philosophy of Natural Magic. If used, it should only be burned outside due to its poisonous ingredients (unless you substitute the Hemlock and only add a pinch of Henbane).
“Also, it is said, that fume made of the root of the reedy herb sagapen, with the juice of hemlock and henbane, and the herb tapsus barbatus, red sanders, and black poppy, makes spirits and strange shapes appear; and if smallage be added to them, the fume chaseth away spirits from any place and destroys their visions.” ~ Agrippa
Agrippa’s Spirit Suffumigation
Asofoetida or Galbanum resin
Hemlock juice (substitute with anise, angelica leaf,)
Henbane, dried leaves
Mullein, dried leaves
Red Sandalwood powder
Black Poppy Seeds
Mullein is a safely smokable herb. Smoke it to aid in hedgecrossing, divination, to call and commune with psychopomps, crossroad’s deities, chthonic familiars, and spirits of the dead. If you don’t smoke, it can also be used in a tea. A powerful magic tea would be a mixture of mullein and roasted dandelion root. It could be drunk for rites of Hecate, before performing divinations, or before summoning spirits.
Medicine: The flowers, roots, leaves, and stalk of Mullein are used in folk medicine. The flowers picked early in the morning and infused in olive or jojoba oil make an excellent oil for treating earaches in children and adults or mites in animals. Store the mixture in a glass tincture bottle with an eye dropper. The leaves are used internally (drunk or smoked) to treat pain, colds, coughing, lung and throat problems (asthma, brochitis, infections), and indigestion. Externally Mullein is used to treat inflammation, eczema, psoriasis, hemorrhoids, wounds, and sores. Like dandelion, the root is also used as a diuretic. Mullein root can also be used as a tea to help with bedwetting children and older folks suffering from urinary incontinence. Because it can be used to treat such common problems, it is a good weed to have nearby.