Join us in an enchanting exploration of the Artemisia plants—Mugworts, Wormwoods, and Sagebrushes—as we share stories and experiences of working with the flower essences, herbal preparations, and strong energies of this unique subset of the Aster family. 🌙🌿🧙♀️💚🧚✨
Flower Essences discussed during the show:
- Mugwort (California) – FES
- European Mugwort
- Mountain Wormwood – Alaskan Essences
- California Sagebrush
- Sagebrush – FES
- Artemisia – Flora of Asia
- Mugwort Moon Magic – FES
- Mugwort Oil – Wiseflower Wellness
Hi, flower lovers. Today, Ro and I are going to be talking about some good friends of ours, the Artemisia family. And these are plants that are commonly called Mugwort, sometimes Sagebrush. It’s a pretty diverse family that’s been used for a really long time in herbal medicine, both Western and Eastern. And we like to explore the possibilities of all the different essences that are made from these plants and what sorts of healing gifts they bring. We are recording today on a moon Day, which is perfect for talking about the goddess Artemis. Hey, Ro.
Rochana Felde: [00:01:22] Hello. So happy to be talking about this genus of plants.
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:01:27] Yeah. It’s been part of the preparation that I’ve been doing with Ruth Toledo Altschuler when we were doing our botanical families in flower essence therapy, and we’ve been talking about the Aster family, the Asteraceae, and Mugworts are, Artemisias are one of these Asteraceae plants. Asteraceae is a gigantic family, something like 25,000 species, and one of its little family members is the Artemisia. So you might know the Asteraceae as being like sunflowers and Echinacea. It’s a pretty broad family. And even though Artemisia does not have a wildly showy flower, like something like a sunflower, it is still in the same family. So we thought we’d really specialize on this today and go deep into the topic because I know that it is one of your favorite plants.
Rochana Felde: [00:02:27] Yeah, I’ve always had this attraction to Mugwort. I’m not sure when it started or why. I think just ever since first hearing the name Mugwort, something about it sort of grabbed me before I even ever met the plant. And then I started working with it more when I was in the Shamanic Plant Spirit Apprenticeship Program, I think back in 2016. And we did a weekend communing with Mugwort and its various– California mugwort, European Mugwort, so they’re very similar. In fact, I believe there’s Mugwort, it’s native to every continent on the planet. So there are so many species of it. And it’s everywhere that there’s sort of ancient myths or legends, there’s some sort of Mugwort myth in there or something that speaks to how long it’s been around and how much it’s been revered herbally and magically. So it just sparks the imagination. And it’s really known for having an affinity with the wise old crone, the Crone woman who has– I see that plant spirit as one that is just kind of like the crone that will give you hints about something and kind of laugh if you don’t get it. So it’s not this warm and fuzzy, helpful energy, so to speak. It’s more like going to help you along your path and push you to your edges and help you get into the sacred space to the point where you can find the magic within yourself instead of getting a handout from a plant, so to speak. That’s how I see the Mugwort. How about you?
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:04:33] Well, that certainly fits in with the connection with Diana, or also Artemis is the same name for the goddess who was a hunter. She was a badass. In mythology, she’s a Greek mythological character. She was the goddess of the hunt, the wilderness of nature, and also oddly, chastity. And when I was looking up the myth a little bit more, I got a little bit more information on that, because in that era, that aspect of chastity was as much as anything, like she refused to marry and be subject to a man and be like a secondary. She’s like, No, we’re not going to do that. I’m going to be doing my own thing over here. So she has that strong feminine quality, which is something about Mugwort and all of these different Mugworts from all around the world that it draws women. We connect with this plant on a deep foundational level.
Rochana Felde: [00:05:37] Absolutely. And the one thing that I found out about Mugwort is it’s considered one of the oldest plants in mythology and in the northern tradition. So there’s a book I have called The Northern Shamanic Herbal by Raven Kaldera, and he talks about The Song of the Nine Sacred Herbs, which is writings from the 10th century or earlier. And it’s basically a poem that talks about these nine herbs in old English. So it’s been translated. And the first one in the poem is Mugwort. So, I’ll just read that one paragraph.
And it says, “Keep in mind, Mugwort, what you made known, What you laid down at the great denouncing. Una, your name is, oldest of herbs, of might against three, and against thirty. Of might against venom and the onflying, of might against the vile foe who fares through the land.”
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:06:52] I mean, there’s certainly, it’s not a sweet pea kind of an herb, right? It’s a powerful herb. It’s not inconsequential and fluttery. What an interesting– I don’t know as much about the herbal uses as you do. I know that you’re very familiar with that, but I’ll just start by describing the plant a little bit because that might be useful if someone listening maybe has never really encountered it, although once you maybe look it up and start to look at some of the images, you’ll realize, oh, it’s all over the place wherever you go. But many of the Mugworts have a very silvery quality to the leaf. They tend to have a little bit of a fuzzy coating to the leaves. They grow in all different kinds of places. They grow in kind of rough territories. They’re not really picky about where they grow. They can tolerate heat and exposure and all that. The leaves tend to have a strongly fragrant, like a pungent quality to them when you would crush them, which is going to be an advantage growing in the wild where rabbits and deer and whatnot don’t tend to eat them.
Also, one other odd little thing is they have little tiny flowers and they’re wind-pollinated. So they have a connection to the air element, which is quite interesting. One other little piece that I wanted to bring in about the plant is that they are a butterfly habitat plant. And in my garden I’m growing an Artemisia, a Japanese species of Artemisia– no sorry, Chinese species of Artemisia. And this spring I was watching little birds taking the leaves, the soft leaves, and lining their nests with them.
Rochana Felde: [00:08:40] That’s going to be a really nice, fragrant-smelling nest. That’s pretty awesome to have seen that. And they are, the leaves are so soft and the smell is so strong. It’s an interesting juxtaposition there with these Artemisias. And I’m growing Artemisia Vulgaris, that’s the European Mugwort, and Artemisia Douglasiana, which is the California Mugwort, and also the California Sagebrush, which is Artemisia Californica. And another one which I’m not sure exactly what it is, but it’s an Asian Mugwort. And they all have the most fantastic smell. To really get Mugwort, I think you have to smell it somehow. And since it grows on every continent on the planet, I mean, it shouldn’t be that hard to find, and it’s very easy to grow.
So we do want to talk about the energetic uses and the flower essence uses. But I’m so excited to just talk about the plant and the scent it has. It really is unique and powerful, and it has this ability to bring on a slightly altered state, not like a hallucinogen, but it’s just that little, slightly altering of your consciousness where all of a sudden, things kind of seem a little bit different. You might see colors in a different way, and that sensory smell of it, it shifts something. And that’s the first way to really meet that plant, is to get that smell. And I just hope that everyone listening who hasn’t met Mugwort will go try to find some Mugwort and get an idea of that.
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:10:40] One of the interpretations of this state that you’re referring to is it’s like a dream state. It brings on this sort of softened consciousness that is more numinous and more dreamlike and somehow less linear than the solar world. We’re going into the lunar realm.
Rochana Felde: [00:11:03] Yeah. And that brings up a good point. Mugwort is known– if anyone’s heard of Mugwort, they’ve generally heard of it as an herb to bring dreams or to have a Mugwort herb pillow that you put under your pillow at night for dreams. But I do want to clarify that it’s not necessarily peaceful. It’s not necessarily this nice peaceful sleep. In fact, I’ve heard from more than a couple of people who can’t even have it in their bedroom because their dreams were too intense. So that goes to it’s use of prophecy and divination and having prophetic dreams. So that’s something to have fun experimenting with if it’s something that you want to see if Mugwort can help with that, but also know that if you need a good night’s sleep, maybe, it’s not the night to put Mugwort under your pillow.
Rochana Felde: [00:37:01] I think this brings it back around to our original concept for this episode, which was the myth and magic of the Mugworts and the Artemisias. And what is magic? It’s transformation. That’s exactly what it is. So we don’t tend to think of these hard transformations in our life as magic. But if we are working with them consciously, then that’s what they are. And that’s how we can bring magic into our life. We have to work on our own transformation in order to access that.
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:37:41] Yeah. And making your life a magic project. And part of that magic is to go with the flow that is life. It’s not all about trying to force it. And this is very much where you get into the lunar versus solar magic. We’re talking lunar magic, we’re talking working with the forces that are, working with the energies and the seasons and the timings, and with that sort of intuitive force of allowing and also directing, but a lot of allowing and that all of these Artemisias help to support that process of growth, transformation in this very organic fashion.
Rochana Felde: [00:38:27] Yeah, I think there’s a certain part of it that is a surrender, a surrendering, and the Artemisias help us do that. That letting go is a form of surrender, and that will help bring in the transformation and the magic.
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:38:45] So everyone, please take the opportunity to meet your local, friendly, neighborhood, Mugwort. Go for a hike or go out and see if you can find one growing and get to know it a little bit. And if it’s growing in your garden, maybe you can bring a little bit in and spend some time with it or spend time with it in situ. Or if that’s just not possible, you can always get some Mugwort essences and start to work with them and start to see how you can support your own transformational process and kind of working the magic of your life with Mugwort.
Rochana Felde: [00:39:27] And you can also get some Moxibustion from your local acupuncturist, which is a wonderful experience as well.
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:39:35] Wonderful.
Rochana Felde: [00:39:36] Well, this has been lovely and we will see you next time. Bye.
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Kathleen Aspenns: [00:41:03] This podcast is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. We are not physicians and do not diagnose, prescribe, or treat medical conditions. Please consult with your own physician or healthcare practitioner regarding the suggestions and recommendations made by the hosts and guests of The Flower Essence Podcast.