Foxglove, Foxglove,What do you see?
The cool green woodland, the fat velvet bee;
Hey, Mr Bumble,
I’ve honey here for thee!
Foxglove, Foxglove,What see you now?”
The soft summer moonlight
On bracken, grass, and bough;
And all the fairies dancing
As only they know how.
~ The Song of the Foxglove Fairy, by Cecily M. Barker
From Beltane to Midsummer, the Faery Kingdom celebrates the intense, growing delight of Spring. With the blessings and protection of Thalia, we will examine some of the traditional relationships between the Faery realms and flowers.
One of most widely known flowers to be associated with the Fae is the foxglove, now blooming profusely here in the woods and gardens of North Carolina. The name “foxglove” actually has little to do with foxes, with one exception that I’ll share tomorrow. Instead, it is generally acknowledged to be a contraction of the words “folks’ gloves.” By “folks,” of course, we mean the Good Folk.
Magically associated with Venus and water, foxglove is used extensively in faery magic,and for the welcoming of elves and earth elementals. Planting foxglove is a powerful invitation for the Fae to take up residence in your garden and this makes it an excellent all-purpose protection for your home and land (as long as you remain on good terms with them).
Wearing foxglove will attract Faery energy. To surround yourself in Faery light, wear a dried sprig of foxglove in a charm. Its juice is said to be effective in breaking fairy enchantments, but handle with extreme caution.
That’s because it is quite poisonous. Its Latin name, Digitalis purpurea, reveals it is the source of the cardiac stimulant medicine, Digitalis, which forces the heart to contract. Ingestion can be easily fatal, which is why one of its popular names is Dead Men’s Bells. It can also be a skin irritant, and has been known to cause rashes, headaches and nausea, so please do take precautions. Of course, this makes it an ideal plant to grow in areas where overpopulation of deer is a problem for gardening, as they will leave it alone.
Because it could be lethal, only the Wise Women and Men could administer it. The Gaelic Irish called it ‘Lus Mór’, which means Great Herb, because of its powerful magical properties, summed up in the saying, “’It can raise the dead but it can kill the living.”
Tomorrow, I’ll share some more lore and spells associated with foxglove.