Mysterious: DATURA

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A friend saved seeds . I’d walked outside her home a couple years back and smelled the MOST amazing smell…and then spied the MOST beautiful flower. She told me of DATURA. Since then, I’ve read of it in “Clan of the Cave Bear” and been educated a bit by my herbalist friend Carmen. Here is some info for you! And by the way, I have three plants if your curious to sit in their presence.

(This below is adapted from a blog post at www.patheos.com.)

“Dark Fairy Herb of the Nocturnal Witch’s Garden

Datura is one of the sisters of the Nightshade family; the Solanaceae. She has been used by European witches, native shaman of both North and South America, and is a popular plant of modern witches and sorcerers on the Poison Path. According to Scott Cunningham, Datura is used for hex breaking, sleep and protection—but that barely scratches the surface of this witch’s herb. 

This group of plants has many names: Jimsonweed, Thorn Apple, Devil’s Weed, Devil’s Trumpet and Witch’s Thimble.  It is a dangerously poisonous plant. Although its powerful chemical constituents have been utilized medicinally, like the other baneful herbs; there is a fine line between panaceae and poison.

Seductive Visionary Herb of Shamanic Journeying

Datura is Belladonna’s seductive sister whose sweet-smelling and delicate flowers hypnotize and seduce those who are pulled close by her beauty. A closer look reveals her thorn-covered fruit hidden beneath dark green leaves and gossamer blooms. Once pulled in by her seductive wiles it is often too late, and her claws have dug deep into the unassuming psyche. Lulling her victims into a state of complacency whilst their sense of reality unravels around them, all the while wiping away any memory of her having been there in the first place. She whisks mortals off to the Otherworld, showing them both wonder and horror, returning them (hopefully) dazed and confused.  She is not always so kind, and like the other tropane containing plants of the Nightshade family, which act on the delicate tissues of the heart she can easily kill and cause madness.

As a shamanistic tool, Datura has been used by many cultures to aid in divination and spirit flight, opening the gates to the Upper and Lower worlds.  Other visionary plants allow us to peer through these gates, while remaining anchored to the physical plane, Datura grants freedom from those shackles sending the spirit on journeys both above and below.

Shamanic Uses:

This plant has been used by shaman and medicine men for thousands of years from one end of the world to the other.  As an entheogen, a plant that allows one to connect to the divine, all parts of the plant have been utilized either topically in oils and ointments, smoking the seeds and leaves, or brewing them in visionary teas. When used recreationally without sacred ceremony and knowledge of how to approach and appease the plant spirit; it causes nightmares, invites unpleasant spirits and leads to death through cardiac arrest.  It has been known to cause insanity and induce a catatonic state when used by the ignorant user seeking a high. 

Angel’s Trumpet is the Brugmansia variety, which has downward pointing flowers as if they were being played from the Heavens, while Devil’s Trumpet points up from below, playing her nefarious siren song to those with the ears to hear.

Witchcraft, Magic and Potion Making

The plants that have earned a place in the Witch’s Garden, the eternal Garden of Hecate, have done so due to their effective uses in sorcery.  They are the witches and magicians of the plant world, and have proven their usefulness to those who walk the Crooked Way of magical herbalism. They are able to heal and harm, to give power and to take it away, and have willingly placed themselves in the path of the cunning one’s to act as guides. This plant, like her sisters, is intimately associated with magic and witchcraft, and the dark goddesses who were the first to journey to the depths of the Earth and return with arcane knowledge; or those who chose to stay making the Underworld their kingdoms.

Other resources and references:

Castaneda, Carlos. The Teachings of Don Juan

Grimassi, Raven. Grimoire of the Thorn-blooded Witch.

Penczak, Christopher. The Plant Spirit Familiar.

Pendell, Dale. Pharmako Gnosis: Plant Teachers and the Poison Path.

Ratsch, Christian and Claudia Muller-Ebeling. Witchcraft Medicine. 

Ratsch, Christian. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants.

Roth, Harold. Datura stramonium, Alchemy Works.

Ward, Coby Michael. Devil’s Breath: A Trick of the Nightshades

Ward, Coby Michael. The Poisoner’s Pocket Guide.

Ward, Coby Michael. Poisoner’s Apothecary on Tumblr