Wild Lettuce Binding

I had a dream this week about wild lettuce. I do not normally dream about plants. In fact, I rarely do. Even when I have had visions about plant spirits (as opposed to the individual plants themselves), it has been when I napped, a time that I am apparently especially open to spirit contact, and the plant spirit is not identical to the plant form. This was just plain sleeping, and I saw the rosette of wild lettuce repeatedly, as if I were in my own garden looking at the material plant.

But there were other aspects of this dream that were unusual. For one, it was a series of dreams. I’d dream about wild lettuce, I’d wake up, and then I would fall back to sleep to have another dream about wild lettuce. This happened about five times, so I knew it must be important. All the dreams had the same message–that wild lettuce in the rosette stage was stupefying. All I can say is I’m glad I’m a witch, because otherwise, I might be deemed nutz. :)

wild lettuce stampede 2013Wild lettuce is a biennial (takes two years to come to fruition–to produce seeds). In the first year of its growth, it forms a rosette, as it is called. This means that the leaves grow out from a central crown and do not form a stalk or flowers (see photo of wild lettuce rosettes in my garden a couple years ago). Other plants form rosettes too. Some people, like the anthroposophists, have said that the rosette form of plants has a Sun aspect to it on account of the shape. Makes sense to me. I think of the rosette as a period in which the plant forms a sort of solar collector that will funnel energy down into the roots so that the plant has enough oomph to make it through the winter.

Some plant information on medicinal herbs is refined enough to note the differences in the power of alkaloids between first-year and second-year growth, like with belladonna. But not so with this plant.

In the past, wild lettuce was in the British Formulary and was a part of American botanical medicine before the domination of chemical medicine in the 1930s. In the old days, the stems of wild lettuce plants that were in the flowering stage (second-year plants) were slit and the milky juice, bitter with alkaloids, was gathered and turned into lactucarium, a sort of poor-man’s opium. The highest alkaloids were gathered right as the plant was first blooming in the second year. The alkaloid in question is hyoscyamine, which linguistically inclined folk might recognize as being an alkaloid present in henbane (Hyoscyamus species). Kind of interesting connections between wild lettuce and henbane, the quintessential witching plant (IMO).

But there is no mention of gathering the sap in the previous, first year of growth. However, from what I know about plants’ use of alkaloids, they specifically concentrate alkaloids in parts of the plant that are most precious to the plant’s survival at any point in time. So for instance in the fall, there will be a high concentration of alkaloids in roots in order that the plant be protected from predation (because bitter = yucky to most animals, including most bugs) just prior to it falling under the spell of winter. Likewise, in the spring, when the plant is putting on new growth, the highest alkaloids will be found in the new leaves, and in the seed-forming stage, in the unripe seeds. So the rosette stage of wild lettuce should not have especially large amounts of alkaloids in it, certainly not enough to stupefy anyone. For that matter, we can hardly use “stupefaction” and “wild lettuce” in the same sentence. This is a mildly sedating herb, even when gathered at the most appropriate time (of highest alkaloid content). In fact, some sources question whether there is any¬†alkaloid in the dried sap harvested from flowering stalks. This might be evidence of simply adulterated product, however.

I think these dreams are in fact a message from the spirit of the plant of wild lettuce, a plant that I have grown in the past in order to gather seeds, as they are quite expensive in commerce and because the plant produces jillions of seeds. They are a PIA to gether on account of the sticky sap, but their numbers and expense makes it wortwhile. In fact, I still have wild lettuce “volunteers,” as they are called, appearing in my garden from plants I grew a couple years ago. The seeds have parachutes and so go everywhere; once you grow this plant from seed, you will never have to plant it again. Right now I have several rosettes of wild lettuce in its first year in my garden, and this is after I religiously weeded them out in spring in order to prepare the ground for planting foxglove, clary sage, wild daisy, and hollyhock.

As I got this message–repeatedly–about wild lettuce being useful for stupefaction, I also got the image of a Haitian sort of zombification: that is, not the perhaps entertaining movie-type zombie that is the result of some creepy virus and that is actually dead, but the Haitian Ton Ton Macoute¬†version of the individual drugged and made into a spiritless slave who will do the bidding of its master. Talk about a metaphor for a subdued populace, eh? So wild lettuce is calling out to be used to shut people up, to make them pliable, malleable. But only in its rosette stage. It was very specific about that. You can bet that I am going to be harvesting some–about half–of the leaves of the wild lettuce plants in my garden this fall. Because you never know when you might need to stupefy someone. :)

However, I also saw an image together with this information from the dream. It showed people walking along a midnight dirt road outside a town. The head of each individual–and they had lost much of their distinction as individuals–was swaddled in bandages represnting the stupefaction of wild lettuce in the rosette stage. They were zombies of the old school–biddable slaves, stupid and not on the level of “dumb” animals.

Anyway, a word to the wise. If you have need of such a powerful type of binding, grow some wild lettuce and harvest the leaves in the first year. Dry them carefully and save them for the day when they are needed.

Because of this dream, I’ve decided to swap out wild tobacco for wild lettuce in my book, which I hope and pray will be done by the end of October, with the help of the gods.

I forgot to say–wild lettuce is a Saturnian herb, and if Saturnian herbs are not good for binding, I do not know what is.

Stuff of a Saturnian Nature: Rant Ahead

A bit ago I began a project to put a fence up on the east side of my back yard because my neighbor’s dog(s) kept getting out and smashing my plants. That side of my yard has a lot of old, dead lilacs that come out like rotten teeth, with a bit of wrenching, leaving a satisfying hole. But the rotten lilacs have been further kicked to the curb by Norway maple saplings. I don’t know if you have Norway maples where you are, but here they are basically the plant world’s version of young punks with their underpants hanging out listening to obnoxious music real loud (and what music is NOT obnoxious if it is loud enough?). One of these trees is trying to remove the power line from my house, for instance. I enjoy lopping them. But they are not the issue. The issue is that Saturnian place–the border–and Saturnian values like definitions and limits.

Bones of the Dead

Bones of the Dead

Lately, I’ve been feeling like my borders with some of the rest of occulture are getting schmutzed up with the grime of Drama Poisoning. I’m talking about out-of-control wackos putting death curses on some twerp for stealing their content, loons attacking the death curse person and seeing conspiracies everywhere, buffoons who set fire to chickens on one side, just plain lying, cheating frauds on the other, and this latest where some eyeliner-wearing jackanapes told someone she should get raped and call his name in the process. Feh.

There will always be nasty, self-dramatizing jackasses, or so I have been telling myself, but lately I have felt very much like I do not want to participate in the world of occulture on account of them. It feels like a pool of piss posing as a bowl of chicken soup. These people have their shops, their lessons, their schools, their titles like Doctor Bullshit Bone or Mambo Insert-Bogus-Name-Here or Whorelock Darker-Than-Thou or the High Grand Mage of Malarkey and Spin. I am starting to feel like I am seeing occulture from the perspective of the Bunko Squad, ya know? These are not honest people. They are, at best, loons, at worst, lying cheats and bullies.

Every single log had someone's name on it

Every single log had someone’s name on it

So what to do? Today I got out in the garden and ripped out dead lilacs. It helped. I try to ignore these people, but sometimes I am pulled in by my own anger at what they do and sometimes they drag me into their stupid, overheated world. It’s just getting tiresome. Real tiresome.

So you say, well, go live in a Kaczynski cabin off the grid and have done with it. But I enjoy the internet. Without it, my life would be diminished. I’ve met interesting people here for the past 20 years, had a couple of very enjoyable businesses, learned about all kinds of things, laughed a lot at the innocent antics of humans and, of course, cats. But it also is an opportunity for bullies and frauds to ply their trade, and the occult world is no exception. Maybe it’s just the times. I had to quit reading a large gardening forum a few years ago because every single thread would be hijacked by some cranky teabagger with a gun. The last straw was when we were talking happily about compost and some loose cannon started yapping about how he was going to shoot the census taker if s/he dared to come onto his property. I had been a subscriber to that forum for 11 years and spent plenty of ad money on it, but that was it for me. No more. Life is too short to be rolled around in someone else’s murderous dogshit. CONSTANTLY.

saturnian stuff loppage

Loppage

I’m starting to feel the same way about occulture. I made the decision a while ago not to participate in any occult forums or lists because there were just too many ignorant donkeys out there. You know: the Kabbalah was invented in Atlantis, Elijah saw a flying saucer, you can change lead into gold in a pipe bomb, “now that I’m an Ipssissimus, I am looking for new challenges,” “my family trad goes back to the Druids” and other such halfwitlessness. It was a good choice for me. I did not feel so much disdain for my fellow occultist because I was not exposed to so much stupidity. But it seems to be almost inescapable now. And the stupidity is more like the rabid teabagger shit from the gardening forum than the stupid plainly uninformed boasts–death curses for trivial offenses, telling someone to their internet face they should be raped, and so forth. Oh, and the ever popular Jewish reptilian meme.

I don’t know what to do about it. So I’ve been wrenching out rotted logs and lopping Norway maple limbs to redefine and re-emphasize my borders, my beyond which no one has my permission to go. That’s in my yard. On the internet, I have been trying something new for me–what I call Happy Posts. These are things about my garden, cooking, my experiences in magic, just stuff that I hope show another aspect of life, a non-grimey, non-skeevy, non-fraudulent side–a real side of a real person, not someone who is wearing eye makeup or putting death curses on twerps or giving myself a bogus title. Just stuff: the innocent antics of a fellow human. I will try my best to stick to that, although I do slip and say mean and nasty things sometimes. Yep. I sure do. I’m no saint. Not spiritually elevated in any way. Not a mage or a high priest or a grand sorcerer or anything. Just a person and a plain witch doing the best I can, but someone who has limits and who is taking the time now to redefine those limits, to redelineate my borders.

Because I really am a Saturn kind of guy.