Growing in dry grassy places, Vervain is an upright, erect, plant with pretty, pale, violet coloured flowers. Its flowers are in bloom from June to October. These delicate flowers are held by hardy stems, and its physical characteristics, which are both strong and gentle, correspond to its spiritual and medicinal qualities. It is traditionally associated with the element of water and is considered a female plant, associated with many deities from different traditions. These include Aphrodite, Galahad, Isis, Jupiter, Mars, Thor and Venus.
Vervain is a magical and sacred plant that needs to be honoured and respected. It has long been considered one of the most sacred and healing herbs. To the Druids it was one of the four most sacred herbs. The Druids used it to cleanse their altars, sweep sacred space, and as a charm against bad luck and curses. Vervain also has a very dreamy quality to it, and can aid with dreaming. In some traditions, it was hung above the bed to prevent nightmares, and drinking Vervain tea before bed can aid with dreaming.
Vervain is strongly associated with protection, cleansing and dreaming, but also with divination, clairvoyance and magical inspiration.
All of these qualities make Vervain an ideal plant for the Way of the Wise Healer apprenticeship at Derrynagittah. The Vervain Gateway is the second gateway that apprentices must pass through on this path. The Vervain gateway is associated with the Magician archetype and is all about manifesting ones intentions and working with the elements.
Apprentices connect with Vervain on a deep level to step through this gateway. Vervain has a gentle and protective element to it, both spiritually and medicinally and as such is often used in herbal medicine to soothe the nervous system. However Vervain is also a rigorous plant that helps with magical inspiration and therefore helps cut through illusion and stay in alignment. Staying in alignment is essential when walking the path of the Wise Healer, and Vervain is a gentle yet strong plant ally who helps with this. This is reflected in the Vervain essence:
“Relaxation and loving acceptance of self. Feelings of pressure fall away. Vervain helps break through illusions so we can relax and let go, remembering that we are love and love is all there is. Joy follows as a natural aspect of love.”