Dreaming With Mugwort
The pandemic has radically changed what safe living day to day looks like, and it’s hard not to miss seeing our friends and family face to face, giving hugs, traveling, and just getting to walk through the world with less fear.
In the last six months I’ve visited my family, hugged my niece and nephew, kissed my friends’ foreheads, eaten indoors at a restaurant, stayed in a hotel, been in jail, joined a cheerleading team, been on the run rollerblading through my hometown, and time traveling. Some of it was absurd, some impossible, but all of it is true, because I’ve been dreaming! My dreams have become a much appreciated source of freedom and play for me throughout the pandemic, and my teacher has been Mugwort.
Mugwort or Artemisia Vulgaris, originally found in Europe, spread to the northeastern United States along the Pacific coast from Washington to central California and southern Canada. It has dark green leaves that are smooth on top but silvery white on the bottom due to its wooly hairs. When the leaves are crushed it smells herbal, like sage, and can sprout small clusters of yellow to reddish-brown flowers. Before I share a bunch of cool and exciting stuff about Mugwort, a few warnings: If you’re not experienced with the plant, be careful trusting your own ability to identify Mugwort, it looks very similar to Ragweed and you don’t want to accidentally take the wrong plant home. Have a trusted herbalist, or anyone knowledgeable about plants confirm your finding. Be aware of where you’re harvesting your Mugwort from, you don’t want to forage from a spot where pesticides may have been sprayed or folks have walked their dogs. Lastly, when beginning to work with Mugwort be slow about your usage, and check out protocols for making sure you’re not allergic to the plant first. If you’re drinking Mugwort try not to overdo it, just a few times a week at most, and if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive, do not ingest it. There are plenty of methods that will allow you to connect with the Mugwort spirit without putting it on or in your body if you have any sensitivities.
A note about my use of gendered pronouns when referring to my Mugwort plant: I tend to view the world from an amimistic perspective, in that I view plant, crystal, and elemental allies as having their own individual energy, and personality. Using pronouns other than “it” when referring to plants or crystals helps me bypass the part of my brain that tends to reject the subtle information I receive about them. I’m also just in love with the painter Artemisia Gentileschi, and love that the two share a name. Ultimately it’s one of those random intuitive things that I naturally started doing the more I paid attention to plants’ spirits, so it just feels more authentic for me to write about it in this way. Your Mugwort plant may feel differently!
The Witch’s Wormwood
Mugwort is well known to witches for its ability to strengthen intuition, bring prophetic dreams, and aid in astral travel while providing lots of protection (sometimes called “wormwood” or “wyrmwood” in older texts). At the beginning of the pandemic I found myself more and more drawn to Mugwort. I spent a little of my stimulus check on a Mugwort essence and body oil, and mentioned wanting to find a Mugwort plant to my friend, amazing herbalist and healer Ryn (@laureltreehealingarts). The next day our favorite green witch (and caretaker of all of Hauswitch’s plants) Cheryl (@plantmagicshop) just happened to leave some at Ryn’s house that she’d cleared from her garden and I got to share some of the harvest! Magic is real, and the universe really wanted me to have that Mugwort.
The cutting was wilting and took a few weeks to nurse back to health, but in trying to save her I built a more powerful relationship with the plant that shocks me every time I notice it. First I started making tea with her leaves, which made my dreams much more vivid, and helped me recall them in the morning. I’ve also noticed that I’ve gradually felt more of a detached interest in my dreams while they’re happening. I still have my Covid stress dreams about being in a store without my mask, but Mugwort’s protection has made me feel much less anxious during my dreams, and honestly just more calmly interested in what my brain is brewing up.
A Very Potent Potion
While I am sensitive to energies, I’m not usually strongly affected by them, but Mugwort has definitely proved its ability to be present for me even when I’m not consuming it. On an extra windy day I brought some of my plants inside to keep them from getting blown off of my balcony, and I left them inside for a few days. I noticed that I started having really wild, vivid dreams, that honestly were a good time! I was going to bed looking forward to the next fun dream I’d have. I dreamed of the most beautiful piece of flower jasper that I’ve ever seen, which looked like a landscape of wildflowers. I hadn’t had any Mugwort tea, essences, or used any body oil, so I was wondering where all of this dreaming was coming from.
The answer about what was causing these lovely images of course came to me in a dream. I was sitting on a bus, going who knows where, and in my lap was my pot of mugwort. She was right there, reminding me that she was in my bedroom, and she was the one bringing me all of these dreams while she watched over me sleeping. When I finally put her back outside I was still having very vivid dreams, and even a lucid dream, only to realize that I still had a small box of dried mugwort in my bedroom. It’s just that powerful!
If you’re just dying to work with Mugwort now, please keep in mind all of the warnings I gave above, and do your own research to be sure that you’ve got what you meant to, and that you’re using it safely! There are many ways to work with Mugwort. You can find and pot your own mugwort plant, and place it in your bedroom when you want its support while you dream, or make a small pillow stuffed with mugwort. Dried mugwort can be made into a tea, burned like other cleansing herbs, or smoked. If you’d like to incorporate crystal allies for your dreaming, you could sleep with Amethyst or Blue Kyanite at your bedside. Amethyst is great for preventing nightmares and supporting your intuition, and Blue Kyanite stimulates one’s ability to lucid dream and receive downloads.
There’s lots more you can do to support and further your dream work!
-If you’re interested in lucid dreaming, get into the habit of practicing reality checks during your dreams. During a reality check you’re checking to make sure that you’re awake during the day. It helps to get your brain in the habit of confirming reality more often so you’re more likely to check while you’re dreaming. You can count your fingers, or read the same sentence twice, anything that makes you focus on basic parts of reality. There are some apps that allow you to set notifications to remind you to do your reality checks, both during the day and while you’re sleeping.
-You can listen to binaural beats, or any music made for inducing dreaming.
-Keeping a dream journal can help loads with your dream recall, get in the habit of reaching for it as soon as you wake up (even in the middle of the night!) to record anything you can think of before it slips away.
-Last tip is to choose a night that you’re extra tired but ready for some dream activity and lay flat on your back. Resist the impulse to turn to get comfortable as you start to fall asleep! See your astral self floating above you. This also helps to trigger lucid dreaming.
*It is important to note that some people can experience sleep paralysis in the beginning stages of lucid dreaming. I’ve found that being aware of this has helped me to not panic when I feel some level of sleep paralysis.
As far as dream interpretation goes, the desire to analyze your dreams, and read into every symbol can be strong. Personally, I try to remember that a lot of what makes up my dreams are normal day to day thoughts, feelings and events just mixed up in a kind of subconscious soup. The most useful information that I tend to find in my dreams are my emotions around the themes of the dream. You’re welcome to look to dream dictionaries to find meanings for symbols in your dreams, but the biggest authority on your subconscious is you!
I wanted to share my experiences with Mugwort because I really want to encourage other witches to start experimenting with whatever happens to inspire you right now. Living though a pandemic is draining and it’s easy to focus on all of the things we can’t do. Finding inspiration and adventure where we can is vital. It doesn’t have to be dreaming, maybe you want to experiment with astral travel, or energy work. It’s all a worthy investment into your wellbeing.
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