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Foraging: Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle

Approx. Reading time: About 12 Minutes

Stinging Nettle


A Comprehensive Guide to Foraging and Utilizing Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle, with its prickly reputation and myriad of practical applications, is a remarkable wild plant that has captivated foragers, herbalists, and nature enthusiasts for centuries. This comprehensive article serves as a thorough exploration of stinging nettle, covering its variants, appearance, foraging locations, culinary and medicinal uses, magical properties, and important safety considerations.

Embracing the Nettle

What is Stinging Nettle and Its Variants

Stinging nettle, scientifically referred to as Urtica dioica, is a perennial herbaceous plant renowned for its stinging hairs and numerous practical applications. It belongs to the Urticaceae family and encompasses various variants, including the common stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and the dwarf nettle (Urtica urens). Although the common stinging nettle is the most frequently encountered species, all variants share similar characteristics that define the nettle family.

Common Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) The common stinging nettle is a widely recognized species within the nettle family. It features toothed, heart-shaped leaves that grow in opposite pairs along its upright stems. The leaves are covered with stinging hairs or trichomes, which deliver a mild sting when touched. Common stinging nettle produces small, inconspicuous greenish flowers arranged in clusters. It typically reaches heights of 2 to 7 feet (0.6 to 2 meters) and forms dense stands or patches in suitable habitats.

Dwarf Nettle (Urtica urens) The dwarf nettle, also known as small nettle or burning nettle, is another variant of stinging nettle. It shares similarities with the common stinging nettle but tends to have smaller leaves and a more compact growth habit. The stinging hairs on the leaves of dwarf nettle can deliver a more intense sting compared to its common counterpart.

While these variants exist, it is important to note that all stinging nettle species, including the common stinging nettle and the dwarf nettle, share comparable characteristics. These encompass the characteristic toothed, heart-shaped leaves growing in opposite pairs, the presence of stinging hairs, and the greenish flowers arranged in clusters. Familiarizing oneself with these defining features aids in accurate identification during foraging expeditions, ensuring the safe and confident harvest of stinging nettle.

Identifying Stinging Nettle

Identifying stinging nettles during foraging excursions is crucial to distinguish it from other plants and ensure a safe harvesting experience. Here are key characteristics to help you confidently identify both the common stinging nettle and the dwarf nettle:

Common Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

  • Toothed, Heart-Shaped Leaves: Common stinging nettle features toothed, heart-shaped leaves that grow in opposite pairs along the stems. The leaves have a pointed tip and a slightly serrated or toothed edge. They are typically 2 to 6 inches (5 to 15 cm) long but can grow larger under optimal conditions.
  • Stinging Hairs (Trichomes): One of the most distinctive features of stinging nettle is the presence of tiny stinging hairs, or trichomes, on its leaves and stems. These stinging hairs contain irritants that can cause a mild stinging sensation and skin irritation upon contact.
  • Inconspicuous Greenish Flowers: Stinging nettle produces small, inconspicuous greenish flowers that are arranged in clusters called inflorescences. The flowers lack showy petals but are surrounded by leaf-like structures called bracts.
  • Height and Growth Habit: Common stinging nettle can reach heights of 2 to 7 feet (0.6 to 2 meters). It tends to form dense stands or patches in suitable habitats, often spreading through rhizomes (underground stems) to form extensive colonies.

Dwarf Nettle (Urtica urens)

  • Similar Leaf Characteristics: The dwarf nettle shares many leaf characteristics with the common stinging nettle. It has toothed, heart-shaped leaves that grow in opposite pairs along the stems. The leaves of dwarf nettle are typically smaller than those of the common species.
  • Intense Stinging Hairs: The stinging hairs on the leaves and stems of dwarf nettle can deliver a more intense sting compared to common stinging nettle, making it important to exercise caution when handling this variant.
  • Inconspicuous Greenish Flowers: Like the common stinging nettle, the dwarf nettle produces small, greenish flowers arranged in clusters.

By paying close attention to these identifying features, such as the toothed, heart-shaped leaves growing in opposite pairs, the presence of stinging hairs, the inconspicuous greenish flowers, and the height and growth habit of stinging nettle, you can confidently recognize and differentiate both the common stinging nettle and the dwarf nettle during your foraging endeavors.

Habitat and Foraging Locations

Stinging nettle exhibits a versatile nature when it comes to its habitat preferences, allowing it to thrive in various environments. Understanding where to find and forage stinging nettle is essential for successful and safe harvesting. Here are insights into the habitat and foraging locations of stinging nettle:

Rich, Moist Soils: Stinging nettle thrives in soils that are rich in organic matter and moisture. It prefers well-drained, fertile soils that provide the necessary nutrients for robust growth. Areas with loamy or clay soil often support healthy populations of stinging nettle.

Partially Shaded Areas: Stinging nettle is commonly found in locations that offer partial shade, such as woodlands, forest edges, and areas with tall vegetation. It can tolerate varying levels of sunlight but generally prefers partially shaded environments. Look for stinging nettle growing alongside paths, stream banks, or in clearings within wooded areas.

Disturbed Sites and Meadows: Stinging nettle has an adaptability that allows it to thrive in disturbed sites. You can often find it in areas that have experienced human activity or disruptions, such as abandoned fields, cleared land, or along road edges. Additionally, meadows and grasslands provide favorable habitats for stinging nettle, where it can form dense stands or patches.

Global Distribution: Stinging nettle is a widespread plant that can be found in numerous regions worldwide. Its adaptability to different climates and habitats has contributed to its ubiquity. From North America and Europe to Asia and beyond, stinging nettle is a common sight in various countries and continents.

When foraging for stinging nettles, keep in mind the importance of sustainable harvesting practices. Only gather what you need and be mindful of the plant’s role in the ecosystem. Additionally, ensure that you have proper permission to forage on private or protected lands.

Be cautious when navigating stinging nettle patches, as the plant’s stinging hairs can cause skin irritation. Wearing gloves, long sleeves, and pants can help protect you from accidental contact. Always practice responsible foraging and respect the natural habitats where stinging nettle grows.

By exploring the preferred habitats and foraging locations of stinging nettle, you can increase your chances of encountering this versatile plant. However, remember to prioritize safety, ethical foraging practices, and respect for the environment while embarking on your stinging nettle foraging journey.

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Mabon and the Quest for Unity

Mabon Lore

Approx. Reading time: About 3 Minutes

Mabon Lore


Exploring the Myth of Culhwch and Mabon ap Modron in Celtic Tradition

In the mystical tapestry of Celtic mythology, the age-old tale of Culhwch and his quest to rescue Mabon ap Modron stands as a captivating narrative that weaves together the threads of transition, unity, and the ever-turning wheel of the seasons. As we journey through this myth, we find ourselves mirroring the shifting dynamics of nature itself. Through the lens of Culhwch and Mabon ap Modron’s story, we gain profound insights into the intricate connections between mythology, nature, and the human experience.

Culhwch – A Hero’s Journey

Culhwch, a prominent figure in Welsh mythology, emerges as a hero of extraordinary courage and unwavering determination. His lineage, marked by tragedy and mysticism, sets the stage for a destiny entwined with the enigmatic Mabon ap Modron. Culhwch’s first challenge materializes when he resists his stepmother’s attempt to arrange his marriage to her daughter. This rebellion results in a curse that foretells his destiny: he can only marry Olwen, the daughter of a formidable giant.

Culhwch’s odyssey unfurls with the task of seeking the aid of his cousin, Arthur, who graciously agrees to assist him in his quest for Olwen. However, the real test comes in the form of a list of seemingly insurmountable tasks set by Olwen’s father. These challenges include hunting a monstrous boar, retrieving a mystical cauldron, and, most significantly, freeing Mabon ap Modron from his age-old prison.

Mabon ap Modron – A Divine Captive

Mabon ap Modron occupies a unique place in Celtic mythology as the offspring of the goddess Modron, a lineage emphasized by his name, which translates to “Mabon, Son of Modron.” The myth of Mabon’s captivity encapsulates a central theme: the transition from the zenith of summer’s bounty to the gradual fading of autumn’s light. Mabon’s early capture mirrors the dwindling sunlight and vitality that herald the approaching autumn season. Scholar Miranda Green insightfully notes that Mabon’s imprisonment symbolizes an “annual withdrawal into darkness,” paralleling the “loss of fertility in nature.” His eventual liberation, therefore, signifies the return of light and life after a period of darkness and death.

The Quest for Unity and Cooperation

At the heart of the Culhwch and Mabon ap Modron myth lies the heroic quest undertaken by Culhwch to free Mabon from his enduring captivity. This quest serves as a potent metaphor for the ever-shifting dynamics of the seasons, underscoring the profound interconnectedness of life’s cyclical patterns. As Culhwch assembles a diverse team of heroes, each possessing unique skills, the myth reinforces the timeless importance of unity and cooperation in surmounting life’s challenges—a theme that harmonizes with the natural world’s seamless transition from one season to the next.

Transition and Symbolism

Mabon’s captivity holds more than just a tale of rescue; it symbolizes the poignant transition from the zenith of summer’s prosperity to the gradual decline of autumn. The fading light and waning warmth poignantly reflect the challenges accompanying seasonal change. Culhwch’s unyielding determination to liberate Mabon emerges as a beacon of hope, mirroring humanity’s resilience in the face of inevitable change.

The Myth’s Relevance Today

For practitioners of witchcraft and seekers of the occult, the story of Culhwch and Mabon ap Modron reverberates with profound relevance. It serves as a timeless reminder of life’s cyclical nature, encouraging introspection and adaptability as the seasons unfold. The myth’s resonant themes of unity, cooperation, and unwavering determination find application in one’s personal journey as a witch, fostering a deeper connection with both nature and the divine.

By emulating Culhwch’s unwavering resolve, we can surmount our own obstacles and challenges with courage and perseverance. By learning from Mabon’s experience, we can gracefully embrace our own potential and transformation. By honoring the balance between light and dark, life and death, we can align ourselves with the natural rhythms of the Earth and the cosmos. The story of Culhwch and Mabon ap Modron serves not only as a wellspring of inspiration and wisdom but also as a potent tool for personal growth and empowerment.


In the captivating narrative of Culhwch and Mabon ap Modron, we unearth a myth that transcends time and culture, offering profound insights into the interconnectedness of mythology, nature, and the human experience. As you embark on your journey through the realms of Wiccan, Pagan, and witchcraft practices, carry with you the enduring lessons nestled within this ancient tale—the significance of unity, the inevitability of transition, and the potent force of cooperation in the face of change. Just as Culhwch embarked on a quest to free Mabon, embrace your own journey of growth and transformation, finding wisdom and inspiration in the ancient myths that continue to weave their magic through our lives.

If you would like to read the tale yourself head over HERE.

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Freyr: The Fertility God of Lammas

Freyr Lammas

Approx. Reading time: About 12 Minutes

Freyr Lammas


Freyr: The Fertility God of Lammas

Lammas is a significant festival celebrated in many cultures around the world. It marks the beginning of the harvest season, a time when the fields are ripe with golden grains and the fruits of the earth are ready for gathering. Among the deities associated with Lammas, one stands out as a symbol of fertility, abundance, and prosperity: Freyr, the Norse god of agriculture and harvest

Freyr: The Norse God of Fertility and Prosperity

Freyr, the Norse god of fertility and prosperity, holds a significant place in the realm of Norse mythology. Born as the son of the sea god Njord and the giantess Skadi, Freyr assumes a central role in overseeing the abundant aspects of nature, ensuring the flourishing growth of crops, the fertility of livestock, and the overall prosperity of the land. His divine presence radiates warmth and abundance, casting a benevolent light upon the realms he governs.

Radiant Beauty and Sacrifice

Freyr’s Divine Presence

Depicted as a handsome and radiant figure, Freyr captivates with his divine beauty and charm. His radiant aura symbolizes the vitality and vibrancy that accompany fertility and prosperity. With his magical sword in hand, which he acquired through a selfless sacrifice of one of his own teeth, Freyr exemplifies the willingness to give up something precious for the sake of the harvest. This act serves as a testament to his dedication and commitment to ensuring the well-being and abundance of the earth.

Overseeing Prosperity

Freyr, the God of Fertility

As the god of fertility, Freyr’s responsibilities encompass a wide range of bountiful aspects of nature. From the growth of crops to the fertility of livestock, Freyr oversees the cycles of life that sustain communities and foster prosperity. Farmers and cultivators turn to Freyr, invoking his blessings to ensure favorable weather, fruitful harvests, and the health and well-being of their livestock. His presence during the agricultural seasons brings reassurance and hope, as his divine influence brings forth abundance and prosperity to those who honor him.

Embodying Abundance

Freyr’s Influence in All Aspects of Life

Freyr’s role as the deity of fertility goes beyond the physical realm of crops and livestock. He embodies the concept of prosperity in its entirety, extending his blessings to all aspects of life. The essence of Freyr’s divine energy resonates with individuals seeking abundance and prosperity in their personal and professional endeavors. Whether one seeks success in agriculture, business ventures, or personal growth, Freyr’s influence serves as an inspiration to embrace the qualities of fertility, prosperity, and abundance.

In Norse mythology, Freyr holds a revered place as the bringer of fertility and prosperity. His radiance and generosity bring forth the bountiful blessings of the land, ensuring the well-being and sustenance of communities. Through his presence, he imparts the significance of nurturing and sustaining the earth, cherishing the cycles of life, and embracing the abundance that surrounds us. Freyr’s legacy as the god of fertility and prosperity endures, reminding us of the interconnectedness between humans and the natural world and the importance of honoring and celebrating the blessings bestowed upon us.

Freyr’s Influence at Lammas

Blessing the Harvest

Freyr’s influence reaches its peak during the celebration of Lammas, a festival of great significance in Norse tradition. Lammas, observed on August 1st, marks the moment when the first grains are ready to be harvested, signaling the beginning of the fruitful season. As the god of fertility and prosperity, Freyr’s presence during this festival is especially pronounced, as he is invoked to bless the crops and ensure a successful harvest.

Expressing Gratitude and Seeking Favor

The Significance of Offerings at Lammas

Lammas serves as a time of gratitude and celebration, where communities gather to express their appreciation for the abundance of the land. In honor of Freyr, prayers and offerings are presented, seeking his favor and protection for the agricultural endeavors that sustain their livelihoods. These offerings may include freshly harvested grains, fruits, and flowers, symbolizing the fruits of their labor and the interconnectedness between humans and the natural world.

Unity and Reverence

Rituals and Customs to Invoke Freyr’s Blessings

The rituals and customs observed during Lammas are intended to invoke Freyr’s blessings and ensure a prosperous harvest. Communities come together in joyful unity, sharing feasts, songs, and dances as they express their reverence for the bountiful gifts of the earth. Through these rituals, the people recognize the vital role that Freyr plays in their agricultural pursuits and acknowledge the importance of maintaining a harmonious relationship with the land.

Seeking Guidance and Protection

Prayers for a Prosperous Harvest

During Lammas, individuals and communities also seek Freyr’s guidance and protection for the challenges that lie ahead. They offer heartfelt prayers, expressing their hopes for favorable weather conditions, fertile soil, and a bountiful yield. Through these acts of devotion, they demonstrate their trust in Freyr’s benevolence and his ability to nurture the land and ensure its continued fertility.

Infusing Lammas with Anticipation and Gratitude

Freyr’s Influence and the Cycles of Life

As the festival of Lammas unfolds, the presence of Freyr infuses the atmosphere with a sense of anticipation and gratitude. His influence during this time serves as a reminder of the cyclical nature of life, where the harvest represents not only the tangible fruits of the earth but also the abundant blessings that sustain and nurture the community. Through the invocation of Freyr’s blessings, the people express their commitment to the cycles of nature and their deep connection to the land that provides for their well-being.

Lammas stands as a testament to the enduring reverence for Freyr and the importance of honoring the divine forces that govern the fertility of the earth. It serves as a reminder of the interdependence between humans and the natural world, inspiring individuals to cherish and protect the precious resources that support their existence.