Materia Venefica: Hyssop, Spirit of Protective Majesty

img_8475Hyssop (Hyssopusofficinalis) is the first plant spirit we’ll be investigating in the Materia Venefica, a series of articles regarding our experiences with endemic Pyrenean plant spirit covering all its essence and magical applications. In Materia Venefica you will not find medicinal approaches to plant usage, but folk beliefs, literary references, and, above all, our personal experience.

Hyssop has been regarded as an important plant since ancient times. Its name, in Hebrew, is azob, which literally means “a holy herb”. In the Pyrenees, it was used as an aspergillum, a tool used to sprinkle holy water onto people before entering to church, as a way to cleanse them and prevent the spread of diseases, as well as to cleanse houses to avoid the presence of demons, strigae or evil spirits. The Catalan saying goes:

Hisop, hisop que el Dimoni no em toc, ni de lluny ni de prop…

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