Flora and Fauna

Flora & Fauna

Flora & Fauna of the North


  • Alf-wort – An herb said to be efficacious in undoing evil done by Alfar and Svartalfar . . . and to gain their favor. It is said that to undo the magic of one of the Alfar, one need only stab the root with an iron blade. To gain the favor of the Alfar, one should leave an offering for them by the roots of a wild patch of the herbs.
  • Alruna – “Mandrake” is thought to be one of the most powerful herbs. It is highly poisonous, yet it is said to have great powers. It is said to be useful for those transferring their family’s power, or “root,” to another member of the family (often father to son or brother to brother). It is associated with the rune Eihwaz.
  • Agrimony – Associated with the rune Isa; this is traditionally placed under the head to cause a deep, deathlike sleep that lasts until it is removed.
  • Apple – Associated with the rune Jera, and the goddess Idhunna.
  • Askur – “Ash” – A sacred tree in the North, associated with the great world-ash-tree Yggdrasill. Associated with the runes Ansuz and Hagalaz. Wands and holy objects are often made of ashwood.
  • Baldrsbrar – “Baldur’s Brow” – A white-petaled flower, a kind of white daisy, so shining white that it is held to be as bright and shining as the brow of the god Baldur the Beautiful. It grows abundantly throughout the North and is sacred to that god. Some forms of chamomile are called by this name, used to make a calming tea brew. Associated with the rune Wunjo.
  • Beech – The Beech tree is closely associated with the casting of lots, divination, and writing. It is also associated with the rune Perthro.
  • Bistort – Also known as Twice-Writhen, Adder-Wort, Snakeweed, and Dragon-Wort. It is notable for its twice-turned shape, writhing back upon itself. It is also associated with the rune Nauthiz.
  • Blackberry – A plant used for turning back runes of woe, associated with the rune Kenaz.
  • Cowslip – also known as “Key Flower” – in legend, this plant opens the door into Freyja’s hall or mound. Closely tied to the rune Kenaz.
  • Elder – The elder tree is especially sacred to the Vanir, and its wood is not normally used for fire. In fact, it is traditional to ask permission from “Lady Elder” (an aspect of Freyja) before cutting elder wood. There is a dark legend that if a cradle is crafted from elder wood, the Svartalfar or the goddess Hel will come in the night and strangle the child. Many believe that the wood has the power to ward off evil as long as permission is sought to cut it, and if one fails to do so, it does the reverse and invites evil upon the one who cuts it. It is also believed to be useful in detecting witchcraft. It is said that standing under an elder tree on Midsummer’s Eve allows one to see “the King of Fairyland” (i.e. Freyur) and his host of followers riding by. It is associated with the runes Fehu and Berkano.
  • Freyjuhar – “Freyja’s Hair” – Yarrow, supercilium Veneris, a golden flower. Sacred to the goddess Freyja. Associated with the rune Fehu.
  • Garlic – The name means “spear-leek,” also called the “king of grasses.” It is said to bring great strength and magical might. It is associated with the runes Laukaz and Tiwaz.
  • Hazel – A useful wood, used for hedging in courts of law, to make “wishing rods,” and making a “nidhing pole” (a totem of insult). Traditionally, oak and hazel are never planted or used together. It is associated with the rune Thurisaz.
  • Houseleek – Also called “”/wikis/thorr" class=“wiki-page-link”>Thorr’s Beard" – according to folklore, it should be planted on the roofs of houses to ward off lightning, fire, sorcery, or other threats against the home. It is associated with the rune Thurisaz.
  • Leek – Very similar to garlic, associated with the rune Laukaz.
  • Loki’s Oats – Common haircap moss, golden moss, polytrichium commune. Possibly sacred to the god Loki.
  • Loki’s Purse – The yellow flower that grows among the tall grass, “yellow rattle,” rhinanthus minor. Believed sacred to the god Loki.
  • Loosestrife – Useful to quiet savage beasts, to soothe struggling and restless animals, at least, according to folklore. It is associated with Ehwaz.
  • Mistilteinn – “Mistletoe” – A powerful plant, used to make the weapon that slew the god Baldur. It is thought to retain its power only if it does not touch the ground.
  • Mugwort – Said to be a very powerful plant in magic. It is said to be useful for inducing dreams and visions when stuffed in a pillow, help those wishing to fare forth to other worlds, protect against poison, serpents, and evil witchcraft. It is associated with the rune Raidho.
  • Nettle – A plant said to be useful in undoing curses and baleful magic. Associated with the rune Nauthiz.
  • Njardharvottur – “Njordhur’s Glove” – A type of sea-sponge found in the North. Sacred to the god Njordhur.
  • Oak – One of the holiest of trees, associated with both Thorr and Tyr. The hlaut-teinn (twigs used to sprinkle the blood from a sacrifice) are usually made of oak twigs, the pillars of temples, and often representations of the Irminsul are oak. The most powerful mistletoe (q.v.) grows on oak. The oak is said to ward against all sources of evil, increase physical strength and male fertility, and stand for masculine power. It is associated with Thurisaz,Jera, Tiwaz, and Othala.
  • Pennyroyal – Also called “Dvergur’s Pestle,” this herb is thought to cleanse and purify water and blood of corruption. Associated with the rune Uruz.
  • Periwinkle – Also called “Sorcerer’s Violet,” used in love potions, making garlands, and believed to be associated with the secret of immortality. Associated with the rune Gebo.
  • Raun – “Rowan Tree” – The mountain ash, rowan, or quickbeam tree, thought to have mighty powers against sorcery, fire, lightning, and storms. Associated with the god Thorr and the rune Thurisaz.
  • Royal Fern – An herb associated with the god Odhinn and with the rune Ansuz.
  • Rue – A traditional herb of warding and cleansing, sometimes said to grant second sight. Associated with the rune Elhaz.
  • Sowthistle – Also called “Boar’s Throat,” said to be useful to steal the life force from another for oneself. There is a tradition that if this herb is tied to one half of a married couple without being noticed, the other partner will waste away and die. Associated with the rune Ingwaz.
  • Sunnaswort – Best picked at Midsummer, this plant is used in the holy fires at midsummer and hung over doors and windows to ward off evil. Associated with the rune Sowilo.
  • Tansy – New leaves of tansy are mixed into cakes to be eaten at Ostara. Associated with the rune Dagaz.
  • Thorshjalmur – “Thorr’s Helm” – The common Northern name for aconite/monkshood/wolfsbane, a plant sacred to the god Thorr. Also called Thorshat or Thorshottur (“Thorr’s Hat”) and, in some places, Tyshjalmur (Tyr’s Helm) – possibly due to Tyr’s association with the great wolf, Fenrir, and so sometimes sacred to Tyr. This plant is extremely poisonous and ought not to be touched with the bare hand. It is associated with the rune Tiwaz.
  • Tysfiola – “Tyr’s Viola” – a violet flower, viola Martis. Sacred to Tyr.
  • Tysvidur – “Tyr’s Wood” – the shrub spurge-laurel, daphne mezereon. Sacred to Tyr.
  • Valkyrja’s Herb – A traditional herb used for warding and cleansing, and guarding against illness. It is associated with the rune Elhaz.
  • Volundsurt – “Volundur’s Wort” – Valerian, associated with the god Volundur. Associated with the rune Kenaz.
  • Willow – A tree of water and life, also associated with funeral rites. Associated with the rune Laguz.
  • Yew – The sacred tree of the god Ullur, associated with the runes Hagalaz, Eihaz, and Elhaz. It is very poisonous and must be used with care.


  • Bear – Called the greatest of the beasts of the North, the totem of the bear-shirt berserker barbarians.
  • Boar – The greatest of the beasts associated with the Vanir, the totem of the boar-warrior barbarians.
  • Cat – Associated with the goddess Freyja and with magicians of all kinds (a common familiar form).
  • Cattle – Associated with (and sacrificed to) Freyur, Thorr, the Alfar and the Disir. Also associated with the rune Uruz.
  • Deer – Holy to the god Freyur (particularly the Stag). A powerful form for the fylgja of a summoner.
  • Eagle – The greatest of birds, associated with the rune Jera. A bird of Odhinn.
  • Horse – Associated with both the Vanir (e.g. Freyur) and the Aesir (e.g. Odhinn). In some of the holiest rites, a horse is sacrificed and eaten. The head or skull of a horse can be used in warding, but also in the nidhing-pole. Associated with the rune Ehwaz.
  • Odhinn’s Swallow – the black heron.
  • Raven – The bird of Odhinn, the bearers of his mind and will.
  • Wolf – Sometimes the fylgja or familiar of a particularly vicious person, and embodiment of fury and chaos. Associated with Odhinn but also with the Jotnar (especially Fenrir).

Flora and Fauna

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