It is another lovely autumn day. So nice that Graham and I have been sitting outside our front door in the warm sunlight, and while we were there I suddenly noticed that the Honesty was ready for cutting.
Honesty is a plant which seeds itself all over the garden, and although it has pretty pink flowers in the spring, it is mainly grown for its magical papery silver seed cases, which gave the plant its country names of Moonwort (because they look like the silvery full moon), Fairy Silver and Prick-Song Wort.
The seed cases were said to be used by the Fairy folk as
currency, or as a deception, depending on your point of view. It was said that often musicians were asked to play for the fairies, and would be paid with pouches of fairy silver, a dream-like currency which vanished with the sunrise, and all the musician would be left with is a handful of Honesty seed cases.
Prick-Song Wort is another musical name for the seedcases because they resemble the notes in a musical manuscript. In the Middles Ages musical notation was a little different to now, and music was copied by pricking each note with a pin through several sheets of parchment at the same time, the pin pricks then being encircled, and very much resembling the Honesty seed cases. So the music was called Prick-Song, and the Honesty was therefore Prick-Song Wort.
Honesty is usually used as an addition to dried flower arrangements, simply because it looks so pretty. I remember when I was a very little girl helping prepare Honesty with Aunty Laura in Withern in Lincolnshire. We would carefully peel off the dried, brown outer cases from each side to reveal the satiny, silver inner leaf, and Aunty Laura would insist on us collecting all of the flat brown seeds, so that she could scatter some in her garden and give others away.
The Honesty in our garden come from our friend Gran Walker from Alford in Lincolnshire. Many years ago now, she gave us some plants from her garden, she was another Witch and lover of herbs. We still have other plants she gave us including Tree Mallows and Lincolnshire Spinach, also known as Good King Henry. The Honesty seeds she gave us have scattered plants all around the garden and seem to particularly like growing in at least partial shade.
Magically Honesty can be used in spells to gain money, increase cash flow and give you some spare cash in your pockets. It can also be used in dreaming spells, to banish nightmares and bring sweet dreams. It is, of course, a very special plant to the Fairy people, so it can be used to help communication with nature spirits, and to transport you in your sleep to the realm of Fairyland.