Red Poppy in Magic and Healing

Papaver rhoeas

Planetary ruler: Moon

Element: water

Associated deities: Agni,Aphrodite,Artemis,Ceres, Cybele, Demeter, Diana, Great Goddess, Hades, Harvest, Hera, Hermes, Hypnos, Jupiter, Harvest Goddesses, Mercury, Morpheus, Mother Goddesses, Persephone, Pluto, Proserpine, Somnus, Venus, Vulcan, Yama, Thanatos, Nyx

Magical virtues: fertility, death, mourning, dreamwork, meditation


Poppies almost always accompany grain crops (or at least they did until the widespread use of herbicides) and a cornfield without poppies was unthinkable for the ancients.   The Greeks called it ‘the companion of the corn’, its presence deemed vital for the health of the crop, the lifeblood of the harvest goddess Demeter which nourished the fields.  They were offered, with some symbolic corn, to the goddess. 


Decorate the harvest loaf with poppy seeds. As flowers of death, mourning and rebirth, use poppies in funeral and memorial rituals. For spells and rituals of fertility,  carry poppy seeds in a sachet, use them in incense, charm bags, amulets and talismans, as well as adding them to food.  The seed and flowers are added to love spells and rituals, incense, oils, talismans and charms, the handfasting and incense.  The seeds and dried petals can be added to divination incense and potions. 


Poppy seeds can be scattered on bread, cakes, buns and rolls. The red flowers will add a red colour to syrups and beverages. Poppy petal syrup can be used in desserts, soups and stews.    Add the petals to summer salads. The new leaves can be eaten raw or cooked but are best picked before the plant flowers.  


Poppy seed oil boosts collagen production, relaxes wrinkles and helps prevent their formation.  The petals can be used in homemade skincare products.


The leaves can be warmed and used as a poultice for neuralgia. A tea, glycerite or syrup made from red poppy petals may be used for coughs and catarrh, to remove excess mucus and soothe sore throat. The flower tea is mildly sedative and soothing.  Poppy flower or poppy seed tea, glycerite or syrup may also be used as a sedative in cases of insomnia and as a mild painkiller.  The seeds can be ground and made into a paste with a little water to apply in a poultice to swollen and painful joints.


Red poppy flowers are mildly sedative, so exercise caution and do not drive or operate machinery after taking.   Do not use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or taking other sedatives.  


Author: annafranklinblog

Anna Franklin is the High Priestess of the Hearth of Arianrhod, which runs teaching circles, a working coven, and the annual Mercian Gathering, a Pagan camp which raises money for charity. She regularly speaks at conferences, moots and workshops around the country. She is the author of many books on witchcraft and Paganism, including the popular Pagan Ways Tarot, Sacred Circle Tarot, The Fairy Ring, Herb Craft, Magical Incenses and Oils, Personal Power, A Romantic Guide to Handfasting, Familiars, The Oracle of the Goddess, Hearth Witch, The Path of the Shaman and The Hearth Witch’s Compendium. Anna’s books have been translated into nine languages.

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