Moss & the Wilder Wibe

Moss is a wonderfully feminine herbaceous plant associated with the planet Saturn. In magic, moss can be used in spells, sachets, and enchantments for love, luck, and poppet magic. Because it is associated with Saturn, it is also associated with Capricorn, so in spells the use of this herb by or for Capricorns will give it extra potency.

The folk lore associated with moss is actually rather extensive. Some of it focuses on a particular kind of moss called, Spanish Moss. The lore is generally of a romantic nature, and almost always dealing in fortunes. The following is a poem was found on a site called http://www.spanishmoss.com, should you feel inclined to seek out more detailed information.

“There’s an old, old legend, that’s whispered by Southern folks,
About the lacy Spanish moss that garlands the great oaks–
A lovely princess and her love, upon their wedding day,
Were struck down by a savage foe amidst a bitter fray;
United in death they were buried, so the legends go–
‘Neath an oak’s strong, friendly arms, protected from their foe;
There, as was the custom, they cut the bride’s long hair with love,
And hung its shining blackness on the spreading oak above;
Untouched, undisturbed, it hung there, for all the world to see
And with the years the locks turned grey, and spread from tree to tree.”

Truly a heart-story, and a great piece of native american lore. European lore is somewhat different. There are stories told in Germany about the, “moosleute,” or Moss-people. They are sometimes described as similar to the dwarven folk, being the same size as children, “grey and old-looking, hairy, and clad in moss.” While in others say they are beautiful young maidens with hair down to their toes, and that they have butterfly wings. According to legend, these fairies would occasionally borrow items from people but would always compensate the owners generously with fruits, flowers, gold, shining stones, or even sometimes infants. In various myths, the moss folk would ask humans for breast milk to feed their young as well, so that they could travel more easily between realms. They were often but not always the object of the Wild Hunt. According to folklore, in order to escape the hunt they enter the trees that woodsmen have marked with a cross that will be chopped down. The moss people are “attached to the trees; if any one causes by friction the inner bark to loosen a Wood-woman dies.”

J. Grimm believed that the gothic, skōhsl, used to translate greek daimonion, or demon,  in the bible, was related to Old Norse, skōgr, and old English, sceaga, both meaning “forest”, and therefore represented a cognate of the moss people in Gothic folklore. Subsequent authors, however, have related skōhsl with English, shuk, (from Old English scucca, “evil spirit”) and Germanic Scheusal, meaning monster. 

Parallels have been drawn between the moss people and woodwoses. Early descriptions of Germanic beliefs include descriptions of “wood people” by the 6th century Roman historian Jordanes and “woodland women” by the 11th-century  bishop Burchard of Worms. Furthermore, Grimm recorded the terms wildiu wīp, wildero wībo, wilder wībe, wilden wībe, wildaz wīp (all meaning “wild wife”) and wilde fröuwelīn (“wild maiden”) from various texts.

According to Grimm:

Between Leidecken and Dauernheim in the Wetterau stands the, “high mountain,” and on it a stone, der welle fra gestoil (the wild woman’s chairs); there is an impression on the rock, as of the limbs of human sitters. The people say the wild folk lived there ‘wei di schtan noch mell warn,’ while the stones were still soft; afterwards, being persecuted, the man ran away, the wife and child remained in custody at Dauernheim until they died.

Des Knaben Wunderhorn records “folk-songs that make the huntsman in the wood start a dark-brown maid, and hail her: ‘whither away, wild beast?’, but his mother did not take to the bride.”

Patricia Telesco, an ordained minister of the Universal life church and Divinist, one should, ” use dried moss and appropriate herbs to stuff poppets, especially those created for fire festivals.”
During the Victorian era one should bind a bit of moss to a picture frame  containing pressed flowers, so as to maximize the natural element being made present. 
Also during this era, when one would build a wreath it would be set to with straw and fine wire and moss would be layered on and into this base part of the wreath. 
Another interesting source for information of garden moss and its application, I found here on WordPress. 
Here is the site:
I found the images and information here to be very interesting, and I hope you do as well.

One thought on “Moss & the Wilder Wibe

  1. Kerry says:

    Merry Meet Lady! Really interesting stuff! I never thought I could know so much about moss, and I will definitely use this in my ritual practice!

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