Parts Used: leaves, bark, berries. Caution: Some types of Ivy are poisonous.
Herbal usage: The leaves of Ivy can be used to make a douche for treating female infections. Ivy leaves can also be used externally for poultices to heal nerves, sinews, ulcers and infections. Tender ivy twigs can be simmered in salves to heal sunburn.
Magical History & Associations: Ivy is the symbol of resurrection. Ivy is an herb of Jupiter and the sun, and is associated with positive ego strength. The bird associated with this month is the mute swan, the color is blue, and the gemstone is yellow serpentine. Ivy is sacred to Osiris and Saturn. It is also connected with the god Dionysus. When Zeus’s wife Hera, discovered that Zeus had bedded Semele, the daughter of Cadmus, King of Thebes, Hera suggested to Semele that she should ask Zeus to unveil himself to her. When he did so, his divine flames consumed her and almost killed her unborn child, Dionysus, but for a sudden growth of ivy. In still another story of the deities, Kissos is the name given to a nymph who dances so furiously at a Dionysian feast that she collapses and dies of exhaustion. Dionysus, grieving her untimely death, changes her into ivy. Most Ivies have five-pointed leaves which are sacred to the Goddess.
Magickal usage: The month of Ivy is a good time to do magick for rebirth and tenaciousness. Ivy has attributes of restraint of fear and dealing with Emotions. Ivy grows in a sacred spiral, which symbolizes reincarnation, from lifetime to lifetime, and from minute to minute, day to day. Ivy travels everywhere – it spreads happily and thrives in many places where no other greenery could survive – its determination to reach through obstacles toward light and food is well known, and therefore Ivy symbolizes strength. Ivy has many uses in Magick done for healing, protection, cooperation, and exorcism, and is very useful in fertility magick. Ivy is also equated with fidelity and can be used in charms to bind love, luck and fidelity to a person. A talisman made of Ivy would be good to give a friend since it will help ensure eternal friendship. Ivy provides protection against evil when growing on or near a house but should it fall off and die, misfortune was said to be on the way. Ivy was sometimes used in divination: an ivy leaf placed in water on New Year’ s Eve that was still be fresh on Twelfth Night foretold that the year ahead would be favorable. Should ivy not grow upon a grave, the soul of the person buried there is said to be restless – and should it grown abundantly on the grave of a young woman, then this meant that she died of a broken heart. Ivy is also connected with the Winter Solstice and is often used for decorating at Yule-tide. Ivy, intertwined with Holly, is traditionally made into crowns for the bride and groom at weddings/handfastings. Ivy was also used in ancient times for poet’s crowns, since Ivy was believed to be a source of divine inspiration. Ivy was also used by the Greeks to make victory crowns for conquering heroes in the games held at Corinth. Holly and Ivy make excellent decorations for altars. An early church council even attempted to ban the use of Ivy in church decorations because of its Pagan associations.