Rue is a hearty perennial and powerful herb with an interesting history. WRue is a hearty perennial and powerful herb with an interesting history. I grow one plant in my garden and, trust me, it’s more than enough so don’t plant a bunch of it! Wiccans use it for protection, cleansing and especially prosperity. Rue candles are often used in rituals to ask for financial or other assistance. One of my mentors, Byron Ballard, calls it “rocket fuel” and uses it to add zest to any kind of spell or energy work. One of the traditional prayers used in connection with this candle is quite beautiful:
My work is hard, but I’m strong and I do not complain
My rewards are few, but I treasure what I have
My needs are great, but my petitions are small
Asking only for what is just, I wait with quiet patience
Receiving in humble gratitude.
After this prayer is said, the petitioner states their specific need and then the candle is lit.
But Rue has other religious connections as well. It is also called “herb of grace,” or herbygrass and was But Rue has other religious connections as well. It is also called “herb of grace,” or “herbygrass” and was used in the early Roman Catholic Church to sprinkle holy water on the people during worship. In the Middle East Hyssop is traditionally used instead of Rue, but some believe Rue was used in Europe because it had antiseptic properties. This Roman Catholic custom may have been adapted from an ancient Roman ceremony where weapons, flags and the like were purified by waving a laurel branch over them.
The scientific name of this ancient herb is Ruta Graveolens. Ruta was the Latin name of the herb when the Romans introduced it to the English. It was eventually Anglicized to Rue. Graveolens is Latin for “a strong or offensive smell.” Personally, I think it smells just fine! I also like the flowers it produces which are small and delicate.
The way I make Rue Oil is very traditional. I pack a Mason jar full of sprigs and cover it with olive oil, making sure that no part of the plant is exposed to air. I then let it infuse for a moon cycle away from sunlight, strain, and use the oil for the rest of the year. I anoint most of my candles with it.
As a word of caution, Rue can be a dermatological irritant so it’s best to handle the plant with gloves on. I have never had an adverse reaction to Rue Oil but if you’re a person who is highly allergic you may want to avoid getting in on your fingers or try a small test patch on your arm and see what happens!!!
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