The wolf was one of the most potent symbols of the Norse world. It represented fearsome strength and doom – it is Fenrir wolf that will begin Ragnarok by swallowing the sun, that will slay and consume the most powerful of the gods as the world ends.
A pair of wolves are the sacred companions of the Allfather, and the symbol of royalty and power across the Nordic world. The Vikings called upon the power of the wolf in the names they gave their children.
Wolfsbane is sometimes associated with Mars because of the helmet-like shape of its flowers, although Cornelius Agrippa said that the Mars association came from the fact that it poisons by reason of too much heat. Wolfsbane apparently can be used to reverse shapeshifting spells and has a folk tradition of protecting homes against werewolves. There was also the belief that witches dipped flints in the juice of wolfsbane and then threw them at an enemy; such flints were called elf-bolts. One scratch was enough to kill, and that is not folklore.
One of the baneful herbs, wolfsbane grows naturally in damp woods in the Alps, where it is a threatened species, and produces sulfur-yellow flowers between June and August. The higher the elevation, the more flowers this plant will get and the longer they will last. It got the name “Wolfsbane” because ancient Germans used it to poison wolves. Bumblebees like this plant because the flower’s shape and color says “come on in!” to them. This aconite does not contain aconitine, like monkshood, but does have lycoctonine, which is just as poisonous. Do not get this plant on your skin; it can cause severe itching and dermatitis, and the sap can be absorbed in a cut. Always wear gloves when handling it. Ingesting even a tiny amount of this plant can be fatal, but it’s great for keeping werewolves out of your yard and is a classic of the witch’s garden.
Left side of torc: The binding of Fenrir
URUZ- the terrifying raw strength of Fenrir
ALGIZ (inverted)- binding
TIWAZ- Tyr’s rune- it was he who bound Fenrir
Right side of torc: Fenrir devours the Sun and Moon at Ragnarock
SOWILO- sun and daylight
KENAZ (reversed)- diminishing light from the torch
MANNAZ (inverted)- the fall of mankind
“Great power bound by Tyr. The light devoured, the fall of mankind.”
Artist: Maxine Miller