Mugwort - Artemisia Vulgaris. I love the smell of it and how it takes over large patches of wild areas around town. The plants in the East look a bit different from those in the West - when I first saw Mugwort out here, I wasn't sure if I was identifying the plant correctly, but the fragrance is very much the same. The Mugwort that grows in the West is the variety douglasiana.
Mugwort is associated with Witches, lucid dreaming, moxabustion and brewing ale, to name a few. Nancy Klehm has a nice article online here. A short excerpt from it:
I want to introduce you to mugwort—Ms. Artemesia vulgaris. She is widespread in the United States. Mugwort pops up in both our urban and rural settings. She is downright plentiful and ready for you to use. (Note: if pregnant, please do not use this herb. Read more about it first.)
Artemis, the Queen of the Beasts, was a wild one. She was an extreme hunter and friend of forest beasts. Artemis found mugwort and delivered it to the centaur. Forever after, it has carried her name.
I recommend you look for Artemesia vulgaris. And when you find her, gently trim a piece and dry it, then simply burn it in a saucer and inhale the smoke. This plant is a protector from evil as well as an aide to communication with the plant world.
Native Americans, Asians, and Europeans have used this plant medicinally and as a healthful culinary herb for hundreds of years. In Europe it was used as the main bittering flavor for ales until cultivated hops took over. My friend, Tree, just shared some of his herby mugwort ale with me while we munched on some homemade cheese. Sweet. Mugwort is used in moxibustion. In acupuncture, this is the smoking punk they hover over your acupuncture points. It draws blood to the skin’s surface and unblocks your body’s meridian points of stuck energies.
Fresh or dried mugwort also repels insects, cleanses your blood of toxins, promotes sweating, and reduces tension. Lastly, you should know it has some of the same properties of its mysterious cousin of a different species (any guesses?).
Mugwort is also used for lucid dreaming. Cut a spring and put it under your pillow or tuck a sprig into your pocket for protection. Burn some before you settle into an evening outside. Smoke some before you go foraging or before you lie down in a meadow for a nap.
It seems that Artemis herself speaks to the dreaming human in a variety of ways!