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Lay of the Nine Twigs of Woden

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Lay of the Nine Twigs of Woden

These nine go against nine poisons.
A worm came crawling, he wounded nothing.
Then Woden took nine glory-twigs (wuldor tanas)
smote then the adder that it flew apart into nine (parts).
There apple and poison brought it about
that she never would dwell in the house.

Chervil and Fennel, very mighty two,
these herbs he created, the wise Lord
holy in heaven when He hung;
He established and sent them into the seven worlds,
to the poor and the rich, for all a remedy.
She stands against pain, she assaults poison,
who has power against three and against thirty,
against enemy's hand and against great terror
against the bewitching of little/vile wights.
Now these nine herbs have power against nine evil spirits
(wuldorgeflogenum, "fugitives from glory"),
against nine poisons and against nine flying venoms:
Against the red poison, against the foul poison,
against the white poison, against the purple poison,
against the yellow poison, against the green poison,
against the dark poison, against the blue poison,
against the brown poison, against the crimson poison.

Against worm-blister, against water-blister,
against thorn-blister, against thistle-blister,
against ice-blister, against poison-blister.
If any poison flying from the east,
or any from the north . . . come
or any from the west over humanity.
Christ stood over the old ones, the malignant ones (?).
I alone know running streams
and the nine adders now they behold (?).
All weeds must now give way to herbs
the seas slip apart, all salt water,
when I this poison blow from you.

The Preparation

Mugwort, waybroad open from the east, lamb's cress, attorlathe, maythe, nettle, crab-apple, chervil and fennel, old soap; work the herbs into dust, mix them with the soap and the apple juice. Work then a paste of water and of ashes; take fennel, boil it in the paste and beat with the (herbal) mixture when he applies the salve both before and after.

Sing the charm (galdor) on each of the herbs three times before he prepares them, and on the apple likewise. And let someone sing into the mouth of the man and into both his ears, and on the wound, that same charm (gealdor) before he applies the salve.


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