Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Working with Alrauns

Images shaped from the roots of mandrake (see Mandragoras) or from ash or briony. The term was popular in Germany, where it was also used to indicate a witch or a magician. An alraun had to be treated with great care because of its magical properties. It was wrapped or dressed in a white robe with a golden girdle, bathed every Friday, and kept in a box, otherwise it was believed to shriek for attention. Alrauns were used in magic rituals and were also believed to bring good luck. But possession of them carried the risk of witchcraft prosecution, and in 1630 three women were executed in Hamburg on this charge.
The alraun was difficult to get rid of because there was a superstition that it could only be sold at a higher price than bought, and there are legends that owners who tried to throw an alraun away found it returned to their room.
According to German folklore, an alraun assisted easy childbirth, and water in which it had been infused prevented swellings in animals. Because of the large demand for alrauns, they were often carved from the roots of briony when genuine mandrakes were difficult to find. They were exported from Germany to various countries and sold in England during the reign of Henry VIII.
Thompson, C. J. S. The Mystic Mandrake. London: Rider, 1934.

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/alraun#ixzz1JKS6y1n9

This posting was brought about for two reasons. One: there has been discussion about Alrauns and their making. Second a word to the wise about making/hosting them. ( I say hosting because I don't think anyone really owns them. . . they're sort of like cats that way.)

Years ago while I was still in training and meeting and greeting my guides while working in my earth segment, I met the spirit of whom is to now inhabit my alraun. I have been working with him and getting to know and trust him for about three years now. He has a very specific image when he shows up and over the years I have created a great working relationship with this spirit.

I first met him on a trance journey to meet my earth guide. I saw him as a man in a pot, later it came to my understanding that he was a root! I was being asked to make an alraun of him and at first my answer to him was: wait. . . and for good reason. You want to make sure that you and the spirit that you are working with are compatible before you bring it in as a manifest, sentient magical being in your life. Waiting was the only thing that made sense to me as we got to know each other. While waiting I did as much homework as possible on how to work with them, how to create one, what it should be created out of and what other odd phenomenon I can expect to occur in my already strange life as a result of this magic.

I am just now, over three years later, getting around to making a host root for the spirit I know. I have thought about traditional mandrake, I have thought about using pomegranate, I even thought about violets. In the end I chose dandelion. I love the resilient spirit of that weed! You can spray it, cut it, stomp it and sometimes even try to pull it up from its roots. . . but it you don't get them all it grows back. I liked the idea that we witches are sort of like that weed. The craft has survived much maligning and abuse. . . even a few attempts at extermination, yet here we are! The other reason I chose dandelion is because of it healing properties. It is one of those unwanted weeds that is considered a pest by most. . . until you really take a look at what it is and what it does.


Taraxacum officinale
Other Names
Common Dandelion, Lion's Tooth, Priest's Crown, Pu Gong Ying, Swine's Snout, Dent de Lion
Herb Pictures by Karen Bergeron Copyright 2001 - 2009. Permission required to use any herb pictures from this site.

Dandelion Herbal use and Medicinal Properties

The whole plant is used as a medicinal herb internally and externally.

External Uses
The fresh juice of Dandelion is applied externally to fight bacteria and help heal wounds. The plant has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Staphococcus aureus, pneumococci, meningococci, Bacillus dysenteriae, B. typhi, C. diphtheriae, proteus. The latex contained in the plant sap can be used to remove corns and warts.
Internal Uses
Dandelion is also used for the treatment of the gall bladder, kidney and urinary disorders, gallstones, jaundice, cirrhosis, hypoglycemia, dyspepsia with constipation, edema associated with high blood pressure and heart weakness, chronic joint and skin complaints, gout, eczema and acne. As a tonic, Dandelion strengthens the kidneys. An infusion of the root encourages the steady elimination of toxins from the body. Dandelion is a powerful diuretic but does not deplete the body of potassium.
Research is revealing that the many constituents of Dandelion including Taraxacin, Taraxacoside, Inulin, Phenolic acids, Sesquiterpene lactones, Triterpenes, Coumarins, Catortenoids and Minerals, mainly Potassium and calcium, are very valuable in curing a number of disorders and illnesses. Dandelion is traditionally used as a tonic and blood purifier, for constipation, inflammatory skin conditions, joint pain, eczema and liver dysfunction, including liver conditions such as hepatitis and jaundice.
Other Uses
When placed in a paper bag with unripe fruit, the flowers and leaves of Dandelion release ethylene gas ripening the fruit quickly. A liquid plant food is made from the root and leaves. A dark red dye is obtained from Dandelion root. A cosmetic skin lotion made from the appendages at the base of the leaf blades distilled in water, is used to clear the skin and is effective in fading freckles.


Darned cool!

When harvesting your root you should always listen very closely. In my case, I went to the park and you have to be very discriminating because ALL of those dandelions are sick of being mowed over! ( I live in the city, therefore I feel, my alraun should also so be of the city) Here is where I get to the warning. I hardly ever give out warnings, so listen  close.

During the harvesting of the first dandelion I chose, I accidentally broke the feet off the root in the digging process. Not wanting to waste it, I brought it home too. The second root I brought up was perfect in all ways. . . no breaking, the shape was there etc. . . I figured I would let my spirit guide choose which one he wanted to inhabit. Choices are nice. I planted them in a nice little pot on my patio, fed and watered them and spoke his name.

In my dreams last night, I dreamed that there was another spirit that wanted to take claim of one of the dandelions. He basically hijacked me and held me hostage in my dreams. I required the aid of my guide and got it. At one point in time, I saw a similar shape within this spirit that had hijacked me as the dandelion root whose feet I had accidentally broken off. Needless to say, that dandelion root will not be made into an alraun! I went out this morning and pulled it up and tossed it out. I will not be working with any spirit that attempts to hold power over me! I won't even be using it as an herb! The other dandelion however, is flowering prettily and my guide has begun to seat himself there. I have placed blue marbles in the pot with him as a ward from any other spirits that may feel the need to interject themselves.

My feelings on this other spirit, are not that he was being mean or malicious. I think he was desperate to get out of the grass. I think that one more mowing was just not something he wanted to endure and when he saw me come around with my witchy stick and sigil powder he get over zealous. Fortunately for me, I already had a spirit guide whom I was working with on this project for years to help me out with this process. The fae sort of have this code of conduct that is not like ours. They don't think like us and there for things that we find unreasonable are a mystery to them and vice versa. This is why it is important to have formed a good, solid relationship with the spirit before you make an alraun. You have to have an understanding of each other. . . ground rules if you will.

When working in this realm, even the most experienced of us run into glitches and unexpected issues. Making and working with alrauns is not something for the beginner and inexperience practitioner. Please do your homework and build up your strength before even trying. Most importantly, know and work with the spirit who intends to become one for a good long time. Create a good and caring working relationship with them before hand. Alrauns require special attention and care. If you do not have the time or patience to take care of them, then don't even start the process.

Nobody said the craft was safe and if they did. . . they are big fat liars!


  1. A very interesting post! I've personally not worked with alrauns at this point, though I find them deeply fascinating. Did you get an impression that the plant had to "accept" your spirit before becoming an alraun? Did you keep some of the dirt from its growth site to mix with the soil in its new home? Was there any astronomical/astrological significance to the timing of your collection? (sorry, lots of questions, I know!)

    Also, you've probably seen this already, but Sarah over at Forest Grove has a good post on alrauns, too: http://witchofforestgrove.com/2010/08/05/alraun-crafting/. If you've not looked at it yet, I definitely recommend it!

    Thanks for the post, and best wishes!

  2. Yes I saw her post. It is indeed a very good one! I did indeed keep some of the soil from where I got it. I decided to start the process now so that the final blessings would be made around Beltane. It felt appropriate considering the relationship that my spirit and I have. Yes the spirit of the dandelions I chose did speak out for claiming. I also decided that I needed to protect the other plant after the incident I had and took appropriate measures.

    Thank you Cory!

  3. This is really interesting. I've never worked with alrauns but now you have my curiousity peaked. I'm going to do some research tomorrow because it actually sounds a little scary if something doesn't go right.

  4. Interesting! I hadn't heard of an alraun before but it sounds like a good little piece of magick. Excellent advice on relationships with spirits.