Wormwood has been used for healing and in magical spells for centuries. Earliest references to it are in ancient Egyptian medical tracts that explain how to use an infusion of wormwood to expel bodily worms!
Wormwood is most famously known as the bitter herb used to flavor the now banned liqueur absinthe (the favorite of Vincent Van Goth). It’s still used to flavor several other liqueurs such as bitters and vermouth.
In ancient and medieval times Wormwood was used for digestive and nervous disorders, as a treatment for insect stings and snakebites, and scattered among floor rushes to deter insects.
More interestingly for us … wormwood has long been associated with magical spells, in particular spells to induce visions, for astral projection, divination, and for both calling and banishing spirits.
In Truth Unveiled, after much internal debating, Meagan uses powdered wormwood to call upon a spirit to help her.
Straightening my spine, I dropped a pinch of the powdered wormwood onto a hot coal. A pungent, earthy taste hit the back of my throat. Smoke drifted to the ceiling, swirling in slow eddies as if caught in a gentle breeze. My tongue curled around the words I wanted to say. This needed clear and specific mental and verbal commands.
“Spirit friends, please appear before me.” My skin prickled in the cold air. I wiped my nose on my sleeve. “I have a job someone may be interested in.”
Spirits jostled at the periphery of my mind: a woman in military uniform, a man in a black suit. Another woman, much older, in a long skirt and shawl; she could have lived at any time in the last two hundred years. They floated around my consciousness like dandelion cotton balls on a sunny autumn day.
I visualized Sister Beatrice and the hearse plodding along to Saint Stephen’s, saw Rose lying in her casket. “I want Rose brought back to me. Sister Beatrice must change her mind about taking her to Saint Stephen’s.”
A deep breath filled my lungs. That was clear and specific, and I’d kept my voice firm throughout the sentence. More spirits passed around the edge of my circle. The weight of the dead settled around my shoulders.
Willing myself to be patient, I dropped another pinch of wormwood powder onto the coal. I visualized Sister Beatrice again, her face like a wrinkled potato, her long hair scraped into a bun at the nape of her neck, her mouth pressed in the thin line I was so used to seeing.
“Bring Rose back to me. Sister Beatrice must change her mind about taking her to Saint Stephen’s.”
“I heard you the first time.” The clipped accent held a note of humor.
My skin tingled as if an electric current passed over me. I jolted upright. “Show yourself.”
“What are you offering?”
Beads of sweat tickled the back of my neck. Quintus hadn’t explained this part — what I needed to offer them, why a spirit would work for me and how I would pay them. There was only one way to find out. “A reward if the task is done today.”