Dew, the mysterious morning water that has to power to soak boots and nourish the land. It may be an overlooked type of water, but it has a long history of being used in Folk healing, Magic, and Witchcraft. The dew drops that hang like little diamonds on the spider’s web were thought to be placed there by magic. In Greek mythology it was believed to belong to Ersa, the daughter of Selene and Zeus. It has also been referred to as the “breath of god.”
Dew collected before dawn from a Hawthorn or Oak tree on Beltane morning is considered to be auspicious and have extra strong magical properties. Dew collected from Hawthorn is used in beauty rituals by bathing the face in this dew on May 1st. It is also is associated with healing. The summer solstice was another auspicious day to collect dew. Here it is linked with solar energy and is believed to be enhanced with the strength of the sun at its peak. Dew collected from a graveyard was believed to have curative properties. Dew collected from ancient stones containing cup marks (small indents) was especially prized. Collecting dew on April 23 (Saint George’s Day) can protect one from the evil eye.
An Old Folk Rhyme
The Maiden fair, who on the first day of May
Ventures to the field at the break of day,
There she washes her face in dew from the faery hawthorn tree,
Will forever after extremely beautiful be.
Dew soaked grass was also important and was used in folk charms to heal children. One such example is to pass a child through dew-soaked grass, on 3 consecutive days starting on May 1st. Sickly children were bathed in dew to increase their strength. Dew was considered to have cleansing properties, one folk belief was that particularly lazy and dirty children (and sometimes women) were taken away from the village, cleansed in dew, and then returned. Dew has an association with eyesight as well. Dew collected from fennel was rubbed on the eyes to strengthen sight, it is also associated with healing eye pain. Bathing in dew was also said to protect one from witches’ enchantments for a whole year.
Here are a few other ideas on how to use Dew in your modern magic practice. Rather than washing your face with the dew, why not anoint a candle for a beauty spell? Or if you wish to use its healing properties in a distance spell try anointing a taglock or a candle that has their picture taped to it. It can also be used to anoint poppets, knots in knot magic, and magical bundles. If you collect enough of it, it can be used to asperge/sain your home or magical space with an herbal bundle.
How to collect dew
The day before you decide to collect dew, pack a basket with a bowl to collect the dew and thin rags or handkerchiefs. White is the preferred color and thought to be of good fortune when collecting dew. The next day, venture out in the early morning when the sky is in the tween place of dawn. Before the sun has risen, but enough light has peeked through you can find your way. Begin by feeling the grass with your hands to see if dew is present. If it is, take your rag and begin to wipe the blades of grass, the leaves of magical plants and trees until your rag is soaking wet. You can leave your rag outside overnight to get it pre-soaked with dew (which will shorten the process) or you can run it through the grass by dragging it behind you as you walk. Once the cloth is completely soaked, wring it out into a bowl and begin wiping leaves again. When you have wrung enough water out you can head back home to your kitchen. Here, pass the dew through a fine strainer, or cheesecloth to remove any plant or insect life that may be lingering in your dew. This is a milky water that will not be clear. Because of this, if you wish to save the dew for later use, you will need to preserve it with alcohol.