I wash my hands in your dish,
Spirit of the moon, grant my wish,
Come and take this away!
Warts are caused by a virus in the skin. There are numerous magical ways to get rid of the unattractive lumps. A dermatologist will remove a wart by freezing it off in a treatment called cryotherapy, or burning it off chemically using a strong formulation of salicylic acid. However warts often clear up on their own as the body's natual defenses fight the virus.
Nevertheless, home cures and magical remedies were and still are numerous. Any witch, wise woman, cunning man etc, worth his salt knew how to charm away a wart. (In fact, a modern cure is to put duct tape on the wart . Unfortuantely duct tape sometimes causes itching and rashes, and it isn't any more effective than other treatments which are considered to be placebos.)
Several of these magical cures involve the moon--as the moon was often, and continues to be, associated with enchanment and healing.
An old piece of Maryland folklore, for example, states:
Take an old, dirty penny, rub it on your warts, then throw it over the right shoulder, facing a full moon, and the warts will go away.This technique has several versions and is often called "buying the wart." Most of them involve a coin and moonlight. Although the orginal intention to ask the moon to take the wart away is often no longer specifically stated, it continues to be implied.
The above wart cure with the metal basin is apparently English in origin. Versions of it can be found throughout the Brisith Isles. Usually, however, it is the "Man in the Moon," the Saxon Man, who is invoked.
Apparently Italian knot magic is also used to get rid of warts. A string or ribbon is tied over the wart and then tossed into a moving body of water. Apparently as the water rots the string or ribbon the wart disappears.
Main Index Page