A tough customer of an herb if ever there was one, gorse is similar to the protagonist of a good detective novel: a toughened, prickly exterior hiding a soul of genuine beauty. Also known as broom, frey, furze, gorst, and goss among other names, gorse’s many spiny branches and upright yellow flowers make it stand out in the waste places of Britain and other parts of Europe where it often grows wild.
Energy ~ Masculine
Planet ~ Mars, the Sun
Element ~ Fire
Deities ~ Jupiter, Thor, Lugh
Zodiac ~ n/a
Growing in the unforgiving lands of the heath, common, or moor, gorse is not exactly a plant that needs babying if you intend to garden it. Gorse is ever-flowering and its seeds are ever-germinating, so on the contrary, it can be a bit of a handful if you’re not prepared! It prefers, but doesn’t exactly need sandy, slightly acidic soil, and what it requires most is abundant direct sunlight. It can be burned back to rein it in if it starts to spread out of control, but even fire won’t stop this flower completely!
Though not as replete with medicinal uses as some of the herbs I’ve covered in the past, gorse is nevertheless a very versatile and useful plant! When crushed up, it makes good animal feed, and it burns extremely well, making it excellent fuel for old-fashioned ovens and the like. It can be used as a substitute for tea, the seeds (which burst out with a fantastic crackling noise) are highly nutritious, the flowers make a vibrant yellow dye, and while it’s growing, the many briars serve well as a shelter for young trees, as well as at keeping livestock or other animals from wandering in or out of a place!
Similarly, it’s said that this thorny plant can keep unwanted visitors of the supernatural variety, like certain faeries, at bay. In addition to protection from evil, gorse is known to attract gold, and thus finds great use in money spells! Said to give hope to the hopeless and ease life’s most terrible frustrations, gorse is used to bolster faith, abate jealousy, and increase optimism. It’s also used in love magick and for spells of gathering strength!
I feel like, since I’ve been on a kick with the Celtic Zodiac signs and such, I would be remiss to not mention gorse’s place in Druidic lore. A voracious light-seeker, gorse reminds us to always pursue the brighter places in life and take the high road. Do what feels right, not what abides by convention; follow your own spiritual sense for what’s best for you. If life has put you in a dark shadow, then pursue your own path back to the sunshine!
In flower language, gorse means “Love in all seasons.”