Associated with St. John the Baptist. It was gathered on St. John’s Day and soaked in olive oil to create an anointing oil called the “Blood of Christ”. It is said that the red sap “bleeds” in August on the day when St. John was beheaded.
The ancient name Fuga Daemonum (Scare Devil) and the Latin name Hypericum (“over” + “apparition”) attests to its usefulness in driving away evil spirits. The latter may also refer to the fact that it was hung over religious icons. It was hung in the home, and carried as a talisman. It was also used to protect from lightening strikes.
One legend says that if you step on a St. John’s Wort plant, you will be stolen away by a faerie horse.
St. John’s Wort was also used for divination of romance and longevity. It was hung over the beds of the members of a household to divine their longevity. The sprig that was most wilted the next morning indicated who would die the soonest. Keeping a sprig under your pillow is said to grant you a vision of St. John who will promise that you will live another year. If no such vision comes, however…expect you will soon die.
All of these should, of course, be done on Midsummer or St John’s Eve.
It is traditionally burned in the Midsummer Fires. Flowers brought into the house on Midsummer Day are said to protect the household from a myriad misfortunes, including invasion by evil spirits, the evil eye, illness and fire.