Bewitched, a historical Swedish coin from "Härjedalen"



The witch-hunt and mass hysteria that led to hundreds of innocent women losing their lives is a dark chapter in Swedish history. Härjedalen is an area of Sweden where hysteria was the worst. Women, but also some men, where accused and burned on pyres. Shortly after the takeover, Härjedalen, still very influenced by Norway, was hit by the wave of witch accusations. The witch hunt in Sweden started in 1668 when Gertrud Svensdotter was pressured by the Swedish vicar to accuse Märet Jonsdotter (Stor-Märet) from Lillhärdal of witchcraft. Stor-Märet claimed her innocence until the end but to no avail.


She became the first to be burnt on pyres, on Spångmyrholmen. The witch hunt spread like a plague through Sweden, mainly due the priests and lawyers who contributed to the extent of the whole process. The next few years would see several trials against witches in the area, in Lillhärdal alone, 56 persons were accused at one time. Härjedals witches could be found in each village. Often it was children who accused the adults. They claimed to have been tricked to go on nocturnal activities riding on upside down-turned animals such as horses, cows or goats. A young girl, Sigrid Svensdotter accused her old grandmother of sorcery Blåkulla was of course situated on the other side of the border, in Norway, to which the people in Härjedalen were sympathetic.



Coin design. The Mandrake plant

Inspired by Margit Sandemo ornament;


The fruits of the Mandrake are mentioned as far back as the Song of Songs of the Old Testament. The fruits were considered to act as an aphrodisiac with a strengthening effect on the libido.


Mandrake had great significance in the early Greek medicine. According to Dioscorides the root of the Mandrake was cooked in wine and given to those who suffered from pain or insomnia, or as an anesthesia before a surgical procedures. Within witchcraft the Mandrake root was considered indispensable due to its content of dream inducing essences.


One old legend claimed that the Mandrake originated from "the involuntary released seed of a pure youth who had ended his life in the gallows." Another legend said that the root would be let out a heartbreaking cry when someone tried to pull it up from the ground, and that the person pulling on it would instantly fall down dead. In order to avoid this you should tie the Mandrake to the tail of a black dog. In this way each Mandrake would only cost the life of one dog. European mandrake was considered to hold particularly high quality and induced a high price as preserved root.


The demand would sometimes exceed the supply, and thus you could find fake Mandrakes. Usually the fake Mandrake would actually be Bryony. The Mandrake's root can, with some imagination, show resemblance to a naked body and has often been accredited with magical powers. For example, the Mandrake was considered to be a inducer of love and would make child birth easier if it was worn as a charm. It was not unusual to see the root dressed in clothes, like a doll. The charm was supposed to bring good fortune to its owner, but he had to sell it to a lower price than what he had paid for it. If he failed to do so his soul would be lost. If you had received the Mandrake as a gift you were considered to be in the hands of the evil one. (If you get rid of the coin it should therefor be sold for a smaller amount than you paid for it, and not be given as a gift).


The medicinal effect of the root comes from a number of different alkaloids, for instance atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine.


Wicca symbols

The wicca(witch) star symbol on other side of the coin is from around the 17th century.

A rather uncommon symbol in conjunction with wicca/witches would be the 6 pointed star. The most common wiccan symbols have five or seven points.


The symbols around in circles are.

Silver, gold, fire, planets, etc. Parts of what a witch would put in her potions or "incantations".


The text in the background comes from an old written "incantation"


The purpose of the coin:

All good witches / wizards can use it when trying to decide to make a potion or cast an incantation. Good witches / wizards respect nature, life and the community. By turning the inner coin, he/she can make their choice. Fate decides what he/she should do.


This coin is made in remembrance of Swedish history and to safeguard life, nature and the community. It is also made for Härjedalen. You should be able to wear it as a charm if you want to. You will also be able to personalize the coin and add other parts (will be available later on) to the charm.


Hopefully the coin/charm will bring you happiness, prosperity, and harmony.