The Vision Berry: Bilberry Spiritual Meaning, Myth and Magic

Close-up of grayish-blue bilberries.

The Magic of Bilberry

I had never heard of Bilberry before. I was researching the grain harvest festival of Lammas when I ran across this peculiar fruit. I had initially mistaken the name for another coinage of blueberry, but it is not. It is a very different fruit altogether.

I sniffed around online and found the reason I had never heard of bilberries…is because bilberries are not native to America. Bilberries are found in Europe and are most prevalent in Sweden. They have enjoyed much popularity in European regions, being baked in cakes and pies, and even fermented into wines, much like blueberries and blackberries are here in the United States.

The Healing Power of Bilberry*

As for healing, like blueberries, bilberries are an incredibly potent healing fruit. Due to the copious amount of Anthocyanins and other powerful vitamins found in bilberries, they contain more antioxidants than cranberries, strawberries, plums, and raspberries.

Dewy bilberries on a metal jar lid near moistened leaves and scattered bilberries.

The antioxidants in bilberries make them excellent for the skin and collagen health. They can also prevent premature aging and wrinkles and do well in fighting against cellulite. Any unsightly bruises? Bilberries can also help with that by helping them heal faster and make your skin more resilient to bruising in the future.

The Japanese have often referred to bilberries as “the vision fruit” because of their unique ability to improve night vision. Studies have shown that bilberries can help the eyes adjust quickly to darkness and even reverse the effects of macular degeneration.

Frosty-looking bilberries sitting on a white saucer.

Bilberry Rituals and Traditions

There is a myriad of rituals and traditions surrounding bilberries in Europe.  In Iceland, wild harvesting of bilberry is very popular during the berry season. The Finnish like to eat bilberries fresh and bake them into Mustikkapirrakka –bilberry pie.

In Ireland, you can find a festival called Fraughan Sunday on the last Sunday in July, where bilberries, or as the Irish call it fraughan are gathered, and they also gather bilberries during Lammas. The Polish call bilberries jagody and make jagodzianka by putting bilberries in sweet buns as filling. Bilberries can even be found in the De-Militarized Zone of North Korea – where they have bog bilberry brandy.

Mature and unripe bilberries growing on a branch.

Bilberry Lore and Mythology

According to myth, bilberries were created by Hermes when he turned his son Myrtillus’ body into a berry shrub after it washed onto shore. Œnomaus, the son of Aries, has an attendant named Myrtillus. Œnomaus was quite proud of his ability as a chariot racer and decided to challenge his daughter’s suitors – whoever could beat him in a chariot race could have his daughter’s hand in marriage.

Pelops, to secure his victory, asked Myrtillus to take the linchpin out of Œnomaus’ chariot. Sure enough, during the race, Œnomaus’ chariot overturned, mortally wounding him. With his dying breath, he petitioned Pelops to seek out his murderer and avenge him. Pelops in turn, threw Myrtillus into the sea. Coincidentally, bilberries are often found growing along the sea shore, and “myrtillus” is the classification for bilberry.

Bilberries inside and surrounding the outside of a white glass cup.

Magical Ways to Use Bilberry

  1. Bilberries have a close link to Lammas and harbor protective magical properties.
  2. You can dry bilberry leaves, powder them and sprinkle the dust around the house to protect your household.
  3. Burning bilberry as incense will also help you to this end and steer off negative energies.
  4. Foods that contain bilberry are good for de-hexing enchantments.
  5. A satchel containing bilberry can improve your luck.
  6. Bilberry leaves are helpful when pursuing material wealth and gain.

*FDA Disclaimer

The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not render medical or psychological advice, opinion, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a medical or psychological problem, you should consult your appropriate health care provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Links on this website are provided only as an informational resource, and it should not be implied that we recommend, endorse or approve of any of the content at the linked sites, nor are we responsible for their availability, accuracy, or content.

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