Monday, April 24, 2006

Herbal love 'spells':

Maya has been doing some research into "love" on her blog. I told her that I'd post some of the old 'recipes' or references to herbally-induced-love that I've run across in my herbal researching (for a very sloooow and gradual personal project):

Yarrow, yarrow, long and narrow,
Tell unto me by tomorrow,
Who my husband is to be...

Yarrow away, yarrow away, bear a white blow?
If my lover love me, my nose will bleed now.
(that's romantic!)

Viola (also called "heartsease") - Legend has it that Cupid, the God of Love, shot an arrow through a viola, and thus endowed the ubiquitous miniature pansy with aphrodisiacal properties.

Sweet Marjoram is said to be the sacred herb of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, and was a symbol of marital bliss in ancient times.

In Roman times Bay became the symbol of protection and marital happiness. It appeared at weddings, adorned gifts, and was taken in powdered form to induce virility.

Centuries ago, when a woman put a basil plant on her window sill, she was announcing that she was ready to recieve a suitor. It was also believed that when a man gave a woman a sprig of basil she would fall in love with him and never leave him.

In medieval times, calendula (or pot marigolds) were considered an emblem of love and used as the chief ingredient in a complicated spell that promised young maidens knowledge of whom they would marry.

My favorite one is not a love spell, but a potion to "see fairies", taken from a 16th century herbal:

Take a pint of sallet oyle and put into a vial glasse; and first wash it with rose-water and marygolde water; the flowers to be gathered toward the East. Wash it till the oyle becomes white, then put into the glasse, and then put thereto the budds of young hazle, and the thyme must be gathered neare the side of a hill where fairies used to be; and take the grasse of a fairy throne; then all these put into the oyle in the glasse and sette it to dissolve three dayes in the sunne and then keep it for thy use...


Maya said...

Tara thank you for posting these: they are great! :)
I was a bit shocked with the nosebleed one...I think I won't try and do that one probably, haha!

The fairy one sounds interesting...I'd have a go but I don't know what sallet oyle is (!!)..

oh, btw ...I will post my soup recipe tonight!!

Thank you again!

Ulla said...

Tara, these are wonderful... My daughter and I are always thinking of ways to see the fairies! Imagine blowing yarrow through your nose??? Thanks for the HAT links, they are great! I actually have a few 'feather' hats from the 20's somewhere in my garage, I should get them out and re-look at them... I love the ones that almost have a porcupine feel - what a riot!

tlc illustration said...

I believe, in this context, "blow" means blossom - which you are supposed to inhale deeply. In some people, this causes your nasal membranes to bleed (some chemical property of the fresh yarrow plant)... Go figure...

My translation of 'sallet oyle' is "Salad Oil" (although how you 'wash it' until it becomes white - I don't know...) My biggest problem was finding fairy throne grass....