Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mardi: Herbal-Wise

While dill may seem no more than a humble kitchen herb whose only magick is helping to turn cucumbers into pickles, the fact of the matter is a little more complicated.  Most all magickal disciplines have a thing or two to do with dill, and some of them might surprise you.

Old wives all over Europe advised those troubled by bad dreams or night sweats to sprinkle dill seeds on their windowsills or around their beds.  It was common knowledge, of course, that vampires, ghosts and witches would have to count every last seed before they could enter the house and/or trouble a sleeper in bed.

In hoodoo, dill is used to keep away illness, fix crossed conditions, help in court cases and bring luck in love.  The quadroons and octoroons of old New Orleans soaked dill seeds in rainwater for three days and then added the mixture, with the seeds strained out, to bathwater before preparing to attend the famous Black and White Balls.  This treatment was thought to make a girl irresistible, and to ensure she would catch the eye of a wealthy gentleman. 

A trick for success in court is to write the names of all the people named in the proceedings on a paper with red ink.  A piece of red cloth is then sprinkled with dill and coriander seeds and wrapped around the name paper.  This packet should be tied with string using as many knots as there are names on the paper, and then secreted in a cool, dark place where no one will disturb it until the case is won.  Modern root workers will often hide this trick in a freezer.

Wiccans often use dill for protection.  The flowers are carried and hung over doors to ward off the Evil Eye.  Dill hung over a crib is thought to keep the baby therein safe, while dill hung over the front door of a house will keep those with bad intentions from entering.  Wiccans also use dill seeds in money spells, putting some in a wallet, purse or where ever cash is kept to increase wealth.  Eating dill is thought to increase lust; Scott Cunningham notes that this is “…why dill pickles are so popular”.

As an amusing but practical aside, both disciplines note that keeping a packet of dill handy can relieve one of life’s little annoyances: smelling dill will stop hiccoughs.

Dill is essentially a weed in many parts of the world and therefore relatively easy to grow.  Given its wide range of edible and magickal uses, it might be worth adding a little dill to your spring gardening plans.  Or at the very least to your grocery list.  Bonne chance ~

Header: Blind Man’s Bluff by Jean-Honore Fragonard c 1751


Timmy! said...

No wonder you and I both like dill pickles to much, Pauline...

Pauline said...

Yay! Pickles!