In ritual magicks, dittany is much prized for its ability to make spirits appear and to aid in astral projection. The dried leaves are burned alone to help spirits manifest. It is said that they will appear as bodily formations in the blue-gray smoke. When the dried leaves are mixed with vanilla, sandalwood and benzoin and burned as incense, the scent is reputed to allow the practitioner to leave their body and wonder the ether.
According to the old wives of
Europe, extracting juice from dittany leaves and flowers and then rubbing it on skin would repel venomous snakes and insects. In some cases a chant such as “Hax, Pax, Abodemax” was to be recited over and over while applying the dittany juice. In most cases, such “nonsense” chants were a way of focusing the witch’s attention on their work, thus achieving a form of trance state to facilitate the working. Some later day writers have tried to find tie-ins with ancient – or even alien – languages in these types of chants but the examples they give usually fall shy of the mark. Though they may have had a connection to a now dead language at some point, to say the chants were originally Atlantian or Druidic is probably over-reaching at best.
Dittany of Crete came to hoodoo through the European tradition and was considered a love herb by French Creoles in and around
. Putting the herb in a meal specifically prepared for a love interest was thought to spark a raging passion for the preparer. Continued doses would need to be administered to keep the flame burning high. New Orleans
This focus seems to have translated the use of dittany as incense into a love potion. According to Catherine Yronwode, burning dittany mixed with myrrh, benzoin and sandalwood could induce visions of one’s future spouse. This recipe is only one ingredient off from the astral projection incense previously mentioned. Of course, this is how various forms of magick influence one another but it is a curious point nonetheless. Bonne chance ~
Header: Medea by A.F.A. Sandys c 1868