Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mardi: Herbal-Wise

Dittany of Crete is an edible herb that is not much mentioned in modern recipes.  In southern Europe it was often used in stews and fish dishes and old recipe books – journals of receipts as they were known prior to the mid 19th century – often featured tips on how to grow this fat-leafed herb.

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 New Orleans.  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.

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


Capt. John Swallow said...

Yer mention o' the "nonsense chants" brings up an interesting point (which ye touched on).Even chants/incantations that have a meaning -or "understandable words" in some language - are often not relevant in what they are saying as hoch as HOW it's being said. Majick/Medicine/Religion...are all based on sound. WE ourselves and everything on/in/around this earth is based on sound & vibration.
The Diva does not shatter the crystal because of the way she sings, but because the not is vibrating at the same frequency as the crystal.

It's the rhythm, the vibration o' these incantations that is important (hence the repetition). Like any mantra, creating the vibration creates the portal to...well, whatever it is yer trying to accomplish!

This is exactly why Voudon uses drums, the Catholicism use Latin, Tibetan Buddhists use Tingsha...etc. It's why OM has the power it does.

Here's a fun experiment - next time yer together with a few friends, gather in a group, count to three and all hum at the same time. Ye'll all be humming at the same frequency (note that pitch doesn't affect frequency)...and it's the same frequency o' things around ye (flourescent lights, the fridge, the computer...). Unless ye invite a Mennonite...or an Amazonian Indian...

Pauline said...

Excellent input as always, Captain! And - again as always - very much appreciated.

Timmy! said...

Seems like a pretty versatile (and powerful) plant, Pauline... And the Captain does make some great points with his insightful comments, too.

Pauline said...

It is! And, as always, the wise Captain adds a lot to the discussion.