Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mardi: Herbal-Wise

For regular readers of my ramblings here at HQ, it will come as no surprise that I have been engrossed in research on healing herbs recently.  Dear friends have been helpful, particularly our yoga instructor brother-from-another-mother Joe, as well as holistic healing pyrates of the New World Seika and Captain Swallow.  Magickal ends are also worth seeking out, though.  Radiation therapy, meditation and grape seed oil can all use a little push, right?

To my surprise, one of the most effective healing herbs across all manner of magickal disciplines turns out to be humble, garden variety rue.  Rue is a favorite in Mediterranean cooking, and rue tea has been prescribed to pregnant women for centuries by midwives hoping to even out those occasional mood swings.  The herb is also a bit of a jack-of-all-trades magickally speaking, bringing luck, love, courage, protection and healing.

Druids, Wiccans and Gnostics/Copts have used rue for centuries.  The Coptic word for rue is bashoush, which can be translated as lucky.  The Ancient Etruscans and Romans included rue in their food not only as a spice, but to protect their internal organs from disease caused by hexes or the Evil Eye.  To this day one of the most popular amulets in Italy is the Cimaruta.  Made exclusively from silver, the Cimaruta is worn around the neck to aid in healing, ward against future illness and the Evil Eye, and bring luck to the wearer.  This tradition is popular in the Strega practice of Wicca, and is thought to date back to the Etruscan culture.  You can find a lovely example of a Cimaruta here.

Druids and Wiccans also use bundles of rue as sprinklers to shake salt water around homes for cleansing rituals.  Rue is rubbed along clean floorboards to repel evil magick, according to Scott Cunningham, and hung over the doors to protect against same.  Cunningham also recommends placing fresh rue on the forehead while relaxing to cure tension headaches and taking in the scent of fresh rue to clear the mind and enhance mental acuity.  Love poppets are often stuffed with rue.

In hoodoo, rue tea is is sprinkled around the home for protection and added to baths to help healing and break jinxes.  Cleansing incense is made by mixing dried rue and hyssop with ground frankincense, camphor and sandalwood.  The mixture is burned on charcoal and used to smudge the home or people for purification.  A healing and protecting mojo should include rue, comfrey root, coriander and nine Devil's shoestings.  These should be placed in a red flannel bag and dressed regularly with a healing or protection oil or whiskey.  The bag should be carried close to the skin whenever possible.

Silver RavenWolf mentions the use of rue in Pow-Wow, which echoes the Wiccan use of the herb for clarity of thought.  She also notes the hex-breaking qualities of the herb and, perhaps curiously, advises that rue can be used to protect self and home from werewolves.  I'd call that an added bonus.  Bonne chance ~

Header: Coming Events Cast Their Shadows Before by Charles C. Ward via American Gallery


Timmy! said...

I think I'd better get you that Cimaruta pendant, Pauline... It's silver and it's rue, so it's got to protect you from werewolves, for sure, if nothing else.

Pauline said...

I know. Seriously, werewolves are a much bigger problem - especially in Alaska - than people might think. Stay frosty out there.