Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mardi: Herbal-Wise

Lemons are probably my favorite citrus fruit. When I was young, I remember eating lemon wedges like you would orange or grapefruit with sea salt on them. It was a summer treat at my Gran's house; something to look forward to the way other kids anticipated lemonade.

Lemon juice has always been used to purify. Even very early people understood that the juice of these bright yellow fruits could help them avoid infection, even if it meant stinging the heck out of a cut or scrape. Lemons and their juice are used the same way in many magickal disciplines now just as then. Contradictorily, they are also thought to encourage friendships while undertaking to break up lovers.

In Wicca, hoodoo and Druid practice, lemon juice can be mixed with water to achieve a ritual cleanser easily as effective as holy water. As Scott Cunningham notes, any magickal jewelry should be cleansed with this mixture to ensure that negative energy has been gotten rid of. Occasionally repeating this ritual doesn't hurt either; we run into a lot of negative out there in the big World.

Lemon juice is added to baths to purify and turn away the Evil Eye. Floating some lemon slices on your bath water is a great way to help you focus on this goal. It's kind of fun too as it turns your bath into something like a big cocktail, visually speaking.

Foods flavored with lemon and served to those you care about are thought to help the relationship to blossom, succeed and continue. Giving the gift of a lemon tree you have grown from seed is said to ensure the recipient's friendship for life. Scott Cunningham also mentions a spell for luck requiring an unripe (green) lemon and pins with colored heads. Shove as many pins as you can (but don't use any with black heads) into the lemon while concentrating on good fortune. Hang this up in your home and watch this lemon and pin charm attract luck to you and yours.

In hoodoo, lemon juice is an acceptable substitute for any trick that calls for urine (good if you are squeamish about that sort of thing or you don't care to wash down your floors and walls with your own excretions). Lemons and/or their juice are often ingredients in workings to break up a couple. For instance, a root worker will begin a jinx by cutting a lemon in half. They will then write the individual names of the couple, one on each of two slips of paper. These name papers are then put together so that the names face outward; sometimes an herb like red pepper flakes - to ignite anger and encourage fighting - is put between the papers, too. These papers are then placed in the pulp of the lemon and the fruit is put back together and tied up with black thread or twine. The lemon is then either buried near the couples' doorstep or sealed up in a jar of vinegar. The couple will know nothing but strife until they finally separate.

An old spell to protect a home, which may have come from the Strega practice of witchcraft, is also popular in hoodoo. A lemon is pierced through with nine nails and red thread is wound around and through the protruding nails nine times. This charm is then hung over the front door to turn back the Evil Eye and keep negativity at bay. The charm should be renewed yearly, around the turn of the New Year. Bonne chance ~

Header: Signal by F. Scott Hess via American Gallery


Timmy! said...

Oranges are my favorite citrus fruit, but I definitely get the idea of the lemon juice to purify, Pauline.

The spell to break up a couple doesn't seem very cool to me, though.

I do like the painting, too.

Pauline said...

I wouldn't recommend any kind of jinxing personally and particularly if one is new to root work/spell casting. That can carry a lot of bad juju for the sender. But hoodoo is not a practice that is particularly influenced by the "golden rule" or the "rule of three."

Practitioners of the original art were often slaves and/or on the margins of society so their perception of how their workings would effect others - who were often far better off than they were - was different than our current PC approach.

All the same, caveat spell caster.

I love that painting, too. Very evocative.