Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi: Herbal-Wise

Bon Mardi Gras to one and all! The calendar is bringing the moveable feasts early this year and, shameless thing that I am, I started the day with a King Cake cupcake. It's never too early to celebrate, after all.

Valentine's Day, not being in any way moveable (not much of a metaphor for love when you think about it) is Thursday. And so today, the violet which is universally considered a bringer of love, friendship and harmony.

According to Scott Cunningham, the Ancient Greeks wore violets not only to diffuse anger but also to bring restful, restorative sleep. Old wives would weave violet flowers and stems into a kind of crown or chaplet that was then placed on the head of someone suffering from headache or dizziness. This treatment, along with a little rest, was thought to banish the problem within a day. Violet leaves were also applied to cuts and burns, and carried on the person in a green bag to keep the wound from festering. It was also said that picking the first violet one found as spring burst forth was a very lucky omen. One's most ardent wish would be fulfilled, the story goes, before the following spring.

In hoodoo, violets are used in workings for love and lust. The violet known in the southern U.S. as Johnny Jump-Up was mixed with High John the Conqueror and snake root chips, then carried by men to draw the sexual attention of a woman or women.

To bring a new love into their life, men and women alike would wear a violet leaf in their shoe for seven days. To boost the strength of the trick, three violet leaves are worn on consecutive weeks. The entire working then lasts twenty-one days and is thought to ensure a new love will follow one home.

Chewing violet to increase that new love's affection for you was also advised. Men who did not want to be "caught" shied away from a lady who might offer to wipe their face with her handkerchief. She may have spit into it after chewing violet, than let it dry. Rubbing the lover's skin with the hanky thereafter was thought to make them wild about you and, to some degree, "trap" them in the relationship.

When love goes wrong, as it does for all of us at some time, the violet can come to the rescue to ease the pain. Mix pansy flowers - which are a form of violet - with the buds of Balm of Gilead or rosemary (particularly for ladies). Steep this in hot water, drain and add to a nice warm bath. With luck, harmony will return to your life. This ritual is said to also soften the anger that often accompanies such episodes, and make one's frame of mind more open to reconciliation or at least friendship with the former lover.

Finally, growing a violet in the kitchen is said to draw prosperity and bring peace to the home. Ask an expert at the nursery; some violets are edible and they make an attractive addition to salads. Serve some to your lover on Valentine's Day and see what happens... Bonne chance et bon Mardi Gras ~

Header: The Reluctant Bride by Auguste Tolmouche via Two Nerdy History Girls because sometimes love just doesn't happen...


Timmy! said...

Happy Mardi Gras, Pauline!

Those King Cake cupcakes are good. It's a good thing Brigit made a second batch after Moose the St. Bernard ate most of the first one...

Pauline said...

Well, he's a Saint after all... ;)