Archive for the ‘Magic’ Category

Common Wheat – Tritcum aestivum

This grass is easily grown, but is only known under cultivation. Since 6750 BC In Iraq and other eastern Mediterranean countries there is archeological evidence of its use. By 6000 BC it had reached the Indian subcontinent, and by 5,000 years ago it had reached Ethiopia, Great Britain, Ireland and Spain. In companion planting it grows well with maize and chamomile; but doesn’t like to be grown near dogwood, cherry, tulips, pines or poppies.

The seed are used in herbal medicine for the treatment of cancers, corns, tumors, warts and whitlows (also called a felon is an infection on the tip of the finger, not the sides or base of the nail.) It is considered a demulcent and emollient and used as a poultice on wounds.

Most wheat is made into flour and consumed baked into breads, cakes, pie crusts, etc. Most wheat flour consumed in the US is white flour, which has the bran and germ removed prior to grinding. The whole wheat flour (leaving the bran and germ in) is far healthier, but also goes rancid more quickly, therefore needing refrigeration to extend its shelf life. The removed germ is often sold as wheat germ and is then added back into food to increase the nutritional value. It can easily be put in ground meat dishes of all sorts.

Raw wheat can be ground into flour, or germinated and dried making malt, or made into bulgur. Wheat is the major ingredient in many popular breakfast cereals; i.e. Wheatena, Cream of Wheat, Wheaties, and Shredded Wheat.

There have been increasing problems with people becoming gluten sensitive or intolerant. When that happens the only solution is to cut wheat and other gluten containing products (barley and rye) from the diet! The inflamed bowel that results with a reduction in the absorption of nutrients can also be painful causing bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

In magic wheat is sacred to Ceres, Demeter, and Ishtar. It is a symbol of fertility and is often carried for that purpose. It is also used to attract money!

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Onion – Allium cepa

Onion

Onion

“What mean you, sir,

To give them this discomfort? Look, they weep;

And I, an ass, am onion-eyed: for shame,

Transform us not to women.”

 

William Shakespeare’s tragedy Antony and Cleopatra

 

This member of the Lily family is not found in a truly wild situation, but is related to wild species found in Central Asia. Under cultivation they make good companions with winter savory, dill, strawberries, cucumbers, chamomile, lettuce, carrots, beets, and chicory. They don’t do as well with beans, peas, and cabbage.

 

Onions have been under cultivation for a very long time. Traces of onion, dating back 5,000 years, were found in Bronze Age settlements in Canaan. Onions have even been found in ancient mummies from Egypt, and the Egyptians were known to pay workers with onions. A reference in the Ebers Papyrus mentions onions for medical use.

 

In modern herbal medicine onions can be made into syrup for treatment of cough; baked onions can be used as a poultice to draw infection from a wound; and fresh onion juice is useful in treating bee stings, insect bites, grazes and fungal infection of the skin.

 

The fresh juice has also been used in cosmetics to help remove freckles, and as an insect repellent. At one time it was believed that onion juice could restore hair to a bald head. The juice can also be used as a preventative against rust, and as a polish for copper and glass.

 

For edibility it can be consumed raw or cooked. Raw it can be sliced and added to salad, on top of sandwiches, etc. Cooked they can be chopped, sliced, or diced for use in stews, soups, chili’s, almost any recipe you would like. They are good as a pickle also. The flowers are often used as a garnish on salads, although the flavor of the bulb is much nicer.

 

The onion has even found its way into spiritual use, being considered sacred in ancient Egypt where it was worshipped in several cities. Onions are protective, used to encourage prophetic dreams and lust, and used in exorcism and to attract money. They are used to purify the blades of knives and athames.

Peanuts – Arachis hypogaea

Peanuts
Peanuts

“…Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game…”

Jack Norworth, 1908

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/poetry/po_stmo.shtml

 

“Peanuts! Get your fresh Roasted Peanuts here!” Whether you are at the circus or a ball game that is the infamous cry. Mr. Peanut graces bottles of peanuts on the grocer’s shelf. Peanuts have been an integral part of American culture for decades, maybe centuries. In China, where they were first introduced by Portuguese traders somewhere in the 17th century, they became very popular also. They are often included in Chinese dishes. By 2006 China was the leading producer in the world!

 

The groundnut or goober peas were first cultivated in the valleys of Peru. Today the most frequently found wild strains are in Paraguay and Bolivia. When I was a kid I was told a story of where they came from that has seemed to be proven a myth. The story said that the peanut came to North America with the African people brought here for slavery. It relates that the peanut was seen as an inferior food, so that the slaves could grow it freely. Now this story may be false, or they may have come over with these unfortunate people since the peanut was imported into Africa in post-Columbian times.

 

The peanut is not really a nut, but is really a legume which grows below ground on the root system. The peanut has become a popular ingredient in Peruvian, Chinese, Israeli, and American cooking. They can be roasted, blended with other ingredients to make a sauce; they can be ground into a paste and added to rice, meat and vegetable dishes. They can also be roasted first, and then ground into one of America’s most popular sandwich makings…peanut butter! PB & J sandwiches may be the most popular sandwich in school lunches! Peanuts can be included in candies, cakes, cookies, and other sweets. In the American South a very popular way to eat peanuts is to boil them for several hours until they are soft and moist…different flavorings can be added. The best flavored boiled peanut I have ever eaten was a Cajun spice peanut.

 

Peanut oil has been used in herbal medicine in China to treat gonorrhea, rheumatism, insomnia. In Zimbabwe one of the folk remedies uses the peanut in a treatment for plantar warts. The seeds have been used as a demulcent, pectoral, and peptic.

 

In magic the peanut is believed to attract money. When eaten, while visualizing the end result, the peanut dish just may increase prosperity. Oh, and it can be eaten anyway you like to eat it, anyway at all will work, including the infamous PB & J!

Tamarind – Tamarindus indica

Tamarind pods
Tamarind pods

The exact origin of this Pea family tree is unknown, but is thought to be eastern Africa. Although India has had it under cultivation for so long that it is often thought of as indigenous there. The specific name is ‘indica’ showing that belief.

 

If you have gas or a sore throat and you happen to be in tropical America look for one of the young boys that will be selling bags of the pods. The fruit is good for relieving intestinal gas; it improves digestion, acts as a mild laxative and soothes sore throats. In the Philippines the leaves are made into a tea for relief of fever, being employed for malaria.

 

For food the tart pulp is used to make chutney, curries, beverages and sauces. The pulp is also an ingredient in making the popular seasoning Worcestershire sauce. It is also part of a favorite Indian dish Tamarind fish, which is a pickled product. The young leaves, flowers, and seedlings are cooked and eaten as greens. In Zimbabwe the leaves are added to soups and flowers added to salads.

 

Because few plants survive living under a Tamarind tree there is an old superstition that it is unwise to sleep under one or to tie your horse beneath one! African tribes in some areas held the tree sacred. And in Burma the tree is believed to be the dwelling of the Rain God.

 

In dying the leaves and flowers are used as mordants. The leaves provide a yellow dye for wool, and turns indigo dyed silk green.

Bittercress – Cardamine hirsuta

Hairy Bittercress
Hairy Bittercress

This native of Europe and Asia is an annual who loves open areas, cultivated spaces, in fact almost anywhere is fine. It is very capable of being weedy and invasive, but since it adds to the spring time bouquet of greens after a long winter it should probably be forgiven this tendency, It stays green throughout the cold winter, making it a good plant to add to the diet in January and February.

One of the many complaints about this taprooted plant is that it attracts aphids, now this might be good in the garden as a trap plant! If you do want to rid your garden of this plant then remove it before it seeds, it is easily removed with light hoeing.

Cardamine hirsute is the “stiff plant” used in the ‘Nine Herbs charm,’ it was supposed to fight against the serpent. The ‘Nine Herbs Charm’ was recorded in the 10th century, and was an Old English incantation intended to be uttered over 9 herbs before their used in treating poisonings and infections.

 

To read my former post….check here

Hazelnuts – Corylus avellana

Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts

Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
climbed up through my conscious mind…

 

By  Pablo Neruda

This native of Europe and western Asia grows in woods and hedgerows. The Hazel shrubs were part of the hedgerows that were traditional field boundaries in England. The twigs are used as dowsing rods. The wood is soft, easily split, but not very durable…yet it was used for inlay work, small pieces of furniture, wattles, basketry, etc.

 

Several parts are used medicinally…the bark, leaves, catkins and fruits. They are astringent, diaphoretic, febrifuge, nutritive, and odontalgic (treating toothache). The seed is used as a stomachic and tonic. The oil is used in babies and small children to treat threadworms and pinworms.

 

The nut or cob can be eaten raw or roasted, added to breads, cakes, biscuits, and sweets. An edible oil that is used in salad dressings and baking is expressed from the nuts. They are rich in protein, unsaturated fat, thiamine and Vitamin B6.

 

Hazel twigs have been used to make magic wands, and dowsing rods. To create a quick, simple circle of protection use a Hazel rod to draw a circle around you in the dirt! In a similar way the twigs hung over window frames and the door lintel will protect the house from lightening.

Celery Seed – Apium graveolens dulce

Celery seeds
Celery seeds

During medieval times witches and magicians used celery seeds before flying. Witches believed the seeds kept them from getting dizzy when flying on their brooms, and therefore they did not fall. Magicians sprinkled the seeds into their shoes to help them fly (it didn’t work). Today in magic use it is believed that chewing them will increase concentration, and used in pillows will induce sleep.

This seed of the common celery is a native of southern Europe, Asia & Africa. Celery grows from the seed, the plant being biennial has to grow for two years to produce seed. They are good companions for leeks, tomatoes, beans, and brassicas.

Celery seed has long been eaten raw or cooked for the treatment of rheumatism, and as a treatment was brought to North America with the first Europeans to come here. The seed is used as a diuretic, often used to treat gout, edema, or dropsy. The seeds are also used as an antispasmodic of the digestive system.

In food use the celery seed is used as a flavoring agent in soups, salads, and stews.

Warning: It is advised that pregnant women not use celery seed due to the possibility of uterine bleeding and uterine muscle contractions!