The Devil’s Herb
#Halloweenherbs, #hauntingherbs, #herballegends
And you thought is was just an innocent garnish!
I had a question about why I wasn’t mentioning some of the deadly herbs associated with Halloween and haunting - aconite, belladonna, bittersweet night shade, jimsonweed, foxglove and others. I’ve painted them all, and done extensive research, but since they are poisonous, I’ve avoided highlighting them. As I stated at the beginning of this 14 day series. “this is a light hearted look at herbs” and I’ve avoided any that could be harmful.
Parsley, as we all know, is edible, but it does have some serious associations. The first parsley plant was said to have sprung up from the blood of Archemorus, the son of Death, when serpents devoured him. Evil associations continued from this dire beginning. It is recommended that you plant four times as many seeds as you will need in order to give the devil his due, and during its month long germination, roots must go to the devil and back nine times before the plant will grow. Women were advised not to plant the seeds as they could become pregnant instantly. In contrast, it has also been said to induce abortion.
Planting parsley on Good Friday during the rising moon was recommended for those willing to take a chance and hoping to avoid evil associations.
The most gruesome association I’m aware of is the October 1937 Parsley Massacre. Michele Wucker notes in The River Massacre, The Real and Imagined Borders of Hispaniola, "During just a few weeks in October 1937, Dominican soldiers killed 30,000 Haitians along the border because the victims' skin was dark, even though Dominicans were just a few shades lighter. On the Dominican border, dictator Trujillo's men asked anyone with dark skin to identify the sprigs of parsley they held up. Haitians, whose Kreyol uses a wide, flat "R", could not pronounce the trilled "R" in the Spanish word for parsley, "perejil.” If they pronounced parsley incorrectly, they were executed.
Of course, that was a racist dictator’s fault, not the innocent herb’s.
On a brighter note, Roman soldiers carried parsley for protection. Other legends recommend using it in your bath to immediately end all misfortune. And if you are heading out for an evening of heavy drinking, wearing a wreath of parsley on your head will prevent you from becoming intoxicated!
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Welcome!! I’m Mikell (pronounced Michael). If you love spicing up your life with herbs, recipes, decorating and crafts, symbolism and rituals like I do, I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter and free Enhancing Your Life with Herbs e-book!
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!