Halloween in our new home was delightful! We had over 200 children of all ages stop by - many spider men, possible attracted by our over sized spider, princesses, a cupcake, two dalmations accompanied by Cruella DeVille.This is the first time we've lived in a community where they have a lot of kids trick or treating in years! All of the neighbors were out on their porches and we all visited and talked in between visitors. It was a warm and wonderful evening in Lake Walker!
This is the only herb reputed to be poisonous through out. The flowers are beautiful but it is best left untouched. Let me introduce you to Monkshood - best described in a poem by the incomparable Erica Jong.
Most beautiful of poisons,
Boarder plant, wearing your small green cowl,
little friar, little murderer,
aconotine flows from your roots,
to your deep purple flowers,
centerpiece for a poisonous feast.
A few leaves in the salad,
A few seeds in the soup,
A thick root to flavor the stock -
,And it is all over
Let the lover beware
Who buys you for love philters,
the dose is deceptive,
One pinch may lead to passion,
but two will surely lead to death.
Yet you twinkle, little blue bell
at the edge of the garden,
wearing no warning about your slim green neck.
Wolfbane, Friar's cap,
Chariot of Venus -
How many may claim to be poisonous head to toe?
The honor - Friar Death -
belongs to you.
If that weren't enough, there are additional benefits! It can protect your home and assure affluence and abundance. Silver coins placed next to this handy root will double in amount over night. Even those who aren't known for our mathematical expertise can see the benefit!
Mandrake can be used to attract love if you hang the root on the headboard of your bed. Keep in mind, this is a three to four foot long hairy root that looks something like a person. I'm just wondering how I'd react if . . . .oh, never mind. Once true love is guaranteed it will ensure fertility and the scent ensures a peaceful night's sleep - at least until the baby arrives! Sounds amazing, doesn't it?
But there is a problem. Mandrake roots are rare and expensive, and, well they should be, considering the challenges involved with obtaining one. To ensure that the magic is intact, there are certain procedures that must be followed. You don't just go out with a shovel to your nearest mandrake patch and start digging.The root must be obtained on a moonless night, ideally yanked out just at the stroke of midnight.
There is another problem. The mandrake does not want to be removed from the ground. It shrieks in protest. The shrill screams seem to have a derogatory effect on all that hear them and drive them to insanity. So as you can imagine, people aren't lining up to be mandrake diggers.
There is a solution but Zippy, my Puggle, and I don't like it. "The safest way to secure a mandrake was to tie a dog to the plant on a moonless night. Plugging one's ears with beeswax and blowing a horn to drown out the shrieks, the dog was whipped at the stroke of midnight and the jumping animal pulled the screeching root from the ground and died." Died. A dog, at least one or we know they wouldn't have given this example, died so that someone could tie a hairy root to their bedpost.
There is good news though! If you're looking for a substitute for your spell this Halloween, you can use the root of an ash tree, which might be even more difficult to dig up than the Mandrake. The root of betony or may apples have also proved to be worthy alternatives.. For a more easily obtainable solution, apples are said to work just as well.
Thursday, October 15 was our final session for Enhancing Your Life with Herbs. It was a bittersweet session. I'm really going to miss this group! There was a wealth of knowledge in the group, a willingness to share and a lot of humor woven through out the course.
What a fabulous group! I'm sure we learned as much from each other as they did from me! They were knowledgeable, enthusiastic and wow, can they cook!
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
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