Two days ago I posted about violets, and since then I've been working on a project in honor of this delicate flower. She has such versatility, presence and power. Her impact is really rather remarkable considering she only blooms for a short time each year. This little herb of Venus has influenced history, brought beauty and romance into our lives, and inspired Shakespeare, among others.
Sonnet 99 by William Shakespeare
The forward violet thus did I chide:
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,
If not from my love's breath? The purple pride
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells
In my love's veins thou hast too grossly dyed.
The lily I condemned for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol'n thy hair:
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third, nor red nor white, had stol'n of both
And to his robbery had annex'd thy breath;
But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth
A vengeful canker eat him up to death.
More flowers I noted, yet I none could see
But sweet or colour it had stol'n from thee.
Violets have over two hundred folk names and most of them are reminiscent of sex or love. In addition, their leaves are heart shaped, giving them a place of honor in our Romancing Herbs series in honor of Valentine's Day!
Like the rose, the color of the violet has great significance in sending messages. Blue violets promise "My love will always be true", purple send the message, "I return your love." White signifies "I'm willing to take a chance on happiness". They also represents modesty and humility as they hide their spectacular beauty under heart shaped leaves.
One story comes from Venus asking her son Cupid if he thought she was more attractive than a group of maidens playing along the edge of the woods. He said he found the maidens to be more beautiful so she beat them until they were blue. Since then, because of their association with Venus, they have been associated with love and romance. Huh?
Another legend suggests at one time violets were white, but Mary's grief at seeing the suffering of Jesus on the cross turned them all blue. She has been associated with the modesty of the Virgin Mary, the Angel Gabriel, the Holy Trinity, and Greek and Roman legends and lore. Athens has been referred to as the "Violet Crowned City" Napoleon returned from exile in the spring and used the violet in a secret code to determine loyalty. This tiny, delicate little flower has an endless significance in all aspects of history.
In addition to the legends, there are recipes for aphrodisiacs, love portions, candied violets, beauty products. I had planned to do the iris this spring, similar to the Rose legend and lore e-book, but the violet may win out!
My favorite use for violets is sprinkled on a tossed green salad when she first appears in the spring. She is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants. Add strawberries, orange sections, and avocado. My poppy seed dressing from an earlier blog post is the perfect salad dressing.
All parts of the orange are used to attract love! Fresh blossoms are used in bouquets and baths. Dried blossoms, seeds and dried peels are used in sachets and potpourris. The juice of the orange can be mixed with wine or enjoyed alone to increase love and lust.
The orange is one of the Aquarius zodiac herbs, particularly prized for adding sunshine during a time of year that can be filled with gray days for many of us. In addition, this golden fruit is also prized for attracting wealth and abundance! Love, lust, health, wealth, and abundance - what more could we want?
If you're preparing your shopping list for your Valentine's dinner, don't forget the radishes! In addition to their zingy flavor, they add a splash of color. This bouquet of "Easter egg" radishes includes rosy red, fuchsia, lavender, purple and white.
Radishes contribute more than simply color and flavor. They are prized for their ability to increase lust. A few radishes in a salad or as a garnish may bring the benefits of spring fever a few weeks early. It's worth a try!
Carrying a mullein leaf will attract the opposite sex. You can also determine a person’s interest by finding a mullein stalk growing in the vicinity of your intended’s house. Bend the plant in the direction of their home and if they are interested, the plant will return to it’s upright position. (The trick here is not to bend it too far!)
Note: For those of you casting spells this Valentine's day, the dried leaves of mullein can be crumbled and substituted for graveyard dust. Handy to know if you live in colder climates and the ground is frozen.
Mint has been associated with romance since the beginning of time. The first caveman grabbed a sprig to chew to keep his breath fresh before bashing his beloved on the head and dragging her off by the hair. Now you can find it in breath mints and it's used to settle an upset stomach (possibly simply butterflies from being in the presence of that special someone)!
I think of mint as the ideal honeymoon herb. It provides protection during travels, and induces lust! once the couple arrives at the honeymoon suite. Added bonus - if either the bride or groom develop a headache, due to excessive celebrating at the wedding, mint leaves rubbed on the forehead will provide relief!
These delicate little flowers, hiding innocently under their protective leaves, have been reputed to have some serious powers! In a 2003 study by American and German scientists, their fragrance was credited with not only attracting sperm, but causing the little guys to double their speed in hot pursuit! The study. called the "Lily of the Valley Phenomena" was recently declared false, stating that scents have no roll in fertilization.
Nonetheless, the Lily of the Valley has been carried in wedding bouquets to ensure fertility for centuries. The beautiful Kate Middleton carried these exquisite flowers in her bouquet and apparently they were effective! She has given birth to a prince, a princess, and is expecting another, with a rumor of twins, in September 2018!
Personally, I am relieved that the phenomena has been disassociated with fertility. I'm well past the age when that has any appeal and it is a relief to know I can safely wear one of my favorite fragrances with no concern about consequences!
Maybe? Maybe Not? NO!
This herb sends mixed messages, being prized for it's powers of both fertility and chastity. It has been called called the May Bush and also the Tree of Chastity, which implies "Maybe not!" Actually, "No!"
Legend has it that If the leaves are placed under the mattress, chastity AND fertility will result . . . Confused? I am . . . . . I can only think of one time when that worked . .
Alphabet journal page from a trip to Ocean City, Maryland
Attention - really look at what is around you, pay attention to the beauty, the details.
Alphabet - reviewed Von Oech's library advertisement - What we can do with 26 little letters!
Believe - the difference between people who feel they are creative and those that think they aren't is simply a matter of belief. Believe in yourself! Use affirmations.
Brain - more to come in future sessions. What goes on in your head is the beginning of what you manifest in your life.
Collecting Firsts - collecting firsts takes the pressure off of doing something new for the first time. Just add it to your collection!
Color - legends from the rainbow, Chakras
Dharma - use your skills and talents in accordance with the universal laws and you will find your Dharma. We are all here to ask, "How can I help?"
Energy - What increases it? What drains it? Be aware. If possible, avoid anything or anyone who drains your energy.
Food - Always ask the value - 'What's In It For Me?". Food is fuel. What value is it adding? It can be a feast beyond tastes - also consider the joys of smell, texture, vision, sound.
Gratitude - is the basis for all contentment. Write your own list and continue to add blessings. Look for assets. Example - 40 Assets for Youth
History - Look for lessons from history as you research things you love! Example - I love violets and was surprised to find Napoleon's violet post card.
Heart to Hand - write your goals on paper. Research indicates you will be more likely to complete goals if they are handwritten instead of typed, and your emotions will be more directly linked if you write and journal by hand.
Intuition - is a sixth sense. Be aware of it. Practice. Trust it. Feel it in your solar plexus.
Insects - can teach us many lessons. Observe and consider the lessons they bring. Also included in Ted Andrews book on animal Totems.
Journals - written, illustrated, fictional journals
Karma - we reap what we sow. If we plant radishes we will get radishes. They may not be immediate but they will manifest in time. It is the same with patience, kindness and compassion. They will return ten fold.
Love - is the answer to everything, and it begins with valuing ourselves. If we can be compassionate and patient with ourselves, we can be kinder and more caring to others.
Magic - it is all around us. Manifesting - remember, what we focus our attention on grows. Always. Focus on what you want. Many focus on what they don't want and it increases.
Meditate - a simple meditation is to look at a painting or photo for 10 minutes and let your mind relax. Meditation is very similar to saying grace before a meal. Stop. Breathe. Be grateful. Quiet your mind and focus on the very breath that keeps you alive.
Nature - is abundant with lessons! It teaches us to live in the present moment, giving and receiving are the same, and there is value in everything - even those often unappreciated weeds.
O - own your own circle. We can't control others, but we can control our own space and how we treat others within our 10 foot circle.
Preparation - "a cowboy always carries his spurs!" - Bring a positive attitude, a notebook and pen, art supplies, an instrument - whatever works for you!
Quotes - words can give us inspiration, validation, incentive, power, insights. Collect quotes from people you admire! Create your own quotes and share them with others.
Quest - find a grand passion - it will give you energy, direction and purpose!
Questions - keep your questions broad. Don't include your own answers in your questions - that can be limiting. Have faith to ask without having specific expectations about what the answers will be. Example -" How can I find my perfect living space?" instead of "How can I build/rent in a particular area?" Shifting the question enabled me to move to Baltimore in a few weeks after being stuck by asking the wrong question for over a year.
Research - something you love!. A few examples I've researched include roses, violets, yarrow, zodiac herbs, herbs for haunting and romance, creativity, sea life, colors and rainbows. . .
Senses - Sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell - all of these can contribute to living a more sensuous, creative life!
SCAMMPERR - technique by Robert F. Eberle - Substitute - components, materials, people Combine - mix, combine with other services, integrate, Arrange - organize, order, Modify/Magnify - reduce or increase in scale, shape, color, Put to Other Uses, Eliminate or Minify - remove elements, simplify, reduce to core, Rearrange/Reverse - inside out, upside down
Symbolism - we are surrounded by symbols - in history, art, paintings, advertising, sports logos. What symbols frequently cross your path?
Synchronicity - be aware of the synchronicity and serendipity in your life. Once you begin to see it it will increase and everything will change.
Themes - can make anything more fun! Whether it's a party, vacation, book or goal, themes provide a framework.
Totems - Native American Indian belief that each animal that crosses our path brings a message. Some are close by all our lives, others only appear occasionally and under unusual circumstances.
Unexpected - look at things from a different perspective - a different point of view. Example - take photographs of people's shoes instead of faces at a party.
Values - know your values and live accordingly. Saves energy and eliminates drama.
Vision board - the mind sees in pictures. Create a vision board to manifest the life you want.
Wizards - they exist. In Deepak Choprah's The Way of the Wizard he describes growing up in Delhi, India around wizards. When I visited Delhi, I met one! Swamiji Sarvanand.
WWWWW - Who? Who can help? What? What material can we use? Where? Where can we get other materials? When? When should we make it? Why? Why will it be an improvement?
X marks the spot. Make every day a treasure hunt.
Z - Zen - "When the eye wakes up to see again, it suddenly stops taking anything for granted." Frederick Frank, a quote from The Zen of Seeing.
You! - We ended with Y instead of Z since it all begins and ends with you. YOU are the treasure!
"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."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!