(1.) Gnomes, the Earth spirits;
(2.) Undines, the water spirits;
(3.) Salamanders, the fire spirits
(4.) Sylphs, the air spirits.
The Gnomes Under the general heading of "Gnomes", we find those creatures known as tricksies, hobgoblins, elfs, forest-men, brownies, dwarfs, little old men of the rocks, and many other similar titles.
The Gnomes are the most dense of the Nature Spirits, and consequently are more subject to the laws of mortality. They live in the element of Earth, and are said to work among the rocks and to some extent, with trees and flowers. Certain types of Gnomes dwell in old ruined castles. This is one reason why old buildings are over grown with vines and creepers, for the Gnomes seek to extend Nature's beauty. Some of them attain great size; others have the power of changing size at will. The majority, however, are dwarf-like in stature, rather thickset, with large heads and a waddling gait, their garments growing as an integral part of them.
According to Paracelsus, they marry and have families, living in a strange world which the Norse people call "Elfheim." They are said to have come out of the earth, which they are able to penetrate to it's very core.
They also live in caves, and mold stalactites with stalagmites, and some work with corals and shell-fish under the sea. These little people are often seen by children, who remain clairvoyant up to about the seventh year.
In the forests, they are sometimes seen storing up provisions for the winter. They are industrious little people who are given charge of molding and forming the Earth. Under the direction of wiser ones, they have charge of all the solids, bones, and other tissues of the human body, working with them and restoring them. No broken bones would be set, were it not for the assistance of Gnomes. The king of the Gnomes is called "Gob" - a name from which the word "Goblin" is derived. It is said that one of the elemental kingdoms dwells at each of the four corners of creation; and the Gnomes, who work with the most crystallized elements, have been given the northern corner of creation as their home.
The ancients declared that Gnomes govern the secret treasures and hidden things of the Earth, and that those who would seek material treasures hidden in Nature, mus first gain the support and assistance of the Gnomes, who will either unveil them or so conceal them that they cannot be found.
The Gnomes are very miserly, greedy and fond of good things to eat; on the other hand, they work incessantly are very patient and faithful, and in our world would be called steady or temperate. Occasionally they meet in great conclaves in the heart of some dark forest or among rocks; and they are well portrayed in the wonderful story of Rip Van Winkle in the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow." A busy little people, they play a great part in the development of man, and assist him in his work.
They work intuitively through the elements; and while they have a certain form of mentality, it is inferior to ours. They are incapable of expressing or manifesting themselves through any substance other than their own element. The hypothetical ether pervading solid crystallized substances as the first etheric essence is the only substance in which they can function. Since they dwell in darkness and gloom, the Gnomes are said to have a certain effect upon human disposition, and to govern saturnine melancholia, sadness, gloom and despondency.
Under the classification of Undines are listed the Nymphs, Niads, Mermaids, Sirens, Harpies, Sea-daughters, and Sea Goddesses of the ancient. These are the elementals whose home is the element of water - the oceans, lakes, streams, and rivers of the Earth. They govern the liquids or vital forces of the body. As the Gnomes represent the sign of Taurus in the Zodiac, so the Undines represent Scorpio, having to do with life and vital forces of Nature. They are reputed to be very beautiful, and in their realm, beauty seems to be a keynote of power. They have many qualities similar to the Gnomes, for they dwell in world of their own. They are generally considered amicable and fortunate, and serve man in the spirit of love and sincerity. Like the Gnomes, they have their own rulers; individuals of an unusual degree of superiority. Their supreme ruler, Necksa, they obey and reverence highly. All these beings have a knowledge of and revere the Creator God.
The Undines have been given the western corner of creation, and are said to whisper sometimes through the west wind, which is the medium of their power. They work with the creatures living in the sea, and are said to have an important part in the production of rain. Medieval philosophers (especially Paracelsus) held the belief that storms were caused by battles between the Nature Spirits; that the crossing of their qualities results in great disturbances in the heavens, which we know as storms and upheavals.
The Salamanders The ancients highly honored the Salamanders, calling them the "Fire Kings" because of their flaming appearance, their great strength and power, and the important part played by them in human affairs.
No spark or fire can be lighted on Earth without the assistance of a Salamander, for they are the spirits of fire. Those able to study phenomena clairvoyantly can see these great Fire Kings twisting and turning in the flames, particularly during a great conflagration. Many of the ancients believed these fire Salamanders to be gods, claiming that their emperors were the children of the "Fire Kings." They are especially fond of incense, the fumes of which will enable them to assume certain forms of bodies.The Salamanders are the strongest and most dynamic of all the elementals. A great similarity exists between them and the Lucifer angels, and also the great fire Devas of India. In Volcanoes and the fire strata of the Earth, they are said to have their homes an the wield authority. Their flaming King, Djin, is a glorious being, fierce and awe-inspiring, who rules them with a rod of flame.Though dangerous to human life, the Salamanders, when properly understood, are great benefactors. They are hasty of action, tempestuous, and emotional, but very energetic. Some of them assume tremendous proportions and resemble the giants of prehistoric times, while others are small and barely visible to the eye.
Their home is said to be in the south, and they are felt in the warm winds of the equator. Their temperament is sanguineous, and they influence to a certain extent all individuals with that temperament. If this quality is permitted to become a controlling power in life, the Salamanders, working through it, confer upon all whom they thus influence tempestuous natures, fiery temperaments, and uncontrollable passions.Because of the tenuity of the element in which they live, the Salamanders are seldom seen. They live to an extreme age, many existing for thousands of years before finally being dissolved back into the primal essence from which they differentiated.
The inhabitants of the fourth ether (the finest and highest of all) are called sylphs, or air spirits. They are also known as the riders of the night, the wind-born, the storm angels, the air-devas, the mind born, and by various other names. The ancients believed their homes to be in the clouds. Deeper study, however, has proved that this group of elementals (which includes fairies and all creatures with iridescent wings referred to in children's fairy tales) really have their homes upon mountain tops, rather than the air itself.The Sylphs live and have their being in their own ether, and like, the Gnomes, propagate and maintain themselves in a world of their own, building castles out of the subtle element which is the reflector of the mental plane. They vary in appearance, some resembling human beings with with slightly different proportions. They are said to be mirthful, eccentric, capricious, and inconstant, darting hither and thither. They are always busy, and work especially with the thoughts of living creatures. They assist in the airy elements of man's body, such as the gases and the ethers which are generated within his own being, while the Salamanders work through the blood and the fire elements of the body. Paralda, their leader, is said to dwell on highest mountain of the Earth. The Sylphs wield a powerful influence upon all thing in which air is an important factor. The next two thousand years (the Age of Aquarius) will be an air age in which the influence of the Sylphs will be especially evident, and the conquest of the air will have a great deal to do with the discovery of these latent concealed facts. The ancients claimed that wars, plagues, fires, earthquakes and other cataclysms were caused by great armies of elementals marching in military array against each other, and fighting in these elements of Nature (portrayed beautifully in Tolkein's Battle for Middle Earth). Thus thunder and lightening were said to be caused by battles between the Sylphs and Salamanders, while rains and tidal waves were caused by Sylphs and Undines.Movement of bodies in the Earth, landslides, and internal rumblings were said to be caused by inharmony between the Salamanders and Gnomes. Generated out of the explosions of gunpowder, the Salamanders hover over battlefields. As great armies of red flaming creatures, they also feed upon human passion, obsessing the mind of man and finding expression through the receptive ethers of the body. The four groups - Gnomes, Undines, Salamanders, and Sylphs - form the natural inhabitants of the etheric elements. Their labor is carried on through what is called the humidity body of both the Earth and the Planetary Logos.
Or 13 Reasons Air Should Be In The North
It all started 20 years ago. I was 16 years old then, and a recent initiate to the religion of Wicca. Like most neophytes, I was eager to begin work on my Book of Shadows, the traditional manuscript liturgical book kept by most practicing Witches. I copied down rituals, spells, recipes, poems, and tables of correspondences from every source I could lay hands on. Those generally fell into two broad categories: published works, such as the many books available on Witchcraft and magic; and unpublished works, mainly other Witches' Books of Shadows.
Twenty years ago, most of us were 'traditional' enough to copy everything by hand. (Today, photocopying and even computer modem transfers are becoming de riguer.) Always, we were admonished to copy 'every dot and comma', making an exact transcription of the original, since any variation in the ceremony might cause major problems for the magician. Seldom, if ever, did anyone pause to consider where these rituals came from in the first place, or who composed them. Most of us, alas, did not know and did not care. It was enough just to follow the rubrics and do the rituals as prescribed.
But something brought me to an abrupt halt in my copying frenzy. I had dutifully copied rituals from different sources, and suddenly realized they contained conflicting elements. I found myself comparing the two versions, wondering which one was 'right', 'correct', 'authentic', 'original', 'older', etc. This gave rise to the more general questions about where a ritual came from in the first place. Who created it? Was it created by one person or many? Was it ever altered in transmission? If so, was it by accident or intent? Do we know? Is there ever any way to find out? How did a particular ritual get into a Coven's Book of Shadows? From another, older, Book of Shadows? Or from a published source? If so, where did the author of the published work get it?
I had barely scratched the surface, and yet I could already see that the questions being raised were very complex. (Now, all these years later, I am more convinced than ever of the daunting complexity of Neo-Pagan liturgical history. And I am equally convinced of the great importance of this topic for a thorough understanding of modern Witchcraft. It may well be a mare's nest, but imagine the value it will have to future Craft historians. And you are unconditionally guaranteed to see me fly into a passionate tirade whenever I'm confronted with such banal over-simplifications as 'Crowley is the REAL author of the Third Degree initiation,' or 'Everyone KNOWS Gardner INVENTED modern Witchcraft.')
The first time I noticed conflicting ritual elements was when I was invited as a guest to attend another Coven's esbat celebration. When the time came to 'invoke the Watchtowers' (a ritual salutation to the four directions), I was amazed to learn that this group associated the element of Earth with the North. My own Coven equated North with Air. How odd, I thought. Where'd they get that? The High Priestess told me it had been copied out of a number of published sources. Further, she said she had never seen it listed any other way. I raced home and began tearing books from my own library shelves. And sure enough! Practically every book I consulted gave the following associations as standard: North = Earth, East = Air, South = Fire, West = Water.
Then where the heck did I get the idea that Air belonged in the North? After much thought, I remembered having copied my own elemental/directional associations from another Witch's Book of Shadows, her Book representing (so she claimed) an old Welsh tradition. Perhaps I'd copied it down wrong? A quick long-distance phone call put my mind at ease on that score. (When I asked her where she'd gotten it, she said she THOUGHT it was from an even older Book of Shadows, but she wasn't certain.)
By now, I felt miffed that my own tradition seemed to be at variance with most published sources. Still, my own rituals didn't seem to be adversely affected. Nor were those of my fellow Coven members, all of whom put Air in the North. Further, over the years I had amassed lots of associations and correspondences that seemed to REQUIRE Air to be in the North. The very thought of Air in the East offended both my sense of reason and my gut-level mythic sensibilities. There are good REASONS to place Air in the North. And the whole mythological superstructure would collapse if Air were in the East, instead. If this is so, then why do most published sources place Earth in the North and Air in the East?
Suddenly, I felt sure I knew the reason! Somewhere along the line, someone had deliberately tampered with the information! Such tampering is a long and venerable practice within certain branches of magic. In Western culture, it is most typically seen among Hermetic, Cabalistic and 'ceremonial' magic lodges. It is common among such groups that, when publishing their rituals for public consumption, they will publish versions that are INCOMPLETE and/or deliberately ALTERED in some way from the authentic practice. This prevents someone who is NOT a member of the group from simply buying a book, and performing the rituals, without benefit of formal training. It is only when you are initiated into the lodge that you will be given the COMPLETE and/or CORRECTED versions of their rituals. This is how such groups guard their secrets. (And it is a telling postscript that many scholars now believe modern Witchcraft to have 'borrowed' its directional/elemental correspondences from ceremonial magic sources! What a laugh if this was Crowley's last best joke on his friend Gerald Gardner!)
I remember the first time I became aware of such deliberate ritual tampering. A friend of mine had been making a study of the so-called 'planetary squares', talismans that look like magic squares consisting of a grid of numbers in some cryptic order. There are seven such squares -- one for each of the 'old' planets. While making this study, he began coloring the grids (more for his own pleasure than anything else), making colorful mini-mosaics, using first two colors, then three, then four, and on up to the total number of squares in the grid. Six of the planetary squares yielded pleasing patterns of color. Then there was the Sun square! Against all expectation, the colors were a random jumble, with no patterns emerging. Thus, he began his quest for the CORRECTED Sun square. And I became convinced of the reality of ritual tampering.
All that remains, then, is for me to assemble all the arguments in favor of the Air-in-the-North model, which I have now come to believe is the CORRECTED system of correspondences. The remainder of this article will be devoted to those arguments, each with its own name and number:
1. AIRTS: This is perhaps the strongest argument. In Celtic countries, the four elemental/directional associations are referred to as the 'four airts'. And it is a known fact that this tradition associates Air with North. While it is true that some writers, familiar with ceremonial magic (like William Sharp and Doreen Valiente), have given 'tampered' versions of the airts, it is a telling point that folklorists working directly with native oral traditions (like Alexander Carmichael and F. Marion McNeil) invariably report the Air/North connection.
2. PARALLEL CULTURES: Although arguing from parallel cultures may not be as convincing, it is still instructive to examine other magical aboriginal cultures in the Western hemisphere. For example, the vast majority of Native American tribes (themselves no slouches in the area of magic!) place Air in the North, which they symbolize by the Eagle. (Aboriginal cultures lying south of the equator typically have different associations, for reasons I will discuss next.)
3. GEOPHYSICAL: If one accepts the insular British origins of elemental directions, then one must imagine living in the British Isles. To the West is the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean (i.e. water). To the East, the bulk of the European land mass (earth). South has always been the direction of fire because, as one travels south (toward the equator), it gets warmer. Which leaves North as the region of air, home of the icy winds of winter. (These last two associations would be reversed for cultures in the southern hemisphere, for whom north is the direction of the warm equatorial region, and south is the land of ice.)
4. HYPERBOREAN: In fact, an ancient name for the British Isles was 'Hyperboria', which literally means 'behind the north wind', thus associating north and wind (air) once more. The inhabitants were themselves called 'Hyperborians', and the phrase 'at the back of the north wind' (the title of one of George MacDonald's faery romances) is still current. Of all the winds of the compass, it is unquestionably the north wind (Boreas), bringer of winter, which is perceived as the strongest and most influential (cf. Robert Grave's goddess fantasy 'Watch the North Wind Rise'). You don't hear too much about the other three cardinal winds.
5. SEASONAL: Many occultists associate the four seasons with the four cardinal points, as well. Hence, winter = north, spring = east, summer = south, and autumn = west. (To be precise, it is the solstice and equinox points which align with the cardinal points.) Again, in most folklore, winter is associated with air and wind, as the icy blasts that usher in the season. In spring, it is the earth which arrests our attention, with its sudden riot of blooms and greenery. Again, south relates to summer, the hottest season (fire), and west relates to autumn.
6. DIURNAL: Occultists also often associate the cardinal points of a single day to the four compass points. Thus, midnight = north, sunrise = east, noon = south, and sunset = west. (Please note that we are talking about TRUE midnight and TRUE noon here, the points halfway between sunset and sunrise, and between sunrise and sunset, respectively.) These associate nicely with the seasonal attributes just discussed. It is easy to see why sunrise should equate to east, and sunset to west. And, once again, from the perspective of the British Isles, the sun rises over land (earth) and sets over the ocean (water). South is related to noon because it is the moment of greatest heat (fire). Leaving the 'invisible' element of air to be associated with the sun's invisibility, at midnight.
7. MYTHOLOGICAL: In Celtic mythology, north is invariably associated with air. The pre-Christian Irish gods and goddesses, the Tuatha De Danann, were 'airy' faeries (later versions came equipped with wings, relating them to sylphs). The Book of Conquests states their original home was in the north, 'at the back of the north wind'. And when they came to Ireland, they came in ships, THROUGH THE UPPER AIR (!), settling on the mountain tops. (It has always struck me as odd that some modern writers see mountains as a symbol of earth. The crucial symbolism of the mountain is its height, rising into the air, touching the sky. Virtually all Eastern traditions associate mountains, favorite abodes of gurus, with air. A CAVE would be a better symbol of earth than a mountain.) In Welsh mythology, too, Math the Ancient, chief god of Gwynedd (or NORTH Wales), is specifically associated with wind, which can carry people's thoughts to him.
8. YIN/YANG: Many occultists believe that the four elements have yin/yang connections. Both air and fire are seen as masculine, while earth and water are seen as feminine. If air is associated with the north point of the magic circle, and earth is east, then one achieves a yin/yang alternation as one circumambulates the circle. As one passes the cardinal points of east, south, west, and north, one passes feminine, masculine, feminine, masculine energies. This alternating flux of plus/minus, push/pull, masculine/feminine, is the very pulse of the universe, considered of great importance by most occultists. That it was equally important to our ancestors is evidenced by standing stones in the British Isles. At sites like the Kennet Avenue of Braga, the tall, slender, masculine, phallic stones alternate precisely with the shorter, diamond-shaped yoni stones.
9. GENERATOR: This argument flows out of the previous one. Practicing magicians often think of the magic circle as a kind of psychic generator. Witches in particular like to perform circle dances to 'raise the cone of power'. Hand in hand, and alternating man and woman, they dance clockwise (deosil) around the circle, moving faster and faster until the power is released. This model has an uncanny resemblance to an electrical generator, as man and woman alternately pass each of the four 'poles' of the magic circle. These poles themselves MUST alternate between plus and minus if power is to be raised. This means that if the masculine fire is in the south, then the masculine air MUST be in the north. If the feminine water is in the west, then the feminine earth MUST be in the east. If any adjacent pair were switched, the generator would stop dead.
10. MASCULINE/FEMININE AXIS: When you look at a typical map, north (the cardinal direction) is at the top. Any north-south road is a vertical line, and any east-west road is a horizontal line. Likewise, a 'map' of a magic circle makes the vertical north-south axis masculine (with air and fire), while the horizontal east-west axis is feminine (earth and water). This makes logical sense. When we look at the horizon of the earth, we see a horizontal line. Water also seeks a horizontal plane. Feminine elements, considered 'passive', have a natural tendency to 'lay down'. Fire, on the other hand, always assumes an erect or vertical position. Air, too, can rise upward, as earth and water cannot. Masculine elements, being 'active', have a natural tendency to 'stand up'.
11. ALTAR TOOLS: In modern Witchcraft, there are four principal altar tools, the same four tools shown on the Tarot card, the Magician. They also correspond to the four Tarot suits, the four ancient treasures of Ireland, and the four 'hallows' of Arthurian legend. And, like the four elements, two of them are feminine and two of them are masculine. The pentacle is a shallow dish inscribed with a pentagram, representing earth, and is here placed in the east. The womb-shaped chalice, symbolizing water, is placed in the west. They form the horizontal feminine axis. The phallic-shaped wand, representing fire, is placed in the south. And the equally phallic-shaped athame is placed in the north. They form the vertical masculine axis. (The gender associations of cup and blade are especially emphasized in the ritual blessing of wine.)
12. AXIS SYMBOLISM: In nearly every culture, the vertical line is a symbol of yang, or masculine energy. The horizontal line is yin, feminine energy. When the vertical masculine line penetrates the horizontal feminine line, forming the ancient Pagan symbol of the equal-armed cross, it becomes a symbol of life, and life-force. Place a circle around it or on it, and you have a circle-cross or 'Celtic' cross, symbol of everlasting life. (Please note the importance of the EQUAL-armed cross. If one arm is longer or shorter, then the four elements are out of balance. The Christian or 'Roman' cross, for example, has an extended southern arm. And many historians have commented on Christianity's excess of 'fire' or zeal. Some versions actually show a shortened northern arm, indicating a dearth of 'air' or intellectual qualities.)
13. ASTROLOGICAL: The astrological year is divided into four equal quadrants, each beginning at a solstice or equinox. And each quadrant is governed by one of the four elements. Which element can be discovered by examining the exact MID-POINT of the quadrant. For example, the first quadrant, beginning at the winter solstice (north) is governed by air, which rules 15 degrees Aquarius, symbolized by the Man or Spirit. The second quadrant, beginning at the spring equinox (east) is governed by earth, which rules 15 degrees Taurus, the Bull. The third quadrant, beginning at the summer solstice (south) is governed by fire, which rules 15 degrees Leo, the Lion. And the fourth quadrant, beginning at the fall equinox (west) is governed by water, which rules 15 degrees Scorpio, here symbolized by the Eagle. Thus, north, east, south and west correspond to air, earth, fire, and water, and to man, bull, lion, and eagle, respectively. If the last four symbols seem familiar, it is because they represent the four elemental power points of the astrological year, and their symbols appear in the four corners of the Tarot cards, the World and the Wheel of Fortune. (The same figures were later adopted by Christians as symbols of the four gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.)
If those are the arguments in favor of Air-in-the-North, where are the counter-arguments in favor of Earth-in-the-North? Surprisingly, I've heard very few. The most common by far is 'But we've always done it this way.' Not too convincing. However, no matter HOW persuasive my arguments may be, many have countered that magic doesn't lend itself to rational arguments. It's what FEELS right that counts. True. And there's no denying that many practitioners do just fine with earth in the north. Granted. Still, if they've never tried it the other way, how would they really know?
My challenge to my fellow practitioners then is this: give Air-in-the-North a shot. Just try it on for size. See what it feels like. And not for just a single ritual. It'll take several tries just to overcome your habitual ritual mindset. And nothing is as habitual as ritual! So in order to give this a fair shake, you'll have to do a whole series of rituals with air in the north. And go into it with an open mind. Like all magic, if you decide ahead of time it won't work, it won't. Then, once you've tried it, compare it to your old method. Ask yourself what's different, if it worked any better, and why or why not. And let me know. I'd enjoy hearing about your experiences.
Document Copyright © 1986, 1998 by Mike Nichols
This document can be re-published only as long as no information is lost or changed, credit is given to the author, and it is provided or used without cost to others.
Other uses of this document must be approved in writing by Mike Nichols.
Hail to the Watchtowers
Hail to the East, where the warm winds blow,
where ideas and creations form and flow,
I ask for your aid within this place,
As I welcome you to my sacred space!
Hail to the South, to the sacred fire,
Realm of passion, willpower and desire,
Bring your bright flame and grace this sphere,
Power of Fire, I welcome you here!
Hail to the West, with your cleansing rain,
Wash away sorrow, anger and pain,
Bring gentle healing, and hear my plea
Powers of Water, a welcome to thee!
Hail to the North, where mountains rise,
Where green grows the land under brilliant blue skies,
Realm of stability, strength to persevere,
Powers of Earth, I welcome you here
By Donna Morgan on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 3:06pm
Alraun, Satan's Apple, Mandragora, Devil's Testicles The Greek name from which the word 'Mandragora' is derived implies a plant that is harmful to cattle.
There are 6 species in this genus, the most common of which is Mandragora officinarum. The perennial plants form a leaf-rosette with no stalk. The leaves can grow up to a foot in size and are between 4 - 5 inches wide with a sharply pointed apex. When they first emerge they stand erect, but gradually flatten out. The star like flowers are five pointed and somewhat bell-shaped. The officinarum variety is yellow-greenish; the autumnalis variety is purple. The flowers are born on separate stalks, which emerge from the centre of the leaf-rosette. They later give rise to the golden yellowish fruits, that are often referred to as 'apples', which they resemble, though their size approximates more that of a crab-apple or mirabelle. The fruit has a pleasant scent. The root can grow to over half a meter (2 feet) in length and is often strangely forked, which has given rise to anthropomorphic associations, likening their appearance to a human male or female body shape. The root has a tough brown rind but is white inside. The leaves emerge directly from the crown of the root.
Mandrake originates in the eastern Mediterranean region and is distributed throughout southern Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa, where it grows in waste places and abandoned fields in sandy and rocky, well draining soil. There is also a species that is endemic to the Himalaya. Nowadays it is cultivated in gardens north of the Alps, but doesn't naturalize there, as it needs a warm and protected setting. It doesn't tolerate frost well and in cultivation needs to be mulched during the winter.
HISTORY, MYTHOLOGY AND FOLKLORE
Once shrouded in much mystery and lore, Mandrake, the most important magical plant of the Middle Ages, today has been all but forgotten. The preachers of the Age of Enlightenment have successfully dispelled all the myths and tales that have spun up around this plant through the Ages. Today it is not even used medicinally anymore. Yet back in the days of ancient Egypt it was well known and respected enough to get a mention in the famous Ebers Papyrus, an ancient document dating back to about 1700 BC, which lists about 700 medicinal plants. Back then it was thought to increase fertility and was valued as an aphrodisiac. Even the Bible attests to its powers - in the story of Rachael, Leah and Jacob, the originators of the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis XXX, 14-16), Rachael trusted in the power of the Mandrake to rouse Jacob's interest in her, hoping that the herb would make her fertile so she could bear him a child. However, despite the Mandrake, God thought otherwise... The other mention of it is in the Song of Songs, Salomon VII 11-13, where it is mentioned as an allusion to passionate love-making (how did this piece of poetry ever end up getting into the Bible, I wonder?).
Mandrake was also known to have narcotic properties and in Antiquity was often used as an anaesthetic for surgical procedures. The ancients were well aware of the fact that this powerful little plant could be dangerous if taken in excessive quantities and that the sleep it helped to induce could become a permanent state of being. However, since in those days safe and effective anaesthetics were not so easy to come by they felt compelled to experiment with the most promising plants they knew. Mandrake, along with Poppy, Thornapple, Henbane and Belladonna produced good results if one could get the dosage just right. The preferred method of administration was to make a concoction of some or all of these plants and let the patient inhale the vapours via a sponge, which if done properly, would induce a profound sleep, so the surgeon could go about his business of cutting and sawing off limbs.
Apuleius thought it an effective remedy to counteract possession by evil spirits.
'For witlessness, that is devil sickness or demoniacal possession, take from the body of this said wort Mandrake by the weight of three pennies, administer to drink in warm water as he may find most convenient - soon he will be healed.'
It wasn't until the Middle Ages that Mandrake became popular as a magical plant, and was hailed as a miracle talisman, capable of curing just about anything. It was the root in particular that emanated this mysterious power to fascinate and entrance people - most likely due to its shape, which with a little stretch of the imagination could be seen to resemble a human body. Anthropomorphism (projecting human qualities onto non-human things or beings) was an important aspect of the medieval mindset and the Mandrake root lent itself perfectly to such projections. These magical roots came either as 'Mandrake women' or 'Mandrake men', depending on their shape, but either way they were thought to be powerful allies who could perform true miracles for their masters - anything from attracting love where previously there was none, to getting rich quick and striking unsuspected luck, to warding off misfortunes and evil spells, to becoming invincible in battle.
Such a powerful magical ally was of course not easy to come by. One couldn't just go out, find a plant and start digging - oh no! The Mandrake apparently did not take very kindly to being dug out from its haunt, in fact, it was reported to vanish before an irksome intruder could get to it. That was the best-case scenario. Far worse if it actually stayed in place and the gatherer had to face the task of digging it up, for the Mandrake would give off an ear-piercing scream as it was pulled from the earth, a scream so terrible that it would instantly kill anybody within earshot. Thus it was recommended to plug up one's ears tight and take a dog to carry out the ungrateful task. Before one could start digging one had to draw three magic circles around the plant. Once the root was reasonably free, one was to tie a string to the dogs tail and attach the other end to the root. Then, to avoid the deadly scream, one should speed away from the scene, maybe throwing a tasty piece of meat to the dog, but just out of reach so it would try to jump for it and thus uproot the Mandrake. If one were lucky one would be out of earshot by this time. The dog however, would be dead… or so the story goes.
Bartholemew thought it dangerous to dig for the root in adverse winds and also pronounced it necessary to dig for it all night till sunrise. Other stories insisted that the only Mandrake root powerful enough to perform all these magical tasks was one that was gathered from beneath a gallows at midnight. Apparently, so the story goes, the most potent Mandrake sprouted where the blood or semen of a true criminal had fertilized the earth. A great deal of fuss was made over these gruesome gathering stories and they certainly worked their trick - at least for the crooked vendors, who invented them. Given the ordeal and risked involved in gathering this magickal plant, many a gullible soul preferred to leave the ghastly task to someone else, and rather than going out at night and digging around at the witches hour for this eerie plant, which was at any rate likely to kill either oneself or one's dog or both in the process, they gladly parted with large sums of money to obtain their talisman from a vendor.
The Mandrake roots sold at the market were often 'improved' to enhance their human features by being carved into more recognizable male or female shapes, and fetching up to 30 gold coins a piece. Some of these Charm sellers were quite creative and carved fanciful little figurines from the roots. A particularly prized item was a root, which had not only been carved but made to 'sprout hair' which could be trimmed into a beard or hair-do. This was achieved by inserting millet seeds into the right places of the carved figurine and re-burying it until these sprouted, creating a kind of 'Chia-Mandrake' effect. Capitalizing on people's gullibility, the vendors, usually quite unscrupulous thieves made whatever profit they could from these magical poppets, as Turner observes:
'they are so trymmed of crafty theves to mocke the poore people withall and to rob them both of theyr wit and theyr money.'
Of course, in northern latitudes it was not always easy to find adequate supplies to satisfy the large demand. In this case the charlatans would substitute another root and sell it off for the genuine article. In Europe the preferred substitute was White Bryony, a completely unrelated species, which happens to have a vaguely similar looking root formation. In America there was even less of a chance to come across a genuine article, since Mandragora officinalis does not grow there at all. The most commonly used substitute was 'American Mandrake', or May-Apple, (Podophyllum peltatum) also a completely unrelated species.
Once in possession of the precious root, one's troubles were by no means over, as it was no easy task to satisfy a Mandrakes' whims. It had to be bathed in milk or wine on a regular basis, fed specific kinds of food (its exact dietary requirements were an endless source of debate) and wrapped in the finest red or white silks. Even if all its demands were met it was possible that it would just stop to perform its duties, in which case it was best to get rid of it as quickly as possible. The difficulty was, that it could be hard to find a buyer for a used up talisman like that. One couldn't just give it away either. If no buyer could be found the Mandrake root would have to stay, sometimes to the distinct disadvantage of the owner, for its power could, in some cases, turn against him, causing bad luck to haunt him. Needless to say, such a root was a liability rather than an asset and in the worst case scenario, (if it was impossible to get rid of), it would eventually end up getting buried with its owner and demand its share of rewards at the gate of heaven.
Parallel to this popular 'rub-the-buddha-for-money' type of magic, Mandrake also featured as an important 'Witches Herb', and constituted one of the key ingredients of the fabled Flying Ointment. Considering its chemical composition it was probably a lot more effective in this context than as a good luck charm.
It wasn't until the early 1500s that herbalists tried to dispel the myths surrounding this plant, assuring their readers that most Mandrake roots look very little like human beings, but rather more like parsnips and that nothing should be feared with regard to collecting the root, which in their own experience behaved much like any other when being pulled from the ground. Still, the belief in its magical powers persisted well into the beginning of the last century and in some rural areas people still murmur something about 'he must have his mandrake working' when someone in their midst happens upon unsuspected luck or riches.
As a talisman or amulet; aphrodisiac, love magic, good luck in business or gambling, counter-magic, protector, warding off of evil spirits or spells, invincible against any kind of weapons, flying ointment
This plant contains powerful toxic substances, which if ingested can be fatal. Do not use internally and apply extreme caution even with external uses.
roots, leaves, fruits
sedative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory hypnotic and hallucinogenic, emmenagogue, abortive, emetic, anodine
tropane alkaloids: scopolamine, hyoscyamine, atropine, mandragorine, (cuscohygrine), (tropane alcaloids have a powerful effect on the central nervous system, extreme caution is advised)
Though similar in composition to Belladonna and Datura, Mandrake finds little use in modern medical or herbal practice. However, in ancient times it was regarded as a powerful and important medicine. The roots were pressed for their juice, which was combined with wine and then reduced by boiling. This was taken as an anaesthetic prior to surgery. The dosage was rather crucial, as too much would put the patient to sleep permanently. Dioscurides recommends a concoction of this juice mixed with honey mead as a purgative to eliminate 'mucous and gall', though again, the dosage was crucial. The juice was also added to a suppository, which would act as a powerful emmenagogoue and abortive. Inserted anally it would induce sleep. The leaves were applied as a poultice to swellings, inflammations and hardened glands. The 'apples' are narcotic, milder than the root, but still powerful enough to kill if taken in excessive quantity (its not clear how many that might be). In Disocurides' age, shepherds seemed to have used it as a natural high, though he did not report any casualty statistics, it is likely that fatal incidents occurred as a result of excessive use. The scent of the apples was also regarded as an aphrodisiac and believed to enhance potency and fertility (used as an amulet).
Plants grown in the house are entirely dependent upon their caretakers for their lives. This blessing, when properly performed, will
ensure that the plant thrive. Be certain that the plant receives the proper amount of light, water and fertilizer at the recommended
times. You will need:
One potted houseplant.
One pencil or green pen.
One 1 inch square piece of paper.
A small amount of water.
Place the houseplant and all other items on a flat surface near or in the place where you'll grow the plant. Using the pencil or green
pen, draw a simple, small picture of the plant in vibrant health on the small piece on paper. Draw lines of energy streaming out from
it. Visualize the plat's future health as you're doing this. Next, gently brush the paper (picture side down) against the plant, giving it
love and energy. Say the following words:
In this room.
Plant of green,
Grow now here
Where you belong.
Roots push deep and
By the power
Of this rhyme.
Grow now, plant; this is the time
As you say these words, block out all thoughts of past failures that you may have had with houseplants. This will only negate the
power of the ritual. Next, fold the paper with two creases into a small square. Push this into the soil, close to the pot's wall. As you
do this, say:
I give you power!
Move the plant to its new home. Water it while saying:
I give you life!
Set down the empty water container. Hold your hands palms downward above the plant and say:
I give you love!
It should grow beautifully.
Honey - Carvings in temples, on sarcophagi and obelisks prove that bees and honey had a vital significance in the daily life of ancient Egyptians
- The Ebers Papyrus refers to the medicinal value of honey. Almost all Egyptian medicines contained honey, wine and milk
- Due to it's antiseptic and antifungal properties, honey was both used internally and externally, to soothe irritated skin, and aid in the healing of wounds and infections,
Doctors of ancient Egypt put this property of honey to work, treating open wounds with honey to prevent infection. This treatment is described in the Edwin Smith Papyrus, and the method must have saved untold numbers of lives from deadly infections at pyramid work sites where scrapes, gashes, and cuts would have been common.
A woman is never more beautiful than when she goes through three milestones in her life. Her first true beauty is when she is with child and that inner glow is radiant. During this milestone the woman embraces many physical, psychological, and metaphysical changes. Yes the true form of morphing into not one but two living beings. With that force within it the true basic instincts that are born in the spirit and the natural mothering instincts. All women have them whether we bore a child or not but the natural act provides a chemical change in the brain that is not found in another natural means. Most women are preparing for that nesting period and is seeking shelter and stability to nurture their young. This can cause some issues with a mate with feelings of neglect and jealousy as the new mother is in that mode. This new founded mothering does lessen as more children are added to the brood, and by then the mate is really looking for the man cave and other activities not including children 24/7. But the woman is radiant!
The next milestone is the woman reaching the natural biological menopause phase. She is not as consumed with mothering as the children are becoming established in their own identities and preparing for their goals. In this phase the woman once again looks at herself with a new founded confidence that she is still beautiful, have survived all those kids and a husband and/or mate and is ready to “express herself.” Out comes the revisited workouts, better diet, determination towards those skinny jeans once again, and possibly a few permanent rites of passage tats, piercings, major hair changes, possibly some botox, and definitely some girls nights out or a mini girls vacation. After all we still got it and the woman radiates once again. Now this is where it can become a stick situation especially for the mates that are questioning why all the fuss and what are you up to. And on the other hand many women get caught up in those deadly stranger attractions and might move on them. Red flag be sure your not moving on impulse because though you are beautiful you can be dangerous too.
Lastly the woman after all is accomplished and we set back and reflect how in the world did we survive it all, we once again find that inner beauty. To me this is the riches beauty of them all because there is nothing more beautiful than a confident woman in her 60-70's that finds the inner beauty and expresses it without giving a second thought to how others might think of your actions because you have earned the right to express yourself. Paint, yoga, trips to exotic places, garden skyclad, bungee jump, and most of all tell those that oppose your new found freedom to take a hike and you have the right to finally do it your way.
Stay strong my beautiful sisters!
This bath is guaranteed to turn you into an irresistible "Enchantress" and goddess of love. Try it on a Friday night (Freya the Love Goddess's night.)
Red rose petals
Fresh mint leaves
You should be already physically clean before taking this bath. Simply fill the tub with warm water and add six whole navel oranges, rose petals and a bunch of fresh mint leaves.
Peel the oranges squeeze the juice into the bath water. Rub the fruit into your hair and skin. Eat a few slices to anoint yourself internally. Do the same with the mint.
Do the same with the mint: Rub it into the body and hair and chew on a leaf or two. Rub the rose petals in your hair.
Do not soap off when you are done. Let your body air-dry. Now dress for your date. The combination of orange, rose and mint will make you irresistible.
Freya Bless )O(
Photosynthesis is one of the most important processes in all of biology, and also one of the most complex. This is possibly the most complex thing you will have to learn in basic biology aside from Cellular Respiration. However, there are some simple rules that can be kept in mind to help to understand this chemical reaction.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is the obvious facts that you already know. You know that photosynthesis uses light to power it, (the photo- part) and that is creates sugars for the plant to use. (the -synthesis). You also know that plants take in CO2 to power this reaction and release oxygen as a waste product. That right there reveals much about the reaction itself.
[Red Mangrove Leaves - Public Domain]
Red Mangrove Leaves
The first step of the reaction takes place in the outer membrane of structures called thylakoids, which are found inside the chloroplasts of plant cells. Thylakoids are organized into stacks called granum and are bathed in a solution called the stroma. When light from outside the cell strikes a molecule of Chlorophyll a within the Photosystem II embedded in the membrane, it then excited one electron in the molecule and causes it to jump up into a higher energy level. Then, the electron is transferred along the Electron Transport Chain after first being transferred to the Primary Electron Accepter from the clorophyll molecule. Electrons continue along the chain until they lost most of their energy. The energy that they lost is used to move H+ ions into the thylakoid. As this is happeneing, another light particle excites a second electron in a separate chlorophyll in they Photosystem I. Those electrons more to another electron acceptor and the lost electrons are replaced by the electrons form the first chlorophyll molecule. From there, they move along another Electron Transport Chain and are bonded along with a proton and a molecule of NADP+ to form a mulecuor of NADPH. Also, a higher concentration of protons is built up inside the tylakoid membrane that will be used later in a process called Chemiosmosis.
Ok. That admittedly was a lot to take in. However, this can be broken down into basic steps.
A photon (light particle) excites an electron in a molecule of Chlorophyll.
The electrons flow into the Primary Electron Acceptor.
From there, they proceed to move along the Electron Transport Chain.
Light is absorbed into the Photosystem II at the same time as Photosystem I. The electron from Photosystem II restores the missing electron from Photosystem I. The electron from Photosystem I then is joined along with a proton and molecule of NADP+ to from a molecule of NADPH.
IF YOU ARE NOT REGISTERED FOR THIS CLASS DO NOT POST HERE~THANK YOU~
This week is about betting aquainted with each other and learning about the amazing world of herbs. You can use you magickal names in class but please add you given names on your test as well as your craft name. I want to make sure you are getting your credits. My grading system is on percentages and points earned from class participation 1x per day you must post M-F. All test are due on Thursday night PDT witching hour (midnight). Late submissions will loose points unless previously arranged with me. There will be bonus points available and I encourage you to grab those points because having a few bad test grades can fail you but the bonus points can get you a passing grade. I know I'm strict but you wil not get this quality of an education anywhere else at the price I give it. This is a legal ministry and academic institution that provides cetificates of completion.
All test are posted in the early hours of Friday mornings in a new weeks blog post in the classroom. Please copy all test and complete questions and your answers to be submitted via email to me at email@example.com.
I have posted several blogs outside on the class protocol and curriculum. Please read and become familiar with these guidelines.
Please complete this questionnaire and submit by Thursday midnight PDT.
Are you a Natural Born Green Witch !
1. When you take a walk outside,do you graze while you walk?
2. Do you talk to your Pets or any other animals and do they answer you back ?
3. Do you have weeds growing around your house and people think you
should be using a " weed " eater ?
4. When you offer someone a cup of tea,do they ask you whats in it ?
5. Do you pick recyclables out of the regular garbage,rinse them,put them into
the proper bin and remind everyone in the family to be earth friendly ?
6. Does your house smell like a spice factory,herbs in the dehydrator,herbs hanging
from the windows,herbs laying about on screens ?
7. Is your kitchen overrun with to many herb jars and spice bottles ?
8. Are your fingers grass stained or fingernails dirty from digging in the earth ?
9. Do you talk to your plants,touch them and when one of them is sick,do you
tell the plant in a sweet whisper: it will be alright,you will be better soon ?
10. Do you give thanks for harvesting herbs,vegetables or any other plant from
your garden or any where out in nature ?
11. Instead of going to the pharmacy, you whip something up yourself ?
12. Do you ask the Earth Spirits for permission to plant a garden ?
13. Do you clean your home with homemade cleaners and dislike the smells of
chemical based cleaners ?
14. Do you constantly have to touch the earth in your pots or outside in nature ?
15. Do you have a dish filled with herbs in almost every room, a herb bag hanging
in the closed or a herb bag in your linen drawer ?
16. Do you plant certain herbs with a specific intent into your garden ?
17. When someone talks about having a headache or stomachache, do you tell
them which herb to use for which illness ?
18. When preparing for a spell, do you know which herbs to use for the spell,
without looking them up in a book ?
19. Can you feel the life within a plants leaves and can you hear the plant talk
to you ?
20. Can you see,feel or hear when your plants are happy or in distress ?
21. Do you apologize to your plants if you did something wrong, like didn't talk
to them, forgot to water them or if dropped them on the floor ?
How many Yes answers did you get ???
Legion of Pagans Spiritual Ministry
Institution of Magick
NEXT WEEK YOU WILL BEGIN CLASS STARTING WITH STARTING, MONITORING, AND SUBMITTING PHOTOS OF (THREE PLANTS) YOU WILL START FROM SEED. YOU CAN USE A POT, OR A CAN WITH DRAINAGE HOLES. YOU WILL NEED SOME GOOD SOIL, A SPRITZER, AND SEED OF ROSEMARY, SAGE, AND THYME.