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Author Topic: Herbs and other Correspondences  (Read 5195 times)
Thorn
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« Reply #1: June 05, 2008, 06:33:46 pm »

Why is that some herbs, such as Bay Laurel, have so many magical uses and others only have one or two?
Some of it is ethno-centricity of the western magical tradition.  Herbs native to Europe, especially the Mediterranean - like laurel, have many more recorded uses than plants that grow in say, Southern African or even North America.

It's not that the plants themselves are more useful, it's that all of our sources are drawn from European tradition.  That's starting to change as practitioners from other cultures publish (or share their knowledge in other ways) but even today almost everything you find will still be heavily weighted toward Europe.

Of course, some plants just don't have a lot of magical properties. 

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Also, how did we figure out what herb was good for what purpose?  Just a trial and error method?
There's no way to know how this knowledge was originally aquired, much of it goes back to pre-historical times.  I can guess:  Trial and error would be a big one.  As would divination or actual instruction from gods and spirits.  The doctrine of signatures was popular in medival times - a plant was believed to reveal it's nature through it's appearance in some way.  Thus bloodroot, which has a sap that looks like - you guessed it - blood, was discovered to be good for internal hemorhaging IIRC.  (That's medicinal, not magical, but I'd imagine it worked the same way.)  The there's mythology.  Many of laurel's attributes come from it's close association with Apollo, f'ex.

I can't recommend any websites, but Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs is a passable source.  However, he doesn't usually cite where his information comes from.  I'd use him as a starting point and do further research on the things that interest you.  A lot of old herbals (i.e. Culpepper) include astrological correspondances. 
« Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 06:35:47 pm by Thorn » Logged

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