The Novice’s Grimoire: Saffron
Welcome back Novices! The topic of our discussion today is saffron; yes, that mystic, magic, exceedingly pricey herb. Saffron, deep yellow in color and pleasantly sweet in flavor, is actually made from the dried stigmas of the Crocus flower. The Crocus flower originates in Southwest Asia, and can be found in some parts of Europe. Though it is said to grow well enough in most gardens, it requires over 75,000 flowers to make a pound of saffron. A single garden plant wouldn’t do more than add a hint of flavor to a few dishes.
Herb – Saffron
Genus and Species: Crocus sativus
Energies: Protective and Strengthening
Powers: Love, Healing, Happiness, Lust, Strength, Psychic Powers
One of the earliest recorded mentions of saffron dates back to the Bible’s Song of Solomon, around 3,000 years ago. In ancient Greece and Rome it was used as a royal dye; used to scent medicinal salves; and thrown about in baths and halls to add a sweet aroma to the air. It became such a popular herb in ancient times that the hetaerae, professional Grecian performers akin to geishas, adopted it as their signature flower. In modern times, due mainly to the high price of production, saffron is used mainly in small portions to flavor food dishes.
Medicinally, though somewhat impractical because of the sheer price, saffron can be ingested raw, used in teas and tonics, or even stirred into broths to combat a medley of ailments or ills, from depression to sleeplessness and asthma to menstrual pains. Recent studies have even shown it as effective against cancer cells.
In magic, saffron can be used toward almost any end. It can be burned in spells or meditated with to create wealth and recognition in one’s own life. The same method can be used for spells meant to bring about strength. An infusion of saffron, often drunk, is said to help enhance psychic abilities—try placing saffron in a warm bath to achieve the same end. If placed in a sachet and worn, saffron is said to increase feelings of love and lust. And, before heading out on a late-night bender, place some saffron in a vile and wear about your neck to stave off inebriation.
If you can manage to gather a lot of saffron, grow it in large quantities, or take the financial leap and buy it in bulk, it will easily be one of the most useful herbs in your medicinal and magical arsenals. Until next week, Novices, stay studious.
Smith is a cookie connoisseur, moonlight meanderer, and aesthete at large. His work has appeared in 13 Experiments, Folio, Stone Soup Review, SLUG Magazine, Salt Lake City Weekly, and CATALYST Magazine. He earned his BA in English from The University of Utah and currently writes from a room with many plants.
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
Herbs and Things by Jeanne Rose
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