The Novice’s Grimoire: Apr 21 – 28

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Alternative Therapies, DIY, Heal, Live

The Novice’s Grimoire: Apr 21 – 28

Novices, at the end of my orange blossom oil post, I said we had accidentally skipped our herb discussion, normally set for the first week of the month, and would this week be covering chamomile to correct that mistake. I now realize that no mistake was originally made, as the valerian root post at the beginning of the month was that herb discussion, and that this week was supposed to be our Mystery Topic; but, alas, it was already too late. So, to make all things even, we’ll do chamomile this week and two Mystery Topics next month.

Herb – Chamomile

Genus and Species: Matricaria chamomilla (German), Anthemis noblis (Roman)
Energies: Protective and peace-bringing
Planet: Sun
Elements: Water
Deity: Pluto
Powers: Money, Sleep, Purification, Well-being

Novices, at the end of my orange blossom oil post, I said we had accidentally skipped our herb discussion, normally set for the first week of the month, and would this week be covering chamomile to correct that mistake. I now realize that no mistake was originally made, as the valerian root post at the beginning of the month was that herb discussion, and that this week was supposed to be our Mystery Topic; but, alas, it was already too late. So, to make all things even, we’ll do chamomile this week and two Mystery Topics next month.

It is important to note here that we will be discussing the German and Roman varieties of chamomile together, for though they are botanically unrelated, they look very much the same and contain the same powers, abilities and effects. The German, a self-seeding annual that reaches one to two feet in height, is perhaps the most common; it has become a wild fixture in many a plain and mountain range. The Roman variety, a perennial creeping groundcover, is not actually Roman at all, but was, in fact, “discovered” by an English botanist who believed it has a somewhat Roman air about it. These fairly hearty plants will grow like wildfire in the right conditions, once the danger of frost has passed. The German prefers sandy, well drained soil and partial sun. The Roman adapts well to almost any soil, but seems to prefer manure-laden loam. It may be sown, but has the most success when propagated from the offshoot of an existing plant. If well mulched and provided some protection, the Roman variety can be expected to survive the winter.

Chamomile is one of those rare herbs that seemingly can be used for everything. In ancient times Egyptians recognized the daisy-like chamomile flower as a symbol for the sun and as a means to treat fever brought on by malaria—most likely through the use of a tea or ointment. The Greeks used the plant to treat headaches (still an accepted practice), kidney and liver problems, along with promoting menstruation and relieving menstrual cramps. In Medieval times, chamomile flowers were strewn about in public areas to improve the smell, which is documented as having been exceedingly unpleasant.

Medically and practically speaking, chamomile’s uses are seemingly infinite. As a tea, chamomile can be used to induce sleep on a restless night, to ease a volatile stomach, and as a diuretic to cleanse the body. If dropped into a bath or mixed into a lotion, it will firm up the skin tissues, creating a bright shimmer of youth. If introduced to the body as a tea, soap or oil, chamomile can help calm nervous afflictions. The oil is also known to have some effect on joint pain if massaged into the afflicted area.

In magic, chamomile is somewhat less studied, but not altogether unexplored. When mixed into incense and burned during a meditation session, chamomile is said to help one reach a greater state of enlightenment in a shorter amount of time. Are you prone to gambling (and perhaps prone to losing)? Try scrubbing your hands with raw chamomile flowers, while visualizing your ideal winnings, and watch your luck change for the better. If you find yourself or your home under a curse or being attacked by a malignant spirit, pick some wild chamomile, dry out the plant, crumble into a fine powder, and sprinkle it around your property; this will hopefully free you and your home from any mystic troubles.

And that’s the story about chamomile, at least for now. Next week, to fix the aforementioned mix-up, we’ll be doing a Mystery Topic. A secret is a secret, and I’m not telling, but taking a close look at your hands might be a fine way to start. See you then!

Z. 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.

Resources:
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
Herbs and Things by Jeanne Rose
www.herbwisdom.com/herb-chamomile.html
www.indepthinfo.com/chamomile/history.htm
The New Healing Herbs by Michael Castleman

 
 
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