Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Hellebores - a faery herb of magic .....

   Ruled by Saturn, her element 'Water', 'Helleborous niger' or 'Christmas Rose' pushes up to bring hope in the darkest months - and is in full bloom now in my garden by the woods. Celestial flower heads bow down towards the late-winter earth - she is a beauty.
But don't let that ethereal quality trick you - she's through and through a faery flower - wickedly poisonous to you humans! For a start you see, we faere-folk can make ourselves invisible with a powder of her dried roots.

Muddypond picked these blooms early this morning and arranged them on folds of darkest, red-black velvet to show them off.
  The roots must be lifted in darkness on a night before new moon - a circle cast about the plant, a little garlic chewed and relevant charms must be said.  The powder gained was once used - as 16th century herbalist John Gerarde tells us, as a hopeful curative ....  'A purgation of black hellebore is good for mad and furious men, for melancholike, dull and heavy persons ...' with the warning -'...it is not to be given but to robustious and strong bodies.'
It was one of the mix used by folk wishing to enter the 'other worlds' by leaving their bodies through astral projection - or a 'flying herb'.

 Illustration by Nellie Benson 1901 ...From 'Dumpy Books for Children - A Flower Book'

Best you humans leave her to decorate the shady places, or perhaps just pick a few blooms and float them (mine are in a copper wassail bowl) so that everyone can marvel at the colours and patterns that the shy plant doesn't usually allow us to see!

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