April 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Blood is symbolic of sacrifice; spilt blood, in particular, because of its function as an indexical sign of a sacrifice having taken place. Liquid substances, like milk, honey and wine, that were offered to spirits and gods in antiquity, are all images of blood as well – substitutes of the sacrificial blood, which was the most precious thing that could be offered.

Sacrifice is linked to the concept of inversion, which is the principle that everything can be transmuted into its opposite  – for example illness turned into health, defeat into victory, poverty into luxury, etc.

When a potentiality for inversion appears, symbolized by a cross-roads (X), the sacrifice can be made. After this the process of inversion and transmutation takes place. The spiritual energy that is gained from the sacrifice is thought to be proportional to the importance of what is lost (i.e. how great the sacrifice is).


Winter Aconite

March 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Winter aconite is toxic. In Greek mythology it was said that aconites grew from the saliva of the three-headed beast Cerberus. When Hercules fought Cerberus, the hound’s poisonous saliva fell on the ground and hardened into stones in the soil, from which Winter aconite grew. Medea tried to murder Theseus, by poisoning his wine with the deadly plants.

The Diseases of Trees

January 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Like humans, trees can be attacked by maladies. Some afflictions are common for all trees, for instance, attacks by worms, or pain in the limbs. Trees can be afflicted with hunger or indigestion, as well as suffer from excessive fatness (and thus turning themselves into a torch-tree).We can also speak of their bodies as being mutilated.

Sideration, the ill effects caused by the heavens, inflict injuries upon trees. One instance of sideration is a certain heat and dryness that prevails at the rising of the Dog-star, and that causes grafts and young trees to pine away and die.

Both human beings and trees are subjects to diseases of the sinews. For both, the virulence shows itself in either the feet (the roots), or the joints of the fingers (the extremities of the branches that are most distant from the trunk). The first symptom is that the tree is suffering from pain, the affected parts becoming brittle and dry, then follows rapid consumption and ultimately death.

Injuries inflicted by the hand of man are productive of bad effects. Pitch oil and grease are highly detrimental if applied to trees. Trees may also be killed if a circular piece of the bark is removed from around them.  If the bark is removed from the fir and the pine, while the sun is passing through Taurus or Gemini, they will instantly die. In winter however, they are able to withstand the effects of it much longer. This is also the case for holm-oak, the robur and the quercus. If only a narrow circular strip is removed from these trees, there will be no visible injuries. But in the case of the weaker trees, the same operation, even if only performed on one side, will be sure to kill them.

When the roots of a tree are cut, the result should be death.

Trees will also kill one another. For example, by their shade, or density of their foliage. And ivy, by clinging to a tree, will strangle it. It is in the nature of some plants to injure other plants, for instance, the radish and its effect on the vine. It was from this observation that Androcydes used the radish in his antidote for drunkenness, recommending it to be eaten when drinking wine.

(Book 17, Chapter 37)


October 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Some sources offer different myths that explains how amethysts got their purple colour, and how they were given their name.

In some of the myths, Bacchus/Dionysus, the god of intoxication, is angry at the mortals and decides to slay the next mortal crossing his path. The next mortal  happens to be Amethystos, a beautiful maiden on her way to pay tribute to Diana/Artemis. Diana saves Amethystos from being killed by the tigers/lions that Dionysus had sent to kill the mortal. Diana transforms the maiden into a statue of crystalline quartz so that the tigers’ claws would not harm her. When Dionysus saw the beautiful statue he wept tears of wine, in remorse, and the tears stained the quartz purple.

In another version, Dionysus was pursuing a beautiful nymph who refused him. Amethystos prayed to Diana to remain chaste and the goddess answered the prayer by turning the young woman into a white stone. This humbled Dionysus, who poured wine over the stone to honour the maiden, and this dyed the crystals purple.

In yet another variant, the amethyst is given to Dionysus in order to preserve the wine-drinker’s sanity.

Famous Trees

October 27, 2010 § 2 Comments


Pliny tells of a grove in Tusculum; formed of beeches and consecrated to the goddess Diana. This grove contained an outstanding tree that excited the affection of the the distinguished orator Passenius Crispus, famous for marrying Agrippina and becoming Nero’s step-father. Crispus was so passionately attached to this beech tree that not only would he lie down beneath it, but he would also kiss and embrace it, as well as pour wine over it so that its roots would be moistened with wine.

Another tree near this grove, a holm-oak, were just as famous – for its trunk were no less than 34 feet in circumference, and sending out what looked like ten other trees of remarkable size, forming a wood of itself. No other holm-oak has ever been known to attain this size.


May 9, 2010 § 3 Comments

Amethysts are said to keep its bearer from becoming intoxicated. The name of the stone is derived from the Greek a- (“not”) and μέθυστος methustos (“intoxicated”). Drinking from a vessel made out of amethyst would therefore prevent drunkenness. The Magi also tell us that if amethysts are inscribed with the names of the Sun and the Moon and are worn hanging from the neck along with hair of the cynocephalus and feathers of the swallow they are a protection against spells. (B 37, c 40)

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