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ROSEMARY

"Rosemary opens the heart and allows the warmth of the midday sun inside where there is grief, anger, hatred and bitterness.”


"Folk Names: Compass Weed, Dew of the Sea, Elf Leaf, Guardrobe, Insensier, Libanotis (Greek), Polar Plant, Sea Dew


Powers: protection, love, lust, mental powers, exorcism, purification, healing, sleep, youth


Magical Uses: Rosemary, when burned, emits powerful, cleansing and purifying vibrations, smolder it to rid a place of negativity, especially prior to performing magic. It is one of the oldest incenses.


When placed beneath the pillow, rosemary ensures a good sleep and drives away nightmares. Laid under the bed it protects the sleeper from all harm. Rosemary is also hung on the porch and door posts to keep thieves from the house and is carried to remain healthy. Placed in the bath it purifies.


A chaplet of rosemary worn, aids the memory, while the wood, smelled often, preserves youthfulness. To ensure the latter add a rosemary infusion to the bath water.


Rosemary has long been used in love and lust incenses and other mixtures, and healing poppets are stuffed with rosemary to take advantage of its curative vibrations. Rosemary infusion is used to wash the hands before healing work, and the leaves mixed with juniper berries are burned in sick rooms to promote healing.


If you wish to receive knowledge or the answer to a question, burn Rosemary on charcoal and smell it’s smoke. Rosemary is also grown to attract elves, and the powdered leaves wrapped in linen cloth and bound to the right arm dispel depression and make the emotions light and merry.


Rosemary is generally used as a substitute for frankincense." (1)


“The shrubby plant (rosemary) has long been cultivated for its fragrance and tonic properties. It enjoyed a reputation for aiding the memory, as in Shakespeare’s memorable ‘Rosemary, that’s for remembrance’, although this refers more naturally to mourners remembering the dead, as rosemary was a common funerary plant. Like many other strongly aromatic plants, it was credited with the power to protect the household where it grew. The medieval ‘Stockholm Herbal’ manuscript states that if a man or woman bear a staff or stalk of this plant, it ‘kepyth hym fro thresse’ perhaps an echo of Old English ‘pyrs’ (‘malicious or dangerous supernatural being’). It is likely that in Old English tradition the ‘pyrs’ was responsible for female ailments.


Another use of the plant was in horsemen’s drawing mixtures, used to calm fretful or troublesome mounts.


Wild rosemary (ledum palustre) has been used as an incense in shamanic rituals, and for flavoring beer. In high dosage the volatile oil released by the plant into the drink would cause frenzied rage, which may have been exploited by warrior cult groups such as the ‘berserker’. Even at low dosages, the plant adds potency to any brew.” (4)


Rosemary was a symbol of remembrance, and hence was used both at marriages and at funerals, the memory of the past being equally appropriate in both rites.


"Rosemary was anciently supposed to strengthen the memory, and was not only carried at funerals, but worn at weddings :


'Rosemarie is for remembrance

Betweene us daie and night,

Wishing that I might always have

You present in my sight.’” (2)


Rosemary’s folkloric uses and beliefs were mentioned in Shakespeare's work:


"Rosemary. This plant was formerly in very high esteem, and was devoted to various uses. It was supposed to strengthen the memory, hence it was regarded as a symbol of remembrance, and on this account was often given to friends. Thus, in "Hamlet" (iv. 5), where Ophelia seems to be addressing Laertes, she says:—


'There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.'


In the 'Winter's Tale' (iv. 4), rosemary and rue are beautifully put together:—


'For you there's rosemary and rue, these keep;

Seeming and savour all the winter long:

Grace and Remembrance be to you both,

And welcome to our shearing.'


Besides being used at weddings, it was also in request at funerals, probably for its odour, and as a token of remembrance of the deceased. Thus the Friar in 'Romeo and Juliet' (iv. 5) says:—


"Dry up your tears, and stick your rosemary

On this fair corpse."


This practice is thus touchingly alluded to by Gay in his ‘Pastorals'—


'To shew their love, the neighbours far and near

Followed with wistful look, the damsel's bier:

Sprigg’d rosemary the lads and lasses bore,

While dismally the parson walk’d before.'


Rosemary, too, was one of the evergreens with which dishes were anciently garnished during the season of Christmas, an allusion to which occurs in "Pericles" (iv. 6)—'Marry, come up my dish of chastity, with rosemary and bays.”'(3)



Sources:


1) Cunningham, Scott; Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs (2012); Woodbury: Llewellyn Publications. Pg 218-219

2) --STEEVENS, Notes on Hamlet, a. iv. s. 5.--Douce (Illustrations of Shakspeare, i. 345)

3) Folk-lore of Shakespeare, by T.F. Thiselton Dyer, [1883]

4) Pollington, Stephen; “Leechcraft (Early English Charms, Plantlore and Healing” (2011); Cambridgeshire: Anglo-Saxon Books. Pgs. 151-


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