This magic herb protects, especially against mental attack, helps with second sight, and is good for consecration of ritual blades. According to Bartolozzi's 1675 Biblioteca Magna Rabbinica (the source of the popular Malachim alphabet), the blade of a boline should be consecrated with the juice of this plant and then smudged. In the language of flowers, pimpernel stands for change, a very Mercury state. Its Mercury correspondence is borne out in its past use externally for bites from rabid animals and internally for mental illness and epilepsy, but it is no longer used medicinally due to the presence of dangerous glycosides - it can cause ulcerations and is toxic if eaten. It gets its Latin name, Anagallis, from the Greek word for laughter; the ancient Greeks believed that this herb could cure melancholy. John Gerard, who wrote The Herbal, said that the red form, which I have, was the female of pimpernel and the blue form was the male. A Christian prayer of the early modern period involved holding a pimpernel and asking it for protection from witches; it references the folk belief that the red flowers sprang from drops of Jesus' blood.Top
In Britain, this magic herb was combined with heart fever to make a charm against warts. In Mexico, its saponins made it a good substitute for soapwort. A European native, this plant is a low spreading annual with square stems. Its small, brick red flowers open in the morning sun and close in the afternoon, which gives it another of its common names, Shepherd's Hourglass. It could be used to tell time roughly when a person was out working in the field and didn't have a watch or was not in earshot of the church bells, and it can predict rain by closing earlier than usual, since its leaves and flowers are very susceptible to high humidity. This cheerful, unassuming plant flowers throughout the summer. It is also known as Shepherd's Barometer, Poor Man's Weatherglass, Adder's Eyes, Shepherd's Warning, and Bipinella. Top
How to Grow Scarlet pimpernel
Sow on the surface.
Press in lightly but don't cover, and keep moist. The seed germinates
in 3 weeks at room temperature. The plant likes a light, sandy soil and to grow at the edges
of roads and trails, where its small-scale beauty is not overwhelmed by other
plants. It also likes to grow near the ocean. It prefers full sun
or partial shade. It sprawls up to 24"/60cm around but doesn't usually
get more than 6"/15cm tall. It
can be aggresive, and in keeping with Mercurial rapidity will quickly cover areas of bare soil. General growing info. Top
© 2004, 2015 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction of
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