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Finger citronCitron (Citrus medica) Info
Humans were using this ancestor of all modern citrus fruits in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) as far back as 4000 BCE. This highly fragrant fruit is almost all rind, but the scent is extraordinary - much sweeter and stronger than lemon, a truly glorious fragrance. During the Babylonian exile, Jews adopted it for use in the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles or Festival of Ingathering, a harvest celebration. This magick herb became one of the "four species" - willow, myrtle, palm, and citron (or esrog/etrog) - that worshippers held and shook in the six directions to stimulate the winter rains. Some believe that this herb is the female half of the Four Species (the other three comprise the male half because they are tied or woven together in one long bundle), although in many magickal correspondence charts, citron is designated as male, most likely because of its association with the Sun. Jews spread citron through ancient Greece and Rome, where it was used medicinally, mostly as an antidote to poison (so consider it highly protective). In fact, in Malaya, a decoction of the fruit is drunk to drive away evil spirits. top

In Asia, whole fruits were offered in the temple. In China, this particular type of citron - Buddha's Hand - represents long life and wealth, and its shape is often carved from jade or other semiprecious stones to act as an amulet for the home. In India, the Hindu god Kubera, guardian of the gods' wealth, is depicted holding a citron. Kubera is one of the pre-Hindu gods; in ancient times, he was a god of evil and darkness. He is still depicted as white-skinned dwarf with three legs who has so much trouble getting around that he has to travel in an ancient equivalent of a wheelchair, a chariot. This is no ordinary chariot but a magical one - built by an architect god, it can fly and can hold and entire city. Kubera is associated with the north - he is connected to the Himalayas and by extension, to the riches mined in the mountains, and so he guards the Hindu gods' wealth and sees that people are rewarded monetarily. In some ways he is like Hades, also a dark god, who becomes Pluto, a pre-Olympian deity of underground wealth. And his three-leggedness is like the lameness that is often encountered in Greek religion among those who arose from the earth, like Cadmus. In Tibet, Kubera is known as Vaisravana and is often depicted as fat, dripping in jewels, and holding a citron (jambhara), a pun on his other name, Jambhala. If you consider that this is a Sun herb, it is especially interesting that such underground gods as Kubera should be depicted holding it. It makes sense, since the Earth is where the Sun appears to go at night. This draws our attention to the connections between Sun and Earth in magick. top

Mundane Uses
Citron was supposedly used in ancient Egypt as part of the emblaming process, but most archeologists do not believe that the ancient Egyptians knew of this fruit. In China, the dried fruits were used to repel moths and the juice used to wash linens. It's also a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Citron is made into a fruit tea in Korea. Theophrastus reported that a decoction was good for sweetening the breath (it's antibacterial). It is still a flavoring for Yule cakes in central Europe, where it is often candied. It's a wonderful pot pourri ingredient, being highly fragrant, which is fitting for an Air herb. Citron is also known as citron melon, Corsican citron, diamante citron, esrog, ethrog, etrog, Leghorn citron, preserving melon, stock melon, citrus apple, Persian apple, Buddha's hand, and Buddha's fingers. top


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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic

Celebrating Harvest
Rain Magic
Protection Spells
Money Magic
Sun/Air Herb

2006, 2014 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission