Friday, December 8, 2006

Herbal Divination (Part II)

Cherry Tree Divination

If you desire to know the number of years you will live, perform the following divination on Midsummer Eve: Run three times clockwise around a cherry tree full of ripe fruit and then shake the tree with all your might as you repeat the following charm:

Cherry tree, I shaketh thee,
Cherry tree, pray tell thou me
How many years am I to live?
By fallen fruit thy answer give.

At the precise moment that you utter the last word of the rhyme, remove your hands from the tree. Count the number of cherries that have fallen to the ground while shaking the tree, and they will reveal to you what age you will live to be. Some diviners interpret the number of fallen cherries as an indication of how many more years one has to live.

Divination to Determine Number of Children

To discover the total number of children you will have in your lifetime, perform this old Scottish method of divination:

Go alone into a field of oats at the witching hour on Halloween. With your eyes tightly closed or your vision obscured by a blindfold, spin yourself three times around in a clockwise fashion and then reach out and randomly pull three stalks of oats. After doing this, open your eyes and count the number of grains there are upon the third stalk. This will tell you the number of children that you will father or give birth to. According to W. Grant Stewart’s 19th-century book, Highlanders of Scotland, “It may be observed, that it is essential to a female’s good name that her stalk should have the top-grain attached to it.” Should the top of the stalk be missing, this is taken as a sign that the woman will lose her virginity prior to her wedding day.

Acorn Divination

If you desire to know what fate has in store for you and your fiancée, perform the following divination on a night of the full moon:

Take two acorns and mark your initials upon one, and your fiancée’s initials upon the other. Place the acorns three inches apart from each other in a cauldron filled with water and then carefully observe their movements. If they drift towards each other, this is a sure sign that a wedding is in the offing. However, if they drift away from each other, this indicates that you and your fiancée shall part company before your wedding bells ring. If the acorns remain stationary, repeat the divination again at a later time.

Ribwort Marriage Divination

On the eve of Johnsmas (June 25th) or when the moon is full, uproot a ribwort and then place it beneath a flat stone. Allow it to remain there all night, and then carefully examine the root in the morning. If you are destined to wed within the next 12 months, the initials of your future husband or wife will be found upon the plant’s root. In England, where many of the love and marriage divinations used by modern Witches and diviners originated, it is traditional for females to divine using the dark variety of the plant, and males with the light.

Sage Marriage Divination

At the witching hour on Halloween, go alone into a garden and, without uttering a single word, pick 12 sage leaves - one at each stroke of the clock. As you pick the 12th leaf at the 12th stroke, the face of your future husband will materialize before you.

If a man’s face does not appear to you, this indicates that you will not marry within the next 12 months. (Do not repeat this divination until the following Halloween; otherwise you will invite bad luck!) If a vision of a coffin should appear to you while you are performing this divination, this is said to be an omen of an early death.

Bay Leaf Divinations for Lovers

The following method of divination, when performed on Saint John’s Eve, is designed to determine whether or not your lover has been faithful to you: Just before bedtime, take a bay leaf and prick your lover’s name or initials upon it with a pin.

After doing this, pin the leaf to your brassiere or nightgown so that it will be in place over your heart as you sleep. When you wake up, check the leaf to see if it has turned brown. If it has, this is a sure sign that your beloved has been true to you. But if the leaf is the same color as it was the night before, this is an sign that your lover has (or soon will) deceive you.

To find out if your sweetheart will marry you, prick his or her name or initials upon a bay leaf. Place the leaf inside your left shoe and wear it throughout the day. Allow the leaf to remain in the shoe overnight, and then observe the leaf in the morning. If the name or initials have become darker, this is a sign that your sweetheart will marry you. But if they have grown fainter (or have vanished), this indicates that he or she will not.

To experience a prophetic dream in which the identity of your future husband or wife is revealed to you, pin a bay leaf to your pillow on the eve of Saint Valentine’s Day just before going to bed.

The following is a Saint Valentine’s Eve love divination from the 18th century work, Aristotle’s Last Legacy: “Take two Bay-leaves, sprinkle them with Rose-water; the Evening of this day, lay them a cross under your Pillow when you go to bed, putting on a clean Shift and turning it wrong side outwards; and lying down, say: ‘Good Valentine be kind to me, In dreams let me my true Love see.’ So crossing your Legs, and go to sleep…you will see in a Dream the Party you are to Marry.”

Apple Peel Divination

To determine the first letter of your future spouse’s last name, peel an apple in one unbroken strip. By the light of an enchanted pink candle, take the paring in your right hand and recite the following charm three times:

Spirits all-knowing,
May thee reveal
My true love’s initials
By shape of this peel.

Turn around thrice and then cast the paring over your left shoulder. If it falls in the shape of an alphabetical letter, this will indicate the initial of your future husband or wife’s surname.

However, if the apple peel should break upon hitting the floor or ground, this portends that you will never wed.

Clover Divination

Pick a two-leaved clover and place it inside your right shoe. If you are a woman, the first young man you encounter will possess the same first name or initials as the man destined to be your future husband. If you are a man, the first name or initials of your future bride will be revealed by the name of the first young lady you encounter.

Divination by Dreams

If an unmarried woman wishes to dream about the man destined to be her future husband, let her sleep with any of the following herbs beneath her pillow: nine ivy leaves; a sprig of mistletoe taken from a church; or a sprig of myrtle that she has worn in her bosom throughout the day.

Holly Dream Divination

To have a dream about the man or woman destined to be your future husband or wife, perform the following divination on a Friday at the witching hour: Without speaking a single word and taking great care not to be seen, go into a garden and pluck nine leaves from a female (smooth-edged) holly plant.

After doing this, knot each leaf into a three-cornered handkerchief.

Return home and place the handkerchief beneath your pillow before laying yourself down to sleep.

Myrtle Marriage Divination

If a young woman wishes to find out whether or not her sweetheart will marry her, according to Sidney Oldall Addy’s Household Tales, the following divination should be performed on the Eve of the Summer Solstice (Midsummer Eve): “Let a girl take a sprig of myrtle and lay it in her Prayer Book upon the words of the marriage service, ‘Wilt thou have this man to be thy wedded husband?’ Then let her close the book, put it under her pillow, and sleep upon it.” If the sprig of myrtle is nowhere to be found when she wakes the following morning and opens the book, this is said to be a sure sign that she and her sweetheart will soon be joined together in holy matrimony.

Yarrow Love Divinations

To experience a dream about the man or woman destined to be your future marriage mate, pluck 10 stalks of yarrow on Beltane Eve (April 30th), or on a night when the moon is new. Before going to bed, place nine of the stalks beneath your pillow and toss the remaining one over your left shoulder while repeating the following charm:

Good night, good night, fair yarrow,
Thrice good night to thee.
I pray before the dawn tomorrow
My true love to see.

A similar divinatory method from centuries gone by called for an ounce of yarrow to be sewn up in a piece of flannel or stuffed into a stocking and then placed beneath one’s pillow before going to bed. The following spoken charm (or one of its many variations) would then be recited three times:

“Thou pretty herb of Venus’ tree,
Thy true name it is yarrow.
Now who my future love must be,
Pray tell thou me tomorrow.”

A rather unusual yarrow love divination practiced in England in the Middle Ages instructed young ladies and gentlemen alike to insert a serrated leaf of the yarrow plant into each of their nostrils while reciting a spoken charm. If a nosebleed resulted upon blowing the nose, this was taken as a sure sign that the affections of one’s sweetheart were true. However, if the nose did not bleed, this indicated that the love was false.

Rose Dream Divination

Perform the following divination on Midsummer Eve, when the clock chimes 12 to usher in the witching hour: Without uttering a single word, walk backwards into a garden and gather the reddest rose in full bloom. Wrap it in a clean sheet of white paper, and then tuck it away in some secret hiding place where it will be undisturbed.

At sunrise on the day of the old Winter Solstice (December 25th), remove the rose from the paper and place the flower on your bosom. According to legend, the man who is destined to become your husband will then come and snatch it away.

Saint Agnes’ Day Divination

Aristotle’s Last Legacy (first published in the year 1711) contains a rather interesting divinatory ritual to enable a man or woman to dream about his or her future marriage mate: On Saint Agnes’ Day (a time long associated with love divinations and amatory enchantments), take one sprig each of rosemary and thyme, and “sprinkle them with urine thrice.” Put one sprig in your left shoe and the other in your right (it matters not which sprig goes in which shoe), and then place your shoes on each side of your bed’s head. As you lay yourself down to sleep, recite thrice the following incantation:

“Saint Agnes that’s to lovers kind,
Come ease the trouble of my mind.”

Hemp Seed Divination

To determine whom their future husbands will be, many young women throughout Europe have used the seeds of the hemp plant in a divinatory ritual that is centuries old. Traditionally performed at the witching hour on either Midsummer Eve or Christmas Eve, hemp divinations (if worked correctly) are said to make the image of one’s future husband manifest.

One such method calls for an unmarried girl to walk alone through a garden, field, or churchyard while tossing hemp seeds over her right shoulder and nine times reciting the following magickal rhyme:

“Hemp seed I sow,
And hemp seed I hoe,
And he to be my one true love,
Come follow me, I trow.”

A similar version of the hemp seed rhyme is as follows:

“I sow hemp seed,
Hemp seed I sow,
He that is to be my husband,
Come after me and mow,
Not in his best or Sunday array,
But in the clothes he wears every day.”

After repeating the rhyme for the ninth time, the girl is then supposed to see a materialization of her husband-to-be standing behind her with a scythe, looking “as substantial as a brass image of Saturn on an old time-piece,” according to William Hone’s The Year Book (1831). However, she must look at him over her left shoulder, otherwise his image will not be visible to her.

Should the girl be destined for a life of spinsterhood (or at least for the next 12 months, according to some traditions), she will not see the image of a man behind her. Instead, she is likely to hear the sound of a bell either chiming softly or ringing loudly.

In the rare event that she should gaze over her left shoulder and see a coffin, this is said to be an omen of an early death for the girl.

Holly Weather Divination

To determine what sort of winter weather lies ahead, according to an old and popular method of divination from New England, examine the number of berries growing on a holly tree. If there are many, this is a sign that inclement weather is in the offing.

But if there are few or none, this indicates that the weather will be mild.

No comments: