Sagebrush — grass healers and wizards
From childhood, school years everybody remembers these lines from Pushkin’s poem «Ruslan and Lyudmila» (1820):
On the field, who are you Littered with dead bones?
Whose gallant horse trampled you
In the last hour of the bloody battle?
Who are you with glory fell?
Whose heaven listening to prayers?
Why, the field, silent you
And overgrown with grass of oblivion?
Pushkin, the expression «the grass of oblivion» is usually perceived as a poetic metaphor. But Pushkin expression is not an abstract metaphor, but the title is very specific plants. «Wormwood… called «bitter herb» or «grass of oblivion»,» writes the French historian Robert Ambelain.
According to prominent Russian folklorist A. N. Afanasyeva, it is wormwood — «heroine» of legends about the drink of oblivion in the epics of different peoples: «the Scandinavian sagas tell about the magic potion, the giver of oblivion all the past: tradition, related to the Greek myth of the water Years; this drink gives Grimhild the Sigurd to forget Brunnhilde; the Valkyrie, Albina and sorceress brings the heroes of the cups, with the purpose to deprive them of the memory of the past and keep them in their possessions».
In his «Poetic views of the Slavs on nature» (1865) he cites the Ukrainian people’s bilicki about how hiring Chumak (in fact not any Chumak, and sorcerer), rattlesnake master tasted the porridge begins to understand the language of animals and plants, and, fearing punishment, he runs away from the owner.
The sorcerer yells after him, «Ivan, Ivan! navari yourself roots the Chernobyl and get drunk; even more know than now». The lad foolishly obeyed, drank the infusion of the Chernobyl-wormwood — and forgot everything he knew.
Lunar grass, ground star
In the myths of many peoples sagebrush — grass soothsayers and magicians. «Wormwood (artemisia vulgaris), as evidenced by the very name — herb of Artemis, or Diana, the goddess-warrior and hunter — meets R. Ambelain. — This plant called “grass of Ivan Kupala”, “belt of Ivan Kupala”, “grass a hundred tastes”. Magical herb in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, it was dedicated to Artemis, a merciless hunter who shot from a bow, the personification of the moon. In the mysteries of ISIS (goddess of Egypt) deals were carrying a branch of wormwood.»
Wormwood, according to the same researchers, also called «earth star». And I understand why.
«The third angel sounded, and there fell from heaven a great star, blazing like a torch, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is called wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood, and many men died of the waters because they became bitter», — is told in the «Apocalypse».
This fallen star from heaven that made bitter water, in the Middle ages was associated with the fallen angel Lucifer (Satan), fallen from heaven to the underworld. Respectively, and the grass, the wormwood, the star is not heaven, and earth, were also attributed various supernatural properties. «It was for the wizards a means of summoning evil spirits, whence its other name — «moon grass» (R. Ambelain).
«This is one of the plants, the most revered modern witches for its magical power — indicates American researcher Pauline Campanelli. The infusion of this herb on the night of the full moon washed the crystal balls, magic mirrors and some amulets to give them the ability to send mediumistic vision or enhance this capability.
Amulets with sage and Laurel leaves evoke prophetic dreams. In ancient times also believed that a piece of wormwood, put into the shoes while traveling (or under the saddle, if you have to travel on horseback), will make the road less tedious».
Magical properties endowed wormwood and Russia.
«In early September or late August, you need to pick some mugwort and sewn into the skin of a young hare, which, if worn in garters, then we say that the person will acquire such dexterity, on the run, which can run rather best horses», — wrote M. Zabylin in the book «Russian people, its customs, ceremonies, legends, superstitions and poetry» (1880).
«On the eve of Midsummer view from this herb wreaths, look through them at vozzrenii the fire and put them on the heads; who observes, that in the whole year won’t be hurt no eyes, no head, — writes A. N. Afanasev. — Broth from Chernobyl, gathered on Midsummer day, wash the cows to give more milk. The peasants wash this grass off to Celia to protect themselves from evil spirits, witches and disease.»
«Wormwood grass that grows quinoa, instructs ancient «Herbalist» of the XVII century. Good it is in wine, cooks with honey, the man is not afraid of damage. Hernia out drives and krasavicy good.»
On the medicinal properties of wormwood (directly associated with witchcraft) with praise not only of the ancient «Flower beds», «herbalist», «medical reference», but many medical authors of antiquity and the Western middle Ages: Dioscorides (I century ad), Quintus Ceren Samonik («Medical book», III century), Odo of MENA («On herbs», XII century), etc.
Pliny the Elder in Natural history (first century ad), focusing on the custom of the Latins to reward the winners in the contest Quadriga drink, infused sage, says: «I believe that… as an honorary award given him health.» In the «Garden» Walafrid Strabo (IX.) wormwood is referred to as the «mother of all herbs».
Recently in the ancient Anglo-Saxon herbalist was discovered the poem «the Affliction of the nine herbs» on the virtues of medicinal plants, considered the most effective. The first place among the grass, praise her, given wormwood.