The Dahlia


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The dahlia is common and easy to grow. It has extraordinary power in its petals for dyeing.
The resulting colour varies depending on the colour of the flower, from orange to yellow, and it is much more fast if the wool is previously treated with potassium dichromate.

For dyes: fresh flowers are needed.
Fibers: wool.
Colours: yellow-orange. Colours are pretty solid.


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GARLIC

Garlic is widely farmed. Its origin is not known very well, but we can see some traces of it in Siberia. In Italy, it was found in two regions: in Sicily and in Calabria. Its first use is for cooking, but it is also used for therapeutic purposes.
In fact, it acts as an effective antiseptic. It destroys germs and bacteria and prevents their proliferation. It is one of the most effectictive antioxidants that we can find in nature. It protects the cells of our body from premature aging. It prevents cell deterioration and consequent diseases.
There are many important benefits from this plant for the heart and circulatory system; garlic strengthens the muscles of the heart. It has also got digestive properties . If you eat it regulary, it can have protective effects against cancer.
It has also got a magical use: since ancient times, garlic has played an important role in the occult. We find evidence among the Greeks and Romans, and even among the Egyptians. It can absorb evil and it can also prevent it. It was also used as an aphrodisiac. Mars is its planet.

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Male fern
In Italian folklore, this plant is related to the
feast of St. John.
WHERE IT GROWS :
The plant frequently grows from the plains to the
mountains, along roadsides and in forests,
where, of course, the growth is much more
lush.
MAGIC USE :
It was believed that collecting the spores on the
night of the saint, and wore them, you could
become invisible and be protected from all
adversity throughout the year.
THERAPEUTIC USE :
It is used against worms and it should not be
forgotten, particularly for its positive effects on
nerve disorders and arthritis. Tinctures and
ointments are prepared for people suffering from
pain in the joints.

Hypericum perforatum L._Iperico_St. John's Wort

Where it grows:
It grows wild and abundantly in abandoned fields, along roadsides and trails, and generally, in all warm, sunny, grassy places

What can be used:
The flowering tips

How to use:
Powder: As a powder, take half a teaspoon once or twice a day.

Infusion: One teaspoon of finely ground flowering tip brewed in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Take two to three cups a day.

Tincture: Store in a dark bottle equipped with a dropper. Take 8 to 10 drops two to three times a day.

For external use as an oil: Ground fresh flowers in half a liter of olive oil and white wine mixed together. Everything is put in a double boiler until the wine is completely evaporated. The oil remaining from this operation is of blood red color and is used for dressings on wounds, ulcers and burns.

Therapeutic properties
There are many therapeutic properties of this plant. It 's a good antiseptic and decongestant. Effective for circulatory problems. It is used successfully for asthma, bronchial affections, in liver failure, and incontinence.

It is also used as an anti-depressant.

For external use in creme form: to alleviate the pains of gout, rheumatism , on burns, sores and varicose ulcers.

Trivia: St. John's Wort is also known by the name of “Devil's Bane” for its pleasant scent of incense. It was used in exorcisms.

VERBENA


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It grows spontaneously in uncultivated places and roadsides, at the edge of the woods and among rubble. It is collected during summer. Its therapeutic properties are: sedative, tonic, preparation for childbirth. Formerly, it was used against pain. Verbena is protected by Venus and it was used to remedy love problems. In the Middle Ages, wizards used it to ward off nightmares, evil spirits; also, it was used to cause death by witchcraft. Verbena is considered a powerful talisman only if you pick it during St. John’s night.

La verbena cresce spontaneamente in luoghi incolti ,ai margini dei boschi e tra le macerie. Viene raccolta durante l'estate. Le sue proprietà terapeutiche sono: sedativo, tonico , preparazione al parto , nell'antichità era usata contro il dolore .La verbena è protetta da Venere, infatti in passato era utilizzata per I problemi d'amore. Nel Medioevo I maghi la utilzzavano per allontanare gli incubi, gli spiriti maligni; veniva anche utilizzata nella stregoneria per causare la morte. Oggi la verbena è considerata un potente talismano, solo se raccolta personalmente nella notte di S.Giovanni.

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SAINT JOHN’S NIGHT AND THE VERNAL SOLSTICE


In its apparent voyage across the skies, the sun reaches its highest point on the 21st of June, the vernal solstice. Having passed this point, the rout of our star gets briefer and the days get shorter.

When the sun reaches its maximum positive low point in reference to the celestial equator, it seems to stop for some days and it looks as if it rises at the same point, after which it takes up its reverse journey. This is the beginning of summer.

This phenomenon, “the stopping sun” (sole che sosta) or “the leaping sun” (sole che fa i salti) has been observed and celebrated since ancient times.

For the Babylonians, the vernal solstice represented the marriage between the Sun and the Moon. The Moon, goddess of water, who dominates the sign of Cancer (which begins with the solstice), is impregnated by the Sun. For the ancients, the solstices were considered symbols of passage and were the borders between the world subject to time and eternity. In ancient Greece, the vernal solstice is the portal for man, as it opens into the world and decay, whereas the autumnal solstice is the portal for the gods and the immortals, as it gives access to eternity. John the Baptist, whose feast is on the 24th of June, is called “crying John ” since the sun seems to begin its backward journey, while John the Evangelist, whose feast is on the 27th of December, at the autumnal solstice, is called “laughing John”, because the sun takes up its forward journey. So, for the ancients, the solstices were frontiers between the space-time world of man and the timelessness of the gods.
We are dealing with a concept that is common to many peoples; it is found in the Vedic texts which surely anticipate Pythagoras. In Roman tradition, the guardian of gates and doors, including those of the solstices, was Janus, lord of eternity. His feast was celebrated at the two solstices. To these, the feasts of the two Christian Johns were superimposed. The two Johns, according to some sources, symbolize Christ the Creator at the vernal solstice, while at the autumnal one, it is Christ who opens the gates of heaven. Besides, in ancient Rome, “Fors Fortuna”, the goddess of fate, was celebrated on June 24th, it being prohibited to honor her during the year. According to Nordic tradition, June 24th is midsummer’s day. The natural and the supernatural worlds meld and “strange things” happen. This day is remembered by Shakespeare, too, in his “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. The vernal solstice is not only a phase during which the sun reaches its zenith in the celestial zodiac, but it is also seen as a celebration of nature itself. It is a period of critical change and of passage; special rites were needed to allay fears. Customs and traditions relating to this period have the function to protect creation, for example, the bonfires lit in fields in order to assure a good harvest. Herbs with curative or divinatory properties are gathered during the night, while exposing oneself to the dew gives extraordinary power. It is the right moment for making spells: water-diviners cut the branches for their divining rod, wizards and witches gathered the herbs for their philters and potions. The date is important: the sun of the vernal solstice has a beneficial influence on plants and it has been a day of celebration since the most remote of times as the many traditions and customs linked to this night testify. The celebrations directed to our star were not appreciated by Christianity which first opposed them. However, seeing that they continued, the Church tried including them in its own tradition, linking them to John the Baptist.

TRADITIONS CONNECTED TO ST. JOHN / Le tradizioni di San Giovanni
There are many legends and traditions that are linked to the Feast of St. John, a festivity which has always been considered “magic” and the layers of beliefs and customs coming from various peoples have made it a special event.
Until 1870 in Rome, the feast solemnly began on the Eve of St. John’s with vespers celebrated in the Basilica of St. John in Lateran. The Romans met in the fields around the church where they lit bonfires and waited to see the passing by of witches.
.
Bonfires were a common tradition in many civilizations and were considered to be purifying and the dew of this night had the ability to favor fecundity. Brides who wanted to have many children would sit on the dew-covered grass, not wearing their underclothes. In Normandy, it was tradition to roll about nude in the dew-covered grass in order to rejuvenate the skin and protect it from disease, besides making hair grow. One had to remember to buy some garlic on the Feast of St. John if one wanted to have a prosperous year. Then, in the evening, people met in taverns to eat snails so that future quarrels would be avoided and old disagreements could be smoothed over. According to tradition, the “horns” (the eye-stalks) of the snail presage discord while eating them and “burying” them in one’s stomach, it was possible to exorcise it. Besides, if snails were eaten in great quantities, they would avert the risk of being betrayed by loved ones. Another belief was that each snail-horn eaten meant one piece of bad luck avoided.

If one wanted lots of money, it was necessary to cut a fern leaf at midnight and keep it at home. In the Po Valley on St. John’s Night, women cut green walnut drupes to make “nocino”, a typical liquor of the area, without using metal tools. It is a Celtic tradition for whom the walnut is a sacred tree. Another custom common to several cultures is the “godparenthood” of St. John. People symbolically are tied one to another on the 24th June, even those of the opposite sex, and they remain spiritually linked for all their lives, godfathers and godmothers.

ST. JOHN’S MAGIC HERBS / Le erbe magiche di S. Giovanni
In front of the Basilica of St. John there was once a herb market where one could buy “St. John’s Herbs”, good for all sorts of purposes. These herbs are any of several plants that have been attributed magical properties by tradition. Perhaps the real reason that practically all the flowers with phyto-therapeutic potential were gathered at the end of June was because their active principals are then at their maximum concentration.
There were herbs for every rite: divinatory ones that let maidens know the identity of their future husbands and if they would marry within the year. They would be able to see the face of their future husband in a dream by putting a rosemary branch behind their ear before going to sleep, or by putting some parsley under their pillow or a sprig of rue. Placing some small cards with the names of one’s beaus written on them in a basin full of water containing sandalwood, rosemary and pink mallow (Altea rosa), it is possible to know who the lucky one will be: the one whose name is on the card which folds in the water. In Abruzzo, girls put three broad beans under their pillow on St. John’s Eve. The first would be without any skin, the second would have half the skin off and the third would be whole. In the morning the girls would take one by chance: if the bean had no skin, she would marry a poor man, if it was half covered in skin, she would marry someone who was neither rich nor poor, if the bean had all its skin, she would marry a rich man. Another tradition was to melt lead in order to know what craft one’s husband would practice. By putting two singed thistles in a glass of water, one would know if one’s future husband would be a foreigner or a townsman.
In order to see into the future, one put the so called “St. John’s Herbs” under one’s pillow tied up in a bunch of nine. The plants making up this bunch varied from country to country, but, St John’s wort was indispensable. To overcome one’s beloved’s resistance, one threw the powder of dried marjoram, verbena and valerian leaves that had been gathered on that prodigious night, at his or her house.

For good health, fertility and a long life, “St. John’s Water” was used as a propitiatory offering. It’s composition varied but it was obtained from leaves and scented flowers; St. John’s wort was indispensable, as well as lavender (called St. John’s spikes), rosemary, spearmint and rue. A basinful of St. John’s Water, together with leaves and scented flowers, was placed on the windowsill for the whole of that “miraculous night”. On the morning of the feast, the women of the household, from the grandmother on down to the little girls, washed with this water blessed by the Saint, and so, assuring themselves good health and smooth, perfumed skin. Young girls who wanted to marry within the year had to think intensely about their beloved while they washed with “St. John’s Water”.
There were “devils’ bane” and “witches’ bane” herbs that were commonly used for protection on the Eve of St. John’s when the forces of evil annually met for their sabbath. According to Italian tradition, the 24th June is also the day when witches fly to the “the Great Walnut Tree of Benevento”, the tree from which a moon goddess had defeated the devil, sending him back to the netherworld. For protection against witches, that could come into one’s house this night, it was customary to weave branches of laurel, rosemary, lavender and juniper to put on doors and windows, or one could place jars of salt or brooms made of sorghum, handles down. The saying was, that before coming in, the witches were obliged to count the grains of salt one by one, or the bristles on the brooms, or every single leaf and flower of the woven branches. Since they would never be able to do so before midnight when the day protected by the Saint began, they were forced to flee. Those people who had no shelter on that night could protect themselves by carrying St. John’s herbs hidden under their shirts: St. John’s wort, garlic, artemisia and rue. The first was used because its red petals were thought to be imbued with the Saint’s blood, the second because it is a plant which protects against evil creatures (in Sanskrit, it is called “killer of monsters”), the third because it is the plant sacred to the goddess Artemis and the last, also known as “the merry herb” because it is an effective talisman against the evil one.

The hawthorn was used to keep witches at bay by putting up bunches around the house or near the main door of a farmstead. A branch was nailed to stable doors in order to prevent death spells being put on livestock. St. John’s wort was burnt in fireplaces to keep evil spirits away. In the middle ages, oregano was considered a powerful talisman against witches and evil powers. It was thought that it could stop the devil from realizing his plans. Rooms where Inquisition trials took place were often fumigated with it so as to avoid “tainting evidence”. Peasants often brought sprigs of thyme to be blessed in church because it was thought that it had the power to keep witches away from babies’ cradles.

THE MAGIC HERBS Le erbe magiche
Garlic: the talisman for prosperity
Artemesia: protector of feminine life
Absinthe/Wormwood: lacking in sweetness
Fern: the treasure hunter
St. John’s Wort: the “devil’s bane”
Lavander: the spellbinding flower
Mint: the good herb
Parsley: the Good Friday plant
Rosemary: the sea dew
Rue: the “devil’s bane herb”
Sage: “the life saver”
Valerian: plant of the masculine planets
Verbena: protected by Venus
Periwinkle: the color of Venus’s eyes

Proverbs and Sayings / I Proverbi
There are many proverbs linked to Saint John. Here are some:
“St. John wants no deceits”: a reminder of the “godparenthood” above cited. St. John is patron saint of friendship; it is said that he was inflexible with whomever betrayed a friend.
“With his fire, St. John burns witches, Moors and wolves”; i.e. all the evil of the world.
“On St. John’s Eve, it rains every year.”
“If it rains on St. John’s Day, all the fountains dry up.”
“If it rains on St. John’s Day, lots of sorghum and little bread.”
“St. John fills the grape”; if the weather is right on the feast day, the wine will be good.
“St. John, the sower; St. Peter, the gatherer.”
“Whoever is born on St. John’s Eve will never see witches nor dream of ghosts.”
“When the lavender hears St. John coming, it wants to bloom.”
“If you do not want your clothes to be damaged by moths, let St. John’s water wet them.”
“If you want to be free of negativity, pulverize the flowering tips of artemisia; throw the magic powder from room to room, from the furthest one to the door you usually come in.”
Folk medicine and magic / Medicina popolare e magia

Folk medicine has always been considered magic’s parallel expression because of its mysterious and ritual character and they both share many affinities. Both folk culture and magic share a belief in an animistic universe where each tangible aspect of reality is imbued with spirit. In this context, man has the authority to influence the supernatural forces, to propitiate the powerful entities and guide his own life. That which could not be rationally credible in medicine, becomes incontestable in folk imagination and transcends the rational; spirits, witches and sorcerers are called into play. In folk tradition, the cause of adversity is to be found in an external disharmony between micro and macrocosm, the non-observance of taboos, the punishment for something done, the broken harmony with the natural environment, in envy and the evil intervention of witches. One must recur to occult practices, spells and rituals, to herbs and miraculous concoctions. Just as one can subdue supernatural forces in order to cure illness and misfortune, it is possible to use them to cause evil effects, pain and misfortune. This is why magicians and sorcerers are feared;M they have the ability to decide the life and death of individuals. Another element that links the practice of medicine to the practice of magic is the use of ritual, formulaic words, magic instruments, symbols that link the sacred to the profane, the Christian to the pagan.
The close link of folk medicine to magic was greatly feared, even to the point of causing the persecution of the custodians of these practices. So the herbalists (le Herbarie), women who were experts in the knowledge of herbs, simple peasants who prepared decoctions and mixtures, were accused of witchcraft, prosecuted and burned at the stake.
The Herbalists / Le herbarie
In the past, herbs were a therapeutic resource, often managed by women who passed on their empirical knowledge generation by generation. The relationship between women and plants has always been close: the herbalists (le herbarie) were folk figures who cured using herbs and for this were considered witches. The considerable heritage of knowledge in their hands was thought to be one that could hold power over others and decree life or death. For this reason, it was feared that behind the herbal remedies offered, the healers used diabolical rituals that could bring harm. As fear of the power held by witches increased, the inquisition began, and the trials and death by fire.
Among the martyred witches, there were many who were gatherers of herbs and had nothing to do with the occult. With the Counter-reformation, the persecutions were very serious as regards to folk medicine and anyone who used herbs to heal. After the Council of Trent, there were many “Constitutiones” that regulated therapeutic practices and the use of medicinal herbs. A large part of the cures used up to then in folk medicine were branded as superstitions and their darker aspects were highlighted, hypothesizing links with demonic cults. A break between folk medicine, mainly practiced by women, and academic medicine; the Church assumed a dominating policy regarding the supervision over therapeutic practices and the remedies adopted. The competence to administer therapeutic substances, up to then forbidden to Jews and clerics, was barred to women too, with a special proviso concerning herb gatherers. Witch-hunting was one of the main objectives of the Church throughout the middle ages and in this context, many texts were written. In fact, in the attempt to catalogue and file every form of demonic practice, the Inquisition gathered information on the knowledge and way of working of these mysterious figures. In most cases the “herb women” had a profound knowledge of archaic pharmacology. They knew how to gather the right plants at the best moment in order not to diminish their full beneficial properties.

MENTA ACQUATICA
Mint grows wild and abundant in places with little shade and that are moist.
It is harvested in summer and both the leaves and flowers are used.
Mint has food property and therapeutic properties: in the kitchen, it is used to prepare sauces, cakes and sweets. Regarding the therapeutic properties, mint helps the digestion. It can be used against inflammation and to prepare infusions.



SAINT JOHN’S NIGHT AND THE VERNAL SOLSTICE

















There are many legends and traditions that are linked to the Feast of St. John, a festivity which has always been considered “magic” and the layers of beliefs and customs coming from various peoples have made it a special event.
Until 1870 in Rome, the feast solemnly began on the Eve of St. John’s with vespers celebrated in the Basilica of St. John in Lateran. The Romans met in the fields around the church where they lit bonfires and waited to see the passing by of witches.
.Bonfires were a common tradition in many civilizations and were considered to be purifying and the dew of this night had the ability to favor fecundity. Brides who wanted to have many children would sit on the dew-covered grass, not wearing their underclothes. In Normandy, it was tradition to roll about nude in the dew-covered grass in order to rejuvenate the skin and protect it from disease, besides making hair grow. One had to remember to buy some garlic on the Feast of St. John if one wanted to have a prosperous year. Then, in the evening, people met in taverns to eat snails so that future quarrels would be avoided and old disagreements could be smoothed over. According to tradition, the “horns” (the eye-stalks) of the snail presage discord while eating them and “burying” them in one’s stomach, it was possible to exorcise it. Besides, if snails were eaten in great quantities, they would avert the risk of being betrayed by loved ones. Another belief was that each snail-horn eaten meant one piece of bad luck avoided.
If one wanted lots of money, it was necessary to cut a fern leaf at midnight and keep it at home. In the Po Valley on St. John’s Night, women cut green walnut drupes to make “nocino”, a typical liquor of the area, without using metal tools. It is a Celtic tradition for whom the walnut is a sacred tree. Another custom common to several cultures is the “godparenthood” of St. John. People symbolically are tied one to another on the 24th June, even those of the opposite sex, and they remain spiritually linked for all their lives, godfathers and godmothers
ST. JOHN’S MAGIC HERBS / Le erbe magiche di S. Giovanni
In front of the Basilica of St. John there was once a herb market where one could buy “St. John’s Herbs”, good for all sorts of purposes. These herbs are any of several plants that have been attributed magical properties by tradition. Perhaps the real reason that practically all the flowers with phyto-therapeutic potential were gathered at the end of June was because their active principals are then at their maximum concentration.
There were herbs for every rite: divinatory ones that let maidens know the identity of their future husbands and if they would marry within the year. They would be able to see the face of their future husband in a dream by putting a rosemary branch behind their ear before going to sleep, or by putting some parsley under their pillow or a sprig of rue. Placing some small cards with the names of one’s beaus written on them in a basin full of water containing sandalwood, rosemary and pink mallow (Altea rosa), it is possible to know who the lucky one will be: the one whose name is on the card which folds in the water. In Abruzzo, girls put three broad beans under their pillow on St. John’s Eve. The first would be without any skin, the second would have half the skin off and the third would be whole. In the morning the girls would take one by chance: if the bean had no skin, she would marry a poor man, if it was half covered in skin, she would marry someone who was neither rich nor poor, if the bean had all its skin, she would marry a rich man. Another tradition was to melt lead in order to know what craft one’s husband would practice. By putting two singed thistles in a glass of water, one would know if one’s future husband would be a foreigner or a townsman.
In order to see into the future, one put the so called “St. John’s Herbs” under one’s pillow tied up in a bunch of nine. The plants making up this bunch varied from country to country, but, St John’s wort was indispensable. To overcome one’s beloved’s resistance, one threw the powder of dried marjoram, verbena and valerian leaves that had been gathered on that prodigious night, at his or her house.

For good health, fertility and a long life, “St. John’s Water” was used as a propitiatory offering. It’s composition varied but it was obtained from leaves and scented flowers; St. John’s wort was indispensable, as well as lavender (called St. John’s spikes), rosemary, spearmint and rue. A basinful of St. John’s Water, together with leaves and scented flowers, was placed on the windowsill for the whole of that “miraculous night”. On the morning of the feast, the women of the household, from the grandmother on down to the little girls, washed with this water blessed by the Saint, and so, assuring themselves good health and smooth, perfumed skin. Young girls who wanted to marry within the year had to think intensely about their beloved while they washed with “St. John’s Water”.
There were “devils’ bane” and “witches’ bane” herbs that were commonly used for protection on the Eve of St. John’s when the forces of evil annually met for their sabbath. According to Italian tradition, the 24th June is also the day when witches fly to the “the Great Walnut Tree of Benevento”, the tree from which a moon goddess had defeated the devil, sending him back to the netherworld. For protection against witches, that could come into one’s house this night, it was customary to weave branches of laurel, rosemary, lavender and juniper to put on doors and windows, or one could place jars of salt or brooms made of sorghum, handles down. The saying was, that before coming in, the witches were obliged to count the grains of salt one by one, or the bristles on the brooms, or every single leaf and flower of the woven branches. Since they would never be able to do so before midnight when the day protected by the Saint began, they were forced to flee. Those people who had no shelter on that night could protect themselves by carrying St. John’s herbs hidden under their shirts: St. John’s wort, garlic, artemisia and rue. The first was used because its red petals were thought to be imbued with the Saint’s blood, the second because it is a plant which protects against evil creatures (in Sanskrit, it is called “killer of monsters”), the third because it is the plant sacred to the goddess Artemis and the last, also known as “the merry herb” because it is an effective talisman against the evil one.
The hawthorn was used to keep witches at bay by putting up bunches around the house or near the main door of a farmstead. A branch was nailed to stable doors in order to prevent death spells being put on livestock. St. John’s wort was burnt in fireplaces to keep evil spirits away. In the middle ages, oregano was considered a powerful talisman against witches and evil powers. It was thought that it could stop the devil from realizing his plans. Rooms where Inquisition trials took place were often fumigated with it so as to avoid “tainting evidence”. Peasants often brought sprigs of thyme to be blessed in church because it was thought that it had the power to keep witches away from babies’ cradles.


THE MAGIC HERBS Le erbe magiche
Garlic: the talisman for prosperity
Artemesia: protector of feminine life
Absinthe/Wormwood: lacking in sweetness
Fern: the treasure hunter
St. John’s Wort: the “devil’s bane”
Lavander: the spellbinding flower
Mint: the good herb
Parsley: the Good Friday plant
Rosemary: the sea dew
Rue: the “devil’s bane herb”
Sage: “the life saver”
Valerian: plant of the masculine planets
Verbena: protected by Venus
Periwinkle: the color of Venus’s eyes

Proverbs and Sayings / I Proverbi
There are many proverbs linked to Saint John. Here are some:
“St. John wants no deceits”: a reminder of the “godparenthood” above cited. St. John is patron saint of friendship; it is said that he was inflexible with whomever betrayed a friend.
“With his fire, St. John burns witches, Moors and wolves”; i.e. all the evil of the world.
“On St. John’s Eve, it rains every year.”
“If it rains on St. John’s Day, all the fountains dry up.”
“If it rains on St. John’s Day, lots of sorghum and little bread.”
“St. John fills the grape”; if the weather is right on the feast day, the wine will be good.
“St. John, the sower; St. Peter, the gatherer.”
“Whoever is born on St. John’s Eve will never see witches nor dream of ghosts.”
“When the lavender hears St. John coming, it wants to bloom.”
“If you do not want your clothes to be damaged by moths, let St. John’s water wet them.”
“If you want to be free of negativity, pulverize the flowering tips of artemisia; throw the magic powder from room to room, from the furthest one to the door you usually come in.”
Folk medicine and magic / Medicina popolare e magia

Folk medicine has always been considered magic’s parallel expression because of its mysterious and ritual character and they both share many affinities. Both folk culture and magic share a belief in an animistic universe where each tangible aspect of reality is imbued with spirit. In this context, man has the authority to influence the supernatural forces, to propitiate the powerful entities and guide his own life. That which could not be rationally credible in medicine, becomes incontestable in folk imagination and transcends the rational; spirits, witches and sorcerers are called into play. In folk tradition, the cause of adversity is to be found in an external disharmony between micro and macrocosm, the non-observance of taboos, the punishment for something done, the broken harmony with the natural environment, in envy and the evil intervention of witches. One must recur to occult practices, spells and rituals, to herbs and miraculous concoctions. Just as one can subdue supernatural forces in order to cure illness and misfortune, it is possible to use them to cause evil effects, pain and misfortune. This is why magicians and sorcerers are feared;M they have the ability to decide the life and death of individuals. Another element that links the practice of medicine to the practice of magic is the use of ritual, formulaic words, magic instruments, symbols that link the sacred to the profane, the Christian to the pagan.
The close link of folk medicine to magic was greatly feared, even to the point of causing the persecution of the custodians of these practices. So the herbalists (le Herbarie), women who were experts in the knowledge of herbs, simple peasants who prepared decoctions and mixtures, were accused of witchcraft, prosecuted and burned at the stake.
The Herbalists / Le herbarie
In the past, herbs were a therapeutic resource, often managed by women who passed on their empirical knowledge generation by generation. The relationship between women and plants has always been close: the herbalists (le herbarie) were folk figures who cured using herbs and for this were considered witches. The considerable heritage of knowledge in their hands was thought to be one that could hold power over others and decree life or death. For this reason, it was feared that behind the herbal remedies offered, the healers used diabolical rituals that could bring harm. As fear of the power held by witches increased, the inquisition began, and the trials and death by fire.
Among the martyred witches, there were many who were gatherers of herbs and had nothing to do with the occult. With the Counter-reformation, the persecutions were very serious as regards to folk medicine and anyone who used herbs to heal. After the Council of Trent, there were many “Constitutiones” that regulated therapeutic practices and the use of medicinal herbs. A large part of the cures used up to then in folk medicine were branded as superstitions and their darker aspects were highlighted, hypothesizing links with demonic cults. A break between folk medicine, mainly practiced by women, and academic medicine; the Church assumed a dominating policy regarding the supervision over therapeutic practices and the remedies adopted. The competence to administer therapeutic substances, up to then forbidden to Jews and clerics, was barred to women too, with a special proviso concerning herb gatherers. Witch-hunting was one of the main objectives of the Church throughout the middle ages and in this context, many texts were written. In fact, in the attempt to catalogue and file every form of demonic practice, the Inquisition gathered information on the knowledge and way of working of these mysterious figures. In most cases the “herb women” had a profound knowledge of archaic pharmacology. They knew how to gather the right plants at the best moment in order not to diminish their full beneficial properties.



Fish in the Adriatic sea
Mormora
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Habitat: It lives on muddy and sandy bottoms.
Physical Characteristics: The body is elongated, silvery-gray, the belly is lighter in color.
It can reach a maximum length of about 55 cm.

ORATA / BREAM
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Habitat: It lives along the coast, on sandy or rocky bottoms, in depths of no more than 50 meters.
Physical Characteristics: Its body is rounded and elongated. The back is metallic light-blue , the sides are slightly golden, while the belly is silvery. There is a yellow band between the eyes. The lower jaw has several rows of teeth. It reaches an average length of about 30 cm but can grow up to 70 cm and weighs about 10 kilograms.
Particulars:It feeds mainly on crustaceans and molluscs and can live alone or in schools.


POTASSOLO (Micromesistius poutassou)
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Habitat: It lives near the coasts.
Physical characteristics: The main feature is the presence of three dorsal fins. It can reach a length of about 50 cm.


PALAMITA (Sarda sarda)
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Habitat: It lives in deep waters offshore.
Physical Characteristics: It has two very short dorsal fins (the first very large). The head is elongated with a large mouth packed full of teeth.
The color of the back is blue while the sides and belly are silvery with shades of blue. It has black vertical stripes across the back and sides. It reaches a maximum length of about 80 cm and a weight of 8-10 kg.
Particulars: It is a voracious predator that feeds mainly on fish such as sardines and blue mackerel. It lives in schools. In the spring the females release large numbers of eggs.

PALOMBO (Mustelus mustelus)
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Habitat: It lives in sandy bottoms.
Physical Characteristics: It has a flattened body. On the back, there are two large fins.
The eyes are placed laterally. The mouth is characterized by small teeth. The back looks wrinkled and dark gray, while the belly is white or yellowish. It can reach a length of about 160 cm.

PASSERA (Platichthys flesus flesus) / FLOUNDER
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Habitat: It lives both in a marine environment or in brackish waters.
Physical characteristics: The body is flat and oval. It reaches a length of about 50 cm.
Particulars: It is a voracious carnivore.

Rare birds of Italy


Herons
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Fighter
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Regal seagull
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Sandpiper-toeds
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Black-necked Grebe
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Popular birds of Italy


Cormorant
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Crow
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Refectory

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Black-headed gull

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Woodcock of the sea
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Animals found at the Adriatic sea


Lobster

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Squid

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Crab

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Jellyfish

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Sea star


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Mammals of Italy


Whale


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Dolphin
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Monk Seal
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Orca
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Turtle
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Plants by the Adriatic sea



Near the Adriatic sea grow a lot of species of plants as :
1. Wallflower.
2. Sea cabbage.
3. Samphire.
4. Tree euphorbia.
5. Prickly juniper.
6. Euphorbia characias.
7. Genista.

Wallflower

Wallflower is a herbaceous biennial, it is grown to decorate the gardens.
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Sea cabbage

Sea cabbage is annual herbaceous plant,
Grows in the sand near the coast.
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Samphire
Samphire is a perennial herb, it is a medicinal plant that grows near the coast.
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Tree Euphorbia
Tree Euphorbia is a perennial tree, grows near the coast and mountains .
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Prickly juniper
Prickly juniper is a perennial tree, since its a fine wood frame is obtained, is forbidden to cut.
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Euphorbia characias
Euphorbia characias is a perennial plants, is greenfield land and open, dry and sunny.
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Genista
Genista is a bush-shrub plant, it is used in flower essence therapy.
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