Mandragora, The Earth Apple Witch

"And words they muttered, but what nine knew,
with motion slow of hand and foot:
Then into the cave the three withdrew,
And carried with them the mandrake root."
-Birds and Flowers: And Other Country Things by Mary Botham Howitt

Literary Quotes About Mandragora

"The myths surrounding Mandrake grew, until it was said the plant hid by day but shone like a star at night, and that when being pulled from the ground the plant let out such unearthly shrikes that whoever heard the noise might die."-Richard Evan Schultes, Albert Hofman, and Christian Ratsch, Plants of the Gods

"In ancient Egypt, the mandrake was a symbol of love and was a valued aphrodisiac.  It was usually depicted in association with eros and sensuality."- Christian Ratsch, Plants of Love

"The fruit is a berry, commonly known as a 'love apple', typically ripening to a bright orange at harvest time, which in the Mediterranean countries, occurs in May.  It is, however, the long taproot that gives Mandrake a special place in plant lore."- Michael Jordan, The Green Mantle

"On a day when the moon is waxing, preferably just after the new moon, some time between the winter solstice and vernal equinox, look for your mandrake in a hedgerow or piece of wasteland.  That night, making sure you are not observed, draw a deosil circle with your Athame around the plant and, using the knife as a digging implement, loosen the earth around the root.  Without injuring the main section of the root, gently draw the plant from the soil.  You will probably have to tug quite hard, and you may even hear the traditional "groaning" of the root as it leaves the earth."- Paul Huson, Mastering Witchcraft

"This root was the most powerful of all aphrodisiacs and amulets.  Awakening the root through a series of rituals, produced the little man of the gallows."- Christian Ratsch, Plants of Love

Mandragora, the Golden Apple of the Gods. She is a Circean priestess in the garden of Hekate, a black magician and love sorceress just like her sister Belladonna.  She is an eventide wandering witch, an aphrodisiac maker, a lucid dreamer, a friend of Hekate's Hounds. As a witch, she is mercurial, fiery in temperament, fertile and protective, but loving- the fruits of her poisonous love in magical use are said to stimulate the libido and bring fire to the body.  Her presence is said to make women ripe for child, make children peaceful in dreams and make the lonely irresistible. Like her sisters, she has the power to fly from the body and into that ethereal place where dreams and shadows come from. 

She is known as Alraun the Hexen, and is a loyal ally when cared for in her proper way. A lady of tradition and ritual, Mandragora demands to be fed and tended to, cared for as any friend ought to be. Some of the rituals involving her can be quite ghastly, involving corpses and semen and hanged men and black dogs. Mandragora is usually allied in root form, choosing this avatar to work her will in the homes of witches who keep her hidden in water and fed on blood in the dark corners of the home, or even in prominent places like headboards and mantles. According the some folklore, placing money near an object that even resembles Madnrake will draw and increase wealth to the wielder.  I've never had the pleasure of her company, but I've been inspired by the great deal of lore and legend around her.

She comes in many forms and varieties, this one is a mix of elements from English and Mediterranean Mandrake species, inspired mostly by Autumnalis and Officinarum.  I plan on making variety specific Mandragoras in the future but I wanted someone a little universal this time.  When I read about her lore, I was really inspired by the lore of her regarding time of day and the brightness of the plant at night, which is how I came up with the color placement; being reminiscent of both the purple and white and yellows of the flowers themselves and inspired by the way they are said to light up in the twilight evening and hide as men approach.  Rather than make little faces at the base of each bunch, I placed howlite and clay skulls to represents the little man of the gallows who rests beneath the dark crinkled leaves of the mandrake. A golden pearl was used to represent the ripest golden fruit (apple) in her care.  In her lap are five ripening fruit in a bed of leaves and resting in her right palm is the mandrake root herself, ready for activation in the water, in the dark.  Mandragora's lips are just barely parted, ready to sing her shriek of death if need be, ready to fly from her body if she must.

Are you interested in taking home Mandragora or Datura to your altar?  You will have a chance to WIN your choice between the two (or possibly more) this April!  Stay tuned for details!  To instantly qualify for give aways and freebees, you must like AND follow the Via Hedera Facebook page, OR follow Via Hedera Instragram,  OR be subscribed to Via Hedera Blog.  Unregistered readers will unfortunately not be counted in the random draws.

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