Friday, May 15, 2020

13 Essential Herbs Series: Bay

In this series, I will be exploring 13 common herbs you may have in your kitchen or garden, dissecting their meaning from science, history, and culture.  



Appearance: Leafy green plant with thick, stiff, fragrant leaves.
Edible? Yes, but typically steeped for flavoring.  Bay leaves do not digest.
Origins: Indigenous to Asia Minor and the Mediterranean area.
Other Notable Qualities: Wild variants of bay do exist but proper bay is from the laurel tree. Some variants of bay are poisonous, so proceed with caution.

Scientific Correspondence:
Trance - Clairvoyance

Bay leaves are narcotic when eaten in large quantities, though this is not recommended due to the lack of digestion.  In fact, the Temple of Delphi, dedicated to Apollo, used bay leaves a great deal.  The roof was made of bay leaves and priestesses would eat bay before giving their oracles, which may have induced a trancelike state that made the priestesses particularly clairvoyant.

Historical Correspondence:

Bay laurel has particular meaning to Greek mythology.  Ovid's legend speaks of the Greek god Apollo who fell in love with the nymph Daphne. He pursued her relentlessly but she wanted nothing to do with Apollo's affections.  Desperate to avoid rape, she ran to her father who, in an attempt to protect his daughter from the god, turned her into a bay laurel tree, which Apollo then deemed sacred.  In fact, the Greek word for laurel is dhafni, which is a call back to this particular story.

Cultural Correspondence (USA/Midwest):
Knowledge - Achievement

The word laureate, derived from the laurels of the bay tree, is used to refer to a higher status, victory, and honor.  Historically, winners, kinds, and doctors would wear laurels of bay as a symbol of their status; the laurel was indicative of their achievements.  Today, laureate has been included in the fields of academia and knowledge.  For example, baccalaureates (literally berry laurels) are those who have received a bachelor's degree and thus are recognized for a certain amount of knowledge in their field.

Sigil to Invoke Bay

Utilize this sigil as a way of invoking the properties of bay if you have none available to you.  You are welcome to print this sigil, place it in a grimoire, use it on a spell or put it in your blog with proper credit.  Do not claim this sigil as your own.

The Epicentre: Bay Leaf
Spice Trade: Bay Leaf
Hunker: Narcotic Effects of Bay Leaves
Hellenic Gods: Bay Laurel
Portland Nursery: Laurus Nobilis: Bay Laurel

**Images were found via a search labeled for reuse.
If you would like an image removed or credited, please let me know.**



Coming Soon
Black Pepper

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