Spheres Of Light

Caraway

by Amethyst
This month I thought I'd write about the Lughnasadh (Lammas)/Mabon herbe Caraway and how I decided to use it in making Challah. Yes I know challah is Jewish Sabbath bread but I don't see why we can't use it at this time of year. Also I made the challah gluten-free and yes for anyone jewish that's reading this, I made certain to make it as pareve as possible. When I placed the challah on the altar at our last Full Moon Ritual, I placed two loaves, one with sesame seeds and the other with caraway (at the time I didn't know that was how you are supposed to serve it). The recipe I used only had one hiccup; I missed the error message (the instructions about the eggs were incorrect), so they had an interesting texture. **

Botanical: Carum carvi
Planetary associations: Mercury
Element: Air
Gender: Masculine
Magickal classifications: Greene Herbe, Herbe of Consecration, Herbe of Love, Herbe of Protection, Magickal Herbe
Part Used: seeds
Synonyms: caraway seed, carum

LORE

Caraway was one of the ingredients mentioned in the Eber's Papyrus. The Eber's Papyrus (from between 1600 B.C.E. and 1550 B.C.E.), was discovered by German Egyptologist George Ebers in 1874 C.E. The Eber's Papyrus is the oldest known complete medical textbook in existence. Most scholars believe that it is copy of a much earlier text, probably from around 3100 B.C.E. The Eber's Papyrus includes information on surgery and internal medicine, including a list of more than 800 drugs.

Grieve has recorded two different aspects of folk customs involving caraway. She writes "caraway seed cake was formerly a standing institution at the feast given by farmers to their labourers at the end of the wheat-sowing" which should provide modern practitioners with insight into caraway's role in agricultural cycles and customs. Even more interesting is when she writes about caraway's retention property:

A curious superstition was held in olden times about the caraway. It was deemed to confer the gift of retention, preventing the theft of any object which contained it, and holding the thief in custody within the invaded house. In like manner it was thought to keep lovers from proving fickle (forming an ingredient of love potions), and also to prevent fowls and pigeons from straying. It is an undoubted fact that tame pigeons, who are particularly fond of the seeds, will never stray if they are given a piece of baked caraway dough in the cote.

In Hoodoo, caraway seeds are seen as protective of children. Caraway is often recognized as the most typical spice of the German-speaking countries. It is an ancient spice of Central Europe: Caraway fruits have indeed been found in Neolithic villages (though that does only prove that the plant grew there, not that caraway was actually utilized), and since Roman times there is plenty of documentation for numerous culinary and medicinal application - not least to mention caraway-flavoured liquor, known as kummel in the USA, that is mostly produced and consumed in Northern Germany and Scandinavia (akvavit). Although caraway is a common plant of Alpine meadows at low elevation, is was grown systematically in medieval monasteries, mainly to its extremely effective antiflatulent powers; there is still some domestic production of caraway in Germany, although most now stems from Egyptian imports.

Caraway is a controversial spice; to many, it appears dominant and disagreeable, especially to those who are not used to a cuisine rich in caraway. Usage of the ground spice is a working compromise; another method is wrapping the fruits in a small piece of linen cloth (or simply a tea bag) so that it can be removed before serving.

In my research I found a reference to caraway mentioned in Angels: Companions in Magick, by Silver RavenWolf. She states that caraway comes under the influence of the Angels of Gemini, the colour is silver, ruling planet Mercury and Angelic hour Raphael.

USAGE

Caraway has many used beyond being included in recipes as a Greene Herbe. Baking is but one way to bring the virtue of longevity to a relationship and fidelity to the partners. It is as much fun to strew upon a couple as is rice, and should it later sprout from seed, a good addition to the local flor of the circle.

The quality of retention is an outstanding magickal property. Caraway may be used in any consecration of a ritual tool. It not only enhances the innate magick but will help that tool avoid straying from your home. In working to protect your possessions, avoid doing so out of a too-strong attachment to the mundane for this herbe will invoke the powers of the astral and could ask the gods to show you true wisdom.

Cakes or cookies make with caraway seed with be ideal for the ritual feast at either Lammas or the Autumn Equinox in celebration of the Harvest Festival.

As a Mercury herb, caraway is helpful in the acquisition of magical skills and for initiation into esotericism. Its scent, which is a bit musky, to me has a whiff of the Underworld to it, which to my mind makes it appropriate for psychopomp rituals. Also for overcoming addiction, breaking bad habits, communication, divination, eloquence, intelligence, mental powers, psychic powers, self-improvement, study, travel, and wisdom.

Caraway used as a protection and memory herb, can be carried in an amulet for protection from evil and for enhanced memory function. Seeds can also be placed in or under a child's bed to protect against disease. As it is also associated with love, Caraway seeds can be carried to attract and keep a lover, and can be baked into breads, cookies, or cakes to induce lustful behaviour.

I found a reference to its ability to repel evil spirits "caraway serves as protection against Lilith, as well as all manner of evil spirits, entities and plain old negativity".

Reference:
http://www.alchemy-works.com/essential_oils_caraway.html
http://www.teenwitch.com/herbs/caraway.html
http://www.digitaltapestries.com/winterhome/wh_02_herbs_a-f.htm
http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Caru_car.html
http://www.coven-of-cythrawl.com/Herb_Cabinate.htm#Caraway
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=fvX-XKkOkyUC page 169 of online book preview
a compendium of HERBAL MAGICK by Paul Beyerl, 1998

**In the recipe I used for my challah, I thought that the sesame seeds might not have much flavour and so for half the dough, I used caraway; definitely a strong flavour. When I've tried the recipe again, with the correction for the eggs, I'll post the recipe on our website. Also here's a picture of the challah on our altar.






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