Funereal Herbe, Herbe of Consecration, Magickal Herbe, Religious Herbe
Invocatory: Adonis, Aphrodite, Cybele, Demeter, Hecate, Juno, Rhea, Saturn, Isis
Also known as Gum Myrrh Tree, Karan, Mirra Balsom Odendron.
Parts Used: Resin
Adonis, whose historical origins lie in Semitic myths, was said to have been born of a myrrh tree. From Larousse World Mythology we learn the Greek version:
The king of Syria, Theias, had a daughter called Myrrha or Smyrna, who was cursed by Aphrodite and forced to commit incest with her father; with the complicity of her nurse she succeeded in deceiving him for eleven nights, but on the twelfth Theias discovered who she was and prepared to kill her. Myrrha fled, and the gods, taking pity on her, turned her into a tree, the myrrh-tree. Ten months later the bark peeled off and an infant emerged and was given the name of Adonis.
The myths surrounding myrrh include its being cast into the fire out of which the legendary phoenix is reborn. The myrrh has long been considered sacred to Aphrodite and Isis. Myrrh is considered a Goddess plant of the Moon's sphere.
The dried resin is collected and, most frequently, burned as an incense. The scent of myrrh is well loved and was used in the religious ceremonies of the ancients in many cultures. It was so revered that it was written into the myths surrounding the birth of the Christ child.
In ancient Egypt, myrrh was burned at noon as an offering to Ra, and the temples of Isis were also fumigated with myrrh. It was also, at one time, used in their embalming mixtures and they burned pellets of myrrh to repel fleas. Archeological evidence indicates that myrrh was carried in small pouches that wealthy persons hung around the neck for fragrance. The Ebers Papyrus, believed to have been found in the necropolis outside Thebes, provides evidence of Egyptian medicinal use of myrrh. This ancient document contains as many as 800 medicinal recipes using such plants as myrrh, peppermint, aloe, castor oil , and numerous other herbs in common use today. Myrrh remains an essential herbe in today's rituals of death and dying. We should consider myrrh as capable of providing access to the mysteries of death and rebirth.
Myrrh purifies the area, lifts the vibrations aids contemplation and meditation and creates peace. However, it is seldom burned alone; usually in conjunction with frankincense or other resins. Myrrh increases the power of any incense to which it is added.
Myrrh is also included in healing incenses and sachets, and its smoke is used to consecrate, purify and bless objects such as amulets, talismans, charms, and magical tools. It also aids meditation and contemplation. The essential oil can be added to blends designed to enhance spirituality and meditation. It is also used in healing mixtures.
Myrrh helps one understand the nature of being spiritually aware. It not only assists in expanding your wisdom, but provides a gentle comfort from the Universe as one moves further into the mysteries. It must always be remembered that the mysteries do not lead to happiness: there are as many mysteries of sorrow and of death as there are of joy and birth.
There are few herbes so useful in working through personal sorrows and tragedies. Myrrh is of unequalled value for those recovering from sexual abuse, whether incestuous or not. Myrrh brings comfort to those who have lost a loved one; whose troubled hearts need the healing strength of understanding the mystery of death. Myrrh will help ease the troubled soul in its grieving. The simplest method of seeking sacred relief is by working with a candle, which has been anointed with an oil of myrrh. In this way one might bring ease to many who would otherwise shun herbal magick.
Most useful in ritual work, myrrh helps one perceive the way patterns of energy move throughout the Circle. The mind is more able to see the overlaying patterns created by the ritual choreography and discern the nuances of the magick's texture and power. A practitioner who uses myrrh in ritual will have a heightened awareness of the energy flow within both worlds. In addition to being used in the ritual incense, myrrh water may be used in aspurging the Circle and the oil is one of the best for dressing one's temple candles.
Associated with many deities, a wash may be made (a myrrh tea) which is superior for consecrating pearls. Although not always recommended for sacred use, a pearl's magick is enhanced and an aura of protection added when consecrated with myrrh. In the minor arcana, myrrh helps one understand both the Queen cards and the Three cards of all four suits. In the major arcana, myrrh is corresponded with the Wheel of Fortune card.
Although not widely used in this manner, myrrh has come into use at two sabbats among a number of practitioners. At Candlemas, in addition to its use as an incense, myrrh may be used in the ritual cup. Drinking myrrh opens one to the gestation of waxing energy which will continue to grow until it bursts forth at spring. In this form, one draws more upon the solar energy of Adonis that of the more common association with Jupiter. At the Autumn Equinox (Mabon) myrrh is sometimes used when working the elemental fire, drawing upon its lore and association with the phoenix.
The use of myrrh medicinally was recorded in China in A.D. 600 during the Tang Dynasty. Myrrh is used today in Chinese medicine to treat wounds, relieve painful swelling, and to treat menstrual pain due to blood stagnation. Myrrh is called mo yao in China.
a compendium of HERBAL MAGICK by Paul Beyerl, 1998
Myrrh should be avoided during pregnancy and should not be administered to children. It should be kept away from the eyes and mucous membranes and out of children's reach.
Tincture: Four ounces of powdered myrrh are combined with 1 pt of brandy, gin, or vodka in a glass container, with enough alcohol to cover the herb. A 50/50 ratio of alcohol to water is generally recommended. The mixture should be placed away from light for about two weeks, and shaken several times each day. Strain and store in a tightly capped, dark glass bottle. A standard dose is 1 or 2 ml of the tincture three times a day.
Gargle: One teaspoon of dry, powdered myrrh should be combined with 1 tsp of boric acid. One pint of boiling water is poured over the mixture and steeped for 30 minutes, then strained. This mixture is a good gargle preparation, according to herbalist John Lust.
3 drops Myrrh
2 drops Vetiver
1 drop Oakmoss
10mls Base Oil
Wear to honour Her and to call upon her powers.
4 parts Frankincense
3 parts Gum Arabic
2 parts Myrrh
1 part Cedar
1 part Juniper
1 part Calamus
1 part Cinnamon
Burn to honour Egyptian Deities.
Greek Gods and Goddess Incense
4 parts Frankincense- Apollo
2 parts Myrrh- Demeter
1 part Juniper- Poseidon
1 part Rose- Aphrodite
1 part Sage- Zeus
1 part White Willow- Persephone
A few drops Olive Oil- Athena
A few drops Cypress Oil- Artemis and Hecate
Burn to honour them.
More about Myrrh
Myrrh is a reddish-brown resinous material, the dried sap of a number of trees, but primarily from Commiphora myrrha, native to Yemen, Somalia and the eastern parts of Ethiopia. The sap of a number of other Commiphora and Balsamodendron species is also known as myrrh, including that from Commiphora erythraea (sometimes called East Indian myrrh), Commiphora opobalsamum and Balsamodendron kua. Its name entered English via the Ancient Greek, µ???a, which is probably of Semitic origin. Myrrh is also applied to the potherb Myrrhis odorata otherwise known as "Cicely" or "Sweet Cicely".
High quality myrrh can be identified through the darkness and clarity of the resin. However, the best method of judging the resin's quality is by feeling the stickiness of freshly broken fragments directly to determine the fragrant-oil content of the myrrh resin. The scent of raw myrrh resin and its essential oil is sharp, pleasant, somewhat bitter and can be roughly described as being "stereotypically resinous". When burned, it produces a smoke that is heavy, bitter and somewhat phenolic in scent, which may be tinged with a slight vanillic sweetness. Unlike most other resins, myrrh expands and "blooms" when burned instead of melting or liquefying.
Commiphora myrrha tree, one of the primary trees from which myrrh is harvested.
The scent can also be used in mixtures of incense, to provide an earthy element to the overall smell, and as an additive to wine, a practice alluded to by ancient authorities such as Fabius Dorsennus. It is also used in various perfumes, toothpastes, lotions, and other modern toiletries. Myrrh was used as an embalming ointment and was used, up until about the 15th century, as a penitential incense in funerals and cremations. The "holy oil" traditionally used by the Eastern Orthodox Church for performing the sacraments of chrismation and unction is traditionally scented with myrrh, and receiving either of these sacraments is commonly referred to as "receiving the Myrrh".
The Ancient Egyptians imported large amounts of Myrrh as far back as 3000 B.C. They used it to embalm the dead, as an antiseptic, and burned it for religious sacrifice. In ancient history Myrrh was used as a constituent of perfumes and incense, was highly valued in ancient times, and was often worth more than its weight in gold. The Greek word for myrrh, µ????, came to be synonymous with the word for "perfume".
"By the 1st century A.D., Rome was going through about 3,000 tons of imported frankincense and 500 tons of myrrh per year." It was priced at five times as much as frankincense, though the latter was far more popular. Myrrh was burned in ancient Roman funerals to mask the smell emanating from charring corpses. It was said that the Roman Emperor Nero burned a year's worth of myrrh at the funeral of his wife, Poppaea. Pliny the Elder refers to myrrh as being one of the ingredients of perfumes, and specifically the "Royal Perfume" of the Parthians. He also says myrrh was used to fumigate wine jars before bottling.
In the Old Testament of the Holy Bible (and the Torah), myrrh is mentioned as a primary ingredient in the holy anointing oil God commanded Moses to make:
"Take also for yourself the finest of spices: of flowing myrrh five hundred shekels, ... You shall make of these... a holy anointing oil. With it you shall anoint the tent of meeting and the ark of the testimony... You shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister as priests to Me." --Exodus 30:23-33
Psalm 45 mentions myrrh as a kingly fragrance in a passage interpreted by some as referring to the future Messiah:
"Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia." --Psalm 45:7-8
In the New Testament, myrrh was one of the gifts of the Magi to the infant Jesus according to Matthew, is cited in Mark as an intoxicant that was offered to Jesus during the crucifixion, and in John was one of the spices used to prepare Jesus' body for burial: "Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh." --Matthew 2:11b
"And they brought him to the place called Gol'gotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mingled with myrrh; but he did not take it." --Mark 15:22-23
"Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews." --John 19:39-40
Because of its scriptural roles as an anointing oil, myrrh is used in the preparation of chrism, which is used by many churches, both Eastern and Western, and is a common ingredient in incense offered during Christian liturgical celebrations. In Roman Catholic liturgical tradition, pellets of myrrh are traditionally placed in the Paschal candle during the Easter Vigil. In Eastern Christianity, the use of incense is much more frequent than in the West. In some traditions, special emphasis is placed on the offering of incense at Vespers and Matins, because of the Old Testament regulation regarding the evening and morning offering of incense.
In Chinese medicine, myrrh is classified as bitter, spicy, neutral in temperature and affecting the heart, liver, and spleen meridians. Its uses are similar to those of frankincense, with which it is often combined in decoctions, liniments and incense. When used in concert, myrrh is "blood-moving" while frankincense moves the Qi, making it more useful for arthritic conditions. Myrrh also has been used in the treatment of amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menopause and uterine tumours, as its "blood-moving" properties can purge stagnant blood out of the uterus.
Myrrh has also been recommended to help toothache pain, and can be used in liniment for bruises, aches and sprains.
Myrrh is most commonly used in Chinese medicine for rheumatic, arthritic and circulatory problems. It is combined with such herbs as notoginseng, safflower stamens, Angelica sinensis, cinnamon and Salvia miltiorrhiza, usually in alcohol, and used both internally and externally.
Myrrh is used more frequently in Ayurveda, Unani medicine and Western herbalism, which ascribe to it tonic and rejuvenative properties. A related species, known as guggul in Ayurvedic medicine is considered one of the best substances for the treatment of circulatory problems, nervous system disorders and rheumatic complaints. Myrrh (Daindhava) is used in many rasayana formulas in Ayurveda.
However rasayana herbs have special processing. Outside of this form myrrh is said to be contraindicated for pregnant women or women with excessive uterine bleeding, and not be used with evidence of kidney dysfunction or stomach pain.
As of 2008, 35% of Saudi Arabians use myrrh as medicine.
In pharmacy, myrrh is used as an antiseptic and is most often used in mouthwashes, gargles and toothpastes for prevention and treatment of gum disease. Myrrh is currently used in some liniments and healing salves that may be applied to abrasions and other minor skin ailments. It is also used in the production of Fernet.