Thursday, January 03, 2008

Myths, symbolism, and folklore
Mandrake: It is a Mediterranean herb (Mandragora officinarum) of hte nightshade family which, according to German folk belief, grew from the semen of the hanged. (Hence the root was also called Galgenmaenlein, gallows manikin). The long, tapering rootstock frequently has a forked shape reminiscent of the human form. Mandrake has been used extensively since antiquity as a healing and magical substance and as an aphrodisiac. Various peoples (e.g., the Egyptians and the Hebrews) consequently saw the mandrake as a magically effective love and fertility symbol.

In medieval folk belief the mandrake was reputed to have the power to bring good fortune, fertility, and riches; since then there have been many references to this (e.g., in colloquialisms and proverbs). (Herder)

1 comment:

  1. "grew from the semen of the hanged" remind me to avoid mandrake :)

    These folk beliefs sure are interesting.