Friday, August 30, 2013

Pine Prelude

"[Pines] were also emblems of Cybele, and used to be fixed on a pole in Italian vineyards, to protect them from blight and witchcraft. Perhaps this was the origin of decorative pine cones on gateways (Pavitt).
There is mention of protecting a child against the evil eye by sweeping its face with a bough from a pine tree (Rolleston), and one occasionally finds evidence of the use of pine needles for divination."
- Dictionary of Plant Lore, D.C. Watts.

"The wise woman of the district was therefore called into requisition, and she, having consulted the astrolabe and made a fire of pine needles, discovered the direction in which the fugitives were going. Mounting their horses, and led by the wise woman, who bestrode a splendid white mule, they galloped off, and after two days’ hard riding they distinctly heard the sound of a horse’s hoofs, but they could not see the horse."
-The Palace of the Enchanted Moor

"Hurrying off for the wise woman of the village, she returned with him; and, close to the head of the wolf, she gathered some branches of the common pine-tree, and lighting them, as some were green and others dry, a volume of smoke arose like a tower, reaching to the top of a hill where lived some notorious enchanted Moors and wizards; so that between the wolf and the said Moors the distance was covered by a tunnel of smoke and fire.Then the wise woman intoned the following words, closing her eyes, and bidding the rest do so until she should tell them they might open them:—

 “Spirit of the mighty wind
That across the desert howls,
Help us here to unbind
All the spells of dreaded ghouls;
Through the path of smoke and fire
Rising to the wizards’ mound,
Bid the cursèd mark retire
From this creature on the ground;
Bid him take his shape again,
Free him from the Crescent’s power,
May the holy Cross remain
On his temple from this hour.”
-The Wolf Child

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