Friday, October 31, 2008

Blades of yarrow, eggshells, hair cuttings and dew at sunrise

Irish lore is rich with legends, superstitions and the like. Read a collection of articles focusing on many of them at the latest Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture, 9th edition. Published over at West in New England, Luck of the Irish is an interesting assortment of posts on the topic.

Here's a little superstitious remedy and a few other reminders from old Ireland to get you in the mood for the carnival, courtesy of Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms and Superstitions of Ireland by Jane Francesca Wilde and William Robert Wilde, 1887:
A Charm for Safety

Pluck ten blades of yarrow, keep nine, and cast the tenth away for tithe to the spirits. Put the nine in your stocking, under the heel of the right foot,
when going on a journey, and the Evil One will have no power over you.
Don't forget to mind the details when working at home in the kitchen:
People ought to remember that eggshells are favourite retreats of the fairies, therefore the judicious eater should always break the shell after use, to prevent the fairy sprite from taking up his lodgement therein.
Even beauty care has its warnings and recommendations:
The cuttings of your hair should not be thrown where birds can find them; for they will take them to build their nests, and then you will have headaches all the year after.

To make the skin beautiful, wash the face in May dew upon May morning just at sunrise.
Enjoy visiting the carnival. May you avoid any trouble with fairies and may the luck of the Irish be with you!

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