The cents of herbs, by dorry norris

April 14, 2003|by Dorry Baird Norris


As tax day, April 15, approaches it is nice to realize that working in the garden pays dividends that can't taxed. The herb garden offers even more benefits. Through the ages, herbal spells and amulets have been used to find or increase wealth - heartening to contemplate if you've just sent off a check to the Internal Revenue Service.

It's easy to understand why cabbage, sheaves of wheat and corn are symbols of prosperity - they keep that old devil hunger at bay. Gold-flowered or gold-stemmed plants suggest a connection to the more solid ore, so that makes sense. However, the idea of storing three red tomatoes on the mantelpiece and replacing them every three days is more puzzling. With the price of winter tomatoes these days, this trick would seem to deliver one into the arms of poverty rather than prosperity. It is a real challenge to trace where some of the other old money-attracting superstitions entered into folklore.


Starting with your windowsill, have you ever considered that what you do there can replace your stockbroker and increase your investment? Place a few fenugreek seeds in a half-full jar of water. Add a few more seeds every day until the jar is full. If that doesn't make you richer you have a second chance at wealth if you drain the water into your mop bucket to use the next time you wash the kitchen floor. Toss the seeds in the garden. Sesame seeds in an open jar are thought to have the same effect. Never throw onionskins onto the ground, if you do your assets will disappear - instead burn them to assure continued prosperity.

When you do your spring cleaning, tuck some Irish moss under the rugs or sprinkle a combination of sarsparilla, cinnamon and sandalwood about the house to attract money to the household.

Pineapple, that universal symbol of hospitality, may be better than pennies in the piggy bank. Dried and added to your bath water it is calculated to bring added income.

Plant ginger and golden seal in the garden to draw money to your household. An acorn planted in the dark of the moon will accomplish the same purpose. But if you've lost treasure then pick a stalk of goldenrod to lead you to it as will a handful of almonds in your pocket.

Put a silver coin in your pocket along with a root of Oregon grape or blue flag or a piece of galangal and financial gain will be assured. A piece of cedar in your wallet or a bill wrapped around a horse chestnut will draw money to you.

If you'd like your business to prosper, burn an incense of benzoin, cinnamon and basil to attract customers. Scrubbing your store's floor with kelp added to the water helps too. Of course, if your business is gambling, you'll want to keep some chamomile water at the ready to wash your hands and keep your winnings from slipping through your fingers.

Symbolically, bay, tiger lilies, peonies and grapes scream "wealth!" to believers of signs. Your wealth will be safe if you heed saffron's message to "beware of excess" and the sunflowers remind not to rely on "false riches." In these times we'd do well to take to heart thymes's decree of "thrift."

In spite of recent snow and chill, the garden is coming to life. New buds carry the "promise of good things to come." One of those good things in your life might be the discovery of a four-leaf clover. If you find one, remember to intone the old verse that invokes fame, wealth, love and health.

"One leaf for fame,

One leaf for wealth,

And one for a faithful lover,

And one to bring you glorious health

Are all in a four leaf clover."

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