Saffron is irresistibly tantalizing and draws us in with its sultry, sense-provoking aroma and the lure of its passionate and seductive energy. It inflames our sensualities, quickens our blood and lights the fire within our soul. Saffron is and has been the world’s most expensive spice for thousands of years – worth its weight in gold. But perhaps even more valuable of saffron’s powers are its countless abilities to heal and its impressive magical potency.
The Magick of Saffron
Saffron Magical Properties and Uses
Saffron is closely linked to the energies of fertility and sexuality, even though the plant itself is sterile. The Phoenicians would bake saffron into crescent-moon shaped cakes and present them as a gift to the moon and fertility goddess Ashtoreth. In Persia, women would wear a ball made of saffron at the base of their stomach during pregnancy to help with a speedy delivery. Saffron is closely connected to the moon cycles and as such women’s menstrual cycle. It even carries healing powers that can alleviate common symptoms of menstruation, like cramping and bloating.
Saffron is an ideal herb for attracting love and beauty. The Sumerians would often use saffron as an ingredient in love potions. The Egyptians commonly used saffron to increase feelings of lust and enhance sexual pleasure, as it is a powerful aphrodisiac, and supreme in love sachets and oils. Queen Cleopatra herself lauded the magical powers of saffron and relied on it to make her sexual encounters with men more enjoyable. She would take luxurious baths steeped in saffron to maintain her legendary beauty.
Saffron and its connection to unrequited love is told best by a notable Hellenistic legend. Crocus had his eyes on a beautiful woodland nymph near Athens named Smilax and set out to win her love and affection. Initially, Smilax was infatuated with Crocus, but feelings quickly faded and she grew bored of him. However, Crocus would not relent and persisted in his aggressive advances. To relieve herself of her new found burden, Smilax turned Crocus into a saffron crocus flower. The orange stigmas to this day have come to symbolize the warm yet yearning glow of undying and unrequited love.
Saffron has potent magical effects on the mental, psychic and divinatory pursuits. The wafting, uplifting aroma of saffron incense can help focus the mind, improving concentration and clarity and lifting the spirits. Drinking liquid that contains saffron can help with envisioning the future. It enhances psychic power and increases the potency of spell work, and can also help strengthen protection spells and charging of energy. In Indian tradition, saffron is mixed with sandalwood paste and applied to the forehead to help calm the mind and nerves before meditation. The Persians would use saffron to “raise the wind,” as wind power was quite important to Persian culture and was used to moderate the temperature in their homes and storehouses.
Saffron has long had a magical associated with wealth and fortune and is notably the world’s most expensive spice. In Ancient Greek mythology, sailors would make the long, arduous journey to the island of Cilicia just to gather the world’s most prized saffron for promises of riches and fortune. It was often used in the most valuable of perfumes and ointments by the Ancient Mediterraneans. The Persians would weave glorious golden saffron threads within their royal carpets and funeral shrouds. Saffron has many other magical applications, and can be used for consecrating and cleansing magical tools and sacred spaces, to exorcisms and purification.
Saffron Cultivation and Harvesting
Saffron is a perennial plant. It flowers in the autumn, and it’s purple buds only just begin to appear during the month of October, just as other plants are releasing their seeds and losing their petals. Saffron flowers vary in color, from pastel shades of lilac to darker, crimson-tinted mauve and maroon. The flowers give off a pleasant aroma, almost similar to honey. The saffron plant is sterile, and cannot reproduce without outside intervention. Hence it is incredibly rare if not impossible to find saffron growing in the wild, however wild saffron does exist.
Saffron thrives in warm and arid weather. It enjoys summer breezes and mostly dry climates, although it can withstand some cold and brief periods of exposure to snow. Saffron has an affinity for spring weather with plenty of rain, followed by summer weather that is mostly dry. If lucky enough to be doused with rain prior to flowering, saffron will be produced abundantly. However, if unlucky enough to encounter rainy and chilly weather while flowering, saffron is usually prone to becoming diseased and these conditions result in a much lower yield. Saffron detests the shade and loves to bask in the full light of the sun, preferably on a slope that engages sunlight meaningfully.
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