On what might go on happening tonight:

  • the undead might start partying. Beware of crossroads, graveyards and of the woods;
  • the demons and the demonical are throwing a ball themselves, accompanied by witches and warlocks. Avoid crossroads, the woods and derelict churches, to all costs;
  • your neighbors might be rubbing their bodies, doors and gates with garlic, in order to keep spirits at bay – you’d better start doing it too;
  • the strigoi will be stealing the milk, sucking the blood of cows, returning to their (still) living families to take one of their kin to the land of the dead;
  • the moroi buried underneath a home  might be rising from their graves into the the attic, where they may wreck havoc;
  • young women will put some basil under their pillow so they might get a chance ar dreaming their future spouse. They might also place a ring in a water filled glass, placed in ashes and put a candle to the right of the glass and another to the left. After lighting them, a reflection of their future spouse should become visible in the ring;
  • witches get ready to meet their otherworldly lovers, friends and foes by drinking concoctions and rubbing their bodies with henbane, datura or deadly nightshade.

It’s the 29th of November and tonight the feeble border between worlds might just disappear.

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Magical Plants & Herbs in Romanian Folklore: Hyoscyamus niger or Măselariță

 

Hyoscyamus niger is known as Măselariță in Romanian folklore or henbane in common English. It grows along fences and roads. Its leafs and seeds contain alkaloids, such as atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine.

According to Borza’s dictionary,  henbane was used against toothaches ( hence the name, măsea = tooth). It was also used to cure snake bites and insomnias in children (!).

According to Oișteanu, we know from Dioscorides that henbane was used by Dacians. They called it dielleina or  dielina. Dioscorides writes that the Măselariță causes insanity and deep sleep. In Roman territory, it was known as altercum/alterculum or insana. Romans used the plant at feasts in the name of the dead. One of the Romanian names, nebunariță (nebunie = insanity) proves the continuity of its use. It was also used by witches for flying ointments. According to legend, plants such as henbane,  belladonna or datura were created by the Devil himself.