Achilles, either the one with the heel or an apprentice of Chiron the Centaur , possibly they were one and the same – you know how it is when you’re dealing with mythology – thought very highly of Yarrow. Yarrow is a corruption of the old Saxon name for the plant, which now has a great many names, Herbe Militaris, The Military Herb, for instance or from the Latin, Milfoil or Millefoil, Thousand Weed, a reference to the fact that the leaves are finely divided and have a feathery appearance.
It has a strange affinity for blood, it seems to me. If you roll a leaf up and stick it up your nose – it will make your nose bleed. Apparently, this is useful if you want to know if your lover is true to you. The Achilles who had a spot of bother with the Trojans, used it to heal his soldiers wounds, although it doesn’t seem to be much help in cases of arrow-in-the-heel.
The I Ching makes use of the manipulation of fifty Yarrow stalks to produce the hexagrams used for divination. The process of producing the six lines of the hexagram from the fifty (or forty nine, actually) Yarrow stalks, requires no mean mathematical skill, as well manual dexterity – and knowledge of the necessary formulae.
I prefer to use the coin oracle myself – it’s much simpler.