Military Milfoil

Yarrow
Yarrow

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.

True Blue

Cornflower
Cornflower

This is a Cornflower, there’s not a lot of them about. They used to be called Hurtsickle because they blunted the reapers scythes. They’re inedible too, so they became Agricultural Enemy Number One. They couldn’t stand up against the wrath of the herbicide companies and so now they have almost disappeared. Certainly this one is on the opposite side of the  road to the field that it probably once lived in.

Being such a striking colour, it has been adopted by almost everyone at some time or other. Political parties of all shades and in many countries have claimed it as a representative of their dogma. It has been the favourite flower of individuals as diverse as Pharaoh Tutankhamun, Kaiser Wilhelm I and John F. Kennedy, and it is used by First World War veterans in France to commemorate Armistice Day, in the way that the Poppy is used in Britain.

It’s Latin name associates it with Chiron, the Centaur who dared to be different. Centaurs, generally, were a riotous bunch. Wine women and song was the way they wanted it and they didn’t mind trampling on any human stupid enough to come between them and their lifestyle choice. Chiron didn’t do orgies and all that, he stayed home in his cave and taught a string of Greek Gods and heroes about medicine and how to be a real human etc.

Oh, and the chemical that gives the Cornflower its vibrant blue colour is the same chemical that makes red Roses red.