St. John’s Wort
General term for the plant species Hypericum. In classical
mythology, the summer solstice was a day dedicated to the sun,
and was believed to be a day on which witches held their festivities.
St. John’s Wort was its symbolic plant. People used to judge
from it whether their future would be lucky or unlucky, as it
grew they read in its progressive character their future lot. This
traditional lore carried over into the Christianera, when this
festival period was dedicated to St. John’s Wort or root. It became
a talisman against evil.
In one of the old Scottish romantic ballads, a young lady
falls in love with a demon, who tells her
Gin you wish to be leman mine [my lover]
Lay aside the St. John’s Wort and the vervain.
When hung up on St. John’s Day, together with a cross over
the door, this plant was supposed to keep out the devil and
other evil spirits. To gather the root at sunrise on St. John’s Day
and to retain it in the house, gave luck to the family in their undertakings,
especially in those begun on that day.

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