Isle of Dreams

Ogród Botaniczny. Wrocław 2013

“Socrates speaking favorably of wine that lulls our sorrows ‘to sleep just as the mandragora does with men’ and of mandrake, when it grows next to grape vines, transmitting its qualities to the wine and gentling its effect on (the sleep of) persons who drink it. One also reads of an isle of Dreams’ with a harbor city named Sleep, which is surrounded by a woodland ‘in which the trees are tall poppies and mandragoras’”.

Frederick J. Simoons Plants of Life, Plants of Death (1998)

„The Greeks believed that the mandrake belonged to the powerful witch, Circe, who used it in her potions to make men love her. However, she could also turn men who had rejected her, or men whom she considered enemies, into animals with a similar potion. In Gerard’s 17th-century herbal he refferes to the plant as ‚Circaea’, a variation on the name Circe”.

Vivian A. Rich Cursing the Basil: And Other Folklore of the Garden (1998)

Mandragora (mandrake) – „the herb of life or of death, a symbol of both sensual love, the bringer of death, or of divine love, the restorer of life. (…) an extensive complex of ascetical ideas which forms one of the most interesting chapters in the history of the psychotherapy of the soul-healing flower. (…) A medieval mystic speaks as follows: ‚The mandrake is a plant that brings such deep sleep that it makes it possible to cut people without their feeling any pain. The mandrake thus symbolizes contemplation. Contemplation permits man to sink into a slumber of such precious sweetness that he no longer feels the cuts inflicted on him by his earthly enemies and pays no more attention to worldly things; for the soul has now closed all its senses to external matters — and lies in the good sleep of its own inner being'”.

Hugo Rachner Greek Myths and Christian Mystery (1963)






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