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Forget-me-not by Sue Perryman

Myosotis sylvatica/ arvensis

Planetary Ruler: Venus

Element: Water

Gender: Female

Magical properties: Protection, true love, memory, clarity, success

The border in my front garden is full of forget-me-nots at the moment. I love these pretty delicate flowers, that self-seed and take over the border, although I know some people see them as invasive weeds. When I was trying to decide what plants to add to an ancestor altar this week as part of a course I am doing, I immediately thought that Forget-me-not would be perfect for it and popped a few into a small vase for it.

Forget-me-not is a short-lived perennial that prefers shady damp soils, they seem to like my border, which doesn't get much sun. The generic name 'Myosotis' means 'mouse ear' and refers to the shape of the leaves. The flowers are usually blue, but can also be white, pink and violet.

Somerset folk wore forget-me-not to protect them from Witches in the month of May. It was also a remedy for snake and dog bite.

Forget-me-not was once called 'Scorpion grass' as the curled flower heads were thought to resemble scorpion tails.

Henry IV adopted forget-me-not as his emblem in 1398.

In the Victorian language of flowers, Forget-me-not symbolised true love, friendship and remembrance.

In Germany forget-me-nots were planted on graves for remembrance and worn by lovers to ensure they would not forget each other while they were apart.

I've found a couple of stories about Forget-me-nots. The first tells of a young goat herder who found a beautiful small blue flower in a meadow and attached it to his crook as he sat against a rock to rest. As he did a small man with pointed ears appeared before him and told him that if he tapped the rock with the flower three times something amazing would happen. He then vanished. The young man did as he was told and was startled when the rock split in half to reveal a flight of steps leading down to a large chamber. As he started down the stairs he heard the little man's voice telling him to 'remember the most important'. He made his way down the stairs and couldn't believe his eyes when he entered the chamber and saw that it was filled with piles of gold, silver and precious jewels. He flung his crook down and filled his rucksack to the brim with the treasures. When it was so full he could hardly carry it, he picked up his crook and made his way back up the stairs and went home as quick as he could. When he got there he excitedly told his wife about his good fortune and tipped the rucksack onto the table. The treasures had vanished, in in their place was a pile of dust. The goat herd couldn't believe his eyes and dashed back to the rock. The gap had vanished and all that remained was a tiny crack. He peered into the crack but could not see anything. As he stood up he again heard the little man's voice saying, ' remember the most important - forget-me-not' It was then the man remembered the little blue flower, he checked his crook, but it was gone. From that day on the meadow was full of the little blue flowers, but although he picked them and tapped them on the rock many times it never opened again.

Legend tells that a medieval German Knight was picnicking on the bank of the Danube with his lady love. He walked down the bank to the water's edge to gather some dainty blue flowers, but tragedy struck, a flash flood suddenly appeared and pulled the young man into the river. As he was swept away he tossed the bouquet to his lady on the bank and shouted 'Forget-me-not!'


Herbcraft - Anna Franklin and Susan Lavender

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