I’m in the beginning stages of research for my second book and, although I know I’ll never know everything about herbs, I came across an interesting snippet of contradictory information. It’s not that I’ve never seen contradictory information before but this one sort of struck me.
There’s a passage in a book on Stregheria (an old Italian religion incorporating witchcraft/magic into its practices) that says to consecrate a hag stone (a stone with the hole in the middle of it) to Diana, you should use rue and vervain. From an article on Wikipedia, vervain flowers are carved on cimaruta, which are anti-Stregheria charms.
The same thing can be said for rue. It, too, is an herb sacred to Diana (a goddess of the Stregheria religion), yet appears prominently on present-day cimaruta charms.
Both rue and vervain, aside from their association with Diana, are known as herbs of protection and can be used to “ward off evil”, to break hexes and curses, and for exorcism.
So did/do the people carving cimaruta charms understand they’re using a form of magic? Just another example of pagan practices being incorporated into Christianity, I guess!