Dittany (the name probably comes from Dicte, the mountain range) grows wild only on the Aegean isle of Crete. Ever since ancient times, it has been prized as an aromatic, medicinal, and culinary herb.
Dittany of Crete is pretty much unavailable commercially. Its limited range makes it one of the most sought-after magickal herbs. It can be homegrown in warm climates. But it’s a pain in the butt to harvest, even when cultivated, and the yield is small. The wild stock is threatened, and it's rarely cultivated on anything close to a commercial scale. Essential oils are available, but that's not much help if you need the dried herb for a formula.
Be watchful of imposters: True Dittany of Crete (Origanum dictamnus) is easy to identify by its fuzzy, oval-shaped leaves. It does indeed resemble an especially large, especially hairy Oregano. Another plant, Dictamnus alba ("Dittany," "Burning Bush," or "Gas Plant") is substituted in some occult shops. But it is similar in name only. (No comment on those vendors who sell plain old Oregano as Dittany of Crete.)
Magickal Uses of Dittany of Crete
Textual references to Dittany are rare, despite its centuries of use. Agrippa mentions it only as a Solar herb, alongside the more familiar Ginger, Cedar, and Marigold.
In European folk magick, Dittany is regarded as a consummate love herb. Feeding it to your intended is supposed to cause them to fall irretrievably in love with you. Sicilian women, according to an anecdote from catherine yronwode, use Dittany to work “sorcerous love magic.” Some spells with Dittany may have been passed down through the oral traditions of Italian folk magick. Still, the herb was virtually unheard-of in the Americas until at least the 1940s.
In Western ceremonial magick, Dittany of Crete is regarded as one of the best herbs for causing spirits to manifest. Dittany is burned in generous amounts and the spirits appear in the smoke. Aleister Crowley describes such working in Magick Without Tears. He, in turn, refers to Helena Blavatsky, who once named Dittany as the most magickal of herbs. It is also used to create a favorable environment for trance work and astral projection.
In the Harry Potter series, Hermione uses Dittany of Crete for the instant healing of wounds.
Spells and Formulas with Dittany of Crete
Dittany of Crete is used for astral projection, spirit evocation, and manifestation. Burn it over charcoal, mixed with Sandalwood incense or Frankincense for protection.
From Scott Cunningham: "The juice of the dittany drives away venomous beasts, so smear some onto your body before venturing out where they live.” This is probably related to the earlier belief that Dittany of Crete cures snakebites.
Add to love incenses to catch an astral vision of your future partner. You may substitute Dittany in love spells that call for Oregano. (Because the Oregano was probably substituted for Dittany of Crete.)
Correspondences of Dittany of Crete
I will take a page from Agrippa and 777 and assign this sun-loving perennial to the Sun. A secondary planetary correspondence would be Venus, especially when the herb is in flower.
There is no obvious elemental correspondence for Dittany of Crete. Most sources go with Water, given its sweetness and history as a brewing herb. It's a stretch but I guess I'll take it.
I have been importing small amounts of dried Dittany of Crete directly from a grower in Greece.
you will receive a small 2x3 bag of Dittany of Crete.
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