A to Z Herbarium: Poppy
Fertility, Love, Sleep, Money, Luck, Invisibility
Poppies are associated with sleep and death, in a relationship that dates back to ancient Greece. The flower is the symbol of Hypnos, the god of sleep, and grows in his Underworld cave along the river Lethe (“forgetfulness”). He is the son of Nyx (“night”) and Erebus (“darkness”), and brother to Thanatos (“death”).
Poppies are also associated with Demeter, the goddess of fertility, agriculture and harvest. Apparently, when her daughter, Persephone, was abducted, the gods gave Demeter a poppy to help her sleep. Afterwards, the flower sprang from her footsteps wherever she walked.
So it is perhaps unsurprising that poppies are used in both sleep mixtures and fertility spells. Carrying or eating poppies promotes fertility and attracts both love and money. Seeds are added to food to induce love, or used in love sachets.
To become invisible: soak poppy seeds in wine for fifteen days. Then, while fasting, drink the wine every day for five days. Allegedly, if you do this, you will be able to make yourself invisible at will.
Opium (from Greek opion meaning “poppy juice”) is made from the sap of a seed pod of the opium poppy. It is a powerful pain reliever and has been used as such since ancient Greek and Roman times. Morphine, the principal component of opium, was first extracted from opium resin in 1803, and is ten times more powerful than processed opium. Codeine is another component of opium and is often used in medicines as a cough suppressant. All opiate drugs are highly addictive and should not be taken without doctor supervision.
Poppy seeds are commonly used in cooking, and although they do contain some opium, it is a very small amount and the seeds are safe to eat. However, it’s possible they may cause you to test positive on a drug screen, so you might want to pass on the poppy seed muffin if you’re expecting to be tested.
Cunningham’s Encylopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham, 2016, Llewellyn Publications