Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/172

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146 The Cimaruta :

{Balsainita vulgaris), the Maghet, Maids or May-weed {Pyre- thrum partheniwn), the Sweet Maudlin or Herba divae Mariae {Achillea ageratum), the Mather or Mayd-weed {Antheinis coHila), and the Achillea mairicaria — all of which plants, bearing flowers with white ray florets, were thought to resemble the moon, and to have acquired from her, by the doctrine of signatures, a certain efficacy in the treatment of feminine complaints.

Notwithstanding the differences in the cimaruta flowers Mr. Elworthy assumes that all indiscriminately " must be intended for the lotus, the symbol of Isis " {Evil Eye, P- 355)- There seems but doubtful foundation for this assumption, as no such special virtues as those of the moon-flowers have been attributed to the lotus,^ which was the sacred emblem of the sun, the symbol of Osiris, and typified purification and regeneration.-

And if, as I think, it is possible to explain the presence of these flowers as integral parts of the cimaruta, as being emblematic either of the healing powers of the rue itself, or of the virtues associated with other flowers sacred to the moon, it certainly does not appear necessary to adopt a theory which adds to the complexity and hetero- geneity of the charm at the expense of simplicity and uniformity.

6. Horn, Siuord, Dagger, etc.

In many cases a clenched fist may be seen grasping some object, not a flower, which is generally so indistinct that it has been variously explained as a horn, a sword, a dagger, or a fish, or as some other longish object, or taken merely as a bar of silver bridging the gap between two

1 The Egyptian Lotus is a Nyinphaa.

2 An uncontrolled recognition of the lotus can sometimes proceed too far, as appears from Mr. Goodyear's Graiinnar of the Lotus (1891), in which there is a tendency to substitute that flower as the sole origin of all ancient decorations, including the Ionic volutes !