Gathering Chicory on Saint James’ Day

Frazier mentions in The Golden Bough (3rd edition, Vol. XI, p. 71) that, according to his source at least, White Chicory harvested at noon or midnight on St. James’ Day (July 25th), has the power to open all locks and doors.  It should be cut using a gold implement and one must not utter a sound while cutting.†

Although I have no golden knife (who does?), I went forward today in silence.  I assume when Frazier says “White Chicory” he means that one should select plants with the faded blossoms that are virtually white.  That’s what I did.

What locks do I need to pick?   What doors to open?  I intend to work up a ritual around the plant and its root to aid me in the opening of non-material doors — doors of perception, spiritual doors, Doors of the Will.


Root and base of Chicory plant

†The entire passage from Frazier:

“The superstition which associates the springwort with the woodpecker is very ancient, for it is recorded by Pliny. It was a vulgar belief, he tells us, that if a shepherd plugged up a woodpecker’s nest in the hollow of a tree with a wedge, the bird would bring a herb which caused the wedge to slip out of the hole; Trebius indeed affirmed that the wedge leaped out with a bang, however hard and fast you might have driven it into the tree. Another flower which The white possesses the same remarkable power of bursting open all doors and locks is chicory, provided always that you cut the flower with a piece of gold at noon or midnight on St. James’s Day, the twenty-fifth of July. But in cutting it you must be perfectly silent ; if you utter a sound, it is all up with you. There was a man who was just about to cut the flower of the chicory, when he looked up and saw a millstone hovering over his head. He fled for his life and fortunately escaped ; but had he so much as opened his lips, the millstone would have dropped on him and crushed him as flat as a pancake. However, it is only a rare white variety of the chicory flower which can act as a picklock; the common bright blue flower is perfectly useless for the purpose.”

One response to “Gathering Chicory on Saint James’ Day

  1. Pingback: How to Roast Chicory Root (St. James Day Chicory Part 2) | Robert Mitchell Jr.

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