Lemon and Pins

If you receive as a gift a lemon, full of pins of diverse colours, without any black ones among them, it signifies your life will be happy and prosperous and joyful.

A lemon stuck full of pins of different colours always brings good fortune.

Incantation to Diana

As the stroke of midnight comes
I hold a lemon in the garden;
In the garden I hold a lemon,
And while holding it, I speak with care,
"Thou who art Queen of the sun and the moon
And of the stars--lo! here, I call to thee
With what power I have, I conjure thee
To grant to me a favor I implore."

Take many pins, and carefully stick them in the lemon, pins of many colours, and no black; and as thou wilt have good luck, and if thou desirest to give the lemon to anyone or to a friend, thou shouldest also stick in many pins of varied colours. Do not put in black pins.

Myth's notes:

In ancient Rome, lemons were known as malum medicum, meaning the "fruit of the Medes." They were first brought to Greece by Alexander the Great from his sojourns East. During the Roman Empire, the trees were carefully acclimatized using first hothouse cultivation, then open air cultivation.

This spell, which reminds me of the clove-studded, orange English pomanders, may be rooted in a rather old practice. I have adapted the spell rather freely from the text of Leland's Aradia. I have omitted any mention in the "Incantation to Diana" about mandarins or oranges, because the real focus of the spell is the conjuration of the lemon.* (Besides, the Arabs didn't introduce oranges to Sicily until the 10th century c.e.)

Leland's text also indicated this lemon was supposed to be plucked from the tree in the light of the moon at midnight--most probably during a full moon. Yellow is a color of the moon, and the full moon would be at its zenith at midnight.

Nevertheless, not every modern Wiccan will have access to a lemon tree at midnight from which she may pluck ripe fruit. Therefore I have substituted the verb "hold" for "picked."

The spell specified "pins of divers colours without any black ones amoung them." The color of the heads of the pins stuck into the lemon, would have been important: red for good fortune, white for purification, etc. (See the color chart in "Moon Candle.") In Italian folklore, the color black was often used for baleful magics, also known as malefica, evil intentioned magic.

A lemon stuck with pins of different pinhead colors, without any black among them, would have been intended soley for benefica, good intentioned magic.

A blessing could be added while sticking in the different colored pins, "As many pins as I stick in this lemon, may as many blessings come to you."

Presented to the moon, the lemon should be empowered with the positve lunar energy of the Gracious Goddess, who may be invoked as Diana or Aradia.

* Endnote: I got the impression that the only reason for the orange and mandarin was so that the spell-caster could have three fruits to juggle. The orange and the tangerine would have been allowed to drop the ground at the end of the "incantation to Diana." The lemon, however, would have been caught by the juggling spell-caster.

Incantation to Diana

At the instant when the midnight came,
I have picked a lemon in the garden,
I have picked a lemon and with it
An orange and a fragrant (mandarin).
Gathering with care these (precious) things,
And while gathering I said with care:
"Thou who art Queen of the sun and the moon
And of the stars--lo! here, I call to thee
With what power I have, I conjure thee
To grant to me a favor I implore.
Three things I've gathered in the garden here:
A lemon, orange and a mandarin;
I've gathered them to bring good luck to me.
Two of them I do grasp here in my hand,
And that which is to serve me for my fate,
Queen of the stars!
Then make that fruit remain firm in my grasp. (156-157)

Oberon Zell-Ravenheart provided another Strega spell reminiscent of this one in his book, Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard. See Lemon Charm.

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