Nothing against medicinal herbs, they can actually help. (Though certainly not against anything that’s been claimed throughout the centuries.) And nothing against some stock keeping if you know how to use the herbs and use them regularly, though nowadays it’s probably not necessary that everybody keeps large stocks. And nothing against seasoning herbs either, of course.
But do you need to carry large amounts of plants like the mullein on this photo to churches for some superstition like a “herb consecration on Assumption Day” (German), just to put them somewhere on the wall or elsewhere in your home afterwards and hope for all kinds of things?
Well, it’s somewhat consistent, since many twigs, branches and little trees are cut off to decorate the streets earlier in the church year on Corpus Christi(?). And people tend to hope for a lot from many things that’d look quite strange even to them if they’d really think about it. But back to the feast at hand:
“By tradition, the herb bundle is composed of vitally necessary and healing plants such as bread grain and medicinal and seasoning herbs”, Josef Stadler, county advisor for landscape conservation and horticulture in Pfaffenhofen. At the center, there’s usually the mullein, also called [translated from its German names:] king’s candle, weather candle, Mother of God candle.
(All quotes are my translations of the aforementioned German article.)
And for what purpose? (Emphasis mine.)
“According to old folk religion, the consecrated herb bundle has a high reputation. Extraordinary healing powers and effects are attributed to it.“
And that just because some specially dressed man moves his hands in an idiosyncratic way and maybe sprays some water? And the number of the herbs is said to be important, even though they can’t decide on how many – 7, 9, 12, 14, 24, 72 or even 99, varying by region? (German Wikipedia) And you have to jump in circles three times on one leg and shout Ommm… sitting cross-legged afterwards? Oh, no, that stuff in the last sentence is no part of this mysticism.
In earlier times, people threw some of the consecrated herbs into the open hearth’s fire to ward off appoaching thunderstorms.
Oh, and they actually noticed that this wouldn’t work? Surprising. Or was this only stopped because open hearths have become quite rare nowadays?