Inspiration and substance added to the material of the pen:
Magical attribution ascribed in myths:
Sexuality and Wealth
Often known as mandrake, the Mandragora Officinarum plant is native to both the Mediterranean and the Himalayas. With a long history of use in religious and occult practices, this plant is particularly noted for its potent roots, which somewhat resemble the human body. With purple flowers and green leaves, often arranged in a basal rosette shape, we have created the Mandrake pen using these colors as our inspiration.
One of the earliest mentions of mandrake can be dated back to the Bible. “דודאים”, translated as "love plants", is mentioned twice in the Jewish scripture – both in the Book of Genesis 30:14–16 and in the Song of Songs 7:12-13. In Genesis 30, Rachel, Jacob’s wife, relies on this special plant to help her conceive a child. With its sweet fragrance that acts as an aphrodisiac, the mention of mandrakes in the Song of Solomon is part of a romantic encounter between Solomon and his new wife. It is suggested that the scripture links the mandrake with sexuality and fertility.
In the Middle Ages, the aphrodisiac and fertility powers of the mandrake flower gained new credence under the so-called Doctrine of Signatures, which understood that plants bearing resemblances to body parts could be used to treat their associated limbs and organs. Mandrakes can look rather like babies, so those having trouble conceiving would sleep with them under their pillows. And it wasn’t just about mandrakes getting people “in the mood” and fertile! According to Anthony John Carter, as he writes in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in 2003, medieval folk carried mandrake roots around as good luck charms, hoping the plant would grant them not only wealth and the power to control their destiny, but also the ability to control the destinies of others as well. Not surprisingly, the church frowned upon this practice and when, during her trial in 1431, Joan of Arc was accused of having a mandrake about her person, the suggestion helped send her to the stake.
Other legendary stories about mandrake are certainly captivating, suggesting the plant has magical, and sometime menacing, powers. Curiously, mandrake is believed to spring from the dripping blood and semen of a hanged man. Dare pull it from the earth and it lets out a monstrous scream, bestowing agony and death to all those within earshot. Literature includes complex directions for harvesting a mandrake root in relative safety. It was believed that the mandrake could be safely uprooted only in moonlight, after appropriate prayer and ritual, by a black dog attached to the plant by a cord. The scream of this perhaps frightening plant was even mentioned in Shakespeare's famous Romeo and Juliet: "What with loathsome smells, and shrieks like mandrakes torn out of the earth, that living mortals, hearing them, run mad."
Mandrake was also considered a key ingredient in a multitude of witches' flying ointment recipes, as well as a primary component of magical potions and brews. Some believed that witches applied these ointments or ingested these potions to help them fly to witch gatherings and experience bacchanalian carousal.
Having a long history of medicinal and magical use - from witches brew to modern medicine - this fantastic plant is still fundamentally part of our lives and certainly continues to work its magic in our modern day society.