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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Mandrakes: Remembering Raven Grimassi

Conversations around the presenters' breakfast table at Pagan Spirit Gathering are generally pretty good, but things really kicked up a notch when someone mentioned mandrakes.

“Oh, I raise them,” said Raven Grimassi.

It turns out that raising mandrakes in New England is no easy feat. It's too cold for them to overwinter in the ground, so you have to dig them up every year. Raven used to winter his in a barrel of sand, until it was warm enough to replant them in the spring.

A lot of work, to be sure, but the up side is that, handling them so often, and watching them grow as you do, you develop a very special kind of relationship with your mandrakes.

“Do you want to see some pictures?” asked Raven.

Everyone laughed. Did we ever.

In a life spent in the Craft, some moments stand out.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Mandrakes

I'd never met anyone that raises mandrakes before.

Over breakfast one morning at a festival, a couple that do just that were telling a group of us about the process. It's very interesting. Where they live, it's too cold for the mandrakes to over-winter in the ground, so they dig them up every fall and keep them in boxes of sand through the winter. Then in the spring they replant them.

The advantage of all this exhuming and replanting, of course, being that they get to know each of the roots individually, maybe shape them a little, and photograph the mandrakes as they grow. Did we want to see the pictures?

Did we ever.

So there we are, oohing and aahing as the photos circulate. For all the world as if we were looking at pictures of someone's grandchildren: beaming grandparents, admiring circle. Witches and mandrakes.

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  • Soli
    Soli says #
    Well, this is timely. I have been thinking about trying to grow mandrakes myself. Lovely!

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