Alraun

Alraun

I mentioned last year that I was interested in making an alraun, a root poppet in the shape of a person. Preferably, it grows into that shape, but it can be carved to accentuate the human-like qualities. The best-known alraun is the Mandrake, of course, but any root that grows into similar shapes can be made one. Sarah Anne Lawless’s article specifically mentioned dandelions, and I thought I’d pursue that.

I did try digging up one that summer, but it turned out to be too thin and thready to make a good poppet. So this year I’m giving it another try.

On the 2nd, the first day of the full moon, I dug up a dandelion root from a friend’s yard, took it home, potted it, and put it in the window in the ritual room. He had a head with a rough face and moustache, a very long torso, two arms, two short, stubby legs, and a tail. (It might have been something else, but it was on the other side from the moustache, so I’m going with tail.)

The leaves were already drooping from the shock, and by the next day were crispy-dry. Lawless had assured readers that this was ok, the root would survive, so I snipped them all off (and later ritually burned them), and sure enough, within a week, new green leaves were turning up, ever so tiny, hidden among the dead ones.

My friends had dug up another couple while I was working on mine, neither of which were terribly human-shaped, but which I’m also drying for other uses. Dandelion root has a number of uses, including for true dreaming. There was also a big pile of greens, which I had plans of cooking up.

Unfortunately, the images I was seeing while looking up recipes were all wrong. Nor did they match my childhood memories of dandelions, now that I thought about it. The leaves were fuzzy, and not sharp-toothed.

So I did some poking around, and it turns out that that’s not true dandelion, it’s cat’s ear, a false dandelion. Drat.

Still, any root that grows right can be an alraun, so I decided to continue with that. And cat’s ear is perfectly edible, if it doesn’t have the pleasant bitterness of dandelion. I was disappointed enough that I never did eat the leaves, though.

So. I’m giving the plant time to recover before I begin feeding it as part of the alraun ritual, which I will do starting Sunday, at the dark of the moon. I’ll continue to feed it for a lunar month, moon dark to moon dark, before digging it back up, drying it in the dark for a month, and then completing the ritual.