As promised, this month I'm featuring the lovely heroine, Erina MacIntyre from OATH OF A WARRIOR. Erina was a wonderful character to write and one I knew who would appeal to Rory. She loved her garden and animals, tended to those who required healing, made love charms, and believed in the old ways. A perfect combination for any to accuse her of dealing in the black arts. Yet, she never saw herself as a witch. Only someone who was different.
Here are a few of the herbs she would have used in her love charms ~
Rosemary: According to folklore, if a girl placed a plate of flour under a rosemary bush on Midsummer's Eve, her future husband's initials would be written in it.
Violets: Very useful in love charms and often carried as an talisman to increase one's chances in finding love.
Vervain: An herb sacred to the druids and was thought to be a love charm. The plant should not be collected when neither the sun or the moon is in the sky. As you recall, Erina had to wait until the sun set and before the moon rose to collect this herb. Here's a brief excerpt...
She smiled and held her hand outward. After saying a silent prayer of thanks, she plucked a few and dropped the flower heads in her basket. Snipping off a couple of the long vines with leaves, she considered using them in the charm, too. Standing, she shook out her gown and headed for the vervain. As she brushed her hand over the flowers, she hesitated. This particular item would have to wait until the sun set, since one could not harvest any for charms unless the sun and moon were not in the sky.
Yarrow: This is an ancient herb mainly used for medicinal purposes, but also in love charms.
Foxglove: This isn't an herb, but essential for a faery garden. These delicate bell-shaped flowers are a special place where the faery can sleep. Of course, we must not forget the bluebells, too. During the spring in Scotland, they are also known as harebell and carpet the woodlands. Can't you imagine the faeries skipping through these beautiful flowers?
These love charms were worn as a talisman inside jewelry, woven into the clothing, or placed in small cloth bags and put into bedding. Some even bathed in the mixture in hopes it would kindle a love match.
Besides making love charms, Erina enjoyed making herbal remedies. This particular recipe is not medicinal, but she loved this syrup and is mentioned in the story. It’s a favorite of Erina’s. In 17th century Scotland, she might have made it with less sugar and more honey, or no sugar at all. I’ve adapted this recipe with all sugar. It’s delicious and perfect during the summertime. Red roses symbolize passion, sacrifice, and love. It’s a perfect blend for my love story and this recipe.
And here's a picture of my Rose Syrup in a pretty bottle.