Folk Names: false saffron, dyer's saffron, bastard saffron, and Mexican saffron
Powers: Protection, Love
Magical Uses: Gay men smoke cleanse themselves with safflower petals. They can also make an oil and apply it to their thighs, back and buttocks. It helps attract a mate.
Safflower is a good selection for a plant to offer ritual protection of your property and to provide coloring for ritual (or non-ritual) purposes, be it for foods (the Hope dyed their ceremonial wafer bread yellow with safflower petals), textiles, or even skin (in various cultures, saffon petals have been processed into a makeup). The ancient Egyptians grew safflower and used its dye to color fabric, to anoint mummies before wrapping and to color the ritual ointments used on statues of the gods; the flowers were woven into wreaths for mummies (consider using dried flowers for this).
In Japan, the petals were prized as a silk dye (they make a very "unnatural" pink on silk!).
Regarding the use of safflower as a dye, I read an interesting aside about the ingredients Medea put into a spell; they included safflower, saffron, alum, alkanet, blue vitriol, and others. People who do dyework would recognize these as dye ingredients. Dyeing, as a transformative art, is not far from magic, and some of the original secrets of alchemy are in fact recipes for dyes and colorings for metals. Saffron is especially magical, since the difference between acid and base solution is the difference between yellow and red with these petals. Typical ratio of dried petals to dry fiber is 1:1 for red, 2:1 for rose pink, and 4:1 for pale pink. In Europe, safflower's coloring properties have mostly been used for foods like cheese and sausage, in Afghanistan, the petals are made into a tea for preventing miscarriage and infertility, and in India, it is considered an aphrodisiac. Kohl was once made of charred safflower. The petals are nice for coloring not only rice, but pickles, sauces, and breads; they add no taste of their own.
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