Who would’ve thought peppercorns could be worked with magically? Pepper, after all, is more often associated with the dining room table and your sour cream topped baked potato. Pepper has come a long way since it’s origins in the trade routes. I doubt our ancestors ever thought pepper could be wild harvest on the other side of the world in a modern town such as Irvine, California. One Autumn afternoon, I was visiting with friends at a local Southern California park and I noticed the small pink peppercorns on several of the trees. This park happened to have a nature center so I stopped in to inquire about these beautiful gifts from nature. The woman assured me no pesticides had been used on their trees and informed me of their precise name, Peruvian Peppercorns. Also nicknamed, California Peppercorn, these trees are native to Peru. She granted me permission to wild harvest a few small handfuls and my adventure to learn more about the magic of peppercorns ensued!
Peppercorns were once highly protected by those who traded them with wealthy customers and lore of peppercorn fields being protected by dragons made it difficult to get in any other way than through these expensive trade routes. Fantastic stories of magical monsters has been used to protect secrets for thousands of years, but I’ll keep the monsters at bay and teach you some of my own mysteries. This magical spice was not always as common as every dinner table in the world. At one point in history, peppercorns accounted for seventy percent of the international spice trade. Little did they know, these tiny berries could be used for magical purposes.
While we usually see pepper already ground into tiny granules ready for sprinkling from a pepper shaker, peppermills are a popular method of distribution over your dish. Fancy restaurants have servers trained to offer and grind fresh cracked peppercorns over your entree. However, my favorite method of preparing peppercorn for meals and for magic is with my mortar and pestle. There is a intoxicating experience to be had when pulverizing the peppercorns with your pestle and bare hands.
Whether you use Peruvian Peppercorns or your kitchen’s common Black Pepper, you’re going to have a different experience when grinding it in a mortar and pestle. The aroma of Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) is going to be the same aroma you detect when you swirl an opened black pepper essential oil bottle under your nose. Contrariwise, Peruvian Peppercorns (especially fresh ones) will have a sweeter aroma.
You can probably get away with using whichever peppercorn you want in your magical recipe, but I prefer to use them in different ways. Since one is strikingly sharper than it’s sweeter counterpart, I have specific purposes for each one. I prefer to work with Peruvian Peppercorn when I need to have a sweet disposition in dealing with protective magic. While Black Peppercorn is my go-to when I need a strong and abrupt protection charm. I correspond Black Peppercorns with the Hindu God of Protection, Vishnu. Black Pepper is native to India and it makes sense to me to connect Vishnu with Black Pepper. My correspondence with Peruvian Peppercorn is Pachamama, the Peruvian Mother Earth. You can most certainly combine the two types of peppercorn in your protective charm and honor both masculine and feminine deities at the same time. Doing so would add both the sweetness in your spirit and the strong abrupt power at the same time.
You can learn more about the magic of peppercorns and how to use them in creative ways when you register for my class, Earth as Medicine.
Protective blessings to you and yours,