Uncover Hidden Herbs meanings
Asphand (sometimes spelled as esphand or espand) is the common name for Peganum harmala, a plant that originated in the Middle East and Central Asia.
In India and Pakistan, it is also commonly referred to as harmal, while in the West, it is usually known as the syrian rue. It has also been used as red or yellow dye, depending on the process. There are many uses for Asphand from a magical point of view.
The ritual involving Asphand is an ancient and sacred Zoroastrian ritual. Ancient Zoroastrian belief ties Asphand to the female Archangel of earthly and motherly protection and is commonly associated with the protection and purification of children.
It is typically used to protect and rid children of the evil eye, but anyone may be “aspanded” or exposed to the smoke of aspand. Mothers and newborns are also typically “aspended” for protection from evil. Men and women who have just attended a funeral service or performed a sorrowful rite is also typically “aspanded.”
In Iran, it is not uncommon that the ritual is performed in traditional restaurants, where customers are exposed to the eyes of strangers. In the region of Kashmir in India, it is also used to ward off evil on occasions such as marriages.
The specific practice differs in several countries, but the purpose is more or less the same – to dispel evil things from people’s body or property, protection and a prayer for asking blessings. In Turkey, the dried seeds from the plant are strung. Many people then hang these plant's in homes or vehicles. In some Muslim countries, such as Turkey or Afghanistan the dried seeds are mixed with other ingredients. The seeds are then burned on charcoal.
While the seeds pop and the smoke is put in a circle around the head, a short prayer for blessings is recited. The verse is usually recited by Muslims, but it is actually an ancient Zoroastrian prayer to the Five Archangels.
The prayer is said to be taught by the Archangels to King Naqshband, who in turn taught it to the people: Say the following words:
“This is Aspand, it banishes:
- The Evil Eye
- The blessing of King Naqshband
- Eye of nothing
- Eye of relatives
- Eye of friends
- Eye of enemies
Whoever is bad should burn in this glowing fire."
Asphand has been known to have anti-depressant qualities. The smoke may be safely inhaled, but it is not advisable that the seeds are to be used for human consumption.