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The Harry Potter Canon

" ...centaurs may attempt to divine by the burning of certain herbs and leaves, by the observation of fume and flame…"

-- Firenze (OP27)

Sage

Centaurs burn this, observing the fumes and flames to refine the results of their stargazing (OP27).

When Sybill Trelawney got the sack from Dolores Umbridge, Dumbledore brought in Firenze the Centaur to teach Divination. He turned his classroom into a mossy forest where the children laid back on the floor and stared at the stars. As sage and mallowsweet burned, the students were urged to "look for certain shapes and symbols in the pungent fumes" (OP27). Firenze admitted that humans were hardly ever good at that type of divination.

Commentary

Etymology

from Old French sauge (13c.), from Latin salvia, from salvus "healthy" ~ also "wise" from rom Old French sage "wise, knowledgeable, learned; shrewd, skillful" (11c.), from Gallo-Roman *sabius, from Vulgar Latin *sapius, from Latin sapere "have a taste, have good taste, be wise,"

Notes

Sage or Salvia officinalis is a fragrant tasty herb often used in cooking:

In Britain, sage has for generations been listed as one of the essential herbs, along with parsley, rosemary and thyme (as in the folk song "Scarborough Fair"). It has a savory, slightly peppery flavor. ... In Italian cuisine, it is an essential condiment for Saltimbocca and other dishes, favoured with fish. In British and American cooking, it is traditionally served as sage and onion stuffing, an accompaniment to roast turkey or chicken at Christmas or Thanksgiving Day. Other dishes include pork casserole, Sage Derby cheese and Lincolnshire sausages. Despite the common use of traditional and available herbs in French cuisine, sage never found favour there. Source: Wikipedia

Another type of sage, Salvia divinorum, or "diviner's sage," comes from Mexico and is used to induce shamanic visions:

The Mazatec believe the plant to be an incarnation of the Virgin Mary, so they take great care in handling the plant. The name "Ska Maria Pastora", often shortened to "Ska Maria" or "Ska Pastora", refers to "the leaf or herb of Mary, the Shepherdess." Other Spanish names include "hojas de Maria", "hojas de la Pastora", "hierba (yerba) Maria", and "la Maria". A plant believed to be S. divinorum was referred to as "hoja de adivinacion" (leaf of prophecy) by the Cuicatec and Mazatec. Source: Wikipedia

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Tags: astronomy burning future star gazing war