Also called Melampode. In witchcraft legend, this is one of the components of the notorious flying ointment, and is used in rituals that summon the Devil. In Greek mythology, Melampus of Pylos used hellebore to save the daughters of the king of Argos from a Dionysian Maenad-like madness. In Christian myth, hellebore was born from the tears a little girl shed onto the snow because she had no gift to give to the Christ child. In low magick, it has been used by farmers to protect their livestock from the evil eye. Court magicians have used it in martial invisibility spells, enabling spies and assassins to infiltrate enemy camps. Hellebore resembles the wild rose, but does not belong to their family. The scent is a pale green herbal, darkly rooty, with a faint rose and peony-like overtone.
Borage and hellebore fill two scenes,
Sovereign plants to purge the veins
Of melancholy, and cheer the heart
Of those black fumes which make it smart.