Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Back-to-School Spells and Incantations to Avoid Head Lice

Back-to-school season is one of the most nervewracking times of the year, and not just because you're putting your baby on a bus with kids who look like Paul Bunyan and sport facial hair.


They could be lurking on any head in your child's class right now, and just like with the Black Death that swept 14th-century Europe, you never know who's going to fall victim next.

So what did our Medieval forefathers do in the face of such a mysterious scourge? They tried to ward it off with folk magic. To be honest, that's how desperate you are during prime-time head lice season, too.

If you have a child between the ages of 4 and 11 and you'd do literally anything  to avoid:
  • spending hours picking nits
  • washing everything you own
  • quarantining your child's 1,247 stuffed animals in trash bags
  • becoming a social pariah
then these magical charms and enchantments adapted from Medieval times are for you!

When an email comes from school notifying you of a case of lice in your child's class:

On a parchment of goatskin, write the names of thy children and get ye to a body of running water  a river or a brook will suffice. Remove the same number of stones as ye have children, and return home. Heat the stones over a fire or open flame whilst chanting:

3, 2, 1
1, 2, 3
Keep thy lice 
Away from these

Once the stones are red hot, remove them with tongs and bury them at thy children's bus stop. At sunrise, dig up the stones with a silver spade and immerse each in a vessel of pure, cool water.

When you send off your kids on the first day of school:

On the eve of a new school year, gather ye chrysanthemums of an even number from a field or garden that thou ownest. Bind them with a ponytail belonging to thy child and boil in water for 10 minutes.

With the reed of a nearby marsh or the golden flax from an ear of corn, brush the magick liquid on the doorposts through which thy children pass on their way to school. Sprinkle thou the remainder on their backpacks.

When you catch your kids sharing hats or dress-up clothes with the neighborhood children:

Bid the neighbor children thither, then use a straw broom to thoroughly sweep all negative energy from thy house.

Shutter all thy windows in an east-to-west direction and with slowly increasing speed, wave a jar of mayonnaise clockwise and a bottle of distilled vinegar counterclockwise around thy child's head seven times.

When you learn that a friend's children have lice:

The correct magick doth depend on the contact betwixt their children and thine in the last fortnight.

If thy children have had no significant contact, toss the thigh bones of a chicken into a circle drawn in the dirt with a sycamore branch. If the bones fall in parallel lines, diagonal lines, or a T then all will be well with thy children; if they fall in an X, a triangle, or a horseshoe, 'tis a poor omen.

If thy children have had a playdate, inscribe the words "please oh please oh please do not let us have lice" on a small tablet of wax or lead and sew it into thy child's pillowcase.

If thy children have attended a sleepover together, thou must tie a length of hemp around thy child's birthstone to make a protective amulet for wearing round the neck. If the birthstone be hard to locate (diamonds and rubies art expensive,) then thou mayest substitute a wooden circle upon which their likeness has been carved with a steel blade by moonlight.

When you pass the medicated lice shampoo at CVS:

Halt thy shopping cart and hie to the first aid aisle, where the bandages art located. Use them to construct a five-pointed star on the floor with the topmost point facing the shampoo. Stand ye in the center and recite the following:

Rid and Nix, Nix and Rid,
Let no nits hatch upon my kid.
Itchy scalp and fine-toothed comb,
Let no lice infest our home.

When the recitation hath ended, spit over thy left shoulder and exit the aisle in the exact way that thou camest.

When reading an article (like this one) on head lice:

Pour ye lavender, rosemary, and tea tree oil into a glass decanter that may be stopped up securely. Store this in a dark place beside a hat or hair accessory that belongest to thy child.

After the sun has risen and set thrice, retrieve the item and instruct thy child to wear it as a talisman to guard him or her until the school year hast ended, or at least until thou hast forgotten about the article that afrightened thee so.

—    —    —    

As they say, desperate times call for desperate measures, and there's nothing that makes a parent more desperate than the fear of head lice. So this back-to-school season, you might as well give these Medieval spells a try!

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r0b0d0c said...

Thank goodness we never had to go through that! Just the term "head lice" brings shivers to parents everywhere!

Terra Heck said...

Girl, you're spot on! My kids had lice three times when they were in elementary school. It was pure torture trying to clear hair, clothing, house, and practically all possessions of the critters.