So I was pleased to see Harold Roth's link on Plant Codes elsewhere.
And then I looked up the PGM section he mentioned, and sat in shock... realizing I'd never read that bit before. EVER. /Noobsauce.
So. I'm just going to straight up quote it, because, fuck. I should've read and known this sooner:
PGM XII. 401-44:“Interpretations which the temple scribes employed, from the holy writings, in translation. Because of the curiosity of the masses they [i.e. the scribes] inscribed the names of the herbs and other things which they employed on the statues of the gods, so that they [i.e. the masses], since they do not take precaution, might not practice magic, [being prevented] by the consequence of misunderstanding. But we have collected the explanations [of these names] from many copies [of the sacred writings], all of them secret.
Here they are:A snake's head: a leech.A snake's “ball of thread”: this means soapstone.Blood of a snake: hematite.A bone of an ibis: this is buckthorn.Blood of a hyrax: truly of a hyrax.“Tears” of a Hamadryas baboon: dill juice.Crocadile dung: Ehtiopian soil.Blood of a Hamadryas baboon: blood of a spotted gecko.Lion semen: human semen.Blood of Hephaistos: wormwood.Hairs of Hamadryas baboon: dill seed.Semen of Hermes: DillBlood of Ares: purslaneBlood of an eye: tamarisk gal.Blood from a shoulder: bear's breach.From the loins: camomile.A man's bile: turnip sap.A pig's tail: leapard's bane.A physician's bone: sandstone.Blood of Hestia: camomile.An eagle: wild garlic.Blood of a goose: mulberry tree's “milk”.Kronos' spice: piglet's milk.A lion's hairs: “tongue” of a turnip.Kronos; blood: … of cedar.Semen of Helios: white hellebore.Semen of Herakles: this is mustard rocket.A titan's blood: wild lettuce.Blood from a head: lupine.A bull's semen: egg of a blister beetle.A hawk's heart: heart of wormwood.Semen of Hephaistos: this is fleabane.Semen of Ammon: houseleek.Semen of Ares: cloverFat from a head: spurge.From the belly: earth-apple.From the foot: houseleek.”
The sad thing? A number of items are derived from Dioscorides, as both Betz and Mr. Roth note, and I've read a lot – not all by any means – of De Materia Medica and never picked some of this up. I suuuuuuck.
Now I'm going to be obsessing for weeks about Materia again.
DAMN YOU, ROTH. Err. I mean. Thank you. For enlightening me.