SG - The Mythical Mandrake: The History of the Mandrake Root

Meet the mandrake and get absorbed by the many fascinating stories that were told about this plant throughout history during this evening with Abe J. van der Veen!

Organised by Studium Generale

Tue 22 March 2022 20:00 to 22:00

Venue Impulse, building number 115

About The Mythical Mandrake: The History of the Mandrake Root

Professional storyteller Abe J. van der Veen – a.k.a. Abe de Verteller – takes us on a journey through story history and sheds light on the symbolic value of the myths and narratives that came to be associated with this poisonous plant.

From the ancient association with Circe and Atropos to Paracelsus’ homunculus, and from the mandragora-infused flying ointment used by witches to the screaming green geezer in Harry Potter’s herbology class. Why is it handy to have a dog present while harvesting a mandrake? And what is it about this plant that is so potently attractive to female elephants?

About series ‘The Image of Plants: The Mandrake’

Many plants are rich in mythology and cultural meaning, but few find themselves so immersed in magic, folklore, and anchored in the human imagination as the mandrake. In this series we wander through the cultural and botanical history surrounding the plant that shrieks when torn out of the earth – making living mortals run mad by doing so, if we were to believe Shakespeare. What were the stories told about this potent plant, which is so animated and un-plantlike that its history reads like a biography? How were (and are) its human-resembling roots used in magic rituals? And what meaning does Mandragora officinarum hold for us today?

About Abe J. van der Veen

Photo: @volvertrouwen
Photo: @volvertrouwen

Abe J. van der Veen is a professional storyteller, better known as Abe de Verteller. He studied history at the University of Groningen and was a guide at JongIVN nature education. This is where his fascination and passion for storytelling originated; all of a sudden the stories started calling him, and begged him to be told during the many campfire nights. Always taking inspiration from nature and symbolism, Abe tells sagas, knight’s tales, fairy tales, as well as the stories and myths of the Vikings, Celts, and ancient Greeks. He performed at many festivals and has won the Fantasy Award for best performer. Besides that Abe writes articles on symbolism and is the author of several popular non-fiction books – De Kracht van Symbolen [The Power of Symbols] being his latest.