Cimaruta (Cima di Ruta, Sprig of Rue, Mallocchio) are all names for the same amulet, which dates back to 4500-3000 BC and was most used in ancient Italy.
The name translates as “Branch of Rue”, a herbaceous plant that grows throughout Old Europe. Ruta was actively used for medical and magical purposes.
In folk medicine, the list of diseases in which rue is used in the form of a decoction (tea) inside and as an external remedy is very extensive. A great supporter of the use of rue was Sebastian Kneipp.
This plant has been used (and is still used) for loss of appetite, dizziness, palpitations, hot flashes to the head, painful menstruation, nervous diseases, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, dislocations, sprains, swelling – after bruises and injuries, frequent urge to urinate, dropsy, rheumatism, gout and skin eruptions.
Contraindicated in pregnant women (has abortive properties) and children. They say that Renaissance artists used a decoction of rue to improve their eyesight, and that is why their works are so bright and alive.
The traditional elements of the Cimaruta amulet are a rose, a hand with a dagger, a flaming heart, an owl, a dolphin, a rooster, a crow, a moon, a snake, a spiral.
Cimaruta is large enough – up to 4 inches, so that it was not always possible to hang it on the chest, so it was attached to the door, on the wall or at the altar.
They also hung them on the chest of children or over the cradle, for protection, or invoking Diana, whom ancient women prayed for an easy birth.
Wearing a Cimaruta also meant belonging to the Society of Diana, the Witch Queen. The amulet itself was always made of silver, the metal of Diana and the Moon, and the symbols themselves were double-sided.
Meaning of amulet pendants on Cimaruta:
- Head of a rooster – disperses the forces of darkness
- Dagger – Diana’s arrow
- Growing Moon – occult protection
- Snake – dexterity and wisdom
- The key is knowledge
- Verbena bud – protection (five petals)
The cimaruta is a very old amulet whose origins are rooted in the ancient lore of the Old Religion in Italy.
Like many of the other ancient symbols and beliefs, the appearance of the Cimaruta eventually acquired the features of Catholic elements.
One example of Christian additions would be the sacred heart of Jesus.
The traditional Cimaruta is made in the image of a sprig of rue (Ruta Gravolas, Ruta graveolens), which is an herb very widely used in the field of magical knowledge in Italy.
A branch of rue branches into three branches, symbolizing the tripartite nature of the goddess Diana. Ruta is the sacred herb of this goddess.
Various amulets attached to a branch of rue each have their own meaning. The primary symbols are the Moon, the Serpent and the Key. They represent the three iostases of the goddess – Hecate (key), Diana (Moon) and Proserpina (serpent).
This group of ancient goddesses is described in the writings of such ancient figures as Lucan. Ovid and Horace also depicted the goddess Diana in their writings on witchcraft.