Pot of woad

In Emma Peel’s first Avengers episode, she refers to a “pot of woad,” and from the context I gather it is proverbial for “going native.”

In my researches so far, I’ve learned that woad is a plant which can be processed to make a blue dye, much like indigo, and said blue dye was used by antique Celts to paint their bodies - but I haven’t found the source of the phrase “pot of woad.” I’ve searched Bartlett’s, the Bible (KJV) and the works of Shakespeare with no luck. Does anyone know where it comes from?

It’s admirable that you did your own research before posting this question. But I’m curious why you looked for a reference to a Celtic custom in the Bible.

But on the Internet you can find anything. As proof I offer The Woad Page at http://www.net-link.net/~rowan/crafts/woad/woadpage.html . This tells you how to grow and make your own pot of woad. You can then use it unitl you’re, well, blue in the face.

Mike - I did my research backwards; I tried to find the quote, if there is one, before I found out the rest.

“woad” = what Elmer Fudd dwives his caw on :slight_smile:

Just one important thing to keep in mind if you decide to play with woad – stay downwind of the neighbors. It has a particularly pungent reek to it.

So what did the modern Celts use? Food coloring, body paint?


They would use the woad, which has some antiseptic and astringent properties, as a body paint for battle. Thus the Celts were woad warriors.

Sometimes one member of the warband would use more than his share of the woad. He would have been reviled as a “woad hog.”

Cowards and non-combatants would apply their body paint in a distinctive cruciform pattern, leading to the ancient observation of “the chicken crossing the woad.”

Because so manny of the young men of a tribe would not survive their battles, the traditional lamentation began “Oh, woad is me…”

This will all be chronicled in my upcoming politically neutral book The Muddle of the Woad.

I believe there is a biblical quote:

“Woad to you, O Earth and Sea
For the Devil sends the Beast with Wrath
Because he knows the time is short…”

–Iron Maiden 3:lp

“Let him who hath underrstanding reckon the number of the beast,
for it is a human number.
The number is six hundred and sixty six…”

Brian O’Neill
CMC International Records

ICQ 35294890
AIM Scrabble1
Yahoo Messenger Brian_ONeill

I just want to say I got some pot of woad once, and there weren’t any buds at all.

The pot of gainsville is far superior.

I myself prefer the rum of morgan with the cola of coke (the pepper of dr. works well, too) and the juice of lime.