Bay is well known to any student of Classsics, Mythology, or the culinary arts. An evergreen native to the Mediterranean, It is known to us in the west as one of the chief symbols of Apollo, ever since his pursuit of Daphne.
Bay leaves adorned the heads of victors and Ceasars across the Roman Empire. In Biblical writings, Bay was symbolic of fame and prosperity, and in Christian symbolism, became symbolic of Christ’s Resurrection, and the resultant victory for all humanity.
Bay oil is often extracted and used for fragrance, but the common gardener will be familiar with it as the leaf they add to stews for flavoring, but do not eat. Bay is also often added to pickle jars for similar purpose. Gardeners are also fond of the plant because it is a fond host of the Eastern Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar, among other catapillars. That said, it’s hardy in USDA zones 8-10, so will mostly be found in the southern parts of the US.
Bay is rarely used medicinally– Pregnant women should avoid the berries as they will cause miscarriage. Oil of Bay can be used externally as a pain reliver, but taking Bay internally in any amounts greater than extracted into stews and pickles tends to make people sick.
Halser has Bay associated with the Sun and Moon. In addition, I seem to recall a kitchen witch once associating Bay with Jupiter. I think it was Patricia Telesco, in her book Goddess in my Pocket but, as I haven’t got that availible to me at this time, I can’t check to be sure. But the assocaitions with fame, prosperity, and victory would tend to float in a Jovian direction . . .