The only moly I knew before moly was mole, the chocolate and chile sauce prolific in Puebla and throughout Mexico and the Southwest US. I thought the phrase ‘holy moly/mole!’ must have come from that mole since the folk history of mole involves archbishops, angels and nuns.
But if you also thought this you would be wrong! The real moly is a plant mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey. As you can see from this quote they though of moly as quite holy indeed, “The root was black, while the flower was as white as milk; the gods call it Moly, Dangerous for a mortal man to pluck from the soil, but not for the deathless gods. All lies within their power.”
Today, the identification of moly is debated, but many people think that it is the Snowdrop flower.