The belief that the spirit of a plant can assist in magical practices has deep roots in history and I am the first to acknowledge that not only every plant has its own magical uses but different parts of a plant can be used for different magical purposes. Yet given our modern lives, this article aims to help all these Witches that live in cities and cannot grow and harvest their own magical garden but can still own their own magical cupboard. We will focus on 11 herbs, spices and plants that should not miss from a witch’s cupboard mainly prioritised according to their magical uses and secondary on how easy is our access to them. Each plant given will have a brief description of their magical use and if available a link to those who want to learn more about it. With this in mind let’s begin our journey to the magical wisdom of herbs, plants and spices.
1. Sage (salvia officinalis)
Qualities: Healing, purification, cleansing, banishing, acquiring wisdom and better understanding of a situation, easing pain from life lessons, longevity
Sage leaves and branches, alone or with other plants, are usually wrapped up together and left to dry. This creates a nice ready to use smudging incense that when lit can be used in purification, cleansing, banishing and healing practices. Alternatively, dry sage leaves can be placed on a charcoal disc for the same purpose. A beverage can be made to help us ‘digest’ intense life lessons by adding sage leaves (along with other plants) when the Moon is Waning and enchanting the mixture with a spell showing our intention to learn and assimilate the information. The tea is sipped before going to bed to provide comfort and understanding over a difficult situation. A detailed article on magical uses of sage is to come.
2. Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis)
Qualities: Prophecy and visions, clarity, purification, cleansing, positive energy, Solar energy, success, wishes and love
Bay laurel was a sacred tree to Apollo, the Greek Sun God, and was believed to carry the magical energies of the Sun. The smoke of burnt bay leaves was used to bring forward prophetic visions and give clarity over a situation. Bay leaves were also believed to summon the Creative forces of Sun, thus aiding in making our dreams come true and used in good luck, success and wish spells. More information can be found here: http://www.magicalrecipesonline.com/2012/03/herb-analysis-bay-laurel-daphne-suns.html
3. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Qualities: Love, beauty, protection, purification, rejuvenation, dreams, empowerment and clarity
Old witches used to prepare an infusion of the herb which after it cooled down was used to wash the face and cleanse the hair in order to bring forth youth and beauty. Rosemary was used in sachets and spells to promote love and help the witch see clearly who is the right person for her. Rosemary was added in incense mixes to assist with purification and protection but mainly to help the energies refresh as after banishment rituals the void needed to be filled with positivity. More information on Rosemary can be found here: http://www.magicalrecipesonline.com/2012/09/herb-analysis-rosemary-dew-of-sea.html
4. Basil (Ocinum basilicum)
Qualities: Abundance, money, love, good luck, blessings, protection, purification and clarity
Basil leaves (especially the ones from the larger species) were burnt in an incense which smoked bills to help find the funds to pay them. A witch would add fresh basil in her wallet every day (removing the old leaves and collecting them in a bag) during the waxing moon, from the New Moon to the Full Moon, to help bring money her way. The collected leaves would be burnt on the Day of the Full Moon while asking the Goddess for abundance in her/his life. A garland was made in late Spring early Summer period by passing a thread from Basil leaves asking for love. The garland was left in the house to Dry and burnt in the Fires of August to help the witch find love. More information on Basil can be found here: http://www.magicalrecipesonline.com/2012/03/basil-maybe-most-blessed-herb.html
5. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Qualities: Attraction, beauty, love, good luck, against the evil eye, dreams, to summon and banish entities, protection
A fresh bunch of lavenders was collected by the witch during late Spring near the Full Moon with the intention to bring love in their lives. The bouquet was brought home and placed near the bed as the scent would help the lover find his/her way. Lavender is added in mixtures for protection, attraction, love and good luck. In addition, lavender as an incense will repel the evil eye. Finally, the fresh flowers were used in rites to summon and banish entities due to its association with Mercury and Hecate. Lavender was one of the main ingredient in dream pillows to assist with sleep and bring prophetic dreams while ensuring a good night’s sleep. More information on lavender can be found here: http://www.magicalrecipesonline.com/2012/04/herb-analysis-lavender-herb-of.html
6. Rue (Ruta graveolens)
Qualities: Magical empowerment, exorcism, banishment, repellant, protection, grace, healing, justice
I cannot deny that Rue is one of my personal favourites with a rich magical history, therefore I may have been a little biased including it in my list. Favoured among the Italian Witches (Strega), rue is excellent for breaking all malevolent magic, banishing unwanted entities and anything that is no longer needed in our lives. Used in sachets for protection along with other herbs acts as a magical shield for any magical work against the witch. In Italy, an amulet was made from silver called the Cimaruta and was used as a symbol for a witch to reveal her identity among her peers. In modern witchcraft, the amulet is used for magical empowerment, for protection and to grant wishes. A full detailed article on the use of the Rue and the Cimaruta are to come I promise!
7. Cinnamon (Cinnamonum species)
Qualities: Sex, passion, to summon the Forces of Fire, raise Spiritual Vibrations, cleansing, purification, to bring speed in spells, money
This blessed spice is indeed a magical catalyst in all spells and rituals and is usually added in incenses and other herbal magic mixes to provide fast results. Cinnamon has been considered an aphrodisiac and is being used as a powerful addition in sex and passionate love spells. It is added in rituals that invoke the power of Fire and entities associated with them. The cinnamon barks apart from an excellent addition to mulled wine it can add the fiery element in different potions and grant protection. Best to be avoided for dream magic as it will keep you alert. More information on cinnamon can be found here: http://www.magicalrecipesonline.com/2012/05/herb-analysis-cinnamon-herbal-fire.html
8. Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia)
Qualities: Love, sensuality, seduction, peace, dreams, luck and good business
Vanilla has been used in many spells and rituals to promote sensuality and an aura of seduction. Coming from an orchid, this spice was quite rare and expensive, however in modern times it is quite easy to find. The easiest form would be to acquire readily available grounded vanilla or instead you can invest some money on vanilla pods that have exquisite results. Vanilla added with sugar is said to bring happiness and blessings to the house, usually stored in a closed glass jar near a window. Vanilla was spread on a piece of paper where a wish was written and then burnt in a fire to make the wish manifest in the witch’s life. Commonly found as a counterpart of cinnamon in many spells that promote love, sex and good luck it obtained a wide reputation for its use in Hoodoo formulas such as the Fast Luck recipe. More information on Vanilla can be found here: http://www.magicalrecipesonline.com/2015/01/herb-analysis-vanilla-witchs-best-friend.html
9. Chilli pepper (Capsicum species)
Qualities: Protection, magical empowerment, banishing malevolent magic and hex breaking, passionate love
Again another spice in the list to spice up your magical lives however please be careful when handling it as it can be quite unpleasant to mention the least if inhaled or comes to direct contact with eyes. Chilli peppers, mainly used in their dried or grounded form, is an excellent addition to your spells to break any hexes or malevolent magic with its magical fire. It is a good addition, to fire up any protection spell and empower your magic. Mixed with salt and rue and spread at the perimeter of your house will create a fiery magical protective boundary. Chilli peppers were added in sachets to bring a fiery love to the witch’s life. Although, quite popular in some oils and tonics for consumption I will suggest to be avoided for obvious reasons due to the increased irritation it can cause to the skin or your palate.
10. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Qualities: Healing, love, marriage, truth, confidence, removal of fears and nightmares
Yarrow or Achillea is an excellent plant to promote healing for the body, mind and soul. A puppet filled with yarrow and eucalyptus charged under the Sun and Moon would assist in sending healing energies to the person. The flowers can be added in sachets to obtain confidence and remove nightmares and fears. The smell of the flower is said to bring forth healing, truth and clarity. An interesting fact is that the essential oil of yarrow is dark blue so take extra care if you are handling it as it can stain surfaces, clothes, etc.
11. Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
Qualities: Prophecy, divination, dreams, astral travel, visions, sex, cleansing and rejuvenation
Mugwort is an excellent herb to raise your vibrations and assist in changing your state of awareness especially when used as an incense or brewed. Ingredient in many potions for astral travel and divination it needs to be handled with care. Dried mugwort is also added in dream pillows for similar use. The incense of mugwort is used to cleanse and charge objects used in divination such as tarot cards, crystal balls or pendulums. Regarding its healing properties, a similar species of mugwort (artemisia argyi) named moxa is used extensively in traditional chinese medicine and acupuncture to promote healing.