Eight Useful Herbs
Title: Eight Useful Herbs
Eight Useful Herbs-
I don't use herbs in my magick a whole lot, but I do enjoy them and find them useful occasionally. I have a small rack that hold eight bottles, so I went through my materials and found the eight herbs that would be the most useful to me. (Note, to give credit where it is due, a lot of the things I've learned about herbs have been through experience but also by reading Scott Cunningham's various herbal books, among other authors, and I used Cunningham's encyclopedia to fill in some gaps on this page about the properties of the herbs I list.)
There are six or seven main categories that a majority of magickal purposes can be assigned to. The variety of magick available to the witch is extordinary and infinite and the amount of herbs one can use for them are limited only by the number of species in the plant kingdom! (And there are lots!)
Unfortunatly, I can't keep every member of the plant kingdom in eight little bottles (nor can I keep the knowledge of all their properties in my little brain... some people can, but not me...), but luckily, many plants have a range of useful properties and lucky again, many of our specific needs can be put into one or two of the seven categories of magick.
These categories and my simple symbols for them are:
Love, relationships and compassion (a love-heart)
Fertility, prosperity and finances (a sheaf of grain)
Healing of the physical body and mind (a simple caduceus)
Mental clarity, psychic awareness and spiritual awakening (an eye)
Blessings, sacrifices and consecration (a pentagram)
Banishing, clearing and exorcising (an "X")
Protection, warding and defense (a shield)
(These last two can be combined, for my purpose, into one category, since most herbs that are good for banishing are also great for protection. Also, many herbs used for other things are good for banishing and protection as well so, in a pinch, I could limit myself to just five herbs if I had to.)
Obviously, there are any number of types of magick within each category and many specific individual needs that can be easier met with one herb better than another herb in the same category (healing for instance) but, as I said, in the interest of convenience and my eight little bottles, just eight herbs will have to do for now. I actually prefer my collection of essential oils for many things as they are much easier to work with, easier to store, last for far longer and hold their scent and properties for much longer. They also are slightly more versatile as they can be dabbed onto just about anything (people, fabrics, most ritual items, windowsills, used as "ink" to draw invisible but potent magickal symbols and runes on paper or almost any object and they create a long-lasting pleasant odor that lingers and continues to empower the magick).
There are some things, however, that loose herbs are better at doing. For one thing, you can't make a tea with an essential oil, they tend to be a little expensive, they can leave greasy marks on some surfaces and thus arn't necessarily great for widespread cleaning efforts, you can't stuff a sachet pillow or poppet with oils (well you can, but it's messy and not quite as nice), sprinkling them all over the place is really tough to clean up, and sometimes, their scent can be a little too overpowering for some things. Also, herbs sprinkle better around and onto things and are much easier to put onto charcoal blocks for incenses. There are other reasons one might use herbs instead of oils, but those are some of mine.
So, back to the topic, I will be keeping the following herbs in my eight little bottles, marked by the categorical symbols they are most useful for. Here they are:
Love- Catnip is often used in love sachets and for beauty magick. Also good for bonding with an animal familiar (especially a cat). It makes an excellent calming tea that puts me right to sleep on restless nights and can help with focus for meditation and psychic growth. (Heart and Eye)
Fertility/Prosperity- Clove attracts wealth. I think it has an incredibly earthy smell and therefore had a lot of earth/growth/fertility energy and the potency of its odor is one indication of its general potency. It is also used for protection, banishing and attracting love. (Sheaf of grain, heart, "X" and shield)
Healing- Lavender has calming and healing properties. It's also used to attract love and also happiness and thus can be used for banishing and warding off negativity. It's also been used to promote prophetic dreams. (Caduceus, heart, eye, "X" and shield)
Clarity- Marigold has been used to promote prophetic dreams and also is said to gift one who touches it with abilities to understand the languages of spirits and birds. Also, it is said to be able to bring forth the truth of a matter and to help bring justice, especially to thieves and deceivers. It also helps to strengthen and comfort as well as bringing happiness with its sunny face. It is an herb of the sun and so is good to add to any sun working and to consecrate items to the sun deities. Its sunny, beautiful properties also enhance beauty and attractiveness to lovers and friends. (Eye, heart, pentagram and shield)
Blessing- Mugwort is an herb very associated with magick and a tea made from it can be used to cleanse and consecrate ritual objects and sacred spaces. It also has powerful psychic properties and can be used with crystal balls, scrying practices and to receive prophetic dreams and enhance divination. In the shoes, it protects the wearer from fatigue as well as outside attacks and can be places at entrances to keep out unwanted guests of the spirit kind and even disease. (Pentagram, eye, shield and caduceus)
Banishing- Rosemary is a great herb for cleansing and protecting. It has a purifying energy and helps cleanse negativity. It's been traditionally used in exorcisms, purifying baths, cleansing incenses and in pillows to fend off nightmares. It is said to aid memory, far-sight and past-life work. Its oils promote healing and also can be used in love magick. ("X", shield, heart and caduceus)
Protection- Basil is a favorite herb of witches and cooks alike. (I named my cat after this lovely herb and even the un-"cook"iest thing I can make, frozen pizza, gets a little sprinkle of it). I decided to include it as my seventh herb representing a category that I'd originally eliminated because it's just so all-around useful! I've heard of it being used, in one tradition, as the traditional protective herb for the edges of a sacred circle and is strewn in the home to ward against evil and provides good luck in a new home. Its oils are used in love incenses and the perfume is said to attract, enhance and ensure relationships remain true. It attracts wealth when placed in pockets, purses and cash-registers (and presumably, anywhere else that you want money to go into and stay there, although I've never tried depositing basil into my bank account, lol!). It's also reportedly used in flying potions and flying ointments (which enhance a witches ability to astral project into a shamanic and psychic journey of the soul). (Shield, eye, heart and sheaf of grain)
Eighth herb- Sage is on my list because it is another rather useful herb. Besides its usefulness in cooking, especially in meats, it promotes longevity and health. It can be used in protection and prosperity magick and is said to help with the manifestation of wishes and general good luck. Though it shares the same last name as white sage (aka "sagebrush" which is used commonly in Native American traditions for banishing and cleansing) it may not actually be closely related. That said, ordinary kitchen sage can also make an acceptable banishing incense for smudging. (Caduceus, sheaf of grain, "X" and shield)
As you can see, with just eight herbs, each of the seven categories of magick has at least two or three possible herbal allies, as well as some unique and specific properties that might be useful. In conjunction with the nearly twenty different essential oils in my collection (oh boy, do have to do a discussion of them as well?!), this appears to be a truly wide selection of possible magickal combinations for just about any purpose I might come across!
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