By Ana Vice
Magickal herbs, plants, and roots to help find a new job, bring in money, and add more prosperity to your world.
Many of you may already have some of these plants in your magickal apothecary or cabinet, but they can also be purchased at your local supermarket, farmer's market, or at Enchantments (which has a botanica of over 150 herbs for your spiritual needs). Please note that they are not for ingestion, but for magickal use only. Some plants are poisonous to both humans and animals and should be handled with care (i.e. High John the Conqueror and Horse Chestnut). In conjunction with all magickal practices, be sure to consult your physician before using plant-based medicine to aid in your physical and/or mental health.
If you’re interested in learning more about the magickal use of herbs (especially for love, healing, and protection), check out our new Herbal Series here.
Banyan (Ficus benghalensis)
The banyan tree (aka Arched Fig, Indian God Tree, and Vada Tree) is associated with the planet Jupiter, air element, and often used in luck magick. Some believe that just to sit beneath or look at a banyan tree brings good luck. Others believe that getting married under a banyan tree means the marriage will be a happy one.
The banyan tree is planted outside and around places of worship in India by Hindus. Many believe the banyan tree to be Kalpavriksha, a Tree of Life that grants wishes and brings wealth and abundance. It symbolizes Trimurti: Lord Vishnu is the bark, Lord Brahma the roots, and Lord Shiva the branches. Buddha was also said to have sat under a banyan tree when he gained enlightenment.
Banyan trees are included in Ayurveda because many of the herbs that are associated with the tree of life are sacred to this ancient practice. Ayurvedic medicine, a holistic healing system developed more than 3,000 years ago in India, is based on the belief that well-being and good health depends on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit.
There is also the Hindu Story of Svetaketu: A father had his son gather fruit from the sacred banyan tree and look at the seeds inside. The boy told his father that he saw nothing. His father uses this concept as a way to describe the idea that great things can come from very little or nothing at all.
Others believe that banyan is eternal and its roots never stop growing as they make their way down into the Earth. Because of its extensive root system, when a banyan tree is cut down, it will use its powerful roots to rebirth or renew itself. The Chamorro of Guam believe in tales of Taotao Mo'na and other spirits of old. Taotao Mo'na are guardians of banyan trees – not ghosts or living dead, but instead ancestral spirits that are said to live in banyan trees. The trees are believed to change direction every night because their roots allow them to move.
Many people also make annual visits to the Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees (Banyan Trees) at the Tim Hau Temple in Hong Kong. They make a wish by writing their name, birthday, and a wish on yellow paper and throwing it in the air. If it gets caught on a branch, then their wish will come true.
Witchy Tip: If you are unable to physically be near a banyan tree then use creative visualization to imagine each root, leaf, and aspect of the banyan tree in all its glory. Imagine yourself seated below it and safe. Focus on welcoming in abundance and good luck to your life.
Lucky Hand (Orchis spp.)
Lucky Hand (aka Hand of Power, Hand Root, Helping Hand, and Salap) is associated with the planet Venus, water element, and used magickally to bring employment, luck, protection, money, and safe travel.
This root is obtained from an orchid root and has different properties than the flower. Lucky hand is a general staple of New Orleans magical and botanical shops and it’s often added to sachets and conjure bags for luck and overall success. Carrying a lucky hand can attract gainful employment opportunities and to provide protection.
Lucky hand can be ground up and used to prepare powders for incense or to dust money, lottery tickets, or the corners of a room where a game of chance might take place. Lucky hand oil can be made from lucky hand root to anoint candles and/or your person. Any left over powder could be used in a bath or combined with laundry detergent to wash your clothes.
Lucky Hand is considered by those who work with it to be one of the most powerful ingredients that can be added to a gris gris (mojo bag) used specifically for luck in gambling or success in finding employment. When doing hoodoo, the lucky hand can be combined with five-finger grass and High John the Conqueror root for success, luck, and money drawing. Some practitioners also add a lodestone to attract money.
Placing a Lucky Hand Root along with High John the Conqueror Root in your conjure bag can bring power, wealth, and wish fulfillment. While reciting Psalm 23, hold the root while setting an intention/praying for what you want. Add the lucky hand inside a blue cloth charm bag and tie off with a white ribbon. Carry this for good luck.
Witchy Tip: Try filling a jar with rose essential oil and placing a few lucky hands into the rose oil and let them soak for a while. Take one of them and wear it as needed. For example, if you wish to travel put it in your shoe or if you need money, carry one in your wallet or handbag.
Alfalfa (Medicago saliva)
Alfalfa (aka Buffalo Herb, Lucerne, and Purple Medic) is associated with the planet Venus, earth element, prosperity, money, and luck. Money drawing spells sometimes include alfalfa and it can be kept in the home to protect against poverty and hunger. Some believe scattering the ashes of burnt alfalfa around your home’s property aids in maintaining prosperity and wealth.
Alfalfa originated from the Middle East and was known as al-fac-facah, which means "Father of all Foods." It contains many vitamins and minerals and was brought from Persia to China by General Chang Chien of the Han dynasty (around 2000 ACE) and called Mu-su in Chinese medicine. It eventually made its way to England and South Africa, where it was called Buffalo Herb.
Alfalfa is believed to have the spiritual power to bring prosperity, draw money and good fortune in business matters. It is said that alfalfa can bring good luck in gambling, as well. This symbolism may come from its use as a food to keep farm animals fed in times of need. Often found on foothills and mountainous areas, Alfalfa leaf tea is said to improve appetite, alleviate peptic ulcers due to its diuretic properties.
Witchy Tip: Fill a small mason jar with alfalfa and put it in your kitchen cabinet to welcome prosperity, money, and protect against hunger. Add a bit to a sachet and keep it at your place of business to bring good fortune.
Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum; A. spp.) Poison
Horse Chestnut (aka Buckeye) is linked to the planet Jupiter, fire element, and used for money drawing and healing. It can be carried to ward off aches and pains. If three horse chestnuts are carried at the same time, it’s said they can ward off giddiness. Alternatively, if you wrap a dollar bill around a horse chestnut and put it in a sachet to carry around with you, money will come. Carrying a horse chestnut is thought to bring for success in everything you do.
The horse chestnut tree produces fruit encased in a burr (similar to a chestnut) but the fruit is not edible. The nuts contain aesculin which can be toxic to humans and animals. Native Americans used the horse chestnut's toxic ability to stun fish by grinding it into a powder.
In England horse chestnuts are called conkers and were used in a game by the same name. Kinger, a version played in parts of North Dakota in the United States, is played with Ohio Buckeye nuts. In America, traditionally, carrying a buckeye brings good luck.
Witchy Tip: Obtain a Horse Chestnut and polish it. Carry it with you for good luck.
Devil’s Shoestring (Vibumum alnifolium, Vibumum spp.)
Devil's Shoestring is actually a general name for a few plants that grow in the United States and Canada. A popular good luck charm amongst gamblers, it's used for protection, gambling luck, and employment, and also believed to keep away all evil when worn and protect its bearer against accidental poisoning.
A suggested way to use this herb root is to cut it into tiny pieces and put them into a jar filled with spirits of camphor and whiskey. Take out a piece of root to rub on your hands when needed. Carrying Devil’s shoestring can help you obtain gainful employment or smooth out any difficulties at your job. It can also be put into a wallet or handbag to draw money.
An additional use for Devil's Shoestring is that it is said to help in preventing the bearer from being affected by Goofer dust. Traditionally, Goofer dust is a hexing dust used in hoodoo originating from the Southeastern part of the United States. Devil’s Shoestring is also a common ingredient used for mojo hands (voodoo amulet or charm). Mojo hands act as a material manifestation of power to bring about a desired outcome. Viburnum alnifolium, Viburnum opulus, and Viburnum prunifolium are all in the honeysuckle family and appear stringy. The roots of all three are used medically as antispasmodics and sometimes used to relieve menstrual cramps.
Witchy Tip: Try making a blended anointing oil: Use pecan oil, a lucky hand, and some devil's shoestring (which you can purchase here) and let them sit for several days in a cool dry place. This can be used in a bath, to wear, or to anoint candles for the purpose of success, attaining employment, gambling luck, or protection.
Bergamot, Orange (Mentha citrata)
Bergamot (aka Orange Mint) is associated with the planet Mercury, air element, and money draw and success spells. The leaves of the orange bergamot can be put into sachets, wallets and purses to draw in money. Fresh leaves can be rubbed directly onto money before making a purchase in order to promote the money to return. It can also be incorporated into baths, soaps, baths, etc. since the scent is uplifting and promotes joy.
The bergamot orange rind can be used to make essential oil and is commonly used in the perfume industry. It’s also used for massage therapy and various forms of aromatherapy; The oil may also be directly inhaled and act as an expectorant or decongestant during an illness.
Earl Grey tea, a popular black tea blend with bergamot orange, was invented in the 1830s. British Prime Minister Charles Grey began drinking black tea infused with the citrus-scented oil. Legend has it that a Mandarin Chinese man bestowed the gift of bergamot-orange flavored tea upon the Earl for saving his child, however Jacksons of Piccadilly claims that they invented the original Earl Grey blend in the early 1800s. Also for any of you Star Trek fans, Earl Grey tea is Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s favorite.
Witchy Tip: Carry some bergamot in your wallet to draw money or use a few drops of essential bergamot orange oil (which you can purchase from Enchantments here) in a bath to promote success and lift your mood.
High John the Conqueror (Ipomoea Purga or I. jalapa) Poison
High John the Conqueror is associated with the planet Mars, fire element, and money, love, success, and happiness. There are many spiritual uses for this root, but please note that it is highly poisonous and not to ingested.
You can carry High John with you to attract money and success in all that you do, since it's said to lift one’s mood, attract love, protect the wearer from curses and break hexes. It can be burned, put into oils, incenses, poppets, conjure bags, or sachets.
High John the Conqueror anointing oil can be used for many purposes and is made from cut roots that are left to soak in olive or mineral oil for a few weeks. This is great for anointing candles to be used for Candle Magick (but again, do not anoint your body with it).
High John the Conqueror was named after a once-enslaved African prince who was sold into slavery. He was said to be very clever and had an enduring spirit. He tricked his master into freeing him, and upon being liberated, the Prince left his power and strong spirit inside a High John root. He did this for the people of Africa that had been made slaves so they would have a sense of empowerment and protection. High John the Conqueror root has become very well known because of this legend. High John the Conqueror is known as an all-powerful trickster that is likened to the God Loki of Norse mythology and the Coyote spirit of Native American beliefs.
Witchy Tip: Combine High John the Conqueror root with High John the Conqueror oil and carry it in a green bag to bring money, luck, success, happiness, and love.
Winter’s Bark (Drimys winteri)
Winter’s Bark (aka True Winter’s Bark, Wintera, Drimys Bark, and Winter’s Cinnamon) is used spiritually for success in all areas and can be put into sachets, baths, blended into incense, or carried on one’s person.
When Sir Francis Drake sailed around the world in 1577-1580 AD in the Golden Hind, the only other ship to make it around Cape Horn with him was the ship named Elizabeth (whose Captain was John Wynter). Illness befell the crew and so Wynter sent a boat ashore in order to find medicinal herbs. He was successful and returned in 1579 with a good supply of Winter's Bark. It was used to treat scurvy before vitamin C became a known remedy.
Winter’s Bark also sustained Captain James Cook and his crew in the South Pacific. A naturalist by the name of Johann Reinhold Forster on board was the first person to actually describe and name Drimys winteri.
Witchy Tip: Burn some winter’s bark and set the intention of success in all that you do – or create a sachet to carry wherever you go in order to promote success.
Pecan (Carya illinoensis)
Pecan (aka Hickory, Butternut or Sweet Pecan) is associated with the planet Mercury, air element, and money, employment, and prosperity spells. Growing as tall as 75 feet, pecan trees can be fruitful for up to 300 years.
The pecan tree symbolizes wealth and financial stability. The word pecan comes from an Algonquin word that has to do with nuts that have shells to be cracked. It has been said that Native Americans gathered pecans primarily as a food source. However, pecans had other uses too: some were used to make dye and oil.
The genus name carya is based on the ancient Greek word karya meaning “nut.” Karya is derived from Carya (Lady of the Nut Tree), who later became known as the Olympian Nature Goddess Artemis Caryatis.
Native to the southern United States and parts of Mexico, pecans were also useful in trading: In 1541 AD Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto wrote about pecans and eventually brought them to Spain. The pecan spread as far as Asia and Africa. The French settlers in Louisiana took the pecan into their culinary culture, creating pecan pie (which is my fave).
How about some kitchen witchery? Make a pecan pie with the intention of welcoming wealth and prosperity (you can find a recipe here).
Basil (Ocimum basilicum, O. tenuiflorum, O. sanctum)
There are 21 different names for basil including, Sweet Basil, Holy Basil, and Witches Herb. Often associated with the planet Mars and fire element, it can be used to attract wealth, prosperity, harmony, luck, money, love or used in protection, flying, and exorcism spells. It also can be used to attract customers or clients to a place of business (this is done by putting some in the cash register or at the door). You can also use basil in in sachets, baths, incense, floor wash, sprays, and in kitchen witchery. It is utilized spiritually in a number of spiritual traditions including Santeria, Voodoo, Hoodoo and ones associated with Hinduism.
Basil has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to treat inflammation and other illnesses. It is speculated that it originally comes from Asia but is now found in all over the world.
Holy Basil in particular (O. tenuiflorum or sanctum) is an annual plant and has clove-like scented leaves that can grow up to 2 feet tall. Sacred to the Hindus, who use it in both cooking and medicines, it also shows up in sacred mythology. Holy basil (aka Tulsi) symbolizes the manifestation of the Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth and Good Fortune) and wife of Vishnu (God of Preservation and Protector of Good), and can be used as an offering to her. Vishnu has been said to wear a garland of holy basil leaves and for these reasons holy basil is grown in many Hindu homes and cultivated at temples. Once the plant withers, the woody stems can be used to create beads for rosaries (japa mala).
Witchy Tip: Plant a holy basil plant in your home to invite wealth and good fortune into your life or as tribute to Lakshmi. Another tip would be to create a money drawing box: Fill a small wooden or cardboard box with basil leaves (which you can purchase from Enchantments here), a five dollar bill, and anoint it with a money draw oil or prosperity oil. Place your petition inside the box to draw in money.
By Amber C. Snider
Learn how to respectfully petition water spirits, make moon water, and perform beach rituals.
The four elements are present in all of us: earth in our bones, air in our lungs, fire in our spirits, and water that continuously moves through our blood. Many of us are especially attracted to that last element: the call of the ocean is contained within us, the shoreline beckons us, and the sound of rain, waves, and streams is akin to holy music. We seek out water every day, whether it’s a cup of tap water to nourish our physical bodies or sinking into a daily ritual bath. And it’s no surprise that we’re so drawn to the power of water, since the human body is made of 60% of the stuff.
Like fire, water has the power to both cleanse and destroy. Think of how salt water from the ocean can heal wounds and also wipe out entire coastal towns. It’s an element that deserves the highest respect, for we are no match for the fertile, engulfing power of the ocean. For witches and spiritual practitioners, performing spells and rituals by the seaside is also important: It brings us closer to our spiritual roots, grants us interior reprieve and rest, and recenters us.
Here are ways you can work with the power of water in your rituals:
No two streams are alike
Each body of water, whether it’s the ocean, a river, cenote, or mountain stream, has a different energy and ‘presence’. For sensitive folks, this change in essence is palpable and every water source very much alive. Sit at the water’s edge and listen. Pray for insight to a question or problem and then wait for your answer. Like a slow breeze, the answer may come in a hushed whisper or an internal “knowing.”
Respect your surroundings
It’s good to get to know the energies of a place before you petition the spirits there, but the main common thread between them all is respect. If you bring things to the water, be sure to take it back with you. I personally do not believe in leaving ritual offerings at water sites – if it didn’t come from the ocean/river, etc. (and you brought it with you), take it back with you when you leave. It’s a quick way to anger the spirits of the land when you leave trash and/or foreign objects in their home.
Tip from Enchantments’ witch Carmen
“When making offerings to water deities, be aware of the signs that they send you. If your offering is not enough or it is not the right time, you may feel anxiety or discomfort while you set up or before you leave. Honor your intuition and reset your intentions, or come back at a later time when you feel compelled to continue. Remember, to leave these sacred spaces just as you found them. Make sure there are no plastics or non-biodegradable items in your offering. Clean up and take your trash with you.”
Get to know the Goddesses associated with water
...and honor them accordingly (especially before working with them). Yemaya, the Great Ocean Mother and a powerful orisha, is both nurturing, protective, healing, and fierce. (Read more about her here). You can honor her by lighting blue and white candles, building an altar with cowrie shells, watermelon, and white flowers. You can also honor her by simply picking up trash at the beach whenever you see it. Venus, the Goddess of Love and Fertility, was “conceived” in the ocean, so the water’s edge is a great place to petition her for love. You can light green or pink candles to honor her, carry white roses with you (or use them in a bath) with offerings of copper. But again, as with all water rituals, I highly recommend you take all your ritual supplies with you when you leave.
Ancient power of Cenotes
Cenotes, primarily found in the Yucatan region in modern day Mexico, are highly charged spiritual sites dating back to the Ancient Mayans. Locals say that each cenote is “guarded” by a protective spirit, as well as aluxes (playful yet mischievous guardian spirits at the cenote’s entrance). With over 7,000 present in Yucatan, cenotes have become popular swimming sites for tourists – but don’t let that fool you into thinking that dulls their spiritual power in any way. Most cenotes were the site of Mayan rituals (including human sacrifice), so it’s extremely important for folks to be respectful when visiting.
I also recommend doing a “light meditation” (envision a powerful white light around you with an outlining blue edge) when entering the cenote water or cave in order to protect your spirit, especially because not all the entities and spirits who live there are necessarily “friendly.”
Making Moon Water
Water and the moon are inextricably linked. Just think of the moon’s power on the tide – of course it has an effect on the human body. You can harness the power of the moon in many ways, but one practical way is to create moon water. Simply take spring water and put it into a clean mason jar to “charge” under the full moon for up to three nights. Speak to the water, say a prayer, or recite a specific intention over it. You can think of it as “collecting” positive energetic power to enhance your spellwork over the month. Add cupfuls at a time to your bath water over the month or drink it with intention. Some full moons are more chaotic than others, so be sure to check the influence of the planets before you make your moon water to ensure the energies you are harnessing are conducive to what you want manifest in your life.
Ritual baths are another practical way to work your water magick. Try adding sea salt baths (or try these with blended essential oils and herbs), essential oils (lavender for peace and protection, rose for love, musk for sensuality, citrus for invigoration, or any intention-based oil), herbs or flowers, and even teas to your baths. Keep your bath rituals technology-free (unless you’re playing music, then keep the phone on airplane mode) and try to be as ‘present’ as possible in the water. As you dunk your head under, ask for purification and imagine any spiritual impurities and negative energies washing away from you. As you watch the water drain from the tub, visualize a pure, radiant light around you – cleansing you entirely. One tip is to add your herbs to a cheesecloth sachet or tea bag for easy clean up.
Collect a few shells and natural ornaments that you find at the water’s edge. Place them in front of you and light a small white candle. If you brought offerings with you, place them alongside the candle. Create a sacred circle by calling upon the elements (earth, wind, fire, water), your ancestors, or spirits for protection and draw a circle around you in the sand. Sit in the space you’ve created and write out a petition or spell on a very small piece of paper. Meditate on the intention of the spell, try to envision its positive effects in your life and others around you. When you’re ready, burn the paper and say “So mote it be” or “Amen.” Collect everything you brought with you (but leave the natural shells and ornaments) and don’t look back. Continue to light the candle at home over the next few days until it’s completely burned out. Pay attention to the sign over the next few weeks. Once your prayer or spell has been answered, I always recommend following it up with a separate gratitude ritual to give thanks for the new blessings.
Want more stories on water magick? Check out this amazing book from Weiser or this story on how to perform a bath ritual.
By Ana Vice
Need a touch of magick in your love life?
There are all kinds of ways to use herbs with magickal intent: You can add them to oils, incenses, baths, ointments, lotions, soaps, perfumes, teas, tinctures, elixirs, pillows, poppets, and more. While Enchantments’ herbs aren’t for ingestion, it’s still important to clearly label your herbs, handle them with care, and separate those that may be poisonous to humans and animals (for example, morning glory and saffron are toxic to cats and dogs). The majority of herbs in this article are non-toxic, but still intended for spiritual and magickal use only. Many of you may already have some of these in your home apothecary or cabinet, but others you can buy at the grocery store, farmers market, or at the Enchantments shop, which has a botanica containing over 150 herbs.
Here we share the beautiful folklore behind these ten "love" herbs, as well as their spiritual uses and connotations.
Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum)
Sugarcane (sometimes known as Ko in Hawaii) is associated with the planet Venus and water element. Sugar in general has long been used in love and lust potions or magickal formuli. Some believe chewing on a piece of sugarcane whilst thinking of your loved one attracts them in a loving way. Sugar can also be used to “sweeten” someone to favor you or as an offering.
Yemayá’s (one of the main Orishas in Santeria) favorite foods are watermelon and sugarcane syrup. As the mother of all living things and ruler over motherhood, she owns all the waters of the Earth and gave birth to the stars, moon, sun, and most of the Orishas. Yemaya’s aché is nurturing, protective and includes fertility. Yemayá is also a fierce warrior that protects her children from harm. Yemayá can be found in all the waters of the world and because of this she has many aspects of “caminos” (roads). She, like Oshún, carries all of the experiences of womanhood within her caminos.
In the Philippines there is a myth about a sad chieftain. He was experiencing ennui despite the fact that he did so much for his tribe as a youth. He no longer found meaning in all his success and wondered what heaven might be like. One day he was making a prayer to Bathala (Creator God) to let Bathala know how fed up and bored he had become. According to the Tagalog, Bathala is the supreme deity who created the universe. The chieftain wished to end life on Earth and go to Heaven. Abruptly, a voice said that his time on earth was not done. Disappointed, the chieftain left his palace to go walk through the forest.
There, he came across an old man who tried to cheer him up by saying that he could find heaven here on earth. The old man led the chieftain to a sugarcane plant and said that its sweet stem will take him to heaven. The chieftain began to chew the stem of sugarcane and was delighted by its sweetness. Sugarcane allowed the chieftain to realize that it’s the simple things in life that bring us joy.
Witchy Tip: If you already work with Yemayá and want to conceive a child, you can use sugarcane syrup as an offering to her. Set your intention for fertility and the ability to conceive a healthy child. Light white and blue candles, and consider additional offerings of seven white flowers, cowries, or silver coins. Because she is the Great Ocean Mother, rituals at the beach are also an option.
Beet (Beta vulgaris)
Also known as mangel and mangold, beet is often associated with the planet Saturn, earth element, and love (it has been said that if two people eat from the same beet they will fall in love). Beet juice can be consumed as a beverage, but also used as an ink in love magick.
For the Greeks, the Goddess Aphrodite symbolizes beauty, sensuality, love, and desire. One of her secret pleasures was said to be beetroot (aka pantzaria). It was believed that beets could make someone healthier and more beautiful, in addition to being an aphrodisiac. Records show that Greeks began cultivating beetroot around 300 BCE and they ate the leaves and used roots as offerings to Apollo (God of Sun and Light, and also one of Aphrodite’s lovers) in the temple of Delphi. The Greeks considered it to be worth its weight in silver, and Hippocrates may have even used beetroot leaves for binding and dressing wounds, as well as for medicine.
Evidence of humans using beets dates back to the Neolithic site of Aartswoud in the Netherlands. Beets were associated with the Saqqara pyramid at Thebes, Egypt, which dates to the time of the Third Dynasty circa 2600 BCE. There were also Assyrian texts that describe beetroots growing in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in 800 BCE.
Romans consumed beetroots, but mainly for medicinal purposes (namely as a laxative or to cure fever). Apicius, an ancient Roman gourmet, wrote a book called The Art of Cooking and some of his recipes contained beetroots, including broths and salad dressings made of mustard, oil, and vinegar. Ranging in orange, yellow, or red in coloring, Celtic women have been known to use beetroot for lipstick and blush.
Witchy Tip: Buy a good sized red beet at your local farmers market. Clean and carve your first name and astrological sign, then place the beetroot in a bowl and set your intention to attract love. Soaking the beet beforehand in warm water will yield a red water that can be used as ink if you wish to write out your intention.
Lavender (Lavendula officinale or L. vera)
Lavender (also known as elf leaf, nard, nardus, and spike) is associated with the planet Mercury and air element. Its spiritual attributes are protection, purification, sleep, chastity, love, happiness, and peace. Lavender is often used in sachets, pillows, baths, soaps, perfume, oils, poppets, and/or added to incense.
Its fragrant flowers can be put into dresser drawers to scent clothing (especially to attract love) or the flowers can be burned to promote calm and restful sleep. A piece of paper on which you’ve rubbed lavender is excellent for writing love letters. It has also been used as a substitution for rice as wedding confetti. Lavender used to be worn by “ladies of the night” to attract customers and let people know they were available. Despite love associations with lavender, during the Renaissance it was thought that the combination of rosemary and lavender could keep a woman’s chastity.
Ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians and Arabians used lavender as a perfume to attract love, too. While the Egyptians mummified their dead in lavender-dipped shrouds, Cleopatra apparently used lavender in her to seduce her lovers. Some say the energy of this plant is so strong that it can lift melancholy at the mere sight of it and bring in happiness. It’s often used in healing blends and purification baths. Some believe if you carry it with you to a place where there are ghosts or spirits that you’ll have the ability to see them. It can also be protective and ward off the evil eye.
Witchy Tip: Make a small pillow and stuff it with lavender. Place it under your pillow at night. Before falling into a peaceful sleep free of bad dreams make a wish or set an intention for one or more of the following: love, happiness, protection, longevity, or peace.
Morning Glory (Ipomoea spp.) Poison
Often associated with the planet Saturn and water element, morning glory (aka bindweed) can promote happiness and peace. Try placing its seeds beneath your pillow or within a sachet to prevent bad dreams. You can make blended oils with it or add essential oil to incense blends and baths.
Morning glory flowers bloom and die within one day. The Japanese were the first to cultivate morning glory (Asagao) as decorative flowers in the 800s AD. Asa means morning and kao is face, and the flowers were often used at japanese weddings. Most morning glory species bloom in the morning and start curling up a few hours before nighttime. They require full sun exposure and mesic soils to grow well.
Morning glory flowers have a short lifespan, so sometimes it can be associated with the fleeting nature of love. But since it also gives birth to new flowers in the morning, it can signify the renewable nature of affection. In the Victorian symbolism of flowers, morning glory represents love in vain, and morning glory vines were often placed on headstones to symbolize mourning, a short life span, or even resurrection.
According to the Chinese folklore, the star-shape of the flower signifies the day when the Chinese lovers Chien Niu and Chih Neu are permitted to meet for a single day each year. According to this story, the young boy Chien Niu was given the responsibility to take care of the water buffalos and the girl, Chih Neu, was entrusted with the task of sewing dresses. They fell deeply in love and eventually started ignoring their duties. This angered their God so much that they were separated on opposite sides of a silent river. Only once a year they were allowed to meet. Since the morning glory has such a short lifespan and ephemeral nature, it is befitting to symbolize the short-lived union between these young lovers.
During the Aztec civilization, people utilized the juice of some morning glory species to form a rubber-like substance. They also mixed the seeds with tobacco and insects to slather on their bodies before performing ritualistic human sacrifice in order to dull the pain. It was believed that morning glory would help the victim to travel to the afterlife and be reborn. Aztec shamans are also said to have used the seeds in order to have visions and communicate with their gods.
Morning glories inspired Louisa May Allcott to write Morning Glories and Other Stories and later Georgia O’Keeffe to paint Blue Morning Glories and Ram's Head, Blue Morning Glory in 1938.
Witchy Tip: Make a small pillow out of blue cloth and stuff with morning glories to place under your head or pillow at night to get rid of nightmares and maintain a happy, peaceful slumber.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Catnip (aka cat, catmint, field balm, and nip) is associated with the planet Venus and water element. Its spiritual and magickal attributes are love, beauty, joy, and happiness. Used in love or cat magick, it can be used as an offering to Bast or Bastet – the Egyptian goddess associated with protection, cats, perfumes, fertility, children, music, joy, the arts, and warfare. Growing catnip in your garden or hanging it over your front door it is thought to attract good spirits.
Catnip has been used in traditional European medicine for hundreds of years. It was first mentioned the De viribus herbarum and valued for its ability to calm anxiety and act as a sleep aid. Furthermore, it was applied externally as a poultice to reduce swelling. Catnip can also be made into a juice to use for topical application, as was the practice by Nicholas Culpepper (a 17th century botanist, avid astrologer, physician, and herbalist). Mainly the flowering tops are used (dried for tea or fresh for an essential oil), but there are accounts of the root being used, too.
Catnip is part of American folk medicine and has been used by The Hoh, Delaware, Cherokee, and Iroquois Native American tribes to make a gentle tea for children to help an upset stomach or with trouble falling asleep. The Cherokee also used catnip to make a strengthening tonic. In the southwestern United States, catnip (a.k.a. nebada in Spanish) was sold as a brandy infusion with fennel in a digestive tonic. Europeans used it as a remedy for digestive upset, as well.
Witchy Tip: Put catnip and rose petals into a pink or red sachet bag to invoke love.
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin or P. patchouli)
Patchouli (also known as pucha-pot and kablin) is associated with the planet Saturn, earth element, love, lust, fertility, and money. Patchouli has a strong earthy, musky scent and is often used for love or lustful magickal formulas (including fertility talismans), or money and prosperity spells. Patchouli can be made into a floor wash, incense, soap, or used in place of graveyard dust.
A member of the mint family and covered in purplish-white flowers, the most commonly used portions of the plant are the dried leaves. When grown, the patchouli bush can reach nearly three feet tall. Patchouli comes from Southeast Asia and has a long history as an essential oil and folk remedy for skin ailments and anti-aging. Patchouli comes from the Hindui word pacholi meaning “to scent,” and East Indian shawls and fabrics were scented with patchouli oil in the 1800s. Both patchouli oil and incense underwent a surge in popularity in the 1960s and ‘70s in the US and Europe, mainly as a result of the hippie movement of those decades. In the 1980s it was a scent sometimes worn by Goths in the Gothic underground movement.
Some believe that patchouli dispels negativity and promotes good dreams, in addition to attracting love. With its feminine, yet masculine characteristics, patchouli is associated with the deities Aphrodite and Pan. Patchouli is synonymous with passion and putting dried patchouli into small sleep pillows or sachets may promote an amorous atmosphere. The deep and lusty scent might entice your lover to feel romantic, especially since it’s a well-known aphrodisiac. To attract someone you desire, wear patchouli oil or place some patchouli root in a mojo bag to carry in your pocket or to wear around your neck.
Witchy tip 5: Take a dram (1/6th of an ounce) of patchouli essential oil and make a spray with it. Spray yourself, your clothing, your wallet and anything else you desire to attract love and prosperity into your life. You can also anoint a green or pink votive candle with patchouli essential oil (3-6 drops) and set your intention for drawing either love or money.
Orchids (Orchis spp.)
Orchids (aka levant salap, sahlab, saloop, and satyrion) are associated with the planet Venus and water element. Used in love spells, especially the root, orchids can be carried in sachets or sewn into clothing. Some variations of orchids are used in inducing visions, trance-states, and for heightening psychic powers.
Orchids, which come in a variety of colors, patterns, and shapes, are both captivating and inspiring. These exotic plants have made their way around the world and are often associated with love, fertility, and sensuality. One of the major orchid genera is Paphiopedilum (a.k.a. Venus Slipper and Venus is the Roman equivalent of Aphrodite). The name is derived from the word “Paphos” which is also the name of the Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Paphia, where the Greek Goddess of love was worshiped. In Ancient Greece, it was believed that parents could choose the sex of their child by eating the orchid’s tubers: If the father ate thick, fleshier tubers, the child would turn out to be a boy. If the mother ate smaller, thinner tubers, the child would turn out to be a girl.
The orchid receives its name from a Greek myth: The young minor god Orchis is a little too young to be taken with one of Bacchus’ (the Greek God of wine) priestesses. Predictably, Bacchus has a wild response for this behaviour and little Orchis is divided across the land, a wild Orchid growing wherever a piece fell. This legend, retold across Europe as the Greek & Roman cultures collided, gives the orchid a passionate, fertile status. Indeed, the final piece of Orchis landed in the sea and some say led to the birth of Aphrodite.
Native to Asia and the Mediterranean, the orchid’s role in China begins with over 2,000 years of cultivation and cultural importance. In China, orchids are regarded as emblems of integrity, elegance and friendship. Depictions of the distinctive flower in art and literature are common. Confucius believed the orchid to be a symbol of nobility and strength that should be valued. Aztecs commonly mixed vanilla, orchids, and chocolate to create an elixir that brought on power and strength.
Witchy Tip: Create an Aphrodite love drawing sachet from fabric (preferably a pink, green, copper, or combination thereof) and fill with orchids + a petition or folded letter of intention. Carry it with you.
Rose (Rosa spp.)
Associated with the planet Venus and water element, rose can be used to enhance psychic powers, love divination, and invoke healing, luck, and protection. Petals and rose hips are often used for love magic, in addition to essential oil. A garland of roses can be worn when performing love spells or a single rose in a vase placed on an altar can aid in love-magick spellwork.
Rose water made from rose petals can be added to love baths (i.e. self love and love attraction) and petals can be used to stuff a love poppet or sachet. It has been said that in order to discover their romantic future, women would make tea with green rose leaves and name each for one of their lovers. The one that remains green the longest corresponds to the love that will be true and lasting.
Symbols for the Greek Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, include roses, doves, myrtles, sparrows, and swans. In modern times, the red rose is still associated with love. In the epic poem The Illiad, Homer tells us how Hector’s body was anointed with rose oil after his death at Achilles hand. According to the poet Anacreon, seafoam dripping from the body of Aphrodite as she is born turns into white roses representing her purity and innocence. Later, when she is trying to help her wounded lover, Adonis, Aphrodite sheds a few drops of blood onto a white rose and changes it to red representing her desire and passion.
Another well-known Greek story is about the marriage of Eros (the God of Love and Sexual Desire) and Psyche (a mortal woman who became Goddess of the Soul aka Breath of Life). At their wedding ceremony, Zeus’s daughters (sometimes referred to as either the Horae or the three Gratiae aka Graces or Charities) covered the land in roses.
Outside of Greek mythology, roses symbolize purity and sometimes motherly love. For Catholics, roses are often associated with the Virgin Mary and with activity of God or of a Saint in association to Our Lady of Guadalupe. A man named Juan Diego believed that he was given a sign by the Virgin Mary to bring the bishop to town and establish a church in her honor at the Hill of Tepeyac (Mexico City). He was told by Mary to go to the top of the hill to cut all the roses he found blooming there and place them in his cloak. Juan was a faithful man and went up the hill as he was asked. To his surprise he found a rose bush full of beautiful and fragrant roses at the top of the hill. He gathered them and brought them to the bishop as was requested by Mary. Upon seeing the bishop, Juan opened his cloak and the many beautiful roses fell out revealing a vivid image of Blessed Mary on the fabric of Juan’s cloak. Considered a miracle, the bishop agreed to build the church for Mary on the hill. Ultimately, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe was established and celebrated each year on December 12.
Witchy Tip: Draw yourself a hot bath, fill with rose petals, a few spoonfuls of sea salt, and several drops of essential rose oil. As you enter the bath allow all distractions of the day to fade. Seat yourself and take in the rose fragrance. Meditate or set an intention for self love or love attraction. Make robust petition to a Goddess of Love (such as Aphrodite or Venus). Otherwise, contemplate all that is love and let it wash over you as you take your bath. Feel the warmth and joy in this process. If you want, burn pink candles or play music to set the mood.
Saffron (Crocus saliva)
Also known as autumn crocus, krokos, kunkuma (Sanskrit), and saffer (Arabic), saffron is associated with the Sun, the fire element, love, lust, happiness, and strength.
The Phoenecians baked saffron into crescent-shaped cakes, which they ate in honor of the Moon and fertility Goddess, Ashtoreth. Saffron can be added to love sachets, as well as lusty or happiness potions. Saffron crocuses were sometimes worn at the girdle and believed to relieve menstrual cramps, while saffron spice was used medicinally for this very purpose. It was also believed to induce a higher level of sexual potency in men who took saffron.
According to Greek mythology, Medea apparently used saffron to create the Promethean salve, which she smeared on Jason's body and then prayed to Hekate for her help. It was hoped that this ointment and blessing would render him invulnerable. The Promethean salve contained some of the sacred crocus (saffron).
A tale of the two lovers Hermes and Krokos is a different origin myth for saffron. Krokos was a mortal and one time, while rough housing together, he was wounded by Hermes. Wherever Krokos’s blood fell, a saffron flower grew there. Another myth tells the story of how the saffron crocus arose from the blood of Prometheus, who was crucified in Caucasus; the toxic autumn crocus (sometimes known as meadow saffron) became known as the Promethean herb. In the East, right down to the present day, saffron robes are associated with dyes used for Buddhist and Hindu garments. Saffron spice is also often used in cuisines around the world, including Spanish paella and East Indian Biryani.
Witchy Tip: Make a small sachet from golden orange or red fabric and stuff it with saffron. Wear this on your person to attract love and happiness or to heighten lustful feelings between you and your lover.
Strawberry (Fragaria vesca)
Also known as poziomki, tchilek, and jordboer, strawberries are associated with the planet Venus, the water element, love and luck. The delicious berry is considered a “love food” and the leaves can be carried for luck. Some believe that carrying a small packet of strawberry leaves eases pregnancy pains.
Strawberries often appear in European myths and folklore as the fertility and love fruit of various love Goddesses, such as Aphrodite and Freyja. Aphrodite was said to have created the strawberry when she wept heart-shaped tears of sorrow for her love, Adonis (Aphrodite’s mortal lover) after he was run through by a wild boar.
The strawberry holds both spiritual and medicinal importance to a number of Native American tribes, such as the Pomo, Iroquois, Cherokee, and Navajo. The Native American Pomo tribe of what is now called California had special Strawberry Festivals representing springtime and new life. The Kashaya band of Pomo still holds Strawberry Festivals to this day. Among the Iroquois, strawberries were symbols of blessings and used to give thanks, while the Cherokee associated strawberries with love and happiness.
One Cherokee story involves the very first strawberry and it goes something like this: At the beginning of time, the very first man and woman set up their home next to a big river as a newly married couple. They had everything they needed for a joyful life and lived very well until their first argument – which began small, but got bigger over time. The man asked why the woman did not cook what he enjoyed to eat. The woman asked him why he had not brought in firewood, and so after a while they began to insult each other and throw things. The woman was so upset she took off towards the rising Sun whilst the man lay sleeping. When the man awoke he noticed the woman was gone and so he found her tracks and followed them.
The Sun could see what was happening and asked the husband if he was still angry with his wife. He confessed that he was not angry at his wife. Then the Sun asked if he would like to have her back. The man said that he would and so the Sun decided to help him. The Sun’s gentle rays reached the ground along the woman’s path. First, a huckleberry bush sprang up. But she kept walking. Next, blackberries grew on her path. She kept walking. Then the Sun decided to create something so striking, fragrant, and delicious that the woman could not help but notice it, despite her melancholy mood.
This “something” was the very first patch of strawberries ever to exist. Their sweet scent filled the air and took hold of the woman’s senses. She felt her sadness lift. She immediately saw the heart-shaped, red strawberries and tried one. By tasting its sweetness on her tongue, she started to remember the joy she knew when she and her husband first met. She sat down on the ground and wondered what to do.
Her husband caught up to her and sat down quietly beside her and smiled. She gave him strawberries to eat, too. They realized how much they loved one another and walked back home together taking a few strawberry plants with them to plant at their garden so they would never forget this lesson. The moral of this story is to do nothing in haste, consider all things thoroughly, and be able to forgive others for their faults.
Witchy Tip: Prepare some freshly cleaned strawberries as an offering to the Goddess Freya appealing to her Love aspect. Light pink (love) and red (desire and sensuality) votive candles anointed with Freya oil. Set your intention to welcome a robust love into your life or take the opportunity to empower yourself and set the intention for self love.
By Amber C. Snider
A certified relationship coach and psychotherapist weighs in on the “love” matter – and why you may miss out on rich spiritual opportunities by calling it quits too early.
As different parts of the US begin to slowly reopen up in the ongoing wake of COVID-19, you may have noticed a new social trend: Break-ups. After spending 4+ months together in lockdown, many of those once seemingly perfect relationships are beginning to unravel and come to an abrupt end. But according to psychologist and certified relationship coach Dr. Paulette Sherman, before you take the leap to singledom, there are a few things you may want to know (and ways to grow your love relationship) before throwing in the towel and saying farewell forever.
As spiritual practitioners, many of us understand the importance of uncrossing, clearing negative energy, removing blocks, and self-reflection. But when it comes to romantic love (especially when you’re emotionally stressed to the max), it can be all-too-easy to forget these same deep truths.
Relationships, according to Dr. Sherman, can be a powerful vehicle for personal transformation. Our significant others act as mirrors: They reflect the good, bad, and ‘hard to look at’ parts of ourselves, including our triggers and insecurities. And sometimes seeing yourself reflected back so clearly can be intense.
“One of the biggest obstacles that I find as a couples therapist and coach is ‘The Blame Game’ and the tendency for someone to think that they can just exchange their partner for someone who will make them happy,” Dr. Sherman tells me. “The reality is, most marriages have at least five unresolvable problems that stem from differences in values, personality and lifestyles. So no matter who your partner is, it’s just which issues you choose.”
Since you’re going to run into a different set of unresolvable problems with someone else, figuring out your deal breakers and what you’re willing to put up with is extremely important. “Of course, there would be exceptions like physical abuse, drug abuse, cheating or things that a person may choose not to tolerate in a relationship,” she adds. But if you call it quits too early without recognizing this, we can “miss the spiritual opportunity to heal old wounds that prevent us from loving more and being our best,” she says.
In her latest book, Marriage and the Law of Attraction, Dr. Sherman discusses practical and spiritual tools for making relationships work. She’s published over 20 books and this particular topic couldn’t be better timed. “It’s dismaying to see that divorce filings have gone up 40 percent and the divorce rate was already at 50 percent. Couples are now literally being confronted 24/7 by their issues, so it’s hard to ignore them or avoid them now,” she says. “When you are in a state of crisis, you have two choices—you can choose love or fear—danger or opportunity.”
The pandemic has not only highlighted “incompatibility issues,” but also value differences between couples: What happens when one person takes safety precautions seriously and the other doesn’t? Add working from home together, possibly with children (with the added burden of home schooling), and/or living in small apartments, and it can become a breeding ground for restlessness and resentment. Maybe issues were already present in the relationship before, but at least people had outside distractions, friendships, and hobbies to turn to.
In her book, Dr. Sherman discusses seven relationship habits (backed with research-based tools) to help couples work through their issues and stop focusing on “changing” their partner – which is a trap many of us fall into. She also focuses on the Law of Attraction: a universal spiritual principle that, according to Dr. Sherman, “supercharges” these other psychological tools. “When we align our thoughts, feelings and actions with our intention, we become powerful Creators and attractors,” she says.
Some of Dr. Sherman's principles are inspired by the work of John Gottman, an American psychological researcher who wrote a number of books on relationships. The Gottman Method is about establishing a dialogue to address perpetual problems and communicate “acceptance of your partner with humor, affection, and even amusement.” Criticism, contempt, stonewalling, and defensiveness are considered the “Four Horsemen” that ultimately lead to painful "discussion gridlocks.”
Now, add a global pandemic to the mix and the chances of "discussion gridlocks" are even higher. No one expected to undergo a life-changing, global pandemic with their significant other, but here we are. Dr. Sherman believes the following can help when faced with relationship difficulties: 1) Managing your emotions, thoughts, communication 2) Knowing your trigger points and places of resistance (ego) 3) Becoming a team again 4) Choosing actions that serve the relationship and 5) Learning about unconditional love and soulmates. “Couples learn to see their mate as their teacher and the relationship as the alchemical vehicle for growth,” she adds.
Date nights and doing novel activities together is another positive step towards re-bonding: “Research came out that shows that women are 4x less divorce-prone if they have a weekly date night, and 3x more sexually satisfied and satisfied with their marriage overall,” she says. “Just having time away from all the stressors – and doing novel things – is better for the relationship.” Couple baths are another way to facilitate bonding. You can cook, you can dance, you can modify what a ‘weekly date night’ looks like in these [times of COVID-19].”
One bad habit to watch out for is the idea that your spouse should make you happy, when in reality, we’re all responsible for our own happiness. “Research shows that your baseline happiness before marriage is your baseline happiness after marriage. But we’re told so many fairy tales about happily ever after, but ultimately it becomes a blame game,” she adds.
Spiritual tools (although she can't directly integrate them into her traditional psychotherapy practice due to existing rules and ethics with APA) have been instrumental in Dr. Sherman’s personal life. After undergoing her own “dark night of the soul” with breast cancer, she relied on spirituality to get her through it. Now, she says, she feels compelled to share these gifts with others.
She highlights the individual work we all have to do – whether we’re in a couple or not. Self-soothing, raising your vibrations, and maintaining your self-love, self-care, and state of appreciation are vital, Dr. Sherman notes. “Maintaining hobbies and meeting your own needs is really key,” she says. “How you shift from the inside and how you meet those needs can definitely shift your relationship and take some of the pressure off.”
“Is it harder for people to work on themselves and take full responsibility when they’re traumatized? Sure, but it’s still a choice. Structure, when you’re in the middle of anxiety and chaos, can be a really good thing. Having empowering tools, so you don’t feel like a victim or helpless.”
To learn more, visit her website at www.DrPauletteSherman.com. We also recommend checking out Dr. Sherman's The Book of Sacred Baths: 52 Bathing Rituals to Revitalize Your Spirit (published by Llewellyn), as well as her new podcast ‘The Love Psychologist’ now available on iTunes and Stitcher.
By Ana Vice
The history, folklore, and magick behind the witch’s besom – and how to make your own.
The vision of witches flying on broomsticks beneath a moonlit sky is an enchanting one. Besom brooms (aka witch’s besom or witch’s broom) come in various shapes and sizes, and often are synonymous with female liberation and the witch archetype. But both masculine and feminine qualities are apparent within the besom: The masculine aspect is attributed to the handle, while the feminine is attributed to the bristles.
A besom is said to be linked with the elements air (flight and spirits) and water (cleansing and purification) making it a great uncrossing tool to clear negative energies and bad juju from the home. It can be utilized for sweeping a ceremonial or sacred space before or after a ritual and also for opening or closing a magical circle. Bristles in an upward orientation ward off evil and bring good luck.
Besoms have been used for centuries and were even mentioned in the Old Testament (Isaiah 14:23). Celtic peoples associated the besom broom with the Fae (Faeries); Some believed that the Fae would direct a witch to a good tree in order to obtain wood for their besom. Besoms are also commonplace during handfasting rituals.
There are different ways of making besoms if you don't want to purchase one. One way is to use birch twigs (or brush corn), ash (alternatively use cedar, hazel, or oak) wood for the handle, and a binding made from willow or heavy twine. According to the Chicago Botanic Garden, Benjamin Franklin is “credited with first bringing broomcorn to the United States,” which became a useful alternative to twigs when making besom bristles. In the 1700s non-magickal besoms were used regularly and even written about in popular culture. In Scotland, Robert Burns wrote a poem that was made into the song “Broom Besoms” and William Purvis wrote “Buy Broom Buzzems” which became popular in the late 18th century. In England, broom making was done by besom squires, but people made their own brooms, too.
The first documented person to use a besom broom was Guillaume Edelin in 1453 AD (CE). It was rumored that Guillaume called himself a witch. Artwork from 15th century Europe depicts witches flying on brooms and later woodcuts in A History of Witches and Wizards 1720 AD (CE), as well. Since witches have long endured persecution, the besom became a way of keeping treasures and secrets hidden. Wands, herbs, and vials containing potions could be put safely in the besom’s bristles. It has been reported that some larger besoms even had hidden compartments. Others believe that spirits could be temporarily kept in a witch’s besom.
The use of flying ointments and brooms led to the concept of a “witch in flight.” Flying ointments often had ingredients that were hallucinogenic, so a witch could use visualization techniques to imagine flight and go on a spiritual journey or change their state of awareness. Johannes Hartlieb, a 15th century Bavarian physician, wrote a compendium on herbs called the Puch Aller Verpoten Kunst, Ungelaubens und der Zaubrey that contains the oldest known description of witches' flying ointment.
One of the most feared, yet respected witches found in Slavic and Russian folklore is the crone Baba Yaga. She is well-known and is said to hold Goddess attributes and power over the elements: earth, fire, water, and air. As she flies through the air inside her mortar, she wields a pestle in one hand and a broom to sweep the path behind her in the other. Crows and owls fly by her side. She appears as a crone and has been said to eat children, but also act as a spiritual guide to those who were courageous and clever enough to ask her in the correct way. Powerful and wise, she has been said to guard the doorway to the Otherworld and control the passage of the dead back and forth across its borders. Some believe she has power over life and death.
These days the besom broom has been revived in films like Bedknobs and Broomsticks with Angela Lansbury and stories like the Harry Potter book series (where the Nimbus 2000 was all the rage). Today besoms are sold at gardening supply stores, occult shops, and markets. Cinnamon besoms can be bought from Trader Joe’s and other kinds from Amazon or Etsy.
Here’s What You Need To Create Your Own…
Making Your Besom Broom
Want to read more about the art of spiritual cleansing? Check out this story on ways to smudge your home without the use of sage.
By Kristi Klein
Here's how to use your phone as an enchanted tool to focus your intention.
Every time you pick up your phone can be a powerful way to reconnect with yourself and manifest your intentions. You may not realize it, but the consciously using the wallpaper background on your phone (e.g. the lock screen and home screen photos) is a game-charger – especially for witches. Depending on what we want to focus on, we can mindfully use those images for positive, on-the-go magick.
Your lock screen photo is the one you see most often, it can be used as an intention “reminder.” There’s such deep magic rooted in something that people spend hours a day staring at (or even glancing at). It holds the power of familiarity, the power of routine, the power of personal expansion. So why not try “charging” that lock screen image with your own intentional energy?
Here are ways I've used my phone wallpaper to aid in my manifestations...
My home screen photo has been the same for probably over a year now. It’s a photo of me taken on an amazing, love-filled night. I added a quote from the Astro Poets’ Twitter account that happened to be my horoscope for the day. (Pisces Queen!). That was over three years ago, but the photo and quote still brings me joy.
Witchy Tip: Add a photo of yourself where you’re at your best, living life to the fullest, and/or when you’re most happy. Accompany it with a “beautiful prophecy” that grounds you and makes you light up inside.
Using this photo to connect with your past self can be an effective tool in reminding your present self of your accomplishments and the positive times in your life. Gratitude is the foundation of manifestation.
The screen lock wallpaper is the one I tend to change the most often because it’s the image that I see the most. One of my favorite lock screen wallpapers is a root chakra mantra, reminding me to stay grounded and calm. The root chakra is all about being secure within yourself and your environment. It’s the baseline for the rest of the chakras that build up from it, in order to be stable and aligned.
Here's a Mantra: “I feel deeply rooted. I am connected to my body. I feel safe and secure. I have what I need. I am grounded, stable, and standing on my own two feet. I trust in the goodness of life. I love life”
Witchy Tip: Have fun with it! The simplest way to add texts to photos without downloading a photo editing app is to use the Instagram story feature. Add text and graphics, play with the colors. Once you’re satisfied, save the photo to your phone (there’s no need to post it on Instagram unless you want to).
I often put my favorite song lyrics, inspirational quotes, mantras, and even kind words from friends onto photos (either of myself or other images that I find uplifting).
I also enjoy making collages and vision boards for my phone wallpaper selects. My current lock screen is a collage featuring artwork by Florence Welch (of Florence + the Machine) and a happy photo of myself. Florence has long been a guiding light for me, she possesses such a deep well of magic and it shines through in her lyrics. Every song is a portal, a glimpse into something real and raw – so seeing myself surrounded by that loving, creative energy is very uplifting and inspiring.
Witchy Tip: Vision boards are used to help you focus your intentions on what you truly want to manifest into your life. A new house? Dream job? Create a vision board with a favorite photo of yourself in the center, then add photos of the home/job/countries you want to travel to, whatever you are calling to you. Seeing yourself surrounded with visual representations of the things that you’re manifesting helps move you in action, and keeps you motivated.
All of the above can also apply to your computer background. Aside from our phones, our computer is the screen we see the most and charge the most, both energetically and with what we are using this tool to create. My current wallpaper is a dreamy scene created by James R Eads. This otherworldly art piece calms my mind while also inspiring me and igniting my creative side.
Want to read more about manifesting your intentions? Check out this interview with color magick expert Sarah Potter.
By Ana Vice
The mandrake is a notorious (albeit highly poisonous) plant of ancient origins with distinct features. Mandrakes commonly have a short stem bearing a tuft of oval leaves and these leaves form a rosette at the base of each plant. The flowers are bell-shaped and consist of five petals, usually purple or yellow in color, and its fruit is a fleshy orange berry. Mandrake roots are long, thick, and forked – which is often why they are described as human-like. This human resemblance ties back to the idea that when uprooted, the mandrake will "scream."
Some of the earliest accounts of the mandrake date back to ancient Mesopotamia circa 2000 BC (BCE). Long ago in the Middle East, the mandrake was used for both medicinal and magickal purposes. Some surgeons were said to have sedated their patients prior to surgery using the mandrake root. Ancient Arabs called mandrake the Beid el Jinn, or the Eggs of the Jinn (Jinn are dangerous spirits in Islamic mythology and not to be messed with). The mandrake is also mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 30:14, Genesis 30:16, and Songs of Solomon 7:13).
It’s important to note that mandrake is a member of the nightshades, as well as a hallucinogenic and narcotic alkaloid. Nightshades are in the Solanaceae family and there are over 2000 species (herbs, fruits, roots, or vegetables). They contain the alkaloid solanine, which is toxic in high concentrations. Some have been used medicinally for centuries, such as Black Nightshade or Bittersweet Nightshade and some are used in cooking (like tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, goji berries, tomatillos, and eggplants, just to name a few). However, nightshades such as mandrake, henbane, and belladonna are poisonous and can be deadly if ingested by humans or animals.
Mandrake is connected to Circe, as depicted in Homer’s Odyssey. Circe was the daughter of Helios (The Sun God) and Perse (a sea nymph) and she was skilled in both herbalism and transformation. As an enchantress on the Isle of Aeaea, Circe used her talents to transform people who offended her or meant her harm into animals. Mandrake is associated with Circe because of its soporific qualities and Odysseus used mullein to protect himself from her.
Mandrake is also one of the sacred plants growing in the Goddess Hekate’s garden in the Orphic Argonautica. In this myth, Medea (a priestess of Hekate) makes an ointment from the Plant of Prometheus (Mandrake) and rubs onto Jason’s armor to make him invincible in search of the golden fleece. Furthermore, mandrake has been a traditional ingredient in the flying ointment magickal formula of witches.
The European mandrake (often written about during the Medieval and Renaissance periods) originates from the genus Mandragora. Mandragora grows in Europe, the Mediterranean region, and China. Ever popular in Slavic folklore, mandrake is said to have the ability to open any door, promote good luck, and attract money, in addition to aiding in protection. On the mountain Rtanj, mandrake can be found by the aid of a hedgehog or tortoise. Soldiers would stitch a piece of the lower part of the root into the lining of their military uniforms for protection against their enemies. Mandrake (or Raskovnik in Serbian) has the power to collect negative energy and some believe the upper part of the mandrake root can be put into a red bag and kept hidden in the home to keep a family safe from harm.
Did you know that the Mandrake was said to come in male and female varieties? Pliny the Elder and Dioscorides during the 1st century AD (CE) describe these male and female species in great detail. The female has a heavy scent and appears darker with slender leaves, unlike the broader leaves of the paler, sweeter smelling male mandrake. In addition to protection the mandrake has been used for fertility and love magick.
The desire to create artificial life is not a new concept. Mandrake has been associated with the concept of the homunculus (Latin for "little man" and the diminutive of homo or "human being"), as described by Paracelsus. According to alchemical philosophy, the mandrake acts as a homunculus and can be sealed in a bottle to serve or represent a magician themselves. Because of this the magician (or alchemist) would procure a mandrake root and carefully clean and make it ready to become a catalytic or vessel for magickal purposes. The process was completed by placing human semen into the mandrake for a period of time with an application of heat.
American Mandrake or May Apple grows in damp areas in the Northeastern United States and parts of South Canada. It looks like European Mandrake with its human-like root, but has a leaf attached to a long stem that looks like the palm of a human hand. This is why some call it Witch’s Umbrella.
Witchy tip: Spell for protection, prosperity, and good health: Take a mandrake root (or part of one) and place it in a red cloth or bag. Hide it in the hearth of your home where it will be undisturbed. Otherwise, draw or find an image of a mandrake root and place it above the hearth in your home.
To read more about sacred, magickal herbs, check out our new herbal section here.
By Ana Vice
Discover the mythology and power of the sacred ash tree.
The ash tree, called uinseann in Gaelic, is often linked to the Vikings, but also has its place in Ancient Celtic folklore and was once sacred to the Druids. It appears as the letter Nion or N (a.k.a. Nion, Nuin, Nin) in the Celtic alphabet (called the Ogham) which was used for divination. Ash trees are giant trees capable of growing over 180 feet tall. Because of their height, the Druids saw the ash tree as a bridge between worlds. Due to their height, Ash trees are prone to getting struck by lightning, which is why they tend to be connected to the elements of both air and fire. The Celts also made their spears from the ash tree and believed the spears to be infused with magic.
Did you know that three of the five sacred trees of ancient Ireland were ash trees? Bile Tortan, Craeb Daithi and Craeb Uisnig are their names (you can read more about these magnificent trees in John William's book The Five Sacred Trees: Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra). According to Welsh Mythology, the ash tree is associated with the trickster Gwydion (God of Magick and Poetry). In some mythologies he carries a staff (or wand, in some versions) used for enchantment and transformation.
Gwydion has a sister nammed Arianrhod (Goddess of the Moon and Stars; her name translates to Silver Wheel) and they were very skilled magicians. Some literary scholars say that they represent archetypes for Merlin (others think Myrddin Wyllt) and King Arthur's half sister Morgan le Fay (Morgan y Dylwythen Deg in Welsh).
For the Norse, the ash tree (aka ask) represents the Yggdrasill (a.k.a. World Tree) of Norse lore. Odin (Óðinn, All-father) and Thor (Þórr, God of Thunder and Sky) were said to possess magickal spears made of ash tree wood. In Norse mythology there is a story of how Odin sacrificed himself to himself in order to perceive the mysteries of the runes. He achieved this by hanging himself from the Yggdrasil tree and stabbing himself with his spear. He hung there for nine days and nights without food or drink. On the brink of death, he perceived the secrets of the runes. The Elder Futhark is the oldest known runic alphabet, dating back to the time of the German Migration (or Völkerwanderung) around 350-500 AD. In Norse mythology, it is also believed that Odin created the first man from the ash tree.
The poetic Anglo-Saxon word for spear was aesc. The Vikings were also referred to as the Aescling or ‘“Men of Ash.” The Gaels thought of the ash tree as protective. Of the five legendary guardian trees of Ireland, three of them were ash. Ash is also the second most popular tree growing near Irish holy wells, and on the Isle of Man ash trees were said to keep the water springs purified.
According to ancient Greek mythology, the Ash Tree Nymphs (a.k.a. Meliae), Erinyes (Furies), and Giants were said to have been created by bloodshed that fell to the earth when, in an effort to gain power over his father Uranus, the Titan Cronus castrated him. The Furies and giants would later play a role in avenging Uranus (Oranus, The Sky) for what happened.
To be more specific, the Meliae were the Oread-nymphs of the ash tree. Gaia (Gaea, the Earth) had been impregnated by the blood of the castrated Uranus. The nymphs became the wives of men of the Silver Age and became mothers of those of the Bronze Age (which was considered the third generation of mankind). The nymphs nursed their sons with the honey sap of the ash and armed them with spears crafted from ash tree wood. In some versions of this story it is the Ash tree, and in others it is the Mountain Ash (i.e. Rowan Tree).
Poseidon (God of the Sea, Storms, Earthquakes and Horses) is also linked to the ash tree. He is another son of Chronos and brother to Hades (God of the Dead and Underworld) and Zeus (God of Sky, Thunder, and Ruler of the Gods and Goddesses of Mount Olympus). According to Greek myth, Poseidon could utilize the power of water to create large tidal waves. A lesser known connection is with horses. Centaurs were considered to be in his realm as well.
For divination, you can make a set of Elder Futhark runes by painting red acrylic onto ash tree wood pieces. You can find and use a mature dry branch and saw it into disks or use a wood etching tool to carve runes directly onto the wood.
To read more about the herbal magick and herbal spells, check out "10 Herbs for Purification, Protection, and Exorcism" here.
By Ana Vice
Here, we discuss the spiritual benefits, rituals, and folklore associated with ten sacred herbs.
As you may have read in part one of our new herbal series, plants can be used in a variety of ways to aid in our spiritual healing. Here, we focus on herbs, trees, and plants that help with spiritual purification, protection, and exorcism rituals.
Before you begin your sacred journey with herbs, please keep in mind that some plants are not safe for ingestion, should be handled with extreme care, and labeled accurately in your working space. For example, Mandrake and Wolf’s Bane are poisonous and Cedar is toxic to cats and dogs. Conversely, some dogs go into a frenzy for anise seeds, much like some cats do for catnip. The herbs listed here are intended for spiritual use. Please use common sense and check with your doctor before ingesting herbs.
Included here are some tips, history, and folklore associated with these 10 magickal herbs – many of which you probably already have in your apothecary or cabinet at home. The rest you can find or order from Enchantments which has a botanica of over 150 herbs for your spiritual needs and rituals.
Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
Anise (Anneys, Aniseseed, and Yanisinit are common folk names) is linked to the planet Jupiter and element of air. Its spiritual attributes are protection, purification, and youth. Seeds and leaves are the most commonly used parts in spiritual work.
Stuffing sleeping pillows with anise can help get rid of nightmares or you can add it to protective baths, incenses, and sachets. Its leaves are also used for protection in magick circle rituals, while anise seeds can be burnt to ward off all evil (including the evil eye). Anise essential oil is excellent for protection or purification, and can be used to anoint candles or used as a floor wash.
Anise, which has a licorice-like taste and smell, is not to be confused with Star Anise. It adds an aromatic flavor to sauces, baked goods, and liqueurs (such as Greek Ouzo and French Pastis), and is often added to teas. As far back as 100-200 BCE in Egypt it was used in food, liquor, and as medicine. The Romans made mustacae with anise, which was a spiced cake popular at feasts (most likely a precursor to what we now call a “wedding cake”) and thought to aid in digestion. Similarly, anise is also an ingredient used in traditional hand-fasting cakes.
Witchy Tip: Try making a small pillow stuffed with anise to put under your head at night to get rid of bad dreams or stuff a small poppet with anise leaves to carry with you for protection.
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior, Fraxinus spp)
Ash (also known by its folk names as Asktroed, Nion, and Freixo) has been associated with the Sun and the element of fire – but it also has a strong connection to the sea and element of water. Its spiritual attributes include protection, prosperity, health and prophetic dreams.
Leaves of the ash tree may be used to put into baths, incenses, sachets, or pillows. Its wood can be used to carve amulets or talismans for protection. Ash tree wood is also good (like willow from part 1 of this herbal series) to use to make besoms (a.k.a. witches brooms). Using a besom while smudging is a great way to purify, uncross, and cleanse your space. Sweep anything malefic, toxic, or negative right out of your home.
To read a full feature on the magickal power and mythology of the Ash Tree, click here.
Cedar (Thuja Occidentalis, Cedrus libani or C. spp.)
Cedar leaves, berries, and twigs are used for a variety of spiritual purposes. Cedar twigs or chips can be burned or directly added to incense. It is said that hanging cedar in the home protects it from lightning. To protect your home against evil, you can carve a cedar stick into three prongs and place the prongs up into the ground near the home. Cedar wood can also be used to make wands, drum frames, and talismans or amulets.
Cedar trees are found in the United States, parts of Europe, and the United Kingdom, but the cedar tree of the UK originally came from Lebanon. Cedar is linked to the Norse God Odin and Summer Solstice, so it’s commonly used during Midsummer festivals. Cedar is also used for smudging before a ritual or tarot reading to intensify the reading. It has been suggested in folklore that Unicorns adore little cedar boxes to hide their treasures.
Some Native American tribes consider cedar sacred and powerful medicine. According to the Creation Myth of the Navajo (Dineh), the cedar was the first tree planted by man in the Third World – they used it to climb to safety during a flood. Cedar also represents the Southern direction in the Medicine Wheel in various Native American tribes.
The Fox tribe (also known as Mesquakie Nation or “Red Earth People”) believed that the spirits of their ancestors lived in cedar trees. The Cherokee (Tsalagi) also believed that spirits lived in the cedar tree. The Lakota (Teton Sioux), part of the Sioux Nation, burned cedar leaves as incense in ceremonies for Wakinyan (a powerful sky spirit known as the Thunderbird in Sioux mythology).
A Cherokee (Tsalagi) tale tells the story of the cedar tree and it goes something like this: The Cherokee people wanted it to always be daytime, so they asked the Creator God Unetlanvhi to make it day all the time. The Creator granted their wish. Some time passed, but this new arrangement was not working out so they asked the Creator for it to always be night. The Creator granted them their request.
During this endless night, many of the people died of starvation since the crops died without the sun. They then asked for it to be like it was in the beginning and the Creator returned the balance of day and night. The weather was good, the crops grew back, and the game animals were plentiful and available for hunting. After this ordeal, the people had changed. They treated each other with respect and compassion. They gave thanks to the Creator for all that had been provided. The Creator accepted this and was joyful to see the people in good spirits again. But for the loss of those who had died, the Creator decided to make a new kind of tree – the cedar tree. The Creator then put all of the spirits of the dead into the cedar tree.
For the Cherokee people, the scent or to look at cedar tree means to ‘look upon your ancestors’. This is one reason why the cedar tree is most sacred to the Cherokee. Some Cherokee carry a small piece of cedar wood in their medicine bags for protection and traditional ceremonial drums are made from cedar wood.
Witchy Tip: Burn cedar chips in a fire safe receptacle (might need self-lighting charcoal) as incense to purify and protect yourself and your home. Add sage to enhance the spiritual work at hand.
Mandrake (Atropa mandragora, Mandragora officinale) Poison
Mandrake (also known as Beid el Jin, Herb of Circe, and Hexenmannchen, Ladykins, and Zauberwurzel) is associated with the planet Mercury and the element of fire. Mandrake’s spiritual attributes are protection, fertility, money, love, and health.
The whole mandrake root, placed on the mantel in the home, will give the house protection, fertility, and prosperity. Mandrake is also hung on the headboard for protection during sleep, carried in a pocket to attract love, and worn to prevent illnesses. Where there is mandrake, demons cannot reside, and so the root is used in exorcism.
To bring to life a dried mandrake root, put it into warm water and leave it to soak overnight. Afterwards, the root can be used for spiritual work. Save the water to be used in a floor wash or spray to be used on windows, doors, and mirrors of your home for protection. The mandrake can also be used as a poppet in image magic. Some people substitute true mandrake root with American may-apple.
The mandrake was also used as an aphrodisiac and said to be protective against evil spirits. However, obtaining it was not easy. Legend has it that pulling up a mandrake root leads to sickness or possibly death (i.e. The Mandrake’s Curse). This was because according to superstition, the mandrake “screams” when uprooted, and so people would tie a rope to an animal and then to the plant and allow the animal to pull the plant up. The magical plant was then sold for a high price afterwards. Mandrake has forked roots that resemble a human body, which can grow up to two feet long.
For a full feature spotlight on the power of the Mandrake, click here.
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
Frankincense (aka Olibanum and Olibanus) is often associated with the Sun and the Element of Fire. Its spiritual attributes include protection, purification, consecration, and exorcism. It’s burned as a resin to release powerful and positive vibrations, in addition to having the ability to drive away evil and remove negativity. This makes it useful for uncrossing rituals.
Frankincense can be burned to induce visions and to aid in meditation. It’s often added to sachets for luck, protection and spiritual growth. Frankincense essential oil is also a good all purpose anointing oil.
Along the Incense Road, Frankincense has been used and traded for over 3000 years. The Ancient Egyptians burned frankincense at sunrise to honor Ra the Sun God (Creator and God of Light). They believed that Ra’s role was to sail across the heavens during the day in his barque (boat) called the Barque of Millions of Years in order to bring the sun across the sky.
Everyday Ra emerges from the East riding in his barque and during his journey he must fight the evil serpent named Apep (The Lord of Chaos). Apep is a personification of the very darkest hour of the night. If Ra were to lose this fight, the Sun would not rise. In some versions of this story, Ra (in the form of the great and divine cat Mau) defeats the evil serpent Apep. At the end of the day, Ra is swallowed by Nut (Goddess of Night and Moon). Upon his nightly death, Ra sailed down into the Underworld and the Moon took his place in the night sky, illuminating the heavens.
To the Egyptians, the tears and sweat of the gods could be collected from trees like the Boswellia (where Frankincense resin comes from). This resin could be burned itself or used in incense. There was a level of secrecy about the exact process for making incense, but it is known that it required a certain number of days, symbolic ingredients, and magickal formulas. It has been said that the Egyptian priests believed that they could create the bodies of the Gods by combining resins with herbs, honey, wine, or raisins. Incense was considered a Fragrance of the Gods and often burnt before statues of the Gods at their temples in order to honor them. This is why Frankincense was used as an offering to Ra.
Frankincense was also burnt in honor of Baal (Ba’al), God of Fertility, Sun and Storms to the Phoenicians and the Canaanites. Baal’s parents were the deities El (Supreme God) and Asherah (Goddess of Motherhood and Earth), and he was associated with lightning bolts and bull horns. Frankincense also played a big part in honoring kings, Roman Emperors, and biblical Magis. To this day frankincense is included in incense recipes used by the Catholic Church.
Witchy Tip: Anoint a petition (written intention) and white candle with Frankincense oil for an uplifting purification ritual.
Juniper (Juniperus communes)
Juniper (also known by the folk names Enebro, Gemeiner Wachholder, and Gin Berry) is associated with the Sun and element of fire. Its spiritual attributes are protection, anti-theft, exorcism, health and love. Juniper wood is used to make talismans and amulets, while the berries are good for sachets, incense, oil blends, perfumes, or to fill poppets. Juniper essential oil is often blended with other ingredients for use in protection.
Juniper is used by cultures all over the world for spiritual protection. With its unique aromatic profile –– fresh, woodsy, earthy, with a hint of balsamic –– it was traditionally used throughout Europe as an herb of protection and to keep thieves away.
Mediterranean Witches used juniper to break hexes. It can be hung at the door to keep evil away or burned during exorcism rites. A sprig of the plant can protect its wearer against accidents and attacks by wild animals, ghosts, and illness. Juniper can also be added to love mixtures – particularly the berries – which can be carried to increase male sexual potency.
When burning juniper, the smoke is said to aid in clairvoyance. It also burned for purification when attempting to make contact with the Otherworld at Samhain fire festivals (which mark the beginning of the Celtic Year).
Further away in Central Europe, juniper smoke was commonly burned for springtime cleansing. It was also burned during outbreaks of the dreaded Black Death (aka The Pestilence or The Plague, which peaked approximately around 1347 to 1351 in Europe) and used to smudge households. In Medieval times, juniper berries were used to flavor whisky in Scotland. Meanwhile, in other parts of Europe, some people kept Juniper berries in their mouths to create a “protective aura.”
Witchy Tip: Create a protection incense blend using ground up juniper berries and frankincense resin in order to create a safe and sacred space in your home. Self-igniting charcoal and a fire-safe vessel (such as a witch’s cauldron or porcelain dish) works nicely. A coffee grinder used only for magical workings is a good investment.
Mistletoe (Viscum album, Phoradendron leucarpum, P. flavescens) Poisonous
Mistletoe (also known by its folk names All Heal, Devil’s Fuge, and Witches Broom) is associated with the Sun and the element of air. It is used for spiritual protection and exorcism, in addition to love, hunting, fertility, and health. The wood, leaves, and berries can be used.
Mistletoe was long used for protection against lightning, disease, and misfortune. People also believed that a ring made of mistletoe wood could ward off sicknesses when worn. Put by a bedroom door, under a pillow, or above the headboard, mistletoe is thought to promote restful sleep and good dreams. At Yuletide it is believed that if you kiss your love beneath it you’ll remain in love. Burning mistletoe banishes evil. Some believe if you make a necklace of mistletoe and wear it around your neck you will become invisible.
During Alban Arthan (or the Winter Solstice), the Chief Druid would cut the sacred mistletoe from the Oak tree and not allow it to touch the ground. This is done using a golden sickle on the sixth night of the New Moon after the Winter Solstice begins. The branches would be divided into many sprigs and given to the people to use by hanging them over their doorways as protection against thunder, lightning and to keep away evil.
In Norse Mythology, Balder (God of Joy, Light, and Purity) is one of the Aesir Gods and son of Odin (All-Father) and Frigga (Goddess of Love and Beauty; domesticated form of Freya, some say). Balder’s mother loved him so much that she went through the world to attain promises from the four elements – Fire, Water, Air, and Earth – to do no harm to Balder. Loki (a trickster God of mischief, trickery, fire, chaos, and change) found a loophole, of course, which was Mistletoe. Loki made an arrow from its wood, which was ultimately used to kill Balder. It is believed that Frigga's tears became the mistletoe's white berries. There is another version of the story where Balder is resurrected and because of this Frigga made the mistletoe a symbol of love.
Witchy Tip: Take Mistletoe to stuff a small fabric pillow (you can purchase one or make one yourself) and place it under your pillow to have good dreams and protect you as you sleep.
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
Aaron’s Rod, Candlewick Plant, and Graveyard Dust are a few folk names for mullein. It is associated with Saturn and the element of fire. Protection, courage, health, love divination, and exorcism are spiritual attributes of mullein. Mullein is used in Wicca, Rootwork, Conjuring and other spiritual practices.
It is said that wearing mullein instills courage and can provide protection. Mullein stuffed into a small pillow can prevent bad dreams. In India, it is considered a good safeguard against evil spirits and bad magic. People hang mullein over doors, in windows, and carry it in sachets. It can also be used for the banishment of demons and negativity.
It is believed that graveyard dust can be substituted with powdered mullein leaves. Once upon a time, witches used oil lamps to illuminate their spiritual and magickal workings. Mullein smoke can be used to cleanse ritual spaces and any other places where magickal work will be done. Mullein stems were sometimes used as wicks. In Roman times, ladies used mullein flowers to dye their hair yellow. Common mullein leaves can also be used to make dye for fabrics.
Some have found Mullein to be a great and natural way to quit smoking tobacco. It hasn’t been approved by the F.D.A., but many herbalists recommend it as an alternative. Please only use mullein that has been stored properly and that can be used for ingestion (Enchantments does not sell herbs for ingestion, etc.).
Mullein is another herb associated with the Greek Goddess Hekate. When doing Conjure work, mullein leaf is a strange bit of material magic because it can be utilized to summon Spirits but also to send them on their way. It’s mentioned in the conjure stories of old, for its ability to draw Spirits and protect the conjurer. Mullein can also be put into a conjure bag to keep on your person or wear around your neck to provide protection in general.
The Herbal Tarot incorporates mullein into the Four of Swords card. The Herbal Tarot is a Rider-Waite based deck that combines herbalism and tarot. The Four of Swords is a card that can be associated with a need to retreat or attain rest. This could be due to exhaustion, illness, or stress. Being able to recharge and regain inner strength in order to prepare yourself for new goals that are viable is important. Grounding and facilitating appropriate boundaries are key. In addition to its protective qualities, mullein is linked to courage and health. The Four of Swords (in The Herbal Tarot) shows a resting man and a vibrant mullein plant. He has put his sword down and has fallen into peaceful slumber.
Witchy Tip: Make a sachet and fill it with mullein to carry with you for protection.
Sage (Salvia apiana, S. dorrii)
White Sage is also known as Bee Sage or Sacred Sage. Purple Sage is known as Tobacco Sage or Fleshy Sage. Sage leaves are considered sacred to Native Americans. It's commonly used for smudging to purify the mind, body and spirit, and often used in ceremonies having to do with birth and death. It can be put into medicine bags, used as an ingredient in incense, blended into an oil, added to a sachet, or bundled with other herbs and flowers.
A Native American story tells of how a beautiful Indian maiden went to gather prickly pears in the desert. It was late when she was heading home and upon her journey she glanced up at the stars. One caught her eye in particular. It seemed to look down on her. Later that night she dreamt of a handsome young man who lived on the star in the sky. It was love at first sight. The lovestruck maiden went to get the advice of a wise witch woman. Instead of taking her own life to free her spirit so she could join her love in the sky, she took the advice of the wise witch and allowed herself to be transformed into sage. In this form, her love could see her every evening and smile upon her. When he saw this he fell from his star, stardust covered the sage, and the young man became transformed into purple flowers atop the sage plants that were once his beloved. Finally, they could be together always.
Witchy Tip: Take some white or purple sage bundles with lavender and burn it in your home with the intention of purification and well-being.
Wolf’s Bane (Aconitum napellus, Arnica latifolia, Arnica montana) Poison
Wolf’s Bane (also known as Cupid’s Car, Dumble-dore’s Delight, and Monkshood) is associated with Saturn and the element of water. Its spiritual attributes are protection and invisibility. Wolf’s bane can be added to protection sachets to ward off vampires and werewolves! Legends say the seeds can be wrapped inside a lizard’s skin and carried in order to make a person invisible. Wolf’s bane was often an important ingredient in witches' magic ointments. The Greeks referred to it as the Queen of Poisons.
Wolf's bane is used as an analogy for the power of divine communion in Liber 65 1:13–16, one of Aleister Crowley's Holy Books of Thelema. Wolf's bane is mentioned in one verse of Lady Gwen Thompson's 1974 poem "Rede of the Wiccae," a long version of the Wiccan Rede: "Widdershins go when Moon doth wane, And the werewolves howl by the dread wolfsbane."
In his mythological poem Metamorphoses, Ovid tells how wolf’s bane comes from the slavering mouth of Cerberus (the three-headed dog that guarded the gates of Hades). In John Keats' poem Ode to Melancholy wolf's bane is mentioned in the first verse as the source of "poisonous wine" possibly referring to Medea. In the 1931 classic horror film Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, a reference is made to wolf's bane about 53 minutes into the film when Van Helsing informs Harker and the doctor that her room has been prepared with wolf’s bane to protect Mina from Dracula.
Witchy Tip: Try creating a sachet and place a personal item in it to carry with you for protection.
Curated by Enchantments' Staff
Inspired by the fertile flames of Beltane, our new mixtape is about unleashing your sultry, fiery energy with the affirmation "I feed my sacred fire."
We celebrated Beltane (the festival of fertility, sexuality, and the return of passion and vitality) earlier this month on May 1st. It's a time that marks the midway period between spring and summer, and the blessed union between God and Goddess. Fire is the primary element associated with this festival/holiday, so it's apropos that our new mixtape should follow suit.
Here, we curated a Spotify playlist to keep the flames going all month –– perhaps all throughout the year. Because why let that fiery energy simmer down throughout the month of May? It's a time to celebration new life, the coming of joy, and the abundance of warm summer months. Highlight artists on the playlist include DYAN's "Looking For Knives," The Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs," Chromatics' "Cherry," The Weeknd's "Wicked Games," Natalia Lafourcade's "Lo Que Construimos," and more.
Enjoy listening and Blessed Be, Witches!
Want to learn more about the sacred Fire Element? Click here to read The Dance of the Flame, Part I.
By Veronica Boscia
The rose, with its soft petals and hard stem covered in thorns, is not only a powerful symbol for love, but it also represents new beginnings, strength, and hope. Here, we discuss the power of this “Queen of Flowers” and ways to use rose in love magick spells.
When we think of the rose, we often overlook its one defining feature: its thorns. Not only do they protect the rose from predators, but they also anchor the plant onto others as it grows. Just as the petals represent the sensual and soft aspects of love, the thorns symbolize boundaries – both of which are necessary to cultivate balance and happiness in matters of the heart.
Associated with Aphrodite (or Venus in the Roman tradition), Goddess of Love, Beauty, and Fertility, the rose represents love in all aspects and the ability to see beauty in all things. According to Ancient Greek mythology, Aphrodite was born from the wild, fertile ocean and when the seafoam of her birth met the shoreline, white roses sprang from the earth.
At the moment her lover Adonis (a young man with “remarkable beauty”) was killed, Aphrodite pricked her foot on a thorn and her blood changed the color of the rose to red. The same flower that appeared at her hopeful birth was now altered to represent her agonizing pain and loss. This is the way of the rose: It symbolizes the balance between birth, death, love, and loss.
Roses are often associated with mother energy and the Divine Feminine. The Blessed Mother Mary (in the Catholic tradition) and Guan Yin (the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion in Buddhism) are also associated with the rose. One thing these Mother archetypes all have in common are their messages of love and compassion and seeing the light in dark times.
In the Tarot, the rose is also associated with balance, new beginnings, hope, and passion. It’s no surprise the rose is featured on the Strength card (which depicts a woman soothing or taming a lion), representing the balance of both serenity and strength. She demonstrates compassion while using her inner strength to calm an otherwise ferocious beast. She has tamed the lion with her loving, grounded energy.
The word chakra is Sanskrit for the “wheel of energy” that runs down our bodies, connecting our physical, mental, and spiritual. The origin of chakras dates back to 800 BCE in India, when they were first mentioned in the sacred texts known as the Upanishads. The heart chakra (or Ahahata) is located near the physical heart and helps us with self-love and love for others. As an energy center, it's also associated with the rose. Meditating on unblocking or clearing the heart chakra can help release feelings of “being stuck” and depression.
Here are some practical tips for how you can use rose in your magickal rituals at home...
Promote calm, loving home vibes.
Sprinkling rose petals around the house can calm you down and “de-stress” and release static energy in your household. Sprinkle rose around your bed for peaceful and loving dreams.
Use rosebuds or leaves for divination.
Phyllorhodomancy is essentially divination through roses or rose leaves. As a kid, we would play the game “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not,” using rose, which is also a form of divination. If you want to choose between suitors, author Scott Cunningham recommends writing the name of each person on a green leaf (e.g. 3 suitors equals 3 leaves). The leaf that held its color the longest was said to contain the name of the one they were to be with.
Make yourself a cup of rose tea.
Add a teaspoon of dried rose petals (make sure they’re food grade) per cup of water. You can serve rose tea either hot or cold. For hot tea, steep petals for about 5-10 minutes. For cold brew, steep petals overnight. Sweeten with honey or other herbs to enhance flavor.
Whenever you are making herbal infusions it’s important to make sure you are using only ingestible plants. I like to add marigold (known for its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as strengthening your heart) to my rose tea blends. Drinking rose tea can also help brighten your skin, alleviate menstrual cramps, and even boost your immune system.
Drink rose tea before bed to regulate your sleep cycle.
Rose also has the potential of aiding in lucid and or prophetic dreams, as well as astral travel, so you might want to keep a notebook near your bed. Enhance your potion by adding other herbs associated with divination and/or psychic enhancement, like yarrow, marigold, lemon or mint.
Indulge in a rose petal bath.
Taking a bath in rose petals is not only the epitome of self-love and luxury, but you can also distill rose water or add petals to the bath for any love ritual you see fit. Not only will you make Aphrodite/Venus very proud, but roses can be very good for your skin! You could add rose oil or light some incense.
Try a water-based Love Oracle.
Fill a basin with rose water. Write the name of a potential suitor on a bay leaf and add to the rose water. The bay leaf that remains floating is your answer. (Spell taken from Divination for Beginners)
“Yes or No” answer rose spell.
Gather three fresh roses and place each one in its own vase. Label the vases (left to right) with “Yes,” “No”, and “No Answer.” Your question should be about a specific situation or person. The “No Answer” means that it’s not the right time to ask or that you’re asking the wrong question or for the wrong reason. The flower that remains – and lives the longest – is your answer.
“A life filled with love, must have some thorns, but a life empty of love will have no roses.” -Heinz Duthel
For practical rituals to invoke self-love during hard times, check out this story.
By Coleman Drew
For many witches, making magick is all about the timing...
The more you practice the art of magick, the more energetic correspondences you’ll be able to incorporate into your craft. I’m a firm believer in making my magick work for me; if my will is time-sensitive, I find a way to work it right away. But more often than not, I’m able to choose the optimal time & day to aid and assist my magickal wishes.
The more advanced & studied magician considers the very best day of week, season, astrological configuration, planetary hour, and more to assist their practice. For those just beginning their magickal journeys and even for seasoned alchemists, working your spells with the phases of the Moon can prove to be powerfully beneficial.
Our next Full Moon (and last Supermoon of 2020) is May 7th at 6:45am EST. This Moon in the sign of Scorpio – known as the Flower Moon, Corn Planting Moon, Milk Moon, or the Vesak Festival Moon (the festival that commemorates the birth of enlightenment.) – is all about transformation and seeing things clearly. Are you currently lacking clarity? Ending a cycle of some kind? It’s a juicy time to plant new intentions or finish what you haven’t gotten around to. As a Supermoon, the moon's orbit is extremely close to the earth, making it an energetically potent time.
Here are the best times to work your Moon Magick...
The time leading up to the full moon is the perfect time for spells involving growth and manifestation. This time is also quite potent for healing work.
Adding an incantation to your ritual can also help channel and focus your energy: “As the magickal light of the moon grows it aids my will and makes it so!”
The height of psychic powers, a climax, and culmination of energy – a powerful aid for most magick, especially for abundance and fulfillment. Strong energies bloom and grow under the gaze of the full moon.
It’s also a wonderful time to recharge crystals and any other magickal tools that you want to purify in a magickal Moon bath! City Witches never fear, placing your things on a window ledge to “charge” works perfectly.
Try this incantation: “I harness the Moon’s power at its peak, enlightening my path towards all that I seek.”
A wonderful time for cleansing, Uncrossing, banishing, and the completion of tasks. The waning moon is great for finishing forgotten projects, checking off those to-do lists, and honoring the cycles in our lives that are ending. It’s a time to say goodbye, a time to make space.
Incantation: “As the Moon’s light fades and diminishes, so do my troubles to make way for my wishes.”
Some of my favorite Enchantments recipes for moon magick are our Esbat oil and incense blend, which I love to use when charging crystals in moonlight. Our magickal bath blends are perfect for taking a sea salt cleanse in the bath or shower, especially our Yemaya Mermaid Bath: a devotional blend to the Ocean Mother Orisha, which is lovely for healing and fertility. And of course you can always use our Moon oil and incense.
Other Moon Goddesses you may like to work with are: Diana Artemis, Ceridwen, Hecate, and Isis.
How will you unlock the power of the Moon in your next witchy workings? Wishing you all the brightest blessings for this week’s Flower Moon! Merry Meet, dear one.
For more moon-related stories, check out our feature on Hecate, Goddess of the Moon, Witchcraft, and Sorcery.
By Eva Crawford
Our illustrator designed a printable illustration for a meditative, stay-at-home coloring activity.
By Carmen Pouerie
Immerse yourself in magickal water rituals with these sacred herbs, tips, and ingredients.
At Enchantments, we always recommend taking a sea salt bath before performing magick (or for any occasion). Usually a good Uncrossing bath (or scrub) is all I need to feel “back to myself,” but since NYC has been on lockdown and the store temporarily closed, I realized I didn't have any left in the house. When this happens, I normally add a few drops of Uncrossing oil to plain sea salt or Epsom salts, but even my oil vial was empty. This meant I had to improvise – as witches do.
After cleaning my small bathtub, I decided my intention would be purification, healing and love. I focused on this as the tub filled with water and went searching in my kitchen for herbs and items to promote those intentions.
This is what I gathered...
With all my magickal tools in place, I lit incense (Van Van, for this occasion) and tea light candles around the tub. I charged my crystals by visualizing my energy and aura being fused with each one. I then held each herb and said aloud what its job would be for my ritual. I combined the tea and a pinch of all the herbs in a cloth sachet bag and added it to the water. Lastly, I added the sea salt, oil, coconut water and fruit slices (with a bit of juice squeezed out) to the bath.
Now it’s time to create an incantation. Sometimes I use a quote from a book I’m currently reading or a ritual poem from ancient folklore, but for some reason I was feeling something different that day. I went to my playlist on my music app, hit shuffle, and “Alive” by Sia started to play. Perfect! As I sang along with the vocals, I saw my tub as my lifeline. I saw the water as my medicine – meant to cure my spiritual and emotional turmoil. I visualized radiant, rainbow colored light filling my body as I lowered myself into the warm, magickal water.
The circle was cast.
As my anxiety began to melt away, I could let down my psychic protections and feel the energy of my intention enter my aura. I continued to sing, I continued to visualize. I focused on releasing all the negative energies within my psychic body, and as this energy flowed out of me, it would be replaced with my healing intention.
When I’m ready to end my bath and feel relaxed and fully myself again, I allow the tub to empty completely. This ensures that the dirty water that is now holding the negative energies is washed off entirely. I then put out the candles, step out of the tub, and dry off my body as I chant affirmations like “I am safe, I am healthy, I am loved.”
Sometimes it’s good to follow up your water bath with a sound bath or short meditation session to affirm your magickal intention. You can also place your sachet of bath herbs on your altar until it completely dries out and reaffirm your intention each time you look at it. After it dries, empty the cloth bag and re-use in your next bath (up to 2-3 times).
Cleansing is only one step in the process and spiritual hygiene involves more than just purifying yourself and space. I always recommend doing some kind of protection ritual and attract positive energy after you do a cleansing. Candle magick is always a good follow up to bath rituals; in this case, I carved myself a Peace and Protection candle after I was done.
Here are some other ingredients you can add to your bath...
For more stories and tips, here's how to add magick back into your daily routine.
By Enchantments Staff
A new Spotify mixtape curated by your favorite New York City witches.
It's Friday. And while most of us are still sheltering in place, that doesn't mean we can't have a good ole fashioned (solo) dance party, sound bath, or jam sesh to celebrate the approaching weekend –– or to celebrate the fact we survived the week.
Enchantments' staff decided to curate a list of our most played tunes over the last couple weeks and behold: our very first mixtape was born. We're publishing it under the theme "I heal myself through music" and you can also meditate on the custom sigil (see above and below) designed for the same purpose. Pretty apropos right now, eh?
Happy listening, stay blessed, and tune in next month for our a new mixtape (hopefully when we can all roam together out in the world). Until then, click on either image to access the playlist or click here.
To check out our recent stories on rituals, tips, and practical magick guides, click here.
By Ana Vice
The folkloric history and healing powers of sacred herbs around the world.
Part 1 – Herbal Magick: Spiritual Healing and Well-Being
Sacred herbs and plants have been used around the world for their spiritual healing properties for millennia. They’ve been used to invoke love, protection, money, luck, clairvoyance, uncrossing, emotional wellbeing and more, as well as for holistic medicine and aromatherapy.
With the COVID-19 pandemic happening now and many folks losing work, stability in their home life, experiencing disruption in their routines, and in some cases missing or losing loved ones, being able to maintain their spiritual practices in such times of uncertainty and stress is important.
Herbs (any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers) can be blended for use in oils, incenses, baths, ointments, lotions, soaps, perfumes, teas, tinctures, put into pillows, and more. You can also use sacred herbs to stuff poppets intended for well-being and protection against illness or use them as burnt offerings to deities or spirit guides.
Before working with multiple herbs, it’s important to keep them clearly labeled and separate those not safe for ingestion. Many herbs are poisonous to both humans and animals and should be handled with care. For example, eucalyptus and onion are toxic to cats and dogs. It might be a good idea to make note of this if you have pets. But not to fear, most herbs mentioned in this article are non-toxic and are to be used in a spiritual and magickal context.
Many of you may already have some of these in your magickal apothecary or cabinet – others you can find at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Enchantments has a botanica of over 150 herbs for your spiritual needs, but please note that they are not for ingestion.
Here are 10 herbs to help aid in spiritual healing and wellbeing –– as well as colorful mythologies and stories associated with each plant.
Apple (Malus domestica)
The Apple has several folk names including Fruit of the Underworld, Silver Branch, or Fruit of the Gods. It is associated with the planet Venus and the water element. You can use apple’s blossoms, seeds, or fruit in your magickal formulas. The apple is often associated with healing, fertility, and love.
Apple blossoms can be an ingredient used in incense or oil blends dedicated to healing. Alternatively, apple blossom essential oil can be used. Similarly, an amulet or poppet can be made from apple tree wood to promote healing and longevity.
For the Greeks, Gaea (a.k.a. Gaia) was the personification of the Earth and considered the Mother of the World. She guarded the golden apples from a “Tree of Life” in the garden of the Hesperides (much like Idun or Iðunn” who guards sacred apples in Norse mythology). In Roman mythology, Venus – the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility – is also associated with the apple.
During Samhain it is tradition is to take an apple and cut it in half and “place” (via intention) any illness or bad habits into it. Next, you put the two parts back together and bury it in the earth. As the apple decays illness and bad habits go away. Another example, which is one of my favorites, is The Isle of Apples found in Avalon in the stories of King Arthur.
Witchy Tip: With intention, try making baked apples, drinking apple tea, or make apple pie to promote well-being. Apples, honey and cinnamon together provide both spiritual and holistic healing properties.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, C. zeylanicum, S. cassia)
A few folk names for Cinnamon are Ceylon Cinnamon, Cassia Bark, and Sweet Wood. Associated with the Sun and the element of fire, cinnamon bark can be used in magickal formulas or ground down to make a powder. Cinnamon is associated with a number of spiritual attributes in addition to healing, such as love, luck, and money.
The scent of cinnamon has an inviting aroma. It warms our soul, ignites our passions, promotes high vibrations, and has the potential to elevate our mood. It can be used in healing incenses, oils, perfumes, and sachets.
Worshipers of Ra (an Egyptian Sun God) used cinnamon as an offering to bring in positive solar energy. The Ancient Greeks also burned cinnamon in their temples and for various ceremonies. Cinnamon is also associated with Oshun, the Yorùbá Orisha and goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. She, like the Egyptian Goddess Isis and Roman Goddess Diana, is known for healing, bringing happiness, and prosperity.
Witchy Tip: Take a white or yellow sachet and fill it with cinnamon sticks and dried orange peel to joyfully lift your spirit and provide a warm healing vibe. Use it as a potpourri or make a small cloth pouch to use as a gri gri (mojo) bag. You can also place a personal item or written intention inside to personalize it.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus spp.)
Some folk names for Eucalyptus are Blue Gum, Fever Tree, or Woolly Butt. It is associated with the Moon and the element of air. Parts often utilized in spiritual work are the leaves and pods, which are made into an essential oil for healing, purification, and protection against illness.
You can put eucalyptus leaves in sachets or use them for stuffing healing poppets. Eucalyptus essential oil can be used in an aromatherapy vessel for the home to help fight off respiratory illness. Also, it has been said that Eucalyptus branches may be placed over a sickbed to promote good health. Eucalyptus pods can be strewn onto a thread to make a necklace to help soothe a sore throat.
The Aboriginal Australians used eucalyptus to bring down a fever and the plant was also used as an insect repellant, expectorant, mouthwash, and to heal wounds. Eucalyptus was introduced to the rest of the known world sometime in the late 1700s. Since then, it has been incorporated into several spiritual traditions, including Hoodoo.
Witchy Tip: Try anointing a white candle with eucalyptus essential oil and setting an intention for good health.
Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)
Llwyd y cwn, Seed of Horus, and Eye of the Star are all folk names for Horehound. It’s associated with the planet Mercury and the element of air. Horehound is used for spiritual work, including healing and protection.
Named after Horus (an Egyptian God of the Sky, Hunting, War, and Kingship), Horehound is one of the oldest known cough remedies and was likely one of the herbs found in the medicine chests of physicians to the pharaohs. Horus was the offspring of Isis and Osiris. He has the head of a falcon or is sometimes depicted as a falcon. His right eye is the Sun and represents power, while his left eye is the Moon and symbolizes healing.
Legend has it that Horus went through a series of contests and became ruler after winning the final contest against his rival Set (an Egyptian God of Chaos, War, and Storms) where he tricked Set in a boat race and won. There are a few versions of this story that includes a lot of family drama.
Teas can be made with horehound to help soothe a sore throat or cough. Like other herbs, horehound can be used in sachets, incenses, to stuff a poppet, add to a candle ritual, or sprinkled into a bath.
Witchy Tip: Make a loose healing incense blend with horehound leaf and cedar essential oil (which also has healing benefits) added to some wood base, preferably green.
Geranium (Geranium spp., Pelargonium spp.)
Alum root or Wild Cranesbill are two folk names for geranium. It is associated with the planet Mars and the element of water. Geranium flowers can be used for spiritual health, fertility, love, and protection.
Geranium flowers are also used to improve physical, mental and emotional health when worn as a necklace. The flowers can be dried and put into sachets, potpourris, and baths; it’s also frequently used in perfumes. Holistically, geranium has been used to treat anxiety, melancholy, infection, and to diminish pain. Geraniums have a number of health benefits, especially for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant attributes.
Red geraniums often are used for healing or protection against illness. For example, Mexican spiritual healers called Curanderos (male) or Curanderas (female) use red geraniums to heal patients from illness. Curanderismo is based on both Aztec and Mayan influences. These ancient cultures believed that there is a fragile balance between nature, health, and spirituality. If any of these one or more of these aspects goes off balance, then illness likely will occur.
Witchy Tip: Make a simple healing bath with sea salt, geranium flowers, and a few drops of geranium essential oil.
Marigold, African (Tagetes erecta, Tagetes spp.)
A few folk names for African Marigold are Cempasúchil, American Marigold, and Aztec Marigold. Marigolds are associated with the Sun and have symbolized the power of healing since the times of the Aztecs.
One of my favorite stories describes the love of Xóchitl (a beautiful Aztec maiden) and Huitzilin (an Aztec warrior). They loved each other so much that when Huitzlin died in battle, the sun god Tonatiuh (who bestows warmth, well-being, and fertility, in addition to being the patron of warriors) heard the Xóchitl’s pleas to reunite them. He wanted to help her and so he transformed Xóchitl into the cempasúchil (marigold) flower. The warrior Huitzlin, according to Aztec beliefs, was then reincarnated in the form of a hummingbird. In this form he could forever find nourishment within Xóchitl (now transformed into a flower). The lovers would be always together as long as cempasuchil flowers and hummingbirds live on earth.
The marigold flower later became the Day of the Dead Flower, because during October 31st and November 1st it is believed the souls of the dead can visit their loved ones. The flowers attract spirits with their vivid color and sweet scent.
The marigold is also commonly associated with Ganesha, the Hindu God of Luck, Wisdom, and Success. In India, marigolds are used to make garlands and decorations for a variety of celebrations, including weddings and festivals. Marigold petals can also be used in sachets, baths, or incense.
Witchy Tip: Try using approximately 2-3 tablespoons worth of dried marigold petals and burn them in a fire-safe dish or cauldron. Make an intention for good health and well-being by visualizing the warmth of the Sun and general positivity.
Onion (Allium cepa)
Some folk names for Onion are Onyoun, Yn-leac, and Oingnum. Associated with the planet Mars and the element of fire, the onion bulb or its flowers can be used for healing, protection, lust, and exorcism.
Onions are also associated with the Moon, Lunar rites, and the Egyptian Goddess Isis. Furthermore, the people of Pelusium in lower Egypt worshipped the onion (in addition to garlic) and did not put it in food. It has been said that onions were also put into the tombs of Pharaohs because they were thought to symbolize the cosmos due to their concentric layers. Generally, onion is believed to protect against illness and improve strength and vitality.
Followers of Hekate (a.k.a. The Dark One) offered deipna (supper) to her at the crossroads at the end of the lunar month when there is the Dark Moon. Food offerings were given to her during ceremonies in order to gain favor with Hekate. Onions are apotropaic like garlic (e.g. ward off evil or anything malefic). Hekate bestows gifts and heals those she favors. As Goddess of the Dark Moon she is likened to the crone aspect of the Triple Goddess and symbolizes the light within darkness that illuminates our path.
Witchy Tip: Try making an onion braid to hang in your home. I prefer the kitchen or a doorway. Use onions with the green tops and about 3 to 4 feet of heavy twine (or colored fabric pieces). As you braid the twine and green onion tops put your intent of well being and protection against illness into the onion braid.
Sorrel Wood (Oxalis acetosella)
Some folk names for Sorrel Wood are Fairy Bells, Sourgrass, and Three Leaved Grass. Linked to the planet Venus and the element of earth, Sorrel Wood is associated with healing and health. Its leaves are used in healing rituals, can be carried like a charm to protect one’s heart, or placed in a sickroom to help with recovery from illnesses.
Sorrel Wood can also be planted in your garden and is associated with woodland spirits, fairies (Fae), and elves. The folk name Fairy Bells comes from the Welsh belief that the tiny flowers on the Sorrel Wood ring happily and therefore call the elves to dance under the moon in merriment. Be cautious though, the Fae are not to be meddled with and should be respected or else strange things may start to happen.
“In the woods the trees are tall, Up and up they tower; You and I are very small— Fairy-child and flower. Bracken stalks are shooting high, Far and far above us; We are little, you and I, But the fairies love us.” –– from The Wood-Sorrel Fairy
Witchy Tip: Take a small bottle with a cap and some leather cord to fasten it. Put some Sorrell Wood inside and wear it against your heart for protection in matters of the heart.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
Spearmint, also known as Lamb Mint, Green Spine, and Our Lady’s Mint, is associated with the planet Venus and the element of air. Its spiritual attributes are healing, love, and improvement of mental powers.
Spearmint leaves can be used for healing sachets, incense, soap for baths, or to put in a blended oil for healing. Some people also use spearmint essential oil in aromatherapy for headaches. It can be used to stuff a healing poppet or be used to make tea.
According to Greek mythology, the origin of mint had to do with a Naiad nymph called Minthê from Mount Mintha and adored by the God Hades. Hades’s wife Persephone, however, got very jealous and transformed Minthê into a mint plant. Hades could not change the beloved nymph back and so he bestowed her with a memorable and pleasing scent so she would not be forgotten so easily.
Another story about mint involves Zeus and Hermes visiting a small village. No one would give them food or shelter until an elderly couple named Philemon and Baucis welcomed them into their home, fed them, and took care of them. Before the meal, the elderly couple rubbed their table with mint. After receiving good hospitality, the two strangers revealed themselves to be Zeus and Hermes to the old couple. As a reward, Zeus and Hermes turned the elderly couple’s home into a luxurious abode. To this day, mint is seen as a symbol of hospitality and good health – and you can show your guests they are welcome by using mint in your home.
Witchy Tip: Try using a few drops of spearmint oil in a tablespoonful of water and add to a tea light oil diffuser. Set your intention (e.g. good health and well being) and let the aroma fill your space.
Willow (Salix spp.)
Some folk names for Willow are Pussy Willow, Old Wives’ Tongue, and Ozier. It is associated with the Moon and element water. Its spiritual attributes are healing, protection and divination work. Did you know that the original “aspirin” comes from the willow tree and aids in pain relief?
A branch of willow in the home is said to promote good health and well-being. Burning it promotes healing. The Willow is associated with the Moon, water, the divine feminine, and the Goddess. It is known as the tree of intuition, dreaming, deep emotions, and enchantments.
Willow wood can also be used to make wands or talismans. The Willow is sacred to Brigit (a.k.a. Brigid or Bride) who is likened to the maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess. To the Celtic peoples, she is known as a Goddess of healing (medicine), poetry, metal-smithing, and arts. Some say that her name translates to “the fiery arrow.” Brigit, as a goddess of healing, shared her knowledge of herbs to heal sick folk.
Another Goddess associated with the Willow is the Greek Goddess Hekate who knew the mysteries of the Underworld. As goddess of the Dark Moon (likened to the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess), Hekate was associated with stormy weather, howling dogs, crossroads, witchcraft, and the Willow Tree.
Witchy Tip: Make a healing poppet out of felt or white fabric. This can be done by sewing a poppet and stuffing it with willow bark that has been ground or broken into small pieces.
Please note: It is important you visit your doctor for any physical or mental illness. The following is based on folkloric and holistic tips, but are not to be used as a substitute for proper medical care. Use common sense and seek the advice of a medical professional before ingesting herbs and/or internal healing methods.
Click here for a recommended book list for further reading on herbal magick. Each book can be purchased at Enchantments.
By Coleman Drew
How paying closer attention to the light can help us infuse a sense of play back into our lives.
Color Me Rainbow
I’ve been a ‘friend of Dorothy’ since I was in utero and always had an affinity for rainbows. I believed my troubles wouldn't be able to follow me if I could only just get over that archway of color and find myself in Oz. Many times over I’ve proudly worn a rainbow as a badge of honor – remembering and celebrating all those LGBTQIA individuals who’ve blazed the trail before us. More recently, though, rainbows have become a daily reminder to bend the light according to my needs.
This past holiday season, while working through my seasonal depression, I found myself daydreaming about ways to make sunlight more meaningful. As a city witch, I find it paramount to continuously cultivate a connection with nature and sometimes that means bringing the natural world into my home – be it with plants, crystals or other elemental treasures. To combat those dark and dreary mornings, I felt the need to honor the power of the Sun.
I’ll hang some prisms in my windows, I thought. Let’s take a page out of Pollyanna’s playbook and use rainbows as a symbol to keep my own ‘glad game’ going. Mind you, this was during the winter, before we would come to understand the extent of our current affairs with the pandemic. In this time of isolation and uncertainty, I am relying more than ever on these simple, yet powerful reminders to help keep me sane and optimistic. (By the way, for all you homebound folks out there needing a fluffy distraction, Pollyanna is now available on Disney+).
A Witch worth their weight in salt does their magickal homework, and for all of us, each practice is unique. While I was letting my inner Hermione Granger run wild with research, I discovered the word prism comes from the late Latin and Ancient Greek word prisma, meaning a ‘thing sawn’. A prism is a glass or other transparent object with at least two surfaces and a specific angle between them – the degree of which determines the way the light’s path bends. Because each color travels at different speeds, when white light passes through a prism, it bends and separates into a spectrum of colors.
A perfect example of a prism in action is Pink Floyd’s 1973 album cover for Dark Side of the Moon. A beam of white light can be seen streaming in from the left, hitting a triangular prism center, and bending into a rainbow of color out the other side.
Soon after wishing for prisms, I rediscovered three in my room! Once again I’m reminded that the power of a clearly defined intention will help us pay closer attention – especially if you let your dreams refocus your eyes on what is right in front of you.
One morning in between wake and writer’s block, a glimmer reflected from my bulletin board caught my eye. I looked up to find a heart-shaped prism from my childhood hanging, seemingly at attention, among the other treasures of days long passed. What a silly place for something meant to catch the light, I thought.
I’d soon find two more prisms in my room, one heart-shaped and another an orb – both lightless and hidden. Gods, what else in my room isn’t living up to its fullest potential? My internal monologue continued as my eyes found my own face in the mirror across from me: No time for a self-crucifixion today Capricorn, we’ve got some f-ing rainbows to hang up!
Boredom will either act as the key to unlocking magickal, creative play (helping us entertain ourselves and discover the world around us) or boredom will shine a mirror on areas that need to be addressed. These are not mutually exclusive, but that's another story, another spell.
I looped the first prism heart around my curtain rod and the effect was immediate. Rainbows were bouncing around my room! I giggled and quickly hung up the others on the adjacent window. I turned to admire my newly revitalized space. The heart-shaped prism cast large streaks of color all around my room, while the orb created smaller, more concentrated rainbows. The effect was utterly enchanting and filled me with glee - which is key to unlocking a sense of play.
Here are some tips on how to create the same magickal effect at home...
Each day, when the sun’s presence activates the rainbows, I am reminded to check-in with myself. Where do I need to bend the light to more colorfully express myself? A quest that began with a way to hold on to the light during times of darkness led me to understand that sometimes, it’s about redirecting the light you already have within.
For more stories on how to practice magick during hard times, click here for Veronica's story on manifesting self-love.
By Veronica Boscia
Tips and rituals to help you practice self-love with magickal intention during difficult times.
I haven't left my house in almost three weeks since the pandemic began. Even on a good day in New York City, it’s not easy to see the stars. But a few nights ago, as I sat on my porch, I looked up and saw a constellation that normally wouldn’t be visible.
I realized at that moment that it’s about balance. It’s about seeing the light through the dark times. It’s about seeing the beauty in all things – even when it’s hard to make out from the shadows.
If there’s ever been a time to practice self-love, it’s right now. It's a time to develop our inner strength and cultivate courage. There’s not much we can change about our current situation, but we can change how we approach it. Stress mixed with uncertainty means it’s more important than ever to be mindful of our energy and ultra-kind in our words.
Self-care is the act of taking care of yourself physically and mentally, but self-love is about loving yourself unconditionally, accepting yourself without limits, and embracing your shortcomings, as well as your strengths. But like many things, it’s easier said than done.
Here are some tips to help you maintain inner strength and cultivate self-love during hard times...
Acknowledge your feelings.
That means all of them. The good, bad, and the ugly – they’re all valid and okay. With each emotion and feeling that arises, embrace the flow and take time to figure out what they’re trying to tell you.
Elevate your thoughts.
Negative thoughts lower your vibration, whether they are directed inwards or outwards. Behind every negative thought is a positive one just waiting to prove it wrong. Try changing a negative thought into an empowering one. For example, if your isolation partner is getting on your nerves, reframe your thinking to reasons why you are happy to have them. Then send them gratitude for being there, for bearing witness with you – send them a beam of light. Remind yourself that your feelings are valid, but they do not control you. Acknowledge the negative thoughts – and then let them go.
Try a writing exercise.
Magick can be very powerful with clear intention and a strong will. Try writing down your spells with those clean hands!
Sanitize with positive intention.
If you have a hard time shaking away negative thoughts, sometimes physical visualization techniques can be beneficial. Try sanitizing your surfaces and washing your hands with affirmations: “I am washing away any uncomfortable feelings. These negative thoughts are only temporary. I let them go and wash them away.” Of course, you can also personalize your affirmations if these don’t resonate with you.
Moisturize with positive intention.
After all that hand washing, remember to moisturize. Many scented moisturizers are made with ingredients with magical properties, so you can literally lotion up with magical intention!
And you probably already have lotions with magical ingredients: Eucalyptus has been used since ancient times in healing and protection rituals, as well as to treat upper respiratory issues. Visualize yourself being completely healthy as you lotion up.
Another commonly used healing herb is lavender, which also helps promote a sense of peace and protection. Wear it knowing you are loved and safe.
It’s okay to indulge yourself a little.
Yes, you deserve to indulge yourself – even just a little. Was there a book you haven’t had the chance to read? Was there a project you wanted to start but figured you wouldn’t have the time? Have you been procrastinating putting away the clothes that accumulated on the chair in your room? (You know you have that chair…we all have that chair.)
Or maybe you want to lay in bed coloring while catching up on your favorite show? Do that! Wanna take a bubble bath in the middle of the day on a Tuesday? Get the bubbles! You can make the most of this time, without feeling pressure to be “productive” all the time.
Give yourself a break, but stick to a routine.
While it's important not to let this pandemic turn us into Uncle Joe from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it’s also good to give yourself a break. Try to maintain normal hours, even if that means getting up for your daily Zoom conference, getting your work done and then lounging around for the rest of the day.
Check-in with friends and family.
This is the perfect time to get in touch with those you may have lost touch with. Nurture your friendships. Appreciate family time. Try to exercise compassion and understanding, knowing that others might be operating from a place of stress and worry. Remember to place necessary boundaries, but also be kind.
Meditate. Even when it’s not easy to do so.
Relaxing your mind is just as important as relaxing your body. Meditation reduces stress, and promotes a healthy state of well-being. It’s also linked to heightened creativity. Adding meditation to your routine may open you up to new ideas and practices that you can develop over time in the long run. Meditation helps you regain control over your thoughts; it is not about trying to stop them. Allow your thoughts to flow freely and just observe.
Adopt a self-love mantra or chant.
If you’re struggling with inner strength or self-love you can remind yourself each day with positive affirmations, such as: “I am doing my best. I carry strength within me. My kindness and compassion make the world a better place. I deserve peace. I take care of others by taking care of myself. I give myself permission to pause. I say yes to healing.” (You get the idea. But trust me, it works). If any of these raise any doubt, meditate on it and remind yourself you are doing your best.
Limit social media and your news consumption.
The world is already scary enough right now and we don’t have to torture ourselves! Maybe that means just limiting COVID-19 searches to once a day – or on a case-by-case basis. We need to stay informed, but when we are grounded in peace, it’s easier to operate from a place of love.
Remember you’re doing what you can.
Especially now, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like we are not doing enough or that we’re not being productive enough. Aside from essential workers, many of us have found ourselves with a lot of spare time. But think of this time as a free pass to nurture ourselves emotionally, spiritually, creatively and intellectually. The universe has literally put our everyday lives on pause –– It asks us to stay home.
Keep a gratitude journal.
A good technique to do before bed is to either list everything you are thankful for – or, at the very least, jot down three positive things that happened that day. Going to bed with a sense of gratitude can improve your sleep, as well as getting you into a better mindset the next morning.
For more Enchantments’ stories, check out Stacy’s Self-Love Spell here and Carmen's practical guide to keeping a magickal routine.
By Eva Crawford
Want to give your children (or yourself) a magickal project this week? Our illustrator Eva Crawford designed a printable enchanted forest cove illustration for the perfect stay-at-home activity.
By Carmen Pouerie
Whether you're an experienced witch or looking for a way to keep yourself sane during these uncertain times, these tips helped me regain a sense of control.
Being the manager of Enchantments means I incorporate magickal practices into my everyday life. When the shop was forced to close during the COVID-19 quarantine, the disruption to my routine really threw me off balance. After self-isolating for three days (while my partner still had to go to work), my state of mind was dangerously dark. My moods would swing wildly from calm logic – knowing we can and will get through this – to a desperate panic that someone I love might bring the virus back with them.
After a long talk with my therapist, who suggested mimicking normalcy as much as possible, I decided to renew my magickal routine. I also realized that our customers might be going through the same thing, so I put together some tips on how to use our spiritual gifts to manifest peace.
Cleanse. Like water, the air around us can get stagnant with energy.
Cleaning your space, both physically and energetically, really helps clear away the negative energy – especially when you’re stuck indoors for an extended period of time. Say an incantation or sing a song while you’re disinfecting your home (make sure you wipe all door knobs, light switches, cabinet/drawer handles, phones, glasses, and anything else your hand would touch regularly).
Witch tip: Add a splash of Florida water or lemon essential oil to your disinfecting solution with the intention to remove harmful energy from the room or object. Chanting, smudging, and taking sea salt baths are helpful practices, as well.
Create a routine. Magick is all about routines.
Witches of all paths follow different natural cycles as part of their practice. We observe the cycles of the moon, we follow the wheel of the year, and celebrate the Witches’ Sabbaths (Happy Ostara!). It’s important to maintain a daily routine, which can be as simple or complicated as you are able to make it.
Try to mimic your normal day, if you can: Get up out of bed and shower. Open your curtains and make your bed. Try to eat and drink (and also feed your familiars) on a regular schedule. Set reminders on your phone to water your plants, especially when the days start to blend together.
Light a candle or incense daily.
At the shop, we light all the altars and smudge the space with our handmade incense before we open. If you have incense, light some with an intention for the day (lately I’ve been burning Peace, Healing, and Van Van). If you don’t have or can’t burn incense, a small candle can serve the same purpose.
Meditate or visualize for protection and healing.
Set a daily time to center and quiet your mind. We encourage all our staff and our customers to read Denning and Phillips’ Practical Guide to Psychic Self-Defense. The authors use a method of visualizing a “tower of light” surrounding your aura. This will help to strengthen you and establish a system of protection that you can always have with you. You can also meditate back on a time in which you felt really safe and calm to bring that energy around you and change the vibrations in the room.
Make crystal grids for healing.
A crystal grid is the use of crystals in a geometric configuration that can be placed on or around a person, place, or thing to achieve a desired intention. Gather your gemstones, charge them with intention (visualize filling them with your energy, almost like a battery), focus on your desired outcome and place the crystals with intuitive intention. Feel where the crystals want to go.
Once in place, visualize beams of light or energy connecting your crystals together in a web. In The Essential Guide to Crystals, Minerals, and Stones, Margaret Ann Lembo recommends the following gemstones for healing and protection: amethyst, clear or rose quartz, black tourmaline, obsidian, hematite, green aventurine, garnet, selenite.
Listen to your body.
This down time is allowing us to be present with ourselves without the distraction of responsibilities outside of our homes. Sometimes I neglect to eat or drink water while I’m working. Make it a point to eat or drink when your body asks you to. Rest when you’re tired, both physically and emotionally. Take time to yourself when you are overwhelmed. Reach out to your support system when you are lonely. Meet your body’s basic needs.
Practice self-care. It’s not selfish, it’s necessary.
When our physical and mental health is at risk, doing little things to make yourself happy are very important. Now is a good time to care for your body by trying a new skin care item, take long bubble baths, style your hair, paint your nails, etc.
You can care for your mental health by journaling, expressing your thoughts to your family and loved ones (while maintaining social distance), cooking your favorite meal, spending time with your pets, or picking up a new hobby you never had time for. Take time for yourself.
Create incantations and sigils.
Incantations are simply singing your intentions over an object or during an action to achieve a specified intention. While we’re alone, there is no one around to hear our silly little poems or phrases, so speak your intentions aloud. It will help to strengthen it, as well as let you hear a voice that isn’t your TV.
Sigils are magical symbols and can be as simple as a happy face for happiness or as intricate as one of the Seals of Solomon. To create your own, write out your intention in a few words, then eliminate repeating letters. After that, you can attempt to combine all the remaining letters into a unique symbol that is specific to you.
Life is truly magickal and intention is all you need. You have the magick within you. We may not know what “normal” is anymore, but at least we can honor what is normal for us as witches. And I know one thing for certain: I can’t wait to get back to Enchantments and create magick for the public once again.
For more Enchantments' stories, click here.