There are some things that you must NEVER disregard for your own safety and the safety of others. Personal safety and the safety of others should always be considered when working with herbs. Some herbs are poisonous, and should not be ingested or absorbed through the skin. Some are very irritating to the skin when applied undiluted in their oil form. Some may cause miscarriage, sickness, or even death when handled incorrectly. A good guideline is to never use any herb that you are unsure of, and even if you are certain of its safety for incenses, ointments, candles and the like, be sure to thoroughly research it before ingesting it for any reason. The maxim should be ‘If in doubt do without!’
Afore Ye Begin – Because of the very nature of magic, each working should be highly individual and also personal. Even if you’re following a traditional spell, it should be tailored to your specific needs to be most effective for you. Understanding the basics of spell construction will enable you to formulate your own specific, effective spells for any purpose you desire. Preliminary planning is necessary. The very first step is to decide precisely what your desired end result is to be. Before you can start, you must decide where you are going. You must be very explicit.
It is important, also, that you choose your time carefully. You should take into consideration all astrological implications, energy currents and moon phases (see the Esbat page for further information on moon phases and correspondences). The moon is the astronomical body closest to us and, therefore, has a profound influence upon us, it is very important to choose a time when the moon is in an astrological sign which is appropriate for your working.
Bear in mind that magical workings for gain, increase or bringing things to you, should be initiated when the moon is waxing (from dark to full); when the moon is waning (from full to dark), it is time for magical workings of decrease or sending away. The highest energy occurs at the full moon and, therefore, this is the most powerful time for magical workings. The new moon is the next most powerful time for magic.
Whenever possible, follow nature’s natural energy currents. There is a natural time for starting things (a planting time), for maturing things (a growing time), for reaping things (a harvest time) and, of course, a time for rest and planning. Flowing with these currents will make your magical work much easier.
Remember to plan your project for a time of uninterrupted privacy. It is important that you have no distractions. Generally speaking, I’ve found that it is best to work as late at night as possible. A time when there is less frantic energy is most appropriate. You might consider midnight or later. In choosing a place to do your magical working pay particular attention to your needs, you must be comfortable. Your place should be private, quiet and secure. If at all possible, set aside a special place for this purpose only. An unused room, a special corner of your bedroom, a quiet, secluded spot in your garden. A place that is yours that you can come to whenever need arises and that is as free from intrusion from others as possible.
When possible the night before your magical working, gather together the things that you will need. All of the things used are tools. They have no inherent magic. They are to help you create a mood. If correctly made and used, they will trigger primitive responses from deep within you. They should be chosen with care. Consider the purpose of your ritual and choose your tools accordingly. If your magic is to be for healing, your candles, oils, incenses and so forth, should impart healing to your spell. Prior to your ritual, prepare yourself and your equipment by any means necessary to clean and purify as per your standard practise. Historically, people have fasted, followed meticulous and detailed bathing practices, practiced chastity and used many other methods. These days a ritual bath is the preferred method. A sumptuous hot bath, with special ritual bath salts or oils and appropriate lighting, combined, can create the soothing effect which will help in the very important step of relaxing and clearing the mind completely of all mundane thoughts and experiences of the day.
Your Responsibilty In Magic – You’re probably screaming where’s the herb magic by now! But before we focus on that I want to make an important point for people new to the craft. Those that are already aware of this can skip to the next section and have my apologies for the delay in getting to the good stuff, but I feel this point needs to be made.
What you do with your magical work has a direct effect on the world, in some form or other. Good intent creates strong magic. A herb’s signature is neither positive or negative, it just IS. It is the intent which you place in your work that steers the energy to its intended goal. You must know what you want. You must see it. You must feel the high energy flow. You must direct it. One of the most important elements in the practice of any form of magic is the universal law of cause and effect. This means that whatever you do (or don’t do) you cause something to happen. The most important consideration before you work the Universal Law its cousin the universal law of retribution. This means that no matter what you do, it comes back to you in like kind. It is the nature of things that as you send something out it gains momentum, so that, by the time it comes back to you, it is stronger.
A Brief Explanation Of Herb Magic – Okay now to the good stuff, ‘FINALLY!’ I hear you exclaim! Those you you that are familiar with this site will know that herbs, and consequently magic involving herbs is my chosen and favourite kind of magic. In the practice of magical herbalism, the collections of what might be considered “herbs” are far greater than in the study of medicinal herbalism. Magic can encompass so many things, the possibilities are virtually endless.
The following are generally considered “herbs” when dealing with most forms of herbal magic:- All leaf varieties of plants, both edible and non-edible. All fruits and vegetables. Spices and nuts. Trees, shrubs and ground-level plants. Weeds, both domestic and wild.
A herb, in the practice of spell-casting and magic, can be the single item which pushes magic to its purpose, if the practitioner is in tune with the herb, leaf, plant or fruit she is using. Each herb has a different molecular vibration. This is not magic, but science, which in itself is magic. Molecules which make up a thing, vibrate to maintain the bond with surrounding molecules. When that vibration slows dramatically and ceases, the thing dies. However, the energy (soul, spirit, essence, chi) that inhabited that thing leaves its residue behind and the item maintains the signature of its former inhabitant, but not its frequency.
The frequency is the rate at which the living active molecules generally vibrate. The frequency of a plant with its roots firmly and healthily imbedded in the earth has a higher frequency of vibration than that of the dried herbs in the cupboard. In each case though, we can sense or “read” the signature regardless of frequency, just as we know that the dried fennel seeds in the cupboard are the same fennel seeds taken from the garden a few months ago. It is the signature of the herb which lends its power to magic work. The history of magical herbalism is as old as this planet. Earth has maintained living growth throughout its life, even in the Ice Age when the smallest organisms and cellular growth took place.
In using herbs for magic, you must become aware of the aspects of the herb itself. Awareness is the ENTIRE key. It is vital that you take the time to look and really see, feel and really experience, smell and really recognise. With practice this is truly possible.
A herb’s potential in your magical work is endless. It will interact with your key vibrations based on your intent and effort. It will expand with you as you fill with energy. Once you begin to recognise and experience the herb as a unique thing, your magic will naturally grow more powerful.
How Herbs Are Used In Magic – Herbal magic is earth magic. When using earth magic your spell will have long lasting and stable effects. For instance, if you do a herbal money spell, you are not likely to win the lottery tomorrow. You are more likely to land a better paying job or promotion.
Herbal magic is effective on its own, or combined with other types of magic for various results. You could combine, say, herbal and candle magic for an earth/ fire spell for money, and your outcome would be stable, but more immediate. In herbal magic, quality counts more than quantity so choose or harvest your herbs carefully and in an appropriate manner. Many people who harvest their own herbs for magical purposes use a special cutting knife called a boline. Roots should be harvested during the waning moon, whereas foliage (when used for positive magic) should be cut during the waxing or full moon. Depending upon the complexity of the spell, you can cut your herbs upon the appropriate day of the week, (an herb ruled by the Sun would be cut on Sunday), and some people go so far as to cut their herbs at the appropriate HOUR, when the herb’s planet is in the moon’s house.
Why Herbs Are Used In Magic – Why use herbs at all? Why not just candles or by raising energy? Herbs are used in magic for their “vibrations” or “essences”. What does this mean? Herbs, like people, have gender, are ruled by a planet, an element, and sometimes, are sacred to a certain deity. There are several texts out there that will provide you with this essential information.
Growing and nurturing herbs in a special garden provides you with the advantage of having your own energies already in the plant. Then, a plant such as laurel, ruled by the Sun will have all of the influence of the Sun and fire along with your personal energies. Another reason to use herbs in magic is diversity. You can burn them as incense and make special incense blends to compliment your needs. You can use the essential oils in cleansing baths and anointing oils.
Using Herbs In Magic – One way to use herbs in magic is as charged incense. By focusing your need into herbs and then burning the herbs, you are releasing the energy as well as tuning with the vibrations of the herbs to work a spell. For example, as a simple hex breaking spell, hold some Rosemary in your hand and visualise white or blue light surrounding it, then permeating it, until the rosemary is one with the light. Set the charged herb on a burning charcoal and as you do chant something appropriate or pray. Your need combined with the vibrations of the cleansing herb are sent as it is burning. It is being released to the powers that be.
There are many other uses for herbs in magic. You can use essential oils to dress candles for candle magic and are then using both candle and herb magic. You can stuff sachets or pillows or poppets with herbs for a small charm. If you use Faerie magic, essential oil mixed with a carrier oil can make an appealing scent for a focal point for your spells.
A Spells Structure – Many workers of magic use the essence information regarding the herb to achieve peak effectiveness in their spells. Just as you would never burn incense in your chalice, you would not use Aloe (planet: moon, element: water) as a primary plant to raise someone’s passion. You would probably choose Dragon’s Blood (planet: Mars, element: fire) as your primary herb for a passion spell. As in all magic, you should align your spell to the days of the week and phase of the moon.
Magically, they may act as accelerators or amplifiers to the primary herb. Let’s look at this in-depth. Above we mentioned using Dragon’s Blood in a spell to increase passion. Alone, this would probably do quite well, but to drive the spell home and to obtain the focus desired, I would add Cinnamon. Cinnamon (planet: sun, element: fire) acts as an amplifier to many herbs. It has the element Fire in common with Dragon’s Blood, but adds the power of the Sun to the spell. Cinnamon, alone, has characteristics to increase passion and therefore compliments the main herb. Just two herbs is awkward, for reasons lost to time, it is difficult to comprehend using an even number of herbs to cast a spell. But 3 is a magical number, and what better base for your spell is there than to start with a magical number? Personally I always use odd numbers, in my spells and incenses. I also do this in my herb garden with plant groupings, it looks and ‘feels’ more natural. Nature is chaos not ordered and even, so even numbers don’t ‘feel’ right. So to the spell above I would add Ginger (planet: sun, element: fire). Ginger is primarily used for love, but since this is a “carrier” herb, I would be focusing upon its “success” characteristics, and charge it with that intent.
So, my spell would consist of first, charging the Dragon’s Blood with my initial intent (to increase passion), and it then becomes my “main” herb. Then I would focus upon the cinnamon (to intensify the effects of the main herb), and concentrate upon it as my “amplifier”. Then I would focus upon the successful end result with the ginger as my “carrier” herb. I would combine these three herbs, in this order, and then charge them all together to create unity. I could then stuff them into a poppet or sachet and give them to the intended party, or utilize them as an incense. You will notice that spells of this nature tend to produce results more quickly.
Finally, we will discuss a gestalt spell, and with this I will give an example of a successful herbal spell I created. A gestalt spell is a spell within a spell, think of an onion and you get the idea. My friend was having trouble focusing at work, she was dealing with awkward situations and customers everyday. By the end of each working day she was stressed and drained of her personal energy. I chose a Sunday to work the power/calmness spell because Sunday is the day of healing and employment. For this spell, I started off with a simple stick of cinnamon. My intent for this stick of cinnamon was one of power. I wanted it to be like a capacitor, to lend a burst of energy to my friend when she needed it most. I raised a significant amount of energy and sent it all into this stick of cinnamon. I put it aside carefully on my altar. Then I began formulating the rest of the spell. She needed a sense of calm success at work. I composed a spell including chamomile (planet: Sun, element: water, essence: money, sleep, relaxation), lavender (planet: Mercury, element: air, essence: happiness, peace) and lemon grass (planet: Mercury, element: air, essence: psychic powers). My intent was to help her calmly overcome any obstacles at work (chamomile and lavender), increase intuition which aids in problem solving (lemon grass), and give her that extra boost of energy to get through the difficult times (cinnamon).
Each herb, though working together, was charged for a different purpose. I charged each separately and added them one by one to the sachet (blue for healing), I made sure the cinnamon stick was in the centre. To finish the spell I visualised the combined intent of the herbs, raised energy, and sent that magical energy into the finished spell bag.
So now you have an idea how to work with herbs and create magic, it’s time to go and practise just remember to be responsible in your magic. Care for all things. Herb magic, or any other form of magic should ever be used in the harming of others. What you send out, WILL return to you, in a different form and with a different face, but it always returns. You can ensure positive return if you maintain positive intent. Be happy in your work, take joy in your interaction with the herbs and be content that you have done your best !