Lavender

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(Lavandula angustifolia)

Zodiac sign: Gemini, Virgo
Planet: Mercury
Element: Air
Deities: Mercury (Roman god of divination and boundaries), Hecate (Greek goddess of witchcraft and necromancy)

Lavender is well known as a very fragrant, calming herb used in many bath oils as well as sachets and sleep pillows. Although it isn’t widely used in cooking these days, culinary lavender does make a nice addition to teas and many desserts. A member of the mint family (though known for having more of a “tangy” than a “minty” taste), lavender is somewhat similar in appearance to rosemary, with narrow green leaves resembling short pine needles. Both the leaves and the purple, white, and/or blue flowers blooming at the tops of the plant hold a unique flavor and an unmistakable aroma. During Cleopatra’s day in Rome, lavender had a reputation for attracting love and passion. However, other cultures prized it for its apparent protective properties, and used it to keep away the “evil eye” and/or unwanted spirits. It was found to be useful against the plague in the Middle Ages, most likely because it repelled the fleas that carried and spread the disease. Bundles of lavender were traditionally given to women during childbirth to hold onto, in order to promote courage and strength. Lavender is an incredibly versatile herb in magical workings as well. While it’s very often used for love, peace, and restful sleep, other purposes include clairvoyance, consecration, happiness, healing, money, passion, protection (both physical and psychic), purification, relief of grieving, longevity, memory retention, meditation, divination, and wedding blessings. Lavender is a classic staple ingredient in dream pillows, bath spells, sachets and love spells. The flowers are particularly effective in love spells, especially those aimed at attracting a man into one’s life. The ashes of dried lavender flowers can also be sprinkled around the home to promote peacefulness. For those who have trouble falling asleep at night, burning lavender incense can be tremendously helpful. (If you can’t find lavender incense, a few drops of essential oil sprinkled on your pillow can also help.) For purifying a space, lavender makes for a great asperging herb as well. Because of its calming and centering energy, lavender can be of great benefit to use before working magic of any kind. For example, if you’re wanting to work a Full Moon spell but can’t seem to get in the right frame of mind after a busy day of work, try taking a ritual purification bath with lavender flowers or essential oil. At the very least, you can inhale the fragrance of lavender as you breathe deeply for a few moments, readying yourself to begin your magical work. Lavender is also known as spike, nardus, and elf leaf. Take advantage of its pest-repellent qualities by placing lavender sachets or wands in cupboards, closets, and other storage areas to keep away moths.

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