Tag Archives: witchcraft

Thyme

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(Thymus vulgaris)

Zodiac sign: Taurus, Libra, Capricorn
Planet: Mercury, Venus
Element: Water
Deities: Freya (Norse goddess of beauty, love, and destiny), Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love)

In contrast to the long, broad pale green leaves of garden sage, thyme leaves are very small, oval-shaped and dark green, with tiny pink flowers that bloom in spring and summer. This hardy perennial is popular in kitchen herb gardens, but can also be found in dried form in the spice aisle of any grocery store. Thyme also grows in the wild, though wild thyme is not thought to be as potent as the cultivated variety. Once you’ve worked with thyme, whether through cooking or through magic, its pungent scent is unmistakable. Originating in the Mediterranean and spread throughout Europe by the Romans, thyme was used in Sumeria as early as 3000 BC for its antiseptic properties. It was likely used by the Greeks as a smudging herb—the word “thyme” comes from the Greek for “fumigate.” Like rosemary, thyme was used as an embalming herb in ancient Egypt and placed into the coffins of the recently deceased in Europe. Roman soldiers placed thyme in their bathwater to increase their strength and bravery—an association that continued into the Middle Ages, when knights wore sprigs of thyme embroidered into their scarves. Likewise, Scottish Highlanders drank thyme tea to keep nightmares at bay. Medicinally, thyme has been most widely used in cough remedies, but it can also help with skin inflammation, digestive problems, and rheumatism. Thyme’s magical properties make it ideal for workings focused on healing, purification, love, and psychic knowledge. Wearing a sprig of thyme is still a way of drawing courage during difficult experiences, as is adding an infusion of thyme to the bath. Those who struggle with nightmares can try adding thyme to a dream pillow for more restful sleep. Hang a sprig of dried thyme in the home to purify the energies and attract good health to all who live there. When you’re working on a project or other goal that feels impossible, use thyme in a spell for staying upbeat and positive as you see it through to the end. To attract faeries to your garden, plant thyme around the edges. Smudging with thyme can dispel feelings of melancholy, hopelessness, and other negative vibrations, particularly when you’re just coming out of a long illness or experiencing some other prolonged struggle. Thyme is also known as common thyme and farigoule. The woody stems can be used to flavor barbecue smoke, and the flowers are edible as well.

Elecampane

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(Inula Helenium)

Zodiac sign: Gemini, Virgo
Planet: Mercury
Element: Air
Deities: Helen of Troy (technically a “heroine” rather than a “goddess,” but she is believed to have originated as a deity in very ancient times)

Elecampane is probably the least known herb of this set of 13, but it’s well worth getting acquainted with. Popular in Celtic-based Witchcraft and used for healing purposes since ancient Rome, this helpful plant grows to be between 4 and 5 feet tall and resembles the sunflower. Since it’s not really a culinary herb (though the root was candied and enjoyed as a treat in Europe prior to the 20th century), it’s unlikely to be found in grocery stores. It’s popular with herbalists, however, so it should be available in a local natural foods store or any number of online botanical dispensaries. The second part of its Latin name, “Helenium,” is a reference to Helen of Troy in Greek mythology, whose tears are said to have given rise to the plant. When it was introduced to the rest of Europe in Medieval times, elecampane gained a reputation for being useful for infections, which may be why chewing it was thought to “fasten the teeth”—that is, it likely took care of inflammation of the gums. Elecampane root was also worn as a protection against snake bites and poisonous insects. In Celtic countries, it was known as “elfwort” due to its ability to attract faeries. Modern healers love elecampane root for its help with relieving ailments of the lung. It’s an ingredient in many medicinal teas and cough syrups, and can be made into a tea on its own, though its bitter taste definitely calls for plenty of honey to make it go down easier! The leaves and flowers are also used by some herbalists for dealing with digestive issues, but the root is the most widely available part of the plant. Magically, elecampane is used for protection against the energies of disease and to promote general good luck. Some wear it in a sachet or other charm to attract love, though it’s not exactly known as an incredibly romantic herb. The energy of elecampane is more geared toward soothing feelings of conflict or uprootedness, and it’s quite effective at dispelling anger and/or violent impulses or vibrations. It can be sprinkled around doorways to keep such vibrations out of the home. It is also used to promote a stronger mind-body connection, particularly for those whose lifestyles are largely sedentary and don’t get much exercise. As a “faery herb,” elecampane is particularly effective in workings for communication with the spirit world, and intuition. Drinking the tea before divination activities can strengthen the connection between the Witch and the divine.  Elecampane is also known as elecampagne, elfdock, horseheal, and yellow starwort. It should not be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.


Hibiscus

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(Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

Zodiac sign: Scorpio
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Deities: Kali (Hindu goddess of soul liberation), Ganesha (Hindu god of good fortune)

Hibiscus is usually thought of only as a flower, but its petals are used medicinally as well as for culinary purposes, and the color of red hibiscus—whether it’s used in a tea, a magical sachet, or some other Witchy creation—is a delightful addition to the usual greens and browns of an herbal magician’s pantry. You can find dried hibiscus in the herb section of any natural foods store, or online. If you live in a warm climate, you can also grow it in your garden and harvest and dry the petals yourself! Hibiscus is found in a few different colors, but its red hibiscus that best serves both medicinal and magical purposes.  Hibiscus has been used in various parts of the world in teas and jams, and even for paper making. In some places, fibers from the stem of the hibiscus are used for making sackcloth and twine. High in antioxidants, the tea is beneficial for regulating appetite, protecting the liver, and helping the body speed up healing from a cold or flu. It can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and has even been used in some parts of the world for encouraging hair to grow more thickly and keep from turning grey prematurely. The primary magical uses for hibiscus are love, lust, and divination. The flowers can be brewed in a strong tea which is drunk for inducing lust and passion. It can also be carried in a sachet or burned as an incense to attract love. Loose dried petals in a hot bath are a delightful way to raise one’s vibration and induce a general sense of well-being, which is a precursor to attracting new love. (Test your bathtub’s stain resistance before trying this—the color may rinse out more easily in older porcelain tubs than in newer acrylic ones.) For divination and clairvoyance, mix hibiscus into an incense. The flowers can also be used as a scrying tool when placed in a wooden bowl filled with water. Hibiscus is also known as kharkady and shoeflower.


Nutmeg

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(Myristica fragrans)

Zodiac sign: Sagittarius, Pisces
Planet: Jupiter
Element: Air
Deities: Danu (Irish Earth mother goddess), Cerridwen (Welsh goddess of prophecy and transformation)

A favorite winter spice for baked goods and hot drinks, what we know as nutmeg is actually the grated or powdered seed of an Indonesian evergreen tree. The herb known as mace comes from the same tree, and is derived from the covering of the seed. The nutmeg tree also produces a fruit, the skin of which can be used to make jellies and jams, but this is a more rare use for this exotic plant. The potent fragrance and taste of nutmeg are a testament to its overall power as a culinary, medicinal, and magical herb. The whole seeds were worn in charms and amulets in the Middle Ages for protection against malicious deeds and danger of all kinds. Some also believed it could attract admirers, and men would wear it in combination with wood, silver, or ivory to promote strength and energy. Medicinally, nutmeg can be used to aid digestion and appetite, as well as promoting restful sleep. Like mugwort, nutmeg is very potent and should be taken only in small doses—no more than 1 teaspoon is generally recommended. Large amounts can be toxic and even induce hallucinations, so be careful with this beloved spice! Magical uses for nutmeg include attracting money and prosperity, general good luck, protection, and dissolving of negative energy directed from another person. Try sprinkling nutmeg on a green candle in money spells, or anointing candles and/or other magical tools with a blend of nutmeg and other money-drawing essential oils. Like chamomile, nutmeg can help with games of chance, so gamblers will carry whole seeds for luck. You can also it in your pocket for luck during travel. Wrapped in a purple cloth, whole nutmeg can be used for success in legal matters. For enhanced meditation and/or divination, add powdered or grated nutmeg to a hot beverage to drink before the session, or rub a massage oil containing nutmeg into your temples. If you like to bake, start experimenting with adding nutmeg to banana bread, muffins, and other sweet treats. Place an intention into the dry mix of flour(s) and spices as you stir them together, and take note of how your personal energy shifts into a positive state when eating your magical creations! Nutmeg is also known as myristica.