I’ll be randomly adding a new topic to this BlogSpot and posting information specific to this magickal practice….Kitchen Witchery. I’ve already posted articles on this topic, and you can find them at this blog by typing ‘kitchen witchery’ or ‘kitchen witch’ into the search box.
“Kitchen Witchery”: Old garden variety witchcraft…the “green” witch; the wise-woman; the magickal herbalist; the mundane wife and woman of the house; the mysterious woman whose back porch is graced with cats, the unusual house down the block– where wild animals are inexplicably drawn; the garden that sprouts petunias, peonies, rosemary, and sage, along with nightshade, mugwort, and blessed thistle.
“Kitchen Witchery”: Old-fashioned witchery, the easy non-ritualistic, non-neo anything type of magick, that’s what this blog post is about. It’s about the world of a real witch, not the flashy media type of witch, not the fashionable neo-pagan witch, but women who practice the Old Ways– women of all shapes and sizes and ages; magickal practices that are drawn out of a hat, worked up with simplicity, worked matter-of-factly. This particular blog post is about the “green” aspect of Kitchen Witchery, the herbs– the flowers, the spices, and them thar’ weeds. This blog post is going to contain a list of herbs that are used for both regular mundane culinary purposes, as well as witchcraft and magick. Work with what you have, find magick in everyday items, and this most definitely includes plants, herbs for a wide variety of magickal intentions and good old honest spell-crafting.
The following list of twenty herbs are herbs that I’ve personally used; and these herbs can be found in my own kitchen cupboards, flowerpots, or herb garden.
How do you use the Herbs?
- Charms & Sachets: Herbs are added to mojo bags or tied up in small cloth bundles for numerous intentions and carried in a purse, stuffed in a pocket, tucked beneath a pillow, hidden in the attic, laid upon your altar, or kept in a special place connected to your intentions. The use of herbs in the practice of magic is only limited by your own imagination and ingenuity.
- Incense: Herbs are ground and blended in numerous combinations to create an aromatic incense for rituals, specific intentions, or pure enjoyment. Witchcraft smells good– usually, this was one of my first impressions. But then you might find yourself creating concoctions that don’t smell so good, or are ‘unusual’ to say the least, and these concoctions will do their work, dance their dance, and you’ll love them just the same.
- Baths & Washes: Herbs are dropped into bathwater in tea balls, bundles, or sprinkled liberally directly in your water for healings, cleansings, and numerous other intentions. I must warn you here that you should be knowledgeable about the herbs you are using, and don’t use anything that would be irritating to your skin: for instance, ‘hot’ herbs– like cayenne pepper, or stinging herbs– like nettles, would not add to a pleasant bathing experience. If you run across anything that you are personally sensitive too, I’m betting you’ll remember what it is and you won’t use it again.
- Oils: This is my favorite use of herbs. They are used in the creation of magickal oils. The base you use for your oils may depend on your intentions– when making Black Cat Oil for protection, use castor oil; if you’re making it to draw romance into your life, use almond oil. Grape seed oil makes another wonderful base, though it’s a bit expensive. If you’re pinched for funds, you can use olive oil, or even a cheaper oil from the grocery store.
- Teas: This is one of the most delightful ways to use herbs, by making a delicious old-fashioned pot of tea. And it’s in this type of use that you must be very cautious about what herbs you‘re using. Make darn sure that you are 100% positive that the herbs you’re adding to your pot of tea are edible and harmless.
- Smoking: Shamans and spiritualists have smoked herbs for millennia for the purpose of vision questing, altering the sub-conscious mind, and opening oneself up to enlightenment. I have friends, dear witches– mothers, grandmothers, crones– who burn such herbs as mugwort before rituals or during divination sessions to benefit from the magic of the smoke. Native Americans may still legally use peyote, a very potent hallucinogen, during their spiritual rituals and vision quests.
thyme: love, purification, courage, health, healing, sleep, psychic powers
sage: purification, exorcism, protection, longevity
rosemary: protection, love, lust, mental powers, exorcism, purification,healing, sleep, youth/beauty
coriander: love, health, healing
cardamom: lust, love
anise: protection, purification, youth
fennel: protection, healing, purification
marjoram: protection, love, health, happiness, money
ginger: love, money, success, power
basil: love, exorcism, wealth, protection
dill: protection, money, lust, love
oregano: exorcism, protection
allspice: money, luck, healing
cinnamon: spirituality, success, healing, power, psychic powers, lust, protection, love
cloves: protection, exorcism, love, money
bay: protection, psychic powers, healing, purification, strength
licorice root: lust, love, fidelity
cumin: protection, fidelity, exorcism, protection against theft
garlic: protection, purification, exorcism
mint: money, good fortune, prosperity
The following are a few of my favorite ways to tease the magick from “The Green”.
You can carry a leaf of mint in your wallet, where your money lay, allowing it to soak up the energy for prosperity. I carry a mojo bag in my purse containing mint, patchouli, a stone– aventurine, and a gold coin.
You can add a pinch of ginger to whatever spell you are doing in order to speed the magick up. Think of it as the fast forward button of magickal herbs.
Sage is such a standard herb in the practice of witchcraft. Use it for cleansing and purification by smudging with it. The cleansing smoke of sage will clear the air of negative energy, unwanted entities, and any other spiritual/emotional/psychological ‘grime’.
You can write your wish on a whole bay leaf, wrap it in a small white cloth, and keep it carefully tucked away until your wish comes true…then burn it in the flame of a candle and scatter the ashes to the wind.
Rosemary is a cleansing herb, almost as popular as sage, but in a different way. Where sage is mysterious and ancient and conjures up pictures of shamans and rituals, rosemary is the practical old washerwoman, down on her knees with her chapped red hands, scrubbing away the dirt. And you will take advantage of this aspect of rosemary by adding a pinch of this herb to your wash water when mopping the floor. You’ll be washing away much more than the physical dirt.
I think that one of the most popular uses for cloves is to shut the big fat mouth of an obnoxious gossip. If it were me– and it may have been *smile*– I’d make a poppet of this offensive creature, as much to the likeness as possible, and I’d stuff it’s mouth *full* of cloves.
This herb wreaks of Love Energy, and you can sprinkle it, ever so subtly, into a cup of tea to serve to the one that you desire. Before you hand this cup to the target, take a sip of tea yourself.
Use this herb for the smudging properties of the smoke. Oregano will keep your in-laws away. All you have to do is smudge their photo along with every single entrance into your home. It works– believe me.
These are just a few ideas for the magickal use our herbs. I’m sure that the creative witches out there will come up with even more inventive ways of tapping into this natural magick.
For more information on the magickal use of herbs, as well as a more comprehensive– and alphabetized– list, follow this link to my website, “The Witch’s Corner”
*Note: Some of this information originally appeared in the June 2011 newsletter from The Witch’s Corner