Herbal Lore Part 4

To start off, it’s important to be aware of the fact that the descriptions I am about to give are based on magical symbolism and NOT medical prescriptions. There is a crossover between medical herbalism and magical herbalism because they have a common origin. Witches were medicine women and what they prescribed was later on proved by medical research. But this is not the case with all the herbs that I am going to talk about here.

This list is a combination of information I got from “The Wicca Bible” from Ann-Marie Callagher supplemented with information from Wikipedia and several YouTube Magical practitioners. The mayority of the pictures are copyright free and from Wikipedia. When the photographer was known, I did attribute him or her. 

The herbs can be used in several ways. For example:

  • decoration for an altar
  • part of an incense blend
  • in a balefire (a fire set for magical or ritual purposes) 
  • in ritual or spell work by anointing a candle with a carrier oil and rolling it in the dried leaves or flowers
  • in pouches to be tied on bedpost or worn as a pendant around the neck
  • in the central point of the household or at the front or back door of your home, you can hang bunches with herbs that have protective or banishing properties
  • in herbal oils

...and many other ways. If you have another suggestion, please share it with us!

Here is my list of herbs and their magical properties...

WOODY TYPES

Apple, apple-blossom Malus Domestica

Malus Domestica by Opioła Jerzy (Poland) - Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org

Apples have religious and mythological significance in many cultures, including Norse, Greek, and European Christian tradition.

The appletree is also considered the gateway to the Celtic Otherworld. Its leaves and blossoms are burned in trance-work and love and healing spells.

Ash Fraxinus Excelsior

Fraxinus Excelsior no machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org

In Norse mythology, the vast ash tree Yggdrasil sustains the nine worlds of the cosmos in its roots and branches. Likewise, magical Practitioners use the leaves and stem for protection and prophecy.

Bay Laurus Nobilis

Laurus Nobilis by Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0 us, https://commons.wikimedia.org

Bay Laurel was used to fashioning the laurel wreath of ancient Greece to symbolise the highest status. Later, in Rome, it became a symbol of victory. Leaves are burned for psychic work and divination, as well as purification and healing.

(French) Broom Genista Monspessulana

Genista Monspessulana by Calibas - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org

The Old English word bróm means "to project for thorny shrub" or something similar. These plants' branches for sweeping gave rise to the term broom for sweeping tools in the 15th century.  This plant is associated with element air and wind, often used in weather magic and protection and purity.

Cypress Cupressus Sempervirens

Cupressus Sempervirens, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/

Cypress is very long-lived, with some trees reported to be over 1,000 years old. Magical practitioners use it to consecrate magical tools.  In addition, the smoke produced from its leaves promotes clairvoyance.

Dittany Dictamnus Albus

Dictamnus Albus by Jörg Hempel, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org

Dittany is also known as Burning Bush or Gas Plant. The name "burning bush" derives from the volatile oils produced by the plant, which can catch fire readily in hot weather, leading to comparisons with the burning bush of the Bible. Dittany is a robust divination herb that aids in decision-making and offers a clear sight of a problem.

Eucalyptus Eucalyptus Tereticornis

Eucalyptus Tereticornis by Ethel Aardvark - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org

Eucalyptus is a genus of over seven hundred species, most of them native to Australia.  It is an excellent general healing and protection herb with lunar associations and a remedy for relieving sinus problems.

(Common) Hawthorn Crataegus Monogyna

Crataegus Monogyna by (author unknown) CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org

The botanical name, Crataegus, is derived from the Greek "kratos" which means "strength" because of the great strength of the wood and "akis" which is "sharp", referring to the thorns of some species. The name haw, originally an Old English term "haguthorn", means "a fence with thorns".

It is used in magic for protection, beginnings and sexual desire. It is very suitable for getting projects moving and blasting through obstacles to progress.

Heather Erica Arborea

Erica Arborea by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org

The wood, known as briar root, is solid and heat-resistant and is used for making smoking pipes. Its leaves and flowers are used in magic to summon dry rain spells and is associated with protection.

Holly Ilex Aquifolium

Ilex Aquifolium by Jürgen Howaldt - Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 2.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org

In everyday speech, the name "holly" refers to Ilex Aquifolium, specifically stems with berries used in Christmas decoration. With its prickly leaves, holly is a herb of protection. Its berries can be threaded and used to hold an oath-maker to their promise.

Juniper Juniperus Communis

Juniperus Communis by Rasbak at Dutch Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org

A major force for protection in magical terms; often used to deter thieves or intruders. You can hang the loops of the threatened berry in the home at doors and windows. A protective herb, the dried berries can be used alone as purification incense. Good for banishing binding spells as well as protection against mishap when travelling.

Mandrake Mandragora Autumnalis

Mandragora Autumnalis, by tato grasso - Own work (personal work), CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org

The root of the Mandrake plant is hallucinogenic and narcotic. In large amounts, it induces a state of unconsciousness. It was used as an anaesthetic for surgery in ancient times. Magical practitioners use its root in fertility spells and for reviving sexual desire in a man. 

Since it is rare, white Betony is sometimes used in its place. It is also a protective plant, and when buried by a gatepost, it is said to keep intruders or unwanted visitors away.

Mistletoe Viscum Album

European mistletoe (Viscum Album) attached to a common aspen (Populus Tremula) Unknown author, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org

Mistletoe is relevant to several cultures. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe was popular among servants in late 18th-century England. The tradition dictated that a man was allowed to kiss any woman standing underneath the mistletoe and that bad luck would befall any woman who refused the kiss. 

Mistletoe is used in magic for protection, fertility and amity. You can make Mistletoe amulets for general safety.

It is said by some Druids, possibly through its association with the oak tree, to guard against lightning. It is sometimes placed in tall houses' porch and used in a spell to heal rifts in friendships.

Myrtle Myrtus Communis

Myrtus Communis by Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org

Symbolically and ritually crucial in ancient times, our ancestors used myrtle to represent honour, justice, prosperity, generosity, hope, love, and happiness. In Greco-Roman mythology, numerous gods were associated with the common myrtle and its flowers, such as Aphrodite and Demeter.

It is used in spells to promote passion in a lover and for love and fertility. The wood is perfect for carving love charm. Myrthe is an excellent herb to have along at a handfasting.

Wormwood Artemisia Absinthium

Artemisia Absinthium by David Monniaux - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org

Artemisia comes from Ancient Greek Artemis: the goddess of hunting and protecting the forest and children. Wormwood is grown as an ornamental plant and is used in absinthe and some other alcoholic beverages. In magic, it is used in divinatory work and for protection.

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