Or, what every Cunning Cupboard and Spellwork Shelf should have on hand!
So, let’s talk magickal herbs! Whether you think of them as mysterious plants that grow in the forest or the row of little bottles in your kitchen cabinet, they’re pretty useful – and they can be pretty confusing, even intimidating. Many of those who frequent our shop stand marveling at the Wall-O-Herb-Jars behind the desk, eyes wide with amazement. ‘What are all of those for?’ they ask. ‘What do you do with them? Which ones do I need?’
Well, Dear Readers, we are here to help. Following is a list of 13 basic herbs which we feel every magickal practitioner should have in his or her supply cupboard. These herbs will help you with almost any need or problem you may have, as we shall explain. (Check the links to see more information and to purchase these items.)
13 Essential Magickal Herbs
Whether you prefer it in bundle or loose-leaf form, Sage is the most popular herb there is for cleansing and removing negative energy from your space. You can smudge your home or office, participants at a ritual, new possessions whose energy you mistrust – the options are almost limitless. For complete instructions on smudging with Sage, check our other blog entries!
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The most well-known and most popular herb for love spells; it can be mixed into a love incense, added to a love drawing mojo bag, or sprinkled on your altar while burning love drawing candles or doing related spells. Red Rose is used for lust or passion, pink for friendship or other non-romantic love.
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THE SCENT OF THIS HERB promotes calm, peace and sound sleep. Place a sachet of the flowers inside your pillowcase to help you relax, de-stress and sleep peacefully; replace with a fresh sachet every few weeks. (When the scent fades, or if you forget and wash the pillowcase with the sachet in it, it’s time for more.) Lavender is also said to attract love if used in a mojo bag.
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This is a wonderful all-purpose resin to have on hand. It is one of the most ancient incenses, suitable as a general offering, or more specifically as an offering to any male, sun, or fire deity. It banishes impure thoughts and attracts positive spiritual vibrations, and so is ideal to burn while praying or meditating. It can also be burned to attract money or success. When people ask about ‘that churchy smell’ they remember from Catholic services, Frankincense is usually the incense they are thinking of.
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5) BAY LEAVES
Also known as Bay Laurel Leaf. Bay Leaves give protection, bring success and induce visions. They can be added to a mojo bag for drawing money. Bay Leaves, Solomon’s Seal, and Frankincense can be mixed and burned on charcoal to increase wisdom, clarity of thought and insight. Bay Leaves can also be brewed into a tea into which you dissolve Crown of Success bath crystals; this spiritual bath is poured over the head while praying for victory in sports, politics and war.
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Peppermint is a fine ingredient to include in any incense designed to increase prophetic dreams or psychic abilities. It can also be used for banishing, healing, and cleansing; brew into a tea and add to your bathwater or mop bucket to dispel evil or negative energy, or add it to your favorite incense blend when doing spells for these purposes.
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No, before you ask, this isn’t ‘real dragon’s blood.’ Dragon’s Blood resin comes from several species of palm tree. When cut, the roots and tree “bleed” a deep red resin. The resin is often used as a substitute for human or animal blood when working with antiquated incense or spell recipes. It will also add strength and power to any working. A chunk of the resin can be carried in a mojo bag for luck and protection. It is also used in uncrossing rituals by burning some of it at midnight for seven days. (Make sure to have a window open while burning to give negative spirits an exit.)
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Good quality Patchouli (such as ours) smells of rich earth, and so is frequently substituted for Graveyard Dirt in Goofer Dust mixtures. It is most commonly used for love drawing, money drawing or success; it can be added to any related incense or mojo bag. It can be mixed with Sandalwood and Quassia and carried in a green flannel bag anointed with money drawing oil in order to attract money and success.
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Sandalwood is one of mankind’s first sacred wood incenses. Sandalwood is another good all purpose herb, used for all manner of workings – from love to curses, healings to bindings, sacred offerings to banishings. Burned alone, Sandalwood cleanses and blesses a place, creates an atmosphere of love, and establishes sanctity. Sandalwood chips can be anointed with oils and added to mojo bags; sandalwood powder makes a fine base when making your own incense blends.
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Rue grown at your garden gate will protect your home and garden; carry the leaves of the Rue plant or place them about the house for protection from danger. Rue is a beneficial addition to uncrossing workings as well. A bit of Rue added to just about any love attraction incense is beneficial; since Rue is protective in nature, it has a way of bringing you only those who meet your specifications.
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Have you ever found a Suspicious Item on your property, one that you suspected might have been left there by an enemy attempting to jinx or curse you? Agrimony is what you need. Just toss some in a paper (or plastic) bag, put the Suspicious Item in, then toss in more Agrimony on top. Close the bag and dispose of it in a trash can that isn’t on your property. The Agrimony will send the curse back to whoever tried to put it on you. Since Agrimony has hooked seeds, it can also be used to attract business, that is, to ‘hook’ customers; brew it into a tea and sprinkle it around your place of business.
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The legend of High John the Conqueror goes all the way back to Africa; he has become a mythic, all powerful, trickster figure. After freeing himself from slavery, High John is said to have returned to Africa, but left his spirit and power in the High John Root, in order to continue to care for his people. This was the first root used for Hoo Doo in America. It is the most common Hoo Doo root, the one you’re most likely to have heard of. This is powerful magic that continues to be used for success over obstacles, male virility, trickery and getting your own way. This root can be used as a talisman in any positive working: health, wealth, love, courage, or luck.
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Mugwort is used for a range of purposes, including love, healing, protection, prophecy, and dreams. Mugwort is a common ingredient in dream pillows; an infusion of this herb can also be used to wash one’s crystal ball or scrying mirror. Doing so will increase its power. Burning of the herb, alone or with its sister plant Wormwood, will heighten psychic ability. Carried, Mugwort will protect the bearer from all supernatural threats.
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Herb Usage Advice
Once you have acquired your supply of herbs, we have a few suggestions regarding storage. Herbs are best kept in a cool, dry, dark location to maximize their lifespan. Excessive heat and moisture can cause them to become moldy, and prolonged strong sunlight can dry out and fade them. Specific methods of storage are up to you. Keep them in their plastic bags, stored in a cabinet. Transfer them to attractive glass jars with fancy ornamental stoppers. Whatever makes you feel magickal and keeps your herbs fresh and easily accessible is fine.
Also, Dear Readers, a note on safe usage. While our herbs are of the highest quality, we do not sell them for food purposes. Therefore, if you intend to brew an herb into a tea for drinking, please PLEASE do some research first and be sure it’s safe to do so. If you can’t be certain of an herb’s toxicity – or lack thereof – it’s best to err on the side of caution and refrain from ingesting it in any way.
If you wish to go farther with your herbal practice, we are here to assist you. Whether you want to expand your magickal herb collection beyond these basics, to find even more uses for your herbs, or to find the correct herb to use for a certain spell, we can help you find the knowledge you seek. We are happy to answer questions, recommend books, or talk your ear off with fascinating herb lore.
We hope this list will clear up some confusion and lead you to a long and happy relationship with magickal herbs. Do not fear them because they are so varied and numerous; only seek to understand them and what they offer you. Go forth, learn about your herbs, and may your life be magickal!