Apr 13, 2016

Posted by in Divination, Herbs, Magick, Moon Magic, Occult Studies, Paganism, Paranormal, Spells, Witchcraft | 0 Comments

Growing Magic

Growing Magic
English: Herb garden seat Sissinghurst castle ...

English: Herb garden seat Sissinghurst castle garden seat planted with herbs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Vernal Equinox has come and gone, and at this time of year, many people feel the urge to grow something. Those interested in herbal magic might fantasize about an herb garden of their own, where they can harvest what they’re now buying online or in occult shops. Growing as many of your own herbs as possible not only gives you full control over the final products, it deeply enhances the practice of magical herbalism.

The first thing is to decide where you will grow your magical herbs. The climate where you live, the size of the space you have available, and the amount of sunshine in that space are all major factors to consider. For example, rosemary is a marvelous plant to have in a magical herb garden (as well as culinary herb garden). If you live in Salem, MA, you should grow your rosemary in a pot, and bring it inside in the winter, because it will die otherwise. However, if you live in Seattle, WA, you can plant your rosemary in the ground, where it will become a fragrant shrub. If you’ve never gardened before, a good basic reference book is the best investment you can make. I personally recommend The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch.

The next thing to decide is what to grow. One way to do that is to start by making a list of the herbs you use the most. Witches who do a lot of work in matters of the heart might want to consider basil, lavender, lemon balm, lovage, rosemary, old roses, vervain, violets, and yarrow. A magical healing garden could be comprised of carnation, garlic, onion, peppermint, rosemary, rue, sage, thistles, and wood sorrel. Plants for divination include anise, borage, cinquefoil, lavender, mugwort, wormwood, and yarrow. An all-purpose magical garden might be planted with carnation, cinquefoil, hyssop, lavender, mugwort, rosemary, rue, vervain, and yarrow, just to name a few choices.

While most of the above herbs should be quite familiar, some of them are definitely not household names.

Lovage (Levisticum officinale) – While this herb is a good substitute for celery in the kitchen, pairing it with rosebuds in an herbal sachet for the bath could make you more attractive. Or, you could bathe with the root of the plant to become psychically cleansed.

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) – If you seek prophetic dreams, sleeping on a pillow stuffed with mugwort might do the trick. Drinking a tea made with mugwort and sweetened with honey is believed to help with any sort of divination. The same tea – without the honey – is used to cleanse scrying mirrors and crystal spheres. Mugwort is an indispensible herb for all things psychic.

Rue (Ruta graveolens) – If you have a headache, try placing rue on your forehead. Wearing it around your neck could help you recuperate from an illness, and might ward off any health issues in the future. Add rue to healing incenses or put it in a healing poppet (a human figure made of cloth and stuffed with herbs, that represents the person who needs to be healed). If matters of love are troubling you, the scent of rue may clear your head. If you have been cursed or hexed, add rue to your bathwater. Rue is also added to exorcism incenses and formulations. Rue has protective properties when hung on a door or placed in a sachet. Rub fresh leaves on your floorboards, and any spells directed against you will be sent back to their originators. In Ancient Rome, rue was eaten to ward off the evil eye, and carried to guard against poisons, werewolves, and other mishaps. To clear your house of negativity, dip a sprig of rue into salt water and sprinkle it throughout. If you feel the need for protection during ritual, sprinkle fresh rue juice mixed with morning dew in a circle around yourself.

Vervain (Verbena officinalis) – Priests in Ancient Rome used little bundles of vervain to sweep the altars of Jupiter. Vervain is frequently used in love concoctions and protective spells. Burning it will rid you of unrequited love. Wearing a crown of vervain on your head will protect you during spirit invocations. Any part of the plant can be worn or carried as a personal amulet. Place vervain anywhere in your home to protect it from storms and lightning. An infusion of vervain sprinkled around the house will drive away evil spirits or any other malevolent entities. If exorcism is required, add vervain to the incense compound or asperging formula. Vervain is also commonly added to purification sachets for the bath. If you are making a mixture for money or prosperity, add vervain. Bury it in the garden or put it somewhere in the house, and money will grow as robustly as the plants. For a dreamless sleep, either place vervain in your bed, hang it around your neck, or drink an infusion of it right before bedtime. Juiced pressed from the plant and rubbed on the body cures illness and discourages future health problems. Tie a yard of white yarn around the root of the plant, and place it around the neck of the recuperating patient, and keep it there until the patient has recovered.

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) – Hyssop is the magical practitioner’s go-to herb for purification. Put it in a sachet for the bath, or infuse it to sprinkle on people or objects to cleanse and purify them. Hyssop can also be hung up in the house to purge it of any negativity or evil.

Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) – Wormwood is burned as incense and worn to help develop psychic powers. Carrying wormwood can protect you from being bewitched, and from being bitten by a sea serpent. If you are planning to drive on dangerous roads, hanging some wormwood from your rearview mirror might protect you from accidents. Spirits can be summoned by burning wormwood; if this is done in a graveyard, those resting there may rise and speak.

How you lay out your garden is up to you, though you will need to keep each plant’s growing needs and final height in mind. Many witches go with a simple circle, which is an appropriate symbol of the moon, fertility, and reincarnation. Others go for the challenge of fashioning their garden in star or sunburst patterns. Whatever shape you choose, it’s a really good idea to make a rough sketch of it, noting the names of the herbs in their approximate positions as you go, and including other elements of the landscape.

You will need to physically prepare the soil, which is why a good gardening book, like the one by Barbara Damrosch, is an absolute must. Herbs aren’t incredibly picky about their growing medium, but they do need a reasonably good start. Since this garden is going to be planted for magical purposes, the space needs to be magically prepared as well. There are many ways to do this, but marking out where the cardinal directions are, and then casting a circle that encompasses the garden is an excellent beginning. Sit in the middle of your circle, and meditate upon what you intend to grow in your garden, and why. Visualize healthy, magically powerful plants. Then, cast a protection spell over the space according to your particular magical tradition.

The phases of the moon should guide the actual planting of the garden. Either a farmer’s or a witches’ almanac will give you the moon phase information. In general, herbs from which you will be harvesting the above ground portions should be planted in the 1st and 2nd quarters, while any root herbs should be planted in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Llewellyn Publishing puts out The Moon Sign Book, which has detailed planting and harvesting information.

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