Plants associated with witches

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A Witches’ Herbal Reference Guide

Here’s a bit of trivia some may not know. We’ve all seen the Hollywood rendentions of Witches stirring their bubbling cauldrons with big black pointy hats and adding eye of this or wing of that right… It was pretty spooky as a kid huh.
Actually those names didn’t represent anitomical parts of animals, insects, reptiles or even people for that matter. In the old times, those interesting names were given to specific herbs, plants or flowers as a way of guarding the ingreedints of what the healers used in their remedies, kind of like keeping a trade secret in a way.
So, with that covered, another myth bites the dust… 🙂
Ok, back to Magical Herbs. Learning about the energies in herbs or plants and how to use them can take years. If you want to master this subject you should plan on investing a lot of study time and reading countless books. In this section, you will find a glossary of the most common ones and their traditional uses.

Many plants, herbs and trees have inherent magical abilities and powers to heal. They offer their powers and benefits to the knowledgeable Witch. You can use the herbal index below to learn more about each plant or herb and their properties.

Magical Herb List From A to Z
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Herbal History

Basic Gardening 1

Herbal First Aid

Herbal Glossary

Herbal Preparations

Magical Properties

Herbal Vinegars

Herb Index

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Azarius

Introduction

Did you know that witches exist? And that they can fly? By anointing themselves (and sometimes their broomstick) with flying ointment they make an ‘astral journey’. Witches’ salves were well known in the Middle Ages and the recipes contain psychoactive plants native to Europe.

Many of the powerful European herbs have fallen into oblivion. Not just because they have unpleasant – sometimes even obscure – effects (this is especially true for members of the nightshades family). With the rise of Christianity and later on scientific rationalism herb lore was increasingly dismissed as ‘superstition’.

Knowledge about psychoactive plants and their application was embedded in an animated world view and its practitioners made use of techniques and rituals we would nowadays label ‘shamanistic’.

Within the psychedelic scene many study the shamanistic traditions of other cultures. But what do we actually know about herbs and plants indigenous to Europe?

Plants of the night

The most notorious ‘witches’ herbs’ are members of the nightshades family (Solanaceae) – which includes the potato, tomato and tobacco. Datura (Datura stramonium), henbane (Hyoscyamus niger), belladonna (Atropa belladonna) and Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum) were not only the main ingredients of witches’ salves but were also used in love potions, certain medicines and applied as poison.

The main alkaloids in these plants are scopolamine, atropine and hyoscyamine. The concentrations vary per plant. In a mild dose they often cause a spooky trip that lasts for days and that goes together with temporary loss of consciousness (deep sleep) and amnesia. A higher dose may lead to lasting insanity or death.

Herbalism and witchcraft

The preparation and use of the nightshades was only part of a broad-ranging herbalism. All kinds of plants have been used for their healing powers, to arouse lust (or limit it), for birth control (e.g. abortion) or as a poison.

Until late in the Middle Ages it was quite common to go to the local herbalist with any ailment or problem. The wise ‘wortcunner’ then gave you a salve, tincture or drink. Herbcraft was surrounded by ritual practices: harvest should happen at the right moon phase and uttering the right incantation was just as important as the administration of the herb itself. Parts of plants could also be worn as amulet or talisman to ward off evil spirits.

The berries of the Bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) for example, were said to keep malicious gossip at bay when worn as an amulet. Hung above the cradle of a child the plant protected against enchantment. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) was mainly known as an aphrodisiac: by kissing someone while holding a piece of the root in your mouth, this person would immediately fall in love with you.

Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) – the main ingredient of absinth – was used as life elixir in the Middle Ages, to treat wounds and to expel worms. Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) was an important woman’s herb that helped to bring on missed menstrual cycles and hasten birth. Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) is one of the most poisonous plants in Europe and was used to murder people. (Socrates was sentenced to death by drinking a cup of poison hemlock).

If you want to apply the equally poisonous monkshood (Aconitum napellus) for healing purposes, a ritual harvest is required. The plant needs to be picked in the moonshine, after reciting the right charm. It was believed that this was the only way to obtain the plant’s magical powers.

These are just a few examples. Such traditions date back to classical antiquity and have been observed with all European tribes, from the Slaves and Germans to the Celts and Vikings. In the Nordic cultures, the völva stood in high regard: these wise priestesses and seeresses sang songs to enter an ecstatic state, they could interpret the past and tell prophecies for the future.

The alruna fulfilled a similar role for the German tribes, like the druids for the Celts. With their herbal knowledge and shamanistic techniques, these wise women and men held power over life and death, sickness and health. They functioned as healers and ritual leaders. Our idea of ‘the witch’ is based on them.

The end of nature religion

With the rise of Christianity, ‘heathen’ customs were first partially adopted and later slowly suppressed. Where Christianity gained power, pagan holidays were given a Christian interpretation and Christian saints took the place of pagan gods and goddesses. Herbal remedies remained, though the corresponding spells were replaced with rhymes that for instance referred to a Christian saint.

In a document for missionaries from the 8th century amongst others the ‘singing of magical songs’, ‘rituals and sacrifice in the forests’, ‘moon magic of the women’ and ‘prophecy and the use of oracles’ were prohibited – which suggests these were widespread practices.

Witch hunts

For a long time, the Church had dismissed witchcraft as superstition. In the late Middle Ages, this changed. The Church sought a firmer grip on feudal society and established the Inquisition to combat all kinds of heresy.

At the end of the 14th century, the plague raged across Europe and wiped out one-third of the population. To make things even worse, the ships of Columbus brought back syphilis when they returned from the New World. This sexually transmitted disease fuelled an immense fear of sexuality and sexual contacts.

Diligently a scapegoat was sought to blame for all the misery and ‘the witch’ was an easy victim. The Inquisition propagated the idea of the witch as devil worshipper: she was said to have made a pact with Satan that was sealed at the witches’ Sabbath – which the inquisitors pictured as a sexual orgy. The witch was not only held responsible for disease and death, but also for causing natural disasters to happen and wilfully sabotaging the harvest.

This idea of ‘the witch’ was shaped by the Inquisition and functioned as a counter-image to ‘the good Christian’. Still, witch hunts mainly occurred at the local level, where neighbours accused each other. Typically, the immediate motive for a juridical process was sour milk, a stillborn baby or crop failure.

Witch hunts were not necessarily related to herbalism. However, as a direct competitor to the priest, the local herb woman was particularly vulnerable to demonization. Between 1450 and 1750, about 40.000 to 50.000 ‘witches’ were executed. About three times as many were persecuted and often tortured. Most of them were women.

Science and religion: control over nature

Within the pre-Christian traditions, nature is a direct expression of the divine. Stones and rivers are inhabited by spirits or gods and therefore sacred. Plants have spirits as well, which makes it possible to communicate with them. Obviously, humans can only treat the natural world in a respectful (ritual) way.

With Christianity, this changes: man gains power over nature and is allowed to use her at his own discretion. Nature is no longer divine, but something that needs to be controlled. The wilderness and its people – like the völva and alruna – are sacred no more. Instead, they are perceived as dangerous.

The paradigm shift unfolds slowly. Already in the 4th century BC, the Greek physician Hippocrates dismisses magical thinking interwoven with the application of herbs. He bases his practice solely on the direct observation of nature and is therefore seen as the founding father of modern medicine.

Still, herbcraft is surrounded by rituals and incantations till late in the Middle Ages. Only during the Renaissance and later the Enlightenment these ‘rational’ ideas develop further. Nature loses her soul and becomes completely ‘disenchanted’. Science becomes the instrument to dominate nature. Following Hippocrates, modern medicine only looks at the biological origins of a disease. She will not likely prescribe a ritual as part of a cure.

Contemporary witchcraft

Despite the strong influence of religion and science some currents within European culture hold on to ideas of witchcraft and magic. On the one hand are the folk traditions passed on from generation to generation. On the other hand, there is a wide range of esoteric movements based on Neoplatonic and Hermetic writings from late antiquity.

Concurrently with the rise of modern science, the intellectual interest in magic flourished. Within esotericism, it was seen as one of the ‘traditional sciences’. Esoteric writings distinguish between different types of magic: herbcraft belongs to natural magic and is opposed to the ceremonial magic that makes use of elaborate rituals.

Gerald Gardner is the first to proclaim himself as ‘witch’ when in 1951 the last English Witchcraft Act is abolished. He claims to be initiated into a traditional witches’ coven with a long line back into history. This remains unproven and the prevailing view is that witchcraft is a new religious movement inspired by ancient sources.

It builds directly upon both folk traditions and esoteric ideas but is for example also influenced by Buddhism, feminism, yoga and shamanistic traditions from other cultures. The “Gospel of Aradia” is an important folk source that shapes contemporary rituals. This book, recorded at the end of the 18th century by folklorist Leland, contains songs, spells, invocations and stories about “the Old Religion” of a witch (‘strega’) from Florence, which was transmitted to her by other practitioners.

Contemporary witches reject the idea of institutionalized religion and believe that one can experience the divine directly by aligning oneself to the rhythms of nature. Like their medieval counterparts, modern witches often posses a love for herbs and spells. A plant or herb corresponds to a particular element, colour and planet and is associated with a particular god or goddess. Burning a particular kind of incense gains ritual significance.

With some exceptions, most modern witches don’t use psychedelics. Instead, they prefer mind-altering techniques such as meditation, visualization and dance to induce a state of trance in which they can practice magic.

Plant Portraits: the nightshades in detail

Jimson weed (Datura stramonium)

Jimson weed (datura or thornapple) is recognizable by her white or purple, chalice-shaped flowers, sharply pointed leaves and prickly seed capsules that resemble those of the chestnut. All parts of the plant can be consumed. Usually, the seeds are chewed or a tea is made of the leaves. Datura is difficult to dose and you can easily take too much.

The plant causes a shadowy trip in which users often forget what they consumed. In low doses, it numbs and has a narcotic effect. Higher doses lead to a state of insanity, characterized by agitation, confusion and hallucinations.

In Europe, the seeds were sometimes added to beer in order to make it more narcotic. The seeds were also used as incense. Jimson Weed is still occasionally taken by reckless (or uninformed) teenagers who are looking for a cheap trip – often with disastrous consequences. Like the other nightshades, datura can be fatal when overdosed.

Scopolamine, the main alkaloid in Jimson weed, is also the main constituent of the Brugmansia- and other Datura species. All over the world these plants are used in a ceremonial context, for instance by shamans in the Amazon. The plants are also regularly used to mislead people: under influence you will lose your will and you are easily manipulated. In addition, one often forgets what happened during intoxication.

Henbane (Hyoscyamus Niger)

Henbane is an annual or biennial herb with pale, bell-shaped flowers. The flowers and leaves are used as a sedative, analgesic and anaesthetic during surgery. Black henbane is the strongest but there’s also a yellow variety. In the Netherlands, both datura and henbane can be found in the wild.

The effect of henbane begins with a feeling of pressure on the head. Some users describe it as if someone closes their eyelids with force. Vision becomes blurred and distorted. Unusual visual hallucinations occur. The trip may be accompanied by taste and olfactory hallucinations. Inhaling the smoke of the seeds causes numbness in the eyes and ears.

In Europe henbane was administered to people as a means of torture or death sentence. It brought them into a state of complete oblivion.

Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum)

Mandrake is a Mediterranean plant. As the root resembles a human being, it was widely believed to have supernatural powers. A piece of root was often worn as an amulet. In the Middle Ages, there was a high demand for this plant. At one-time mandrake became so scarce that fake ones entered the market.

The harvest of Mandrake is surrounded by myths. It must happen at full moon in a ritual circle. While being pulled out the plant would shriek, which is fatal to the person who hears it. Therefore the task was carried out by a dog, that was tied to the root with a piece of rope. According to the stories the dog wouldn’t survive.

Mostly, Mandrake was extracted in wine. It’s also possible to chew upon a piece of root. The effects are similar to those of datura. Mandrake is a tranquillizer and intoxicates. Physically you feel good, but you lose your sanity. Mandrake, therefore, can also be used to manipulate people and was a popular ingredient in love potions.

Possession of the root was associated with witchcraft and could be dangerous: in Hamburg, three women were sentenced to death for this reason in 1630. The name of the Germanic seeresses (alruna) was directly related to the name of the plant (alraun). They used the plant to enter a prophetic trance.

Belladonna (Atropa belladonna)

Belladonna literally means “beautiful woman.” The plant was already known in ancient times for its pupil-dilating effects. Women made an infusion and trickled some drops in their eyes in order to look more attractive. This was not without danger: blurred vision is a common side-effect and prolonged use may cause blindness.

The dilation of the pupils is characteristic of atropine, the main alkaloid of the plant. Like the other witches’ herbs belladonna also contains scopolamine and hyoscyamine.

The berries are eaten or an extract is made from the leaves. The effect of belladonna can be described as a dream perceived as real. It leaves the user temporarily insane, while one forgets this is caused by the plant.

Like the other nightshades, belladonna was regularly added to flying ointments. The berries alone were said to be capable of transforming the user into an animal.

Other psychedelics from European soil

There are more psychedelics to be found in Europe, in addition to the nightshades, such as the fly agaric (Amanita muscaria), psilocybin-containing mushrooms – like the Liberty Cap (Psilocybe semilanceata) – and cannabis.

The characteristic fly agaric – red with white dots – is found throughout the world. We know of ritual and shamanic use in Siberia, India, Central America and North America. The fly agaric, which grows in birch and pine forests, is occasionally listed as an ingredient in witches’ salve, but its use in Europe seems to have been less prevalent than that of the nightshades. Probably because for a long time the amanita was (incorrectly) known as ‘highly toxic’.

The hemp plant is native to Asia but currently grows all over the world. The Scythians introduced her to Europe in the 5th century BC. Herodotus describes how they inhaled the smoke of cannabis seeds to purify themselves during a funeral ritual. To what extent they became ‘intoxicated’ from the vapours is a topic of discussion.

Despite much speculation, little evidence remains for the use of cannabis for its psychoactive effects. We know that hemp was used for many other purposes: the fibres made good ropes and clothes and hemp seeds served as food. Also, more than one hundred medicinal properties were ascribed to the plant. In the 12th century for example, the Christian nun and herbalist Hildegard von Bingen describes how hemp can be used as a remedy for stomach pain and in the treatment of wounds. Other medieval sources mention hemp as a remedy for ulcers and tumours.

Likewise, there are no sources available about the possible (ritual) use of psilocybin mushrooms (which are actually native to Europe). Oddly enough, the effects of the mushrooms seem to have been discovered only recently. (Read more about this in our article on Mushroom cultivation).

So, what about that flying ointment?

To prepare witches’ salve the nightshade plants were simmered in fat. Pork or goose fat was common, but according to the Inquisition, baby fat was more popular among witches. Besides henbane, datura, mandrake and belladonna (these are mentioned in various combinations) other plants were added to the mix, such as monkshood (Aconitum napellus), poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) and bearded Darnell (Lolium temulentum). The fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) and cannabis (Cannabis sativa) appear in some recipes.

Another important ingredient was opium poppy (Papaver somnifernum). There is an antagonistic effect between the opiate alkaloids in opium and the tropane alkaloids in the nightshade plants: they are often used as an antidote for each other. The addition of opium makes the fly ointment less toxic and causes a dream-like state which may have contributed to the trip experience.

The ointment was rubbed on the skin, especially on the sensitive parts such as the forearm, forehead and temples and the pubic area. Reportedly, anointing a broomstick (or another object) and then ‘riding’ it was a very effective way to let the salve do its work. It was believed that intoxicated witches could communicate with spirits and were able to transform themselves into animals.

Nowadays, the nightshade plants are hardly used. Except for a few brave (or should we say foolish?) adventurers, most psychonauts choose for more accessible and ‘user-friendly’ options. We strongly discourage for experimenting with these plants and herbs yourselves. Although the plants are legal and often grow in the wild, they can be fatal at a low dose and may cause permanent insanity.

Written by Juniper

Read/watch more:

-Is the war on drugs a modern witch hunt? The religion that has no name. The persecution of psychedelic spirituality By Cognitive Liberty UK.

-Vice documentary about scopolamine. The world’s scariest drug

Sources:

-Phyllis Curott. Heksenkunsten. Een rituele gids voor een magisch leven. 2002 (2001). Uitgeverij Luitingh – Sijthoff B.V. Amsterdam.

-Steef Davidson. Drugs, Kruiden van hemel en hel. 1982. Uitgeverij Helmond B.V. Helmond.

-Gerben Hellinga en Hans Plomp. Uit Je Bol. Gezond verstand bij het gebruik van bedwelmende middelen. 2011 (1994). Prometheus, Amsterdam.

-T.M. Luhrmann. Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft. Ritual Magic in Contemporary England. 1991 (1989). Harvard University Press, Cambridge Massachusetts.

-Claudia Müller-Ebeling, Christian Rätsch, and Wolf-Dieter Storl. Witchcraft medicine 2003 (1998). Inner Traditions International.

-Dale Pendell. PharmakoGnosis. Plant Teachers and the Poison Path. 2010 (2005). North Atlantic Books, California.

-Christian Rätsch. Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants. 2005 (1998). Inner Traditions International.

-Pamela J. Stewart and Andrew Strathern. Witchcraft, Sorcery, Rumors and Gossip. 2004. Cambridge University Press.

-Wolf-Dieter Storl. The Herbal lore of Wise Women and Wortcunners. The Healing Power of Medicinal Plants. 2012. North Atlantic Books, California.

-Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hofmann, and Christian Rätsch. Plants of the Gods. Their Sacred, Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers. 2001 (1992). Healing Arts Press.

Top 5 Plants For Witches

Witches get a bad rap. Most are just nature worshipping individuals who have a close relationship with plants and animals. Witches in the Wiccan religion revere wild things and use plants and minerals that are provided by the earth in their rituals. In so doing, witches are paying honor to the Spirit of the One. Plants play an extremely important role both in observance of the religion but also in healing and teaching practices. Some of the most frequently used plants for witches are:

1. Rosemary – This common herb has both culinary and magical uses. The plant can also be used to repel bugs, as a dye, in cosmetics and medicinally. The fresh scent has aromatherapy properties and can be used as a sachet or in incense. Rosemary is easy to grow, producing evergreen small shrubs that develop beautiful purple flowers that attract pollinators. The plant’s magical attributes are said to be useful as a love spell, protection, and as an aphrodisiac.

2. Mugwort – Also known as Artemisia or wormwood, the plant has a history of use regulating menstruation, as an antiseptic and to calm the digestive system. Young shoots and leaves can be used in recipes and dried leaves and flowers make an interesting tea that may help in the digestion of fatty foods. In magic, mugwort enhances divination and psychic dreaming. If leaves are placed in shoes, they supposedly ward off fatigue on long journeys. The plant is bushy and has grayish green, feathery leaves and panicles of tiny daisy-like yellow flowers.

3. Sage – Not only would Thanksgiving taste different without sage, but the herb has been used for medicinal uses before medieval times. The bright flowers are gorgeous and the shrubby plant has softly gray-green leaves with a downy feel. When dried and “smudged,” it can ward off evil and is part of traditional cleansing ceremonies. The plant has anti-inflammatory properties and may help fever and as a diuretic. It was once used to cure snakebite and palsy and also enhances memory and cognition.

4. Mint – Mints, especially peppermint, feature prominently in magical rites and spells. The plant is very easy to grow and will take over the garden plot if not controlled. In cuisine, it adds aroma and flavor to beverages, desserts, baking, and is a common ingredient in East Indian, Asian and Mediterranean foods. Mint aids in digestion and calming the stomach, and is used in aromatherapy for a host of healing purposes. The scented oils in the leaves and stems repel some insects, but their essence is a pleasure in the home, both as an air freshener and in some cosmetics. The pungent oils can relieve fatigue in muscles and joints when used topically. It is used in magic to draw money, ward off evil, lure love and enhance wellness.

5. Lavender – The scent of lavender is unmistakable and is widely used in cosmetics, cleaning products and other household items. It is also an astoundingly lovely landscape plant, with spikes of vibrant purple flowers and green to bluish-gray leaves. Like many herbs, the natural oils are said to repel some insect pests. Both the oils and dried flowers have soothing properties and are commonly used in aromatherapy. Medicinally, the plant reputedly aids digestion and has antiseptic properties. In the witch’s garden, it may be part of protection rituals, used to enhance clarity, encourage fertility and bring love.

Popular Flowers Used in Witchcraft

Flowers have played a part in witchcraft for hundreds of years, their magical properties believed by witches and apothecaries to improve our lives in many ways.

Just in time for Halloween, let’s take a look back at some of the popular flowers that witches believed had magical powers.

Mandrakes

For over 2000 years, mandrakes have had a very influential place in witchcraft and apothecary. Believed to be half-man and half-plant, these unusual-looking flowers were used by both witches and apothecaries as ingredients for particularly potent potions.

Roses

Roses have been associated with the mystic since Ancient Greek times, where they were attributed to Aphrodite. It was said that when Hector was slain at Troy by Achilles, his blood sprouted white roses on the beach from which the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, rose (excuse the pun).

The connection to love play a massive role in how roses are portrayed in witchcraft. Witches and apothecaries believed rose petals warded off evil, and that they were good luck charms to those that carried them.

Lavender

Lavender was a popular choice in witchcraft, best used for love spells to attract that special person. One trick was to rub lavender on your clothes as the scent was believed to attract lovers to you.

Witches also believed that lavender was a great sleeping aid. By putting lavender underneath your pillow, you would be letting yourself in for a good night’s sleep.

Passion Flower

Like lavender, passion flower was considered perfect for a good night’s rest. Passion flower was also believed to bring peace to homes facing difficult times.

Wearing or carrying passion flower also invited positive social relationships into your life.

Sunflowers

Even sunflowers played a major role in witchcraft and apothecary. It was believed that growing these flowers in your garden and introducing them into your home served to bring good luck.

Are you a believer?

Even if witchcraft isn’t your thing, we have some stunning flower arrangements that will rest any uneasy spirits and brighten up your home this Halloween.

As Manchester’s oldest florists, you can trust we don’t need a crystal ball to find you the perfect arrangement. Contact Designer Flowers by Rodgers today for all your floral needs.

The Victorians used flowers as a symbol to express their feelings.

All flowers have a meaning, though different books give conflicting meanings. Recently I have read The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. She has done a lot or research for her book and found the same difficulties with discrepancies of the definitions. Ms. Diffenbaugh, using many floral dictionaries, came up with the definitions that best fit the science of each flower and/or the meanings that occurred most often in the dictionaries. I have updated my list of meanings.

A

Abutilon – Meditation

Acacia – Secret love

Acanthis – Secret love

Acorn – Nordic symbol of life and immortality

Agapanthus – Love letter

Allium – Prosperity

Allspice – Compassion

Almond Blossoms – Indiscretion

Aloe – Grief

Alstroemeria – Devotion

Alyssum – Worth beyond beauty

Amaranth – Immortality

Amaryllis – Pride; Timidity

Ambrosia – Love returned

Anemone – Forsaken

Angelica – Inspiration

Aniseed – Restoration of youth

Arbutis – Only love

Apple – Temptation

Apple Blossom – Preference

Aster – Patience

Azalea – fragile passion

B

Baby’s Breath – Everlasting Love

Bachelor Button – Single blessedness

Basil – Hate

Bay Leaf – I change but in death

Begonia – Beware

Bellflower – Gratitude

Bells Of Ireland – Good luck

Bird Of Paradise – Magnificence

Bittersweet – Truth

Blackberry – Envy

Black-eyed Susan – Justice

Bluebell – Humility; constancy

Bougainvillea – Passion

Bouvardia – Enthusiasm

Broom – Humility

Borage – Courage

Bouquet of withered flowers – Rejected love

Burnet – A merry heart

Buttercup – Cheerfulness

C

Cabbage – Profit

Cactus – Ardent love

Calendula – Joy

Calla Lilly – Modesty

Camellia – My destiny is in your hands

Candytuft – Indifference

Canterberry Bells – Constancy

Carnation (in general) Bonds of affection; health and energy; fascination; woman love

*Pink – I’ll never forget you

*Purple – Capriciousness; whimsical; changeable

*Red My heart breaks

*Solid color-Yes

*Striped- No; refusal; sorry I can’t be with you; wish I could be with you

*White-Sweet and lovely; innocence; pure love; woman’s good luck gift

*Yellow – Rejection; disdain

Cattail – Peace; prosperity

Celandine – Joys to come

Chamomile – Energy in adversity

Cherry Blossom – Impermanence

Chervil – Sincerity

Chestnut – Do me justice

Chicory – Frugality

Chrysanthemum (in general) – Cheerfulness; You’re a wonderful friend

* Red – I love

* White- Truth

* Yellow-Slighted love

Cinquefoil – Beloved daughter

Clematis – Poverty

Clove – I have loved you and you have not known it

Cockscomb – Affectation

Columbine – Desertion

Coreopsis – Always cheerful

Coriander – Hidden worth

Corn – Riches

Cosmos – Joy in love and life

Cowslip – Pensiveness

Crab Apple Blossoms – Ill-tempered

Cranberry – Cure for heartache

Crocus – Youthful gladness

Current – Thy frown will kill me

Cyclamen – Resignation and goodbye

Clover Good luck

Cypress – Mourning

D
Daffodil – New beginnings

Dahlia – Dignity

Daisy – Innocence

Daisy Gerbera – Cheerfulness

Dandelion – Rustic oracle

Daphne – I would not have your otherwise

Daylily – Coquetry

Delphinium – Levity

Dianthus – Make hast

Dittany – Childbirth

Dogwood – Love undiminished by adversity

Dragon Plant – You are near a snare

E

Edelweiss – Noble courage

Elder – Compassion

Eucalyptus – Protection

Euphorbia – Persistence

Evening Primrose – Inconstancy

Everlasting Pea – Lasting pleasure

F
Fennel – Strength

Fern – Sincerity

Forget-Me-Not – True love

Fern (Magic) – Fascination; confidence and shelter

Fern (Maidenhair) – Secrecy

Feverfew – Warmth

Fig – Argument

Fir – Time

Flax – I feel your kindness

Forget-me-not – Forget me not

Forsythia – Anticipation

Foxglove – Insincerity

Freesia – Lasting friendship

Fuchsia – Humble love

G
Gardenia – Refinement

Garland of roses – Reward of virtue

Garlic – Courage; strength

Gentian – Intrinsic worth

Geranuim – True friendship

*Scented – Preference

*Scarlett – Stupidity

*Wild – Steadfast piety

Ginger – Strength

Gladiolus – You pierce my heart

Goldenrod – Careful encouragement

Grass – Submission

H

Hawthorn – Hope

Hazel – Reconciliation

Heath – Solitude

Heather (lavender) – Admiration; solitude

Heather (white) – Protection; wishes will come true

Helenium – Tears

Heliotrope – Devoted affection

Hibiscus – Delicate beauty

Holly – Foresight

Hollyhock – Ambition

Honesty – Honesty

Honeysuckle – Devotion

Hyacinth

*Blue – Constancy

*Purple – I’m sorry; please forgive me; sorrow

*Red or Pink – Play

*White – Beauty

*Yellow – Jealousy

Hydrangea – Dispassion

Hyssop – Wards away evil spirits

I

Ice plant – Your looks freeze me

Impatiens – Impatience

Iris – Message

Ivy – Fidelity and friendship

Ivy – sprig of white tendrils – Anxious to please; affection

J

Jacob’s Ladder – Come down

Jasmine (Carolina) – Separation

Jasmine (Indian) – Attachment

Jasmine (White) – Amiability

Jonquil – Desire

Juniper – Protection

L

Laburnum – Pensive beauty

Lady’s Slipper – Capricious beauty

Lantana – Rigor

Larch – Audacity

Larkspur – Lightness

Laurel – Glory and success

Lavender – Mistrust

Lemon – Zest

Lemon Balm – Brings love

Lemon Blossom – Discretion

Lemon verbena – Attracts opposite sex

Lettuce – Coldheartedness

Liatrus – I will try again

Lichen – Dejection

Lilac – First emotions of love

Lily – Majesty

*Calia) – Beauty

*Day – Coquetry

*Eucharis- Maiden charms

*Orange- Hatred

*Tiger – Wealth; pride

*White – Virginity; purity; majesty; it’s heavenly to be with you

*Yellow – I’m walking on air; false and gay

Lily of the valley – Return to happiness

Linden Tree – Conjugal love

Lisianthus – Appreciation

Lobelia – Malevolence

Lotus – Purity

Love-in-a-mist – Perplexity

Love-lies-bleeding – Hopeless but not helpless

Lungwort – You are my life

Lupine – Imagination

M
Magnolia – Dignity

Marigold – Grief

Marjoram – Blushes

Marsh Marigold – Desire for riches

Meadow Saffron – My best days are past

Meadowsweet – Uselessness

Michaelmas Daisy – Farewell

Mignonette – Your qualities surpass your charms

Mimosa – Sensitivity

Mint – Protection from illness; warmth of feeling Marjoram (sweet) – Joy and happiness

Mistletoe – I surmount all obstacles

Mock Orange – Counterfeit

Monkshood – Chivalry

Morning Glory – Coquetry

Moss – Maternal love

Mullein – Take courage

Mustard – I am hurt

Myrtle – Love
N
Narcissus – Self love

Nasturtium – Impetuous love

Nettle – Cruelty

O

Oats – The witching soul of music

Oleander – Beware

Olive – Peace

Orange – Generosity

Orange Blossom – Your purity equals your lovliness

Orange Mock – Deceit

Orchid – Refined beauty

Oregano – Joy

P
Palm leaves – Victory and success

Pansy – Festivity

Passionflower – Faith

Peach – Your charms are unequalled

Peach Blossom – I am your captive

Pear – Affection

Pear Blossom – Comfort

Peony – Anger

Peppermint – Warmth of feeling

Periwinkle – Tender recollections

Persimmon – Bury me amid nature’s beauty

Petunia – Your presence soothes me

Phlox – Our souls are united

Pine – Hope; pity

Pineapple – You are perfect

Pink – Pure love

Plum – Keep your promises

Poinsettia – Be of good cheer

Pomegranate – Foolishness

Pomegranate Blossoms – Mature elegance

Poplar (black) – Courage

Poppy (general) – Fantastic extravagance

*Red -Pleasure; consolation

*White – Consolation; sleep

* Yellow – Wealth; success

Potato – Benevolence

Potato Vine – You are delicious

Prickly Pear – Satire

Primrose – Confidence

Primrose(evening) – Inconstancy

Protea – Courage

Purple Coneflower – Strength and health

Q

Queen Anne’s Lace – Fantasy

Quince – Temptation

R

Ranunculus – You are radiant with charms

Raspberry – Remorse

Redbud – Betrayal

Rhododendron – Beware

Rhubarb – Advise

Rose (general) – Love ; I love you

*Red – Love

*White – A heart unacquainted with love

*Pink – Grace

*Yellow – Infidelity

*Black -Death

*Red & White – Together; unity

*Thornless – Love at first sight

*Single, full bloom – I love you; I still love you

Rose bud – Beauty and youth ; a heart innocent of love

*Red – Pure and lovely

*White – Girlhood

*Moss – Confessions of love

Roses(Bouquet of full bloom) – Gratitude

Roses( Garland or crown of) – Beware of virtue; reward of merit; crown ; symbol of superior merit

Roses ( musk cluster) – Charming

Rose(tea) – I’ll always remember

Rose(cabbage) – Ambassador of love

Rose(Christmas) – Tranquilize my anxiety; anxiety

Rose(damask) – Brilliant complexion

Rose(dark crimson) – Mourning

Rose(hibiscus) – Delicate beauty

Rose leaf – You may hope

Rosemary – Remembrance

S

Saffron – Beware of excess

Sage – Long life & good health

Saint John’s Wort – Superstition

Salvia -(blue) I think of you

Saxifrage – Affection

Scabiosa – Unfortunate love

Scarlett Pimpernel – Change

Smilax – Loveliness

Snapdragon – Presumption

Snowdrop – Consolation & hope

Sorrel – Parental affection

Speedwell – Fidelity

Spiderflower – Elope with me

Spirea – Victory

Star of Bethlehem – Purity

Starwort – Welcome

Stephanotis – Happiness in marriage

Stock – You will always be beautiful to me

Stonecrop – Tranquility

Strawberry – Perfection

Sunflower – False riches

Sweetpea – Delicate pleasures

Sweet William – Gallantry

T

Tansy – I declare war against you

Thistle – Misanthropy

Thrift – Sympathy

Thyme – Activity

Trachelium – Neglected beauty

Trillium – Modest beauty

Trumpet Vine – Fame

Tuberose – Dangerous pleasure

Tulip(general) – Fame, charity; perfect lover

*Red – Believe me; declaration of love

*Varegated – Beautiful eyes

*Yellow – Hopeless love

Turnip – Charity

V

Verbena – Pray for me

Vetch – I cling to thee

Violet – Modesty; calms tempers; induces sleep

*Blue – Watchfulness; faithfulness; I’ll always be true

*White – Let’s take a chance on happiness

Viscaria – Will you dance with me?

W

Wallflower – Fidelity in adversity

Water Lily – Purity of heart

Waxflower – Susceptibility

Wheat – Prosperity

White Aster – Patience

Willow Herb – Pretention

Winter Cherry – Deception

Witch Hazel – A spell

Woodruff – Sweet humility

Y
Yarrow – Cure for a broken heart

Z
Zinnia – I mourn your absence

*Magenta – Lasting affection

*Mixed – Thinking of an absent friend

*Scarlet – Constancy

* Zinnia(white) – Goodness

* Zinnia(yellow) – Daily remembrance

If you believe in magic, support mystical theories and consider yourself a spiritual person–Learn how to create a Witch’s Garden!

Even if you’re short of space, you can start your witch’s garden in containers as well, following this article.

Preparing the Garden Bed

The garden is an excellent starting point to establish communion with nature and heal in the process. You see there is a touch of magic in all forms of wildlife and everything natural contributes to replenishing the life force energy in and around your home. Your first step in creating a witch’s garden is to build a place of solitude in the midst of greenery and cleanse it using the elements. Wash off any hint of chemicals on the plot before proceeding to sow your seeds. Don’t work around in muddy shoes as that can transmit diseases and impurities.

Withdrawal from chemical dependency is your primary objective for the first year of your witch’s garden. Consider growing crops like legumes and beans at first, as they replenish the soil with nitrogen and improve its quality. Growing tobacco plants is a good idea, as they are sturdy and disease-resistant.

Create an Altar

An altar or a meditative spot is a nice way to add a witchy touch to your garden. Creating your private spot in the lap of nature will make you feel sacred, accomplished and blessed. Here are some ways to create an altar:

  • Find a nice big stone covered with a blanket of moss to sit on while meditating.
  • Use privacy screens with tall plants grown in raised beds or repurposed stock tanks to shield the area and to get some solitude.
  • Create a nice summer display using a basket brimming with flowers of lavender and nasturtiums.
  • Bring a small table outdoors and place a tree stump and a stack of stones on it. Alternatively, you can keep a bowl of logs salvaged from your own yard. Light a few votive candles, and you’re good to go!

Find more ideas here!

Choosing Plants for a Witch’s Garden

In the olden days, practitioners of metaphysics and magic used to create extensive gardens replete with herbs, trees, vegetables, and edible flowers. Stories of witches harvesting by the moonlight, or collecting herbs in the midnight and speaking to the trees are abundant in folklore. Medicinal herbs and health-promoting flowers are the highlights of a witchy garden. While there is no hard-and-fast rule about choosing plants for your witchy garden, you can always take inspiration from the following list below.

It does well in the sun, requires little watering and can be grown in containers as well. While it’s a low-maintenance herb, it doesn’t do well in shade and moist soil. Rosemary is known to have protective properties. It heightens cognitive awareness and is often used in white magic to induce feelings of love and healing.

2. Calendula

Easy to grow by seed, calendula is a beautiful warm colored annual flower that is edible too. It signifies hope and optimism. You can toss it into green salads or sprinkle on top of couscous or use it to color foods naturally. Also, you can place it on the altar along with lavender to protect your rituals from malevolent forces.

3. Basil

Basil is a culinary herb prized for its medicinal and magical properties as well. It grows easily and doesn’t require extensive care. Enriched with essential oils, the aromatic leaves of basil are known to attract money luck or uplift your senses, at least!

Also Read: How to Grow Holy Basil

4. Mint

Mint is an all-time favorite of classical witchy gardens. But it’s an invasive herb and is quick to take over space if left unchecked. That is why it’s better to grow it in pots away from your other plants. This sweet, vibrant herb is known to attract money and love, as well as treat various digestive problems from scratch. Mint is often kept on the meditative altar to ward off evil, call good spirits, and aid in magic.

5. Lavender

Considered to be the Holy Grail of aromatherapy, lavender is one of the most important culinary and medicinal herbs out there. It’s also an edible flower and finds use in baked dishes and summer lemonades.

6. Chamomile

Chamomile can be used as a beautiful ground cover and in fact as a lawn alternative for a witchy garden. Chamomile leaves are routinely added to teas that improve the quality of sleep.

7. Sage

Besides being a popular ingredient in holiday meals, sage is important for various magical purposes. It is a member of the mint family and sports blue/purple blooms. It’s easy to maintain as it has low watering needs and requires full sun. Sage has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of digestive and inflammatory diseases. It is known to increase fertility, repel evil forces, bring immortality, as well as grant wishes.

8. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is native to Asia and Mediterranean parts of Europe. It does best in partial shade and is often planted in gardens for attracting bees and butterflies. Lemon balm promotes restful sleep and helps with various digestive problems. Additionally, its scent is known to cure depression and soothe the anxious soul.

9. Lilacs

Gorgeous and fragrant, lilacs are thought to bring about an instant feeling of calm and peace to the observer. It symbolizes new beginnings as it usually blossoms during the transition time from autumn to spring.

10. Dianthus

A popular staple of baked dishes (the flower petals are edible), dianthus is prized for its attractive pink blooms that can be used to garnish cookies and cakes. They are mildly spicy and symbolize longevity and wellness.

A Few More Witch’s Garden Plants

  • Yarrow
  • Nettle
  • Foxglove
  • Hellebores
  • Poppy
  • Comfrey
  • Nasturtiums
  • Henbane
  • Nightshades
  • Wolf’s Bane
  • Belladonna
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint

Tips for Choosing Plants for a Witch’s Garden

Sometimes, plants that are believed to be apt for the witch’s garden are toxic to animals and children. These include datura, poppy, belladonna, and Mandrake.

  • When planning a witch’s garden, find out the harvesting times for plants. The sensible idea is to pick a wide selection of plants that mature at different seasons of the year and add texture, interest and visual variety to your garden.
  • Choosing plants in such a way that something or the other is always blooming is a unique way to maintain visual appeal while supporting pollinator species in the process.
  • If you are keen on planting poisonous and edible plants both, ensure that the nontoxic ones are separated clearly from the toxic ones, and labeled as well to avoid any confusion.
  • Select plants that you are interested in, or connect with. Do you love adding chamomile in your teas? Do you carry packets of lavender in your purse? Think of all the plants you like and use often, and shortlist those that adapt well to your planting zone.

Tending to a Witch’s Garden

Mulch

Mulching is a nice way to limit weeding and water requirements. Use color-free newspapers, wood chips, hay, straw and organic compost to mulch. All of these are natural substances that decompose gradually to release vital nutrients into the soil and feed the plants.

Compost

Composting serves to unleash the power of the nutrients from the substances you toss into the compost pile.

  • Start by making a 4-feet diameter spot in a partially sunny spot of your garden.
  • Then layer about 5 inches of brown carbon materials, followed by 1-2 inches of green nitrogen materials.
  • Popular carbon materials include crop residues, garden debris, hay, and chopped leaves. Nitrogen sources include kitchen scraps, manures, blood meal, and cottonseed meal. They help activate a compost pile.
  • Do not use oil, meat, wax, pet litter, diseased plants, and colored newspaper. Learn more here!
  • Stimulate the powers of soil microflora with a layer of garden soil over the layer of nitrogen materials. When the compost pile reaches three feet high, water it properly and let it rot. Over time, this will turn into a fertilizer that feeds your plants and soil without disrupting either of the two. This process can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 5 months.

Also Read: 4 Step Guide for Composting

Instead of using herbicides and pesticides, treat diseased plants and weeds bearing seeds with hot compost (140-165 degrees). Take these plant materials away from the garden, burn them and dispose of them. Learn more here!

Establish a Garden Ritual

Preparing the garden bed and sowing the seeds are just the two initial steps of creating a witch’s garden. The real work starts from there on. You have to spend some time in your garden daily to observe and communicate with your plants.

Communicating with plants comes in the category of all things witchy. It’s a common practice among gardeners who swear by traditional techniques of promoting plants’ growth. Now before you shun this practice as a stone-age belief, keep in mind that a recent study has revealed that talking to plants can boost their health.

Infusing Magic in a Witchy Garden

If you have chosen mugwort and sage and other fragrant herbs for use in rituals, then these plants are already in the same vibration as you want them to. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to charge and bless them to facilitate a simpler and easier growing process to seed to adulthood.

Seed blessing

Seed blessing is an arcane technique to recharge the dormant seeds and aide their transition to new life. This ritual should be carried out in the dark, preferably at night. Here, you basically ask help and guidance from the universal energies for the growth of the seeds. Find step-by-step instructions here!

Harvesting by the Moon: Myth or Reality?

Skeptics from around the world have confessed to an improvement in time management by adopting moon harvesting as a way to increase the germination rate and vigor of plants. Observing the various phases of the moon influences both humans and plants and can even help how to maximize yield from the garden and establish a harmonious interaction with the plants.

The Principle of Moon Harvesting

There is a rule of thumb for gardening by the moon. Always sow seeds during the waxing or new Moon phase. Ideally, the moon should be in signs of Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio. However, there are a few exceptions: Garlic should be planted when the moon is in Taurus or Scorpio. Additionally, root crops should be planted during a full moon in the sign of Taurus. It’s advisable that you plant flowers and vines when the moon is during the waxing phase in Libra. Sage grows best when planted in full moon, while Valerian should be grown during the new moon in Virgo or Gemini.

How does it work?

When the moon is in the waxing phase, sap increases. That is why it is a suitable time for growing and planting some flowering annuals, grains, melons, and biennials. Any plant with a short life-span can be grown at this time for its seeds, leaves, flowers, and fruits. The waxing moon is also a good phase for pruning, grafting and applying fertilizers as the existential high sap flow promotes new growth faster.

However, things are different with a waning moon. During this time, the light decreases as the moon transforms from full to new. Due to this, the sap flow decreases and the focus are shifted to the roots. That is why this is the perfect time for growing perennials, root crops and any plant that lives longer than a year. Pruning dormant plants, harvesting and applying solid fertilizers are all recommended during this stage. Also, any plant that is prone to rotting can be grown in this phase.

To Sum it Up,

  • The new moon phase, i.e., from the new moon to the first quarter is best for sowing and transplanting green leafy annuals and plants that harvested from their leaves and stems. This includes lettuce, cabbage, celery, and spinach.
  • The first quarter stage is best suited for growing annuals that are valued for the fruit or seeds, including tomatoes, broccoli, beans, and pumpkins. However, growing fruit trees is not recommended during this time.
  • The phase between full moon to the third quarter is considered to be the best time for growing root crops and ornamental, fruiting perennials, such as rhubarb, potatoes, asparagus, and apples. Cutting and transplanting are recommended for this stage as well.
  • The last quarter of the moon cycle is the time to focus on improving the quality of the soil and avoid planting. Hence, you should concentrate on to weed, compost, mulch, and preparing manure teas.

Remember, the period of transition from one phase to another is crucial and 12 hours before and after that time is when you should focus on tending to the garden bed, rather than performing activities like pruning, planting, and sowing. Read more here!

Here are a few other ways of bringing magic to your garden:

  • Emboss your planters and gardening tools with ancient symbols of Runes, Tarot or Kabala.
  • Place quartz crystals and moss agate within the soil, to prepare the area for an upcoming ritual, as well as charge the garden bed for improved growth of the plants.
  • Water the plants with water, preferably solar water to allow for maximum nourishment and growth. Learn more here!
  • Consider doing a small full-moon ritual during the growing season as a token of gratitude to Mother Earth for blessing you with abundance and prosperity.
    Follow this for more details!

Conclusion

Planning a witch’s garden is all about sending your imagination into overdrive. This is a mystical concept that’s still popular and if it attracts you, you can try. Plants grown by the aforementioned guidelines tend to grow with a powerful aura and release intoxicating scents that uplift your senses. A witchy garden is not just for pagans and practitioners of witchcraft but for anyone who aspires to build a private sanctuary of calm and wellness in his property.

The Witches Garden

Throughout time, witches have had magical gardens full of herbs, vegetables, vines, flowers, and trees. Stories of witches gathering herbs in the moonlight, tilling the land in the spring, and speaking to the trees, abound in folklore and fairy tales. Witches use herbs in their magical endeavors, as well as medicinally to heal ailments of many kinds. Before doctors were prevalent, when one had an illness or ailment of some kind, one would travel to the outskirts of town (sometimes into the mountains) to find the local witch and acquire an herbal cure from the witches garden or apothecary. Here are the five essential culinary herbs for the witches garden. Keep in mind this depends on your climate, but most of these witch herbs can be successfully grown in pots in warm weather.

Rosemary has multiple uses for flavoring foods and also magical endeavors.

1. Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe and parts of Asia and is a woody perennial. It has evergreen leaves and will produce white, blue, and pink flowers. You can grow it successfully in a pot, and it does well in hot sun and warm weather. It can also stand colder weather, as well and is considered a sort of evergreen plant. It requires little watering and so it is a low maintenance herb. If you live in a warm climate, rosemary will grow easily year-round for you in the garden. If you live in a fairly cold climate year-round, you might want to keep it in a pot and bring it in during the coldest weather. They can grow up to five feet tall and are truly a very hardy herb to grow in the witches garden.

Rosemary is one of those all-purpose witch herbs that can be used for healing and magical needs. It is said to help improve one’s memory and cognition when taken medicinally. Rosemary has been used to help stimulate the scalp and promote hair growth and healthy hair when infused into oil and rubbed on the scalp. Magically, it’s used to purify the air when made into incense or a smudge bundle. It is also used in love spells – the leaves and sprigs can be put into love sachets, bottles, and used in food as an aphrodisiac. Rosemary also has protective properties and can be placed under a child’s crib to protect from malevolent spirits and faeries; it can also be worn to ward off evil and sickness. Don’t forget that rosemary can be used in many dishes as medicine or as magick to induce properties of love, healing, and protection.

2. Basil

Another one of my all-time favorite culinary herbs for the witches garden is basil. Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is native to India but now grows in the Mediterranean and all over the world in gardens. It is known for its use in Italian dishes, particularly. Basil is also called Saint Joseph’s Wort and the King of Herbs. Basil is an annual herb and grows well in a pot and in raised garden beds. This witch herb needs moderate watering and regular pinching of the new growth is recommended to keep it from growing too “woody” or “leggy”. Grow basil near your tomato plants to deter pests. There are many varieties of basil, the most common known as sweet basil. The leaves can be added to salads, Italian pasta dishes, caprese, fruit salads, and many other dishes. Its culinary uses are wide-ranging.

In addition to its culinary use, basil has medicinal and magical properties. Basil has more than one essential vitamin, including Vitamin K and Vitamin C. It is said to have anti-inflammatory properties. The aroma of basil is due to its many essential oils. Pick a leaf and rub it gently between your fingers, then breathe the scent in and enjoy! The scent is uplifting and energizing. Basil’s magical properties include (but aren’t limited to): money-drawing/luck and love.

Mint is easy to grow, tastes great in teas and food, and aids digestion.

3. Mint

Every witch should grow mint (Mentha) in her garden. There are various kinds including chocolate mint, peppermint, pineapple mint, and spearmint (just to name a few). Mint is native to a majority of the continents worldwide and is very easy to grow. It is a perennial and is quite hearty. Mint sends out shoots and will take over a garden if it’s left to its own devices. For this reason, it’s best to keep mint in pots or separate containers from the rest of your plants. Mint is a sweet, green witch herb that can be used in the kitchen for different meals. It adds a sweet flavor to desserts and is used often in Mediterranean and Indian cuisine. Throw a couple leaves on the top or side of meals as a pretty garnish.

Besides its many culinary uses, mint also has multiple magical and medicinal uses. Peppermint tea is not only tasty and relaxing, it can also be drank to calm an upset stomach. Mint helps with digestion, so a cup of fresh mint tea after a heavy meal is just the ticket! Some other medicinal uses for mint include treatment for irritable bowel syndrome and use in aromatherapy to relieve nausea. Really and truly the mint is all about relieving stomach and intestinal ailments. Magically, mint has a number of purposes, just as the other herbs mentioned in this article, and can be used to draw money, to heal, to ward off illness, to draw love, lust, and to ward off evil. According to Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, mint on the “altar will call good spirits to be present and aid in magic.”

Culinary sage is used to flavor meat dishes, and can be burned for purification just like white sage.

4. Sage

Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a popular culinary herb and can easily be grown in the witches garden. It is a perennial and is native to the Mediterranean. It is a subset of the mint family and can be grown easily in a garden or in a pot. Sage has gray-green leaves and is a shrub, if not trimmed regularly it can become “woody”. Its blooms are typically a delicate purple or blue shade. This witch herb has been used since ancient times for various purposes and are documented widely. There are different types of sage. Sage is easy to maintain as it needs low to a regular amount of water and a healthy amount of sun. For culinary purposes, sage is used during the holidays as a stuffer for poultry (turkey, chicken, goose) and used in dressing, and is an essential herb in many Italian, Balkan, and British dishes.

Medicinally, sage has been used for hundreds of years for various illnesses. It’s been used as an anti-inflammatory, a diuretic, a tonic, and more popularly as a part of the Four Thieves Vinegar (which was a vinegar and herbal concoction thought to keep away the Plague). It was also used for snakebites, palsy, and fever. Sage is similar to rosemary in that it can also help improve cognition and memory. Its magical properties include increasing fertility, warding off evil, immortality, increasing abundance, and making wishes. Put the leaves in poppets, spell bags, ointments, and more!

Lemon Balm is part of the mint family but has a lemony flavor.

5. Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is part of the mint family and is a perennial herb. It grows native to southern parts of Europe, as well as the Mediterranean and parts of Asia. As its name suggests, it has a lemony scent and flavor. Growing it in Florida, I’ve found that it does best with part sun / part shade and in a pot with compost added to the soil. If you live elsewhere in a cooler climate, your plant may need more sun but you’ll have to move it around to see where it does best in your yard or garden. Lemon balm’s official name is Melissa officinalis, as it is said to attract bees when it flowers, though it is not the same as Bee balm. Melissa was a Greek Goddess associated with bees and that is how this witch herb got its name. Keep it in a separate pot, as it will overtake the witches garden just like mint!

Lemon balm can be used in food to give it a lemon flavoring and is great for fish dishes. It’s also used medicinally as a tea to help calm fluttering or anxious nerves. It has a very mild sedative effect and can be drank before bed to help promote sleep. Lemon balm also helps with digestive problems, just as its cousin the mint plant does. Drink it in combination with peppermint for a nice complimenting herbal tea. Magically, lemon balm can be used in bee magick, to honor the goddesses Melissa and Diana, as an aphrodisiac, as an anti-depressant and as a complimentary herb in dream pillows and sachets.

Witchery in the Garden

Stir them in your witch’s brew: purple coneflower, bloodroot, vervain, American pokeweed, mayapple, parsley, California poppy and cinquefoil (clockwise from left, roughly). ILLUSTRATION Hallie Rose Taylor

“ARE YOU A WITCH?” asked the little girl from down the street who saw me working in my garden on one of the last days of autumn.

“Why do you ask? Would it frighten you if I were?” I said.

“You have long gray hair and you grow funny plants,” she said, not coming any closer.

I assured her that if I were indeed a witch, I would be a good witch, not an evil one. I took off my well-worn garden gloves, rested my rake and sat down on the low, red brick wall that hems in part of my herb garden.

The girl stood still.

“In the olden days many talented women knew how to grow all kinds of medicinal herbs and other plants that helped people in many ways. But some people accused the women of doing bad things with their plants and called them witches,” I said. “Would you like to hear about them?”

I told the little girl about several native plants that are closely associated with “witches” — American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana), cinquefoil (Potentilla spp.), various vervains (Glandularia or Verbena spp.) and nightshades (including Chamaesaracha, Circaea and Solanum spp.) — as well as non-natives belladonna, garden parsley, wolfsbane and smallage (wild celery); the last is said to have been used by witches to prevent cramps while flying.

According to Dorothy Jacob, author of “A Witch’s Guide to Gardening,” almost every plant on earth has been used in witchcraft except Angelica archangelica, another type of wild celery. In fact, all parts of wild angelica, which is also used as an antifungal and antibacterial herb, were used against witchcraft. In Europe, the plant was pulverized into a powder and sprinkled around a house to repel witches and their spells.

Long ago, I decided to grow a small “witch’s garden” because I find the plants fascinating and helpful. But I only grow safe witchery plants, not poisonous ones, because I don’t want to unintentionally hurt man or beast. I also told the little girl never to eat an unknown plant from the wild or someone’s garden. The little girl nodded in understanding, her honey-colored ponytail bouncing up and down.

I began my native witch’s garden with transplants from my mother’s rich woodland property in the Midwest, as well as from sunny fields belonging to friends near my Ohio home. I grow Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum), a native wildflower, which is said to provide protection from evil and can also be used to heal bruises and minor skin irritations. Purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) are picked to sharpen skills and increase spells. The mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) is thought of as an aphrodisiac (I described it as a “love potion” for the little girl). Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is used for cleansing the soul. And witches suggested planting native trees, including white oak (Quercus alba), to guard against evil near a home.

I also told the girl about witchery plants I have never grown. The California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) can be used in magickal (rather than “magical” like a stage act in Las Vegas) spells for prosperity and better sleep; the evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), on the other hand, is said to facilitate shape-shifting.

I told my young visitor how some witch’s ingredients weren’t at all what they seemed to be. A “bat’s wing” was probably holly, named for the shape of its leaves. A witch’s brew really called for the plant, not part of a flying mammal. Today many people still like to grow holly because they believe it provides “protection and security.”

“Are the plants in your garden magic?” asked the little girl, her eyes finally meeting mine.

“Only in the sense that to me they are amazing. And that next spring I know many will greet me again, rising miraculously from being asleep in the earth,” I said. “I try to be good to my plants. Some people say you should give yourself and your witch’s garden some privacy by enclosing part of it with a vine-covered trellis or fence. Others say to sleep one night a year in your garden, letting the plants talk to you in your dreams. But I would miss my soft bed too much!”

“My mother would never let me do that,” the little girl said, frowning. “I better go.” She hesitated and added, “Are you sure you’re not a witch?”

“I don’t have any ‘eye of newt and toe of frog,’” I confessed in my best Shakespearean witch’s voice.

“OK, I’ll be back next spring,” she said, skipping out of my yard.

Jill Sell is a regular contributor to Wildflower magazine.

The world of plants has long been inspiring and magical to many cultures.

So inspiring, in fact, that references to plants are more ingrained into our lives than we might think!

Gardening, agriculture, and plant relationships have been very central to humanity; so much so that folklore surrounding them found its way into ancient beliefs, customs, and mottos today, even the names of the plants themselves.

How did this come to pass?

Let’s take a deeper look at the plant world, ranging across cultures all around the world, and how their mystical influences still touch our lives in modern times – and even some peculiar beliefs we once had (or might still have) about them.

I’m sure it will make you think differently about the many trees, shrubs, and herbs you grow in your garden – or maybe get you to consider completely new and magical ones!

Knocking on Wood

Ever heard the saying “knock on wood?”

It’s a habit many of us still uphold, especially when one is in need of some good luck, a bit of courage, or hope that something will go well.

But did you know that knocking on or touching wood is actually a tradition steeped in plant folklore?

Some of us might knock on wood or talk about it without a second thought, as if it’s a perfectly normal thing to do (and it is, in many ways). But the origins of this saying stretch way back in time to the beliefs of our ancestors.

Think about it: so many cultures relied on trees. For some ancient peoples, trees were likely a source of refuge and safety, climbed to avoid danger.

For others, they provided shelter and materials for fires, food, and medicine. Because trees provided so much, certain cultures’ fondness – and even awe – of trees grew over time.

It is not 100 percent certain from where exactly the saying originated. Some sources find the strongest link to ancient pagan Germanic cultures, who held beliefs that protective spirits lived within trees, according to this article.

But really, you can find awe in the protective power of trees in many other cultures too, even similar sayings to “knock on wood” in languages like Arabic, Swedish, and countries like Trinidad and Tobago, and Brazil.

Trees move and make noise in the wind, so it’s no wonder to think that that the trees could house gods and spirits, a belief held by certain ancient peoples.

Even today, if you can reach a tree and touch the wood, it gives you a safe and protected feeling – a comforting thought rooted deep in our collective folklore memory.

Good Trees, Bad Trees

Knocking on wood wasn’t the only thing exclusively influenced by our reverence for trees. Many other beliefs sprouted throughout history and folklore as well.

Sure, touching wood originated from a hope that protective tree spirits would watch over us, making sure that future events would go well.

But with the belief in good spirits also came superstitions about bad tree spirits!

Let’s take a look at some of the most revered (and reviled) trees, among their ranks some common species of tree or shrub you may find in your garden – and I’m sure you won’t ever look at them the same way again.

The Holy Oak

In ancient times, oaks were regarded as particularly good and holy trees.

Beloved of the Druids and kept in their sacred groves, these wonderful sentinels were thought to have magical qualities, and not just protective ones.

In fact, if you were struggling home from battle or running a fever, the water collecting in an oak tree was often used for healing these maladies well before modern medicine.

Oak contains tannins, used for tanning skins and giving the trade its name. These are also an important aging flavor for wines.

These tannins were thought to provide this apparent healing magic, but it’s really not magic at all – tannins in oak trees are still used to bring down fever and staunch wounds among herbalists today, being a potent astringent.

As you probably well know, oaks are very common and well-known trees, with many species found in gardens and yards all around the world.

These trees can be categorized in two broad types – red oaks and white oaks.

As a general rule, white oaks can be identified by their smoother, round-lobed leaves, and there are even some evergreen oaks in the mix.

White oaks are also favored for their comparatively higher tannin amounts than red oaks, making them more healing (and maybe even more magical)!

The English, pendunculate, or common oak of Europe – Quercus robur – is a wonderful tree of the white oak category.

While it is beautiful, this type may be too big for most gardens, casting a bit too much shade. There are some beautiful cultivars of this species available, but all are quite large and grow slowly.

My personal favorite of all oaks, though? Q. rubra, or the northern red oak!

This brings us to the other category of oaks, the red type. As the name would suggest, red oaks exhibit bright red foliage in fall, unlike the paler tan or brown foliage of white oaks during that time of year.

At other times, you can identify red oaks by their elegant green leaves with more pointed lobes. Red oak acorns take a little over two years to mature enough to germinate after they hit the ground.

My absolute favorite, the northern red oak, hails from the eastern U.S. This tree will grow to approximately 120 feet in 20 years – as will the pin oak, Q. palustris, a very close red oak relative.

Some reds include species that, strangely enough, have leaves that don’t turn red in the fall – like the willow oak Q. phellos, for example, along with the Japanese evergreen Q. acuta.

There is something very satisfying about collecting acorns and watching them sprout into young oak trees – you could almost call it magic!

The Reverent Rowan

Another wonderful tree, the rowan, was always believed to be a force for good, along with the oak.

During more superstitious periods of history, it was well advised to use this species for building a child’s cradle, because it was believed to grant protection from evil spirits and witches.

The rowan tree.

There was also a grand tradition of planting a rowan by your door – again, because it would ward off ill-will and black magic!

Rowans are members of the genus Sorbus, which includes mountain ashes and whitebeams, as well as species specifically referred to as rowans. The foliage of these tall shrubs (which sometimes grow tall enough to be trees!) range from silver to dark red.

Year-round, they are visually superb – with bright flowers, berries, and vivid autumn foliage. These trees tolerate either damp or dry conditions, and are very hardy.

There are so many beautiful cultivars, all of which are garden-worthy and which do not grow too big for the average plot.

Sorbus ‘St. Joseph,’ a remarkably beautiful variety.

One favorite – a beloved darling of city planners everywhere – is Sorbus aria var. ‘Lutescens,’ a silver-leafed Whitebeam species popular in parks and public areas in many cities around the world.

S. cashmiriana, also called the Kashmir rowan, has gorgeous white berries and makes another great choice.

Consider putting a rowan in your garden. Who knows – maybe it will help you to feel a little more protected!

The Enchanted Elder

Where the oak and rowan trees were largely revered, the elder tree – genus Sambucus – was always thought to be one that brought bad luck.

Worse, in old folklore it was thought that each elder tree had a resident witch living within! Not the kind of wood you’d want to knock on, that’s for sure.

Sambucus purpurea, a deep purple variety of elder growing in a garden with other plants. Photo credit: Sheila Muckle.

It was thought that one should never use elder for a child’s cradle, since it would give witches access to the baby, enabling them to cause harm.

This is quite the opposite of rowan – which happens to look quite a bit like some Sambucus species (especially S. racemosa or red elderberry), so it could be both easy and disastrous to mix up the two!

Another folkloric belief: never light a fire with elder, or the resident witch or other spirits would become furious.

Further, one must never plant an elder tree by one’s door! Why is that?

Well, the belief was that each time you opened the door, a bad witch could jump right inside your house!

The two most common native elderberries are S. nigra, the European species, and S. canadensis, which is North American.

Elderberry. Photo Credit: Adrian White.

There are some very beautiful cultivars of the common elder. Each exhibits lacy white flowers and edible berries, but the colorful foliage is a real bonus!

Newer cultivars have been largely bred for their appearance. One, called Sambucus ‘Thundercloud,’ is a wonderful dark red – but my personal favorite has always been the golden cut-leaved elder, or S. racemosa ‘Plumosa Aurea.’

Ornamental Plant Lore

Trees have always been part of folklore, but lots of other plants have become a part of old stories and beliefs as well – like herbs, shrubs, bushes, flowers, and the like.

Lady’s Mantle

The wonderful Alchemilla mollis or lady’s mantle – a superbly hardy garden plant that can also seed itself prolifically – has ornate, cup-like leaves notable for catching and collecting beautiful beads of dew.

Well before the 18th Century in Europe, alchemists thought there was something magical about the plant, and particularly the properties in the dew it collected, according to the Botanic Garden at the University of Oxford.

They were said to use the drops to try and turn base metals into gold – hence the name Alchemilla, after the ancient practice of alchemy.

Lady’s Mantle.

According to Margaret Grieve in her tome on herbalism and lore, A Modern Herbal, this dew was also added to magical potions. This story and so much more on many other plants can be found in M. Grieve’s masterpiece on botanical culture: sold as two parts, Volume 1 and Volume 2, both of which are available on Amazon.

Mullein

A favorite for use in plant borders, Verbascum thapsus has many common names – you may know it best as mullein, which derives from Latin for soft or “mollis” because of its downy, velvety leaves.

Mullein. Photo Credit: Adrian White.

Another name is hag’s taper, or the candlewick plant. The woolly flowering stems, growing up to 6 feet tall, were often dipped in fat and lit as tapers or a candlewick, and the leaves were sometimes used as floor coverings and insoles for shoes. Maybe giving this a try with your favorite pair of gardening shoes would be worth a shot?

Lighting a hag’s taper was also said to ward off bad witches and sorcery, and the dried fluff from the leaves and stems was made into wicks for candles. It was also a superstition that witches would use the tapers themselves for practicing their magic – another great tidbit of folklore on mullein found in M. Grieve’s herbal from the early 1900s.

A most useful plant, mullein is still sometimes used today among herbalists and as a home remedy.

The leaves and flowers contain anti-inflammatory and demulcent compounds, including polysaccharides, saponins, and glycosides, which are said to be especially helpful against coughs and lung issues. While traditional use is strong, however, medical research on these effects is weak.

The plants are biennial, growing as a rosette of soft leaves in their first year, then blooming with striking flowers their second year before they die.

There are a great many garden varieties to choose from nowadays, as several lovely hybrids have been produced. Verbascum ‘Raspberry Ripple’ is particularly pretty, being a cultivar of wild mullein chosen for raspberry-red flower characteristics, rather than mullein’s typical yellow flowers.

Verbascum ‘Raspberry Ripple.’ Photo Credit: Sheila Muckle. 6.3Kshares

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The staff at Gardener’s Path are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice. Gardener’s Path and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using herbal remedies.

Uncredited photos: . Contributing writer, editor, and photographer: Adrian White.

About Sheila Muckle

Sheila is a plantaholic. She taught floral art and gardening at Kirkley Hall College of Agriculture and has presented the same topics on various TV shows. Sheila is a certified horticulturist with the UK’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) as well as with the City and Guilds Institute of London. She is also a retired English language and literature teacher. Sheila now breeds and shows dogs, and blogs about her life’s passion – gardening.

The Quiet Magic Of Plants

Nature is like a witch’s personal charging station, as well as our repository. We gather rocks, wood, feathers, skulls. What does a witch need for that nature does not provide? Perhaps, nature’s greatest gifts to the witch are the plants it supplies for potions, powders, and good luck charms — so many resources at our fingertips, right outside our front doors.

Imagine your magic for a moment without plants. Not just the actual plants — as if that’s not bad enough — but the symbolism they have carried into all aspects of the craft. We use green for wealth spells because it represents money, right? No, it represents abundance, fertility, growth, and good harvests. Whenever we call on the element of earth, we are calling on the magic of our very world. And our world would be a very dark place without the colorful, delightful plants bursting at every seam. In fact, it wouldn’t be here at all. Trees provide the oxygen that sustains life. Plants feed us all. It is little wonder witches rely on them when performing feats of magic. What could be more magical than putting a seed into the earth and having it grow into a life-giving tree?

If you’re writing a spell or working on your craft, finding the best suited plant for your intention can be crucial. In this article, I hope to unveil the rich symbolism of plants — as well as provide you with a guide on how they can work for you in your magic.

Apple

An apple a day… well you know the rest. But did you know the Latin word for apple is mālum, which can also mean “evil” and is the root for other unpleasant words? Malpractice, malfunction… Malleus Maleficarum. The apple, when cut in half, reveals a secret pentagram and 5 seeds within.

Although not explicitly stated in the Bible, the apple is believed to be the forbidden fruit of knowledge and not in a good way. For witches at Samhain, the apple plays a big part in rituals, and at Halloween children bob for apples — all in celebration of the harvest. The Celts believed the apple contained magical properties, and perhaps in keeping with its link to knowledge and wisdom, apples are gifted to teachers as a show of respect. The apple is also a symbol of forbidden love and sex (appearing in art and on popular book covers to suggest the same).

Suggestions for use: I choose to ignore the apple’s less than savory connotations and would use this delicious little fruit in any divination or health spells and spells to help students excel in school.

Basil

A vibrant green, fragrant plant used in recipes all over the world; basil is known as the “witch’s herb.” As well as being a versatile ingredient, you can use basil in a variety of different spells and powders. Basil, or tulasi (the incomparable one), is a sacred plant in Hinduism and is a symbol of love in many cultures. In Haiti, basil is the herb of Erzuli, the goddess of love, and so basil is a go to for marriage spells and any spell to influence a lover. Basil also has many connections to travel, protection, wealth, luck, and health.

Suggestions for use: Because of basil’s versatility and its ancient connections to witchcraft, you can use this plant in many ways in your craft. Along with bay leaves, wishes can be written on basil and then burned so they come true. You can also eat leaves for a bit of fast luck.

Birch

The “goddess tree” and “pioneer tree.” Birch represents new beginnings and protection, and so was commonly used to make baby cribs. Its wood does not rot, because of this many people associate it with immortality and strength. Birch trees have a reputation for being resilient. In the case of forest fires, birches grow back quickly and repopulate an area with ease — another reason they are associated with starting over and new life. Besoms are made of birch, and birch bark was so thin and white that it was often used as paper to document sacred texts and symbols.

Suggestions for use: Birch leaves should be used in spells focusing on newborns or pregnancy (be sure to choose leaves that have been nibbled on if you can find them — follow the animals, these leaves are the choicest!). The addition of birch can bless any new endeavor and wishes for change should be written on birch and burned with care.

Clover

I’m obsessed with this little plant. Most people think of the shamrock as Irish and associate it with luck, which is correct, but the clover is also a symbol of the triple goddess. To find a four-leaf clover is lucky, but only because legend says it allows you to see friendly, hidden creatures like fairies and spirits! Though the four-leaf variety is more rare and famous, the three-leaf clovers have more symbolism, mainly religious. They represent the holy trinity, for example. For the Celts, the shamrock was a symbol of their knotwork as well as the balance of threes: gods, goddesses, and time.

Suggestions for use: You think I’m going to say luck, don’t you! Well, I live to surprise and my suggestion for the clover is air magic — communication, divination, astral travel, and matters of the mind. Dry the leaves, burn them, and recite spells while the smoke lingers in the air. If you are a Gemini, the clover will be especially helpful to you as the planetary association is Mercury, Gemini’s ruling planet!

Daisy

There is a Victorian language of flowers. It instructs that certain flowers must be given at certain times and you may say anything you wish to and even insult the recipient with a simple bouquet. When it comes to the daisy, a pretty white and yellow flower that just looks happy to be here, the Victorians were clear: Youth and innocence. It’s given to new mothers, young girls, and anyone who needs a little cheering up. The old-fashioned yet charming game of “he loves me, he loves me not” is played by pulling daisy petals to reveal the feelings of a crush. The daisy is associated with young love and naivety, but also wholesomeness and a fresh, sunny outlook.

Suggestions for use: This flower is perfect for self-care rituals and magic to make you feel better. Keep some daisies by your altar to invite positive vibes. If you find yourself fighting negative thoughts, carry a pressed daisy in your wallet as a reminder to be open and find joy in every moment.

Garlic

As a warding agent, garlic reigns supreme. What repels vampires? Garlic. What repels everyone else? Garlic breath. It is a staple in many mouth-watering recipes, but is also used medicinally and is great for your immune system, heart, and brain. Long before penicillin, garlic was an antibiotic used the world over and Hippocrates, of Hippocratic Oath fame, noted garlic’s amazing healing properties. Garlic was used by ancient Greek and Roman soldiers for courage, perhaps because garlic is associated with the planet Mars. Garlic is hung in ropes outside shops and homes for luck and chopped up and tossed in gardens to scare away scorpions.

Suggestions for use: This “stinking rose” may be one of the most powerful warding charms out there, but its health benefits cannot be denied. Hang garlic in your kitchen to encourage healthy cooking. Incorporate fresh chopped garlic in any healing spell and be sure to add a fire element to pay homage to Mars. If you’re in a pinch, powdered garlic can be used in talismans and spell bottles.

Ivy

Seen as a counterpart to holly, ivy has maternal associations of protection and, less complimentary, clinginess. Houses with ivy covering a wall are “protected” by this plant, hidden and shielded from the rest of the world in a loving green blanket. Ivy grows in a spiral, a sacred symbol, and has five-pointed leaves, a symbol of the unity of the elements. Ivy is a hardy plant, thriving in many environments, and grows on a twisting vine. For these reasons, ivy is linked with fidelity in relationships.

Suggestions for use: Incorporate ivy in love spells, but be sure to include holly as well, to balance the two partners. For the less enamored, use ivy to bind. Place five ivy leaves in a circle and on each leaf, place a representation of one element, holding the fifth leaf in your hand. Make a taglock for your target, bind it with a piece of ivy, and squeeze the taglock tightly in your other hand. (Use garlic as your fire element if you’d also like the person to be driven away!)

Rose

This is an old plant, which has been cultivated by humans over the years to be bigger, more colorful, and impossibly perfect. The first roses had only five petals in the shape of a pentagram, so it has long symbolized sacred knowledge. The rose resembles the human heart so it’s connected to love and passion. It is associated with Aphrodite, Venus, Lakshmi, Eros… to name a few. Along with the lily and lotus, the rose is one of the most heavily symbolic flowers in the world. Royal houses adopted the rose as their sigils, the Tarot uses the rose as a way to show balance, and in Christianity, the rose is the flower of Mary, the quintessential mother. The rose, along with representing everything from virginal purity to wild sexual passion, is also the symbol of secrets. If something is sub rosa, it means it is confidential, only spoken of in whispers and under a veil of secrecy.

Suggestions for use: Love potions are a given. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a love potion (or written one) that didn’t include some part of the rose. But try to think about the rose in a new way. This is a flower that curls up tightly, hides many layers of petals, and grows thorns along its stem — all to keep you out. This is a clandestine flower, so it should be used during spells when you want to hide something or keep something safe. Use the rose when you need privacy or to keep someone out of your business. I suggest further research on this “most perfect” of flowers, though. If you have a magical need, the rose can probably fulfill it!

Magical Properties of Herbs, Plants and Trees

Hundreds of trees, shrubs, flowers and herbs grow on Earth. The power of these plants is extremely high and enhances the power of spells and rituals.

It is no coincidence that plants are important ingredients in my rituals and play an important role in the alchemy of love and relationship problems.

You can grow the following plants in a ‘love garden’ to strengthen love spells, money spells, protection spells and all other rituals and spells.

Herbs in Magic

Herbs have, and always will be, intrinsically linked with magic in some form. Ever since magic first originated, spell seekers have been using plants and herbs in order to achieve their ends. Traditionally, the village shaman or witch doctor would use complex herbal remedies in order to deal with the foulest and most debilitating of diseases and illnesses.

However, it is not simply the medicinal value, or the fact that many kinds of herb are vital to producing a lovely and interesting recipe to serve to your friends that makes them so useful for magic spells and rituals. The other properties that any herb or plant possesses are ultimately just as valuable when it comes to magic and the various spells that they are appropriate for.

The reason behind the usage of a multitude of different herbs (Lavender and Rosemary spring to mind instantly) in magic rituals and spell casting is simply that they seem to emit an energy from within them. Tapping into this energy, allows the power that they release to be harnessed and used in order to manufacture and cast spells.

Herb use within those who practice magic is an issue that relies entirely on the specific person as many people use herbs on a regular basis, including them in almost every spell. Yet, equally, there are a huge group of people who barely use herbs at all and also many others in between who use them sparingly.

Nonetheless, the diversity of the magical herb is undeniable. Some of the particular herbs allow us to find love, feel protection or even increase the energy and power of other ingredients that they are combined with. This makes them a formidable and incredibly valuable addition to any spell-seeker’s arsenal of magic.

Some examples of popular herbs and their uses are:

Acacia

The twigs and bark of this plant are especially useful to awaken love and enhance physical strength.

African violet

When burnt, it enhances love and harmony in your own heart

Aster

helps all kinds of magic but is most effective as a Potpourri in a magic satchel

Balm of Gilead

The buds are used in many love potions and amulets which help love.

Can be used for all love magic and is most effective in love potions and readings.

Bay

Bay leaves are especially effective in love potions and when burnt

Bistort

An amulet from nature which furthers female fertility

Bittersweet

Used in Potpourris to heal broken hearts and release from painful memories.

Catnip

An herb with various magical uses in love pillows, fertility pendants and for magic spells for good luck

Cinnamon

A spice which is often used for love magic: for aphrodisiacs, magic spells designed to elicit sexual lust and passion, and love meditations.

Cloves

The buds are an important ingredient in love potions. The clove oil enhances physical beauty.

Coltsfoot

The leaves are used in love spells and for love pillows.

Columbine

Useful for love meditations and spells, especially those which call out love or return a lost love. Columbine also enhances courage.

Cowslip

This plant strengthens Beauty and Attractiveness.

Crocus

For love spells which attract love and further harmony.

This plant is helpful for all kinds of love magic but most effective for love readings and prophecies.

Damiana

Used for ages as aphrodisiac; effective for all kinds of love alchemy.

Dandelion

Used in love readings and to add to the fulfillment of secret desires

Dill

Used in many love rituals, especially in spells which elicit sexual longing

Elder

The wood and the flowers of the elder plants are apt for love magic, especially for spells which elicit love.

Fennel

Seeds, leaves and root are useful for many kinds of love alchemy, especially rituals to awaken love.

Garlic is used to protect from drowning and can also be placed in doorways to ward off illnesses and to keep evil away from those inside. Another use of it is to ward off persistent ex-lovers.

Geranium

Especially effective for magic spells to enhance fertility

Ginseng

An especially effective herb that has been used for magical purposes for centuries. It is often used for amulets which show love or for aphrodisiacs which enhance male virility.

Goldenrod

Effective for love prophecies

Hazelnut

A plant which has many magical powers, most effective for love prophecies and magic spells for fertility

Heather

Heather has the best effect in magic spells which enhance physical beauty and attractiveness.

Jasmine

The flowers are used for love spell which elicit love and passion. Jasmine oil is an important ingredient in love potions for broken hearts.

Juniper

Its red berries are especially effective for all love magic which enhances sexual potency.

Lady’s mantle

This plant was often used in the medieval ages by alchemists. Lady’s mantle is also known as ‘Alchemilla’ and is used for many kinds of love magic.

can be used for all love spells. The petals are liked in love pillows. We use candles dipped with lavender oil for magic spells.

Lemon

The leaves are useable for all sorts of love magic. The flowers show their effect in magic spells as well as love potions and perfumes which elicit love and longing.

Lovage

Roots and seeds are important ingredients for erotic love alchemy

Magnolia

Especially the flowers are effective for all magic designed to elicit fidelity

Melissa

This plant is useful for all love magic, especially those which calm the heart

Mint

The leaves are used in all magic which elicits sexual desire

Mistletoe

This ancient plant mainly addresses fertility

The leaves are used for love potions and love readings

Myrrh

this old, precious plant is an essential ingredient for all aromatic magic.

Nutmeg

The nut and the oil are used for all kinds of love alchemy, especially for potions and magic spells which elicit love and sexual desire.

Oak

Leaves and bark are useful for magic which strengthens the female fertility and the male virility

Orange

its fruit, leaves and petals are apt for many love spells, especially those which enhance sexual desire.

Orchid

The orchid works for love spells, love potions and love rituals which strengthen the Psyche.

Patchouli

The aromatic oil attracts love and is an important ingredient of aromatic love alchemy.

Parsley

Parsley is used in purification baths and is also said to increase libido and fertility.

Raspberry

The fruits can be used for love spells, love potions and as aphrodisiac.

The rose is one of the most helpful plants in love alchemy. Almost all its parts can be used for magic love spells and love potions. Rose oil is used to elicit courage; rose buds can be used for love readings.

Rosemary

very useful to awaken sensual desire. Rosemary, which clears the mind and helps to ensure good memory and learning capability. This makes it very useful for taking prior to a test or other situation in which mental ability is important.

Strawberry

The fruit helps with magic spells, love potions and aphrodisiacs. The leaves can be used a good luck charm.

Thyme

Is most effective in magic spells which elicit courage, and for all dream-related readings.

Vanilla

Is helpful for all kinds of love magic. The hulls are used for love amulets; the red flowers show their effectiveness in aphrodisiacs and love pillows.

Verbena

One of the oldest and most magical love plants. Verbena is most effective for love wishes, in love potions, aphrodisiacs and for love readings.

Violet

These small flowers are especially helpful for aphrodisiacs and for magic spells, but also useful in love pillows and amulets.

How Herbs and Plants are used in Rituals and Spells

Herbs can be applied in almost every way, but herbs acquired fresh are always more effective than those that have been dried. They can be crushed and dissolved into a liquid, consumed, rubbed on the skin and a number of other methods, meaning that they are exciting and versatile magical ingredients that can fit almost any spell that you care to think of. This serves to increase the level of value they carry to the spell caster.

Even now, the use of herbs is mostly confined to their value in terms of medicine. However, values in healing people are by no means the only aspect of herbs that makes them appealing to those who practice magic on a regular basis. Properties that they have including fragrances and various root configurations can also be utilized for great magical effect.

Overall, herbs are an important aspect of magic due to the simple fact that they are probably the most versatile ingredient that magic can find as they have an application in almost every field, being one of the most useful tools for anyone who practices magic. There is no substitute that is equally versatile and has the same reach of properties in terms of magical value.

Quite literally, the reach of herbal magic is endless.

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My last post was about the Witch’s House in Beverly Hills, but today the focus on the property’s south-facing front garden. Much of this garden receives full sun, with very few areas receiving partial shade. (The photo above was taken around 6:30pm, so those are late-afternoon shadows you see.)
First of all, I would call the landscaping at the Witch’s House more of a gothic “Halloween Garden” rather than a “Witch’s Garden”, because it does not rely heavily on the medicinal plants and herbs that are traditionally used in a witch’s garden. Instead, we see a lot of fall colors, especially blacks and oranges. (Note: black plants are almost never truly black, but the term used for very dark-colored plants.)
Here, dark-leafed, orange-flowered “Dahlia Mystic Desire” mingled with green-leaved varieties of dahlias:
A dark backdrop was achieved with this ground cover of “Dragon’s Blood” sedum (Sedum spurium), shown here near the pond’s edge:
Here is a planting of pygmy crimson barberry (barberis):
A variety of dark-leaved coral bells (heuchera) were used along the sidewalk, along with orange-blossoming California poppy (Eschscholzia californica, not in bloom at this time):
Even the pads of these water lilies (Nymphaea) were streaked with a very dark purple:
We also saw much attention paid to plant form and texture. Spine-covered Euphorbia “Lomi” Thai Giant Hybrid discourages trespassers as much as the “No trespassing” sign held in the craggy branches of manzanita (Arctostaphylos).
I’m told these tall plants resembling cornstalks are called Black Sorghum and were planted by seed:
Here is a closer look at a seedhead:
This type of sorghum can be used in dried flower arrangements, and has healthful antioxidant properties if eaten. The sorghums are supported by uniquely loopy wire cages as seen below:
I’ve no clue as to the name of this distinctive plant with its alien-looking seedheads:
Curly corkscrew rush (Juncus grass curly wurly) grows like a witch’s untamed hair by the pond:
I’m not sure about this weeping shrub or young tree, but I’m guessing it’s some type of Weeping Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum). The branches look like they also have a crazy twisted form:
It certainly stands out against the gothic setting of the black plants:
As I mentioned earlier, the flowers tended to be in Fall colors of orange and yellow. These are milkweed/butterfly weed (Asclepias curassavica or Asclepias tuberosa) :
Blanket flowers (Gaillardia) provided more orange and yellow blooms:
Another dahlia from the Mystic series, coreopsis, and gaillardia:
Black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’) line the pathway in the west side garden:
The dark plantings and grassy plants with an intentionally overgrown look blend the parkway strip into the overall scheme:
The hardscaping tied the home’s Storybook archetechture to the surroundings by the use of various-sized stone in walls and and in walkways:
Landscape lighting was provided by rock-shaped fixtures. This one was postioned by the only rosebush I saw in the garden, a rose with dark red blooms:

Trellises are custom made twists of wire and resemble thorny vines:
The wooden fences had uneven pickets:
The pond is used as a moat; one must cross the bridge to get to the front door of the Witch’s house:
The bridge used faux tree trunks, formed from concrete, as pillars:
This etched rock by the front gate, (partially covered by sweet peas Lathyrus odoratus that are past their prime), credits landscape designer Jane Marshall. She can be reached at her website, janemarshalllandscape.com.
Hope you enjoyed this garden tour. If I’ve misidentified a plant, please leave a comment to let me know.

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