In the House - February

Plant Magic: A Year of Green Wisdom for Pagans & Wiccans - Sandra Kynes 2017


In the House
February

Essential Oils for Magic

February is a good time to work with essential oils. Not only do they add fragrance to the air, they also connect us with the natural world and provide another way to engage in plant magic. While the use of essential oils may seem more New Age than Pagan to some people, these oils come from plants, and down through the ages witches and Pagans have used plants and oils for magic and ritual. As their name implies, essential oils carry the essence and life force energy of a plant.

When I create magical blends of essential oils, I like to set the intent from the very beginning. After I assemble all my blending gear, I draw a pentagram with a felt-tip pen on a paper towel on my work surface. While I’m doing this, I like to chant or say an incantation such as:

Green world, green world, abundant and pure; bring forth your strength, beauty, and more. Green world, green world, please assist me; manifest my will, so mote it be.

While these words are general in nature, you can include something specific about the purpose of a blend you create. Essential oils are popular for consecrating candles and tools, and you might want to create special blends for certain sabbat or esbat rituals. If you use essential oils on objects, the ones that you hold for any length of time during ritual will release fragrances as your body heat activates the scent.

As an alternative to putting oils directly on magic or divination tools, put a few drops of your blend on a small cotton ball and place it where you store these items. This will allow them to slowly absorb the vibrational energy of the oil without causing damage, which essential oils can sometimes do. Also, in the lead-up to actually doing a spell, use a cotton ball with your special oil blend and store it with the things you will use for the spell. This will give them time to steep in the scent as well as your intention.

If bathing before ritual or magic work is part of your practice, adding essential oil to the water is a good way to amplify the bath’s purification purpose. Use twelve to thirteen drops of your essential oil blend in an ounce of carrier oil, and then add it to your bath. See the section below for creating magical bath oils and salts.

Scenting an area before and during ritual, magic, or psychic work is another way to harness the vibrational energy of the plants from which the essential oils came. This is easily done with a diffuser. While electronic diffusers, nebulizers, and all sorts of gadgets are available in a range of sizes and prices, the low-tech tea light candle lamp does the job nicely. Besides, candles enhance the ambiance of ritual and craftwork.

Taking a cue from the ancient Egyptian use of incense, I like to use oil blends as an altar offering. Sometimes I do this as part of ritual and other times to simply honor a deity. Place a few drops of oil in a small bowl and chant or recite an incantation to announce its purpose. An offering of this type can precede magic, divination, or psychic work to vibrationally smooth the way.

Oils are often used to consecrate gemstones and crystals, too. The synergistic energy will boost the vibrational energy of the stone and the oil. A tiny dab is all that is needed. Avoid bathing the stone in oil as this may subdue some of its features, such as any optical phenomenon.

Special oil mixes can be used as house blessings or for other important occasions. Protective blends can be dabbed over doorways or anywhere you feel the need for it. You can also make a blend for any type of energy boost. And, of course, forget about the air fresheners on the market. Make your own, which will keep your house scented as well as magical. See the section below for making a reed diffuser.

MAGICAL BATH OILS AND SALTS

Cold winter nights are conducive for long soaks in the tub, and essential oils enhance the experience. In the bath, essential oils help to relieve stress, pain, and muscle ache. A carrier oil provides even distribution of the essential oil when it is to be used in water. For a healing beauty bath, mix essential oils with milk instead of using carrier oil. The fat in milk acts like a carrier oil and absorbs essential oils, which become diluted as they are dispersed throughout the milk. Use twelve to thirteen drops of essential oil in an ounce of carrier oil or milk, and then add it to your bath water.

In addition to carrier oils and milk, essential oils can be mixed with salts. Epsom salts are healing and make a good medium for essential oils. Coarse sea salt can also be used. Salts contain minerals that aid in the release of toxins from the muscles and joints and promote relaxation.

Basic Recipe for Bath Salts

2 cups Epsom or sea salts

2 tablespoons baking soda (optional)

10—15 drops essential oil

Place the dry ingredients in a glass bowl. Plastic should be avoided as chemicals from the plastic container can leach into the oils. Add the essential oil and mix thoroughly. Store the bath salts in a glass jar with a tight lid. The optional baking soda in the ingredient list helps to soothe the skin. To use the salts, add a handful or two under the running tap to dissolve them.

For a Valentine’s Day blend, try a combination of lavender, chamomile, rose, lemon, anise, and cedar. If you are making bath oil, try almond or apricot for the carrier oil. For a bath of renewal at Imbolc, combine rosemary, thyme, pine, and lemon with almond or olive oil as the carrier. When making your oil blend or bath salts, charge them with a chant or special incantation to suit their intended purpose.

FRESHEN THE AIR WITH A LITTLE MAGIC

For many of us, opening the windows to air out the house is not feasible at this time of year. Although there are a plethora of “air fresheners” on the market, many of us prefer not to use chemical-based, artificial scents. A gentle way to scent the air is to use a reed diffuser. It takes a little longer than an electronic diffuser or tea light lamp to disperse the essential oil into the air, but it is a nice, subtle method to freshen and renew the energy of a house.

Things needed to make a reed diffuser:

A glass or porcelain container

Reeds

Carrier oil

Essential oil(s)

A short glass or porcelain jar or vase with a narrow neck works best. A wide-mouthed jar with a cork can be adjusted by drilling a hole in the cork so it is large enough to accommodate the reeds. There are several types of reeds on the market, however, rattan reeds work best as they are porous and wick the oils more evenly. The reeds should be at least twice the height of the jar.

Choose lightweight carrier oil for the base, as thicker ones are not drawn up the reeds as easily. Sweet almond oil is often recommended, but I have found that sunflower, a very thin oil, works best. If you are using more than one essential oil, blend those together first and then give them about a week for the scent to mature.

Pour a quarter cup of carrier oil into your diffuser jar, add two teaspoons of the essential oil or oil blend, and swirl to mix. Place the reeds in the jar and turn them a couple of times the first day to diffuse the scent. After that, turn them once a day or every other day. Over time, you will need to add more oil to the jar, and when the reeds become saturated, replace them.

There are several things to avoid when making a reed diffuser. First, the fragrance oils on the market for reed diffusers are synthetic and not essential oils. Some of them may smell nice, but they are made from chemicals, not plants. The commercial base oils for reed diffusers are also usually chemical-based. Mineral oil and dipropylene glycol are sometimes recommended as a base, but avoid these for the same reason.

Wait a couple of days until the reeds are drawing up the oils, and then carry your diffuser around your house as you say:

Winter soon will be done, as spring draws forth the warming sun. Clear this home of all things stale; blessed renewal, welcome and hail!

13 Paul J. J. Payack, A Million Words and Counting: How Global English is Rewriting the World (New York: Citadel Press Books, 2008), 175.

14 Katherine Kear, Flower Wisdom: The Definitive Guidebook to the Myth, Folklore, and Healing Powers of Flowers (London: Thorsons, 2000), 98.

15 Allen J Coombes, Dictionary of Plant Names (Portland, OR: Timber Press, Inc., 1985), 64.

16 Kear, Flower Wisdom, 56.

17 Ibid., 57.

18 Dobelis, Magic and Medicine of Plants, 146.