Practical Magic: A Beginner's Guide to Crystals, Horoscopes, Psychics, and Spells - Nikki Van De Car 2017
Magic for the weekend Wiccan
IT’S A SHORT LEAP FROM PRACTICING HERBAL HEALING TO practicing herbal magic. If you think about it, we make potions all the time. A calming DIY face mask? That’s a potion. Those amazing bath bombs at LUSH? Totally potions. It may not seem like magic because we aren’t talking “double, double toil and trouble; fire burn, and cauldron bubble” here—but in fact, ingredients like “eye of newt” and “toe of frog” were actually just folk names. Eye of newt is another term for mustard seed, and frog’s feet were buttercups. It’s been argued that these folk names were really code names that practicing witches used to keep their potion recipes secret, while having a good laugh about some poor fool scampering off to risk his life for a wolf’s claw when all he really needed was some moss.
So what is all this mustard seed and moss supposed to do? Generally speaking, as with so much else in this book, it’s about energy. Like chakras and crystals (see here and here), herbal magic is frequently about bringing your body, mind, and spirit into balance. You will use the herbs in the same way you do crystals and chakras—by harnessing your prana, your energy, and directing it in a positive, loving way.
That’s not to say herbs can’t be used in spells! There are love spells, spells for protection, money spells, luck spells, and spells for happiness. There are also plants that are sometimes used for darker magic, as well—yew can be used to invite death, and parsley can bring bad luck. (For whatever reason, parsley was thought to be really evil.) But it’s about intention. Putting a little parsley in a dinner you’re making for a friend is not going to harm them—unless you want it to. And at that point, who is to say that it’s the parsley that’s at fault? It’s really about the negative energy you’re bringing to the friendship (something that clearly needs to be addressed!).
The same is true for light magic—it is always about intention. If you cook a dish of stewed tomatoes with dill, basil, and cinnamon, and you focus your energy on inviting abundance, you might find yourself catching a financial windfall. (Mind you, your dinner might taste a little strange.) And of course it’s not just about cooking. Botanomancy, the practice of divination through herbs, involves burning specific plants or trees and reading messages in the ashes or watching the way the smoke moves. Gathering vervain under a new moon and placing it under your pillow will draw the object of your affections to you as you sleep. Holly placed under the pillow will induce prophetic dreams.
Most plant-based magic is less about casting spells than it is about using plants with specific magical properties in intentional ways. Placing specific plants around the home, consuming them (if they are safe), burning them, carrying them around the neck in a small bag—these are all the most common and effective ways of bringing herb witchery into your life.