This fast-growing African and North American native is quite the magical powerhouse. With a personality like a beloved shamanic superhero, the sumac (of the genus Rhus) is handsome, fiery, and wise.
Interestingly, some species of sumac leaves have been drunk as tea and added to Native American smoke mixtures, and sumac stems have been used to make sacred pipes. It’s also reported that some kinds of dried sumac wood glow under ultraviolet lights.
Beware: This tree was once considered a close relative of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, so be very sure you know what you’re dealing with before making physical contact.
Deep purplish red sumac or rhus powder—from sumac berries (actually drupes)—is a Middle Eastern spice that adds a warm, lemony kick to foods…and a fiery, immediate kick to magic. After empowering a bit of the powder in bright sunlight sprinkle it over any magical object or charm to make the magic work extra-quick, or to activate finances add a pinch to cash registers, wallets, or money boxes. Actually, if anything in your life feels stuck or in a holding pattern, you can sprinkle sumac powder over a symbol to get it moving.
When I was a teenager, my dad planted a bunch of African sumacs around our newly built central California home. Miraculously fast growing, they almost instantly lent a sense of lushness and permanency that was conspicuously lacking in the other newish homes in our cul-de-sac. Similarly, from a magical perspective, these handsome trees can help us to reach our roots down into any soil, no matter how parched or how far removed from the place we once considered home. For this purpose, spend time in quiet contemplation with a sumac or plant one or more in your yard.
Additionally, if feeling grounded in the physical realm is a challenge (i.e., if you feel unsettled, anxious, or uncomfortably cerebral) sumac can help. For this purpose, prepare a delicious Mediterranean or Middle Eastern dish to which you’ve added a sprinkling of sumac or rhus powder. Then light a deep red candle and enjoy.
Similar to the way cinnabar is sometimes used in feng shui rituals to bless and protect the space, rhus or sumac powder can be sprinkled around a property to create a protective boundary through which only positivity may enter, and in which only positivity remains. Simply sprinkling the powder across thresholds and windowpanes can seal the entrances from negativity in all forms. Just be sure to empower the powder in bright sunlight first, to clearly and specifically set an intention for what is and is not allowed in your space, and to do all sprinkling while moving in a clockwise direction. (Also, lock your doors!)
Sumac powder can also be added to protection charms and mixtures or sprinkled around a magical circle to protect from challenging energies as you work your magic.