Spells Using Herbs
An herb is a plant you are familiar with while a weed is a plant you do not know how to use. The plant kingdom is full of all kinds of plants that are intimate with the forces of divine creation.
The influences of various plants can be sorted in many ways—on the Tree of Life, according to astrological ruler-ships, or any number of methods. However, it is important to understand that classifications of usefulness are not intrinsic to the plants themselves. Plants fulfill a place in the Divine Scheme without attempting to block the will of their creator.
This chapter presents a variety of herbal spells. They are taken from many different occult or spiritual practices and they demonstrate the various ways plants may be used in magic.
Adam and Eve Root
Adam and Eve root (also known as putty root) is found in the southern United States. It has been used for many years as a love charm by blacks in the south. It is under the general rulership of Venus, with a secondary influence from Saturn. Today the root is usually purchased as a curio in occult or herb and spice shops.
As a love charm it is usually made in pairs, one for each partner. The two roots are prayed over, and one is given to each party in the relationship. The roots may be carried in a “charm bag” or otherwise carried on the person. This love charm is usually used when children are desired from the relationship; it is not used for casual affairs.
Adam and Eve root may also be used as a good luck charm, but it does not combine well with other ingredients in magical operations. As a good luck charm it is simply prayed over and given to the recipient to carry. Some people prefer it to any other charm you could make.
Agrimony (sometimes called cocklebur) is best known as a pesky weed which attaches itself to human and beast. It is very popular in folk healing, and less used in magic. Its many benefits in herbal medicine have earned for it the rulership of Jupiter, although some people feel it is ruled by Mars or Saturn. It has a curious property in magical application which makes it unique among herbs because this herb can assist you in releasing fears.
Occasionally a bit of agrimony is added to a charm bag to release fear. The charm can also be carried on your person, or a few burrs may be made into tea, which is added to a ritual bath. In cases where frightful events have taken place, some agrimony may be burned as an incense to remove the fear vibration from the location. It will release unconscious fears which you may not be able to admit you have.
If the debilitating fear is actually a belief, the cure is much slower than if the fear is a simple one which you have not fully accepted. A belief takes a long time to release and should be handled consciously as well as magically.
Agrimony is used to break the most common curses, those which you impose on yourself through fear or guilt.
Aloe is the holy herb of Islam, as rue is the herb of Christianity and hyssop the herb of Judaism. Muslims who have made the pilgrimage to Mecca hang aloe over their doorways as a protective measure, and as a symbol of their pilgrimage.
The herb itself is a symbol of patience, especially the patient submission to the will of God. It may be used in baths to assist the development of patience in people. Use about a quarter cup of chopped aloe, which can be steeped in a quart of boiling water. Add to a tub of water, and soak in the bath fifteen to twenty minutes.
Aloe has many uses in medicine as well. It is a particularly soothing herb which is used to heal cuts and abrasions.
Used in Indian culinary feasts, curries, and so forth it is called “the food of the gods.” To those of us who dislike the smell, it is called “Devil's Dung.” Asafetida is a pasty, granular, and odorous compound.
Asafetida is burned as an incense in rites of negative magic. Compounded with sulfur it is said to summon the spirits of hell. It has the property of attracting negative and malicious spiritual entities. Over the years it has become a favorite of the Christian Satanists, who seem to think that it does what it promises.
This is an example of an incense which can get one into a good deal of trouble and is best avoided. Those who are wise will avoid it; those who are not can use it to harm themselves.
In the Middle Ages, basil was classed as an herb of Mars. It was said that if basil were crushed it would breed scorpions. At the same time, it was considered to be a divine herb, and supposedly it brought good fortune to the place where it was kept. It is certainly one of the most useful herbs in herbal magic.
Basil is used as a spray or a sprinkle to clear or lighten the place where it is placed. It is used in the corners of sick rooms, as a floor wash, and as a house sprinkle.
A teaspoon of basil added to a bottle of ethyl rubbing alcohol will make an excellent neck and shoulder rub for the relief of tension caused by the working day. Used in a bath, a tea made of a teaspoon of basil steeped in a cup of boiling water has a protective and cleansing influence. It is particularly useful to clean off the feelings left by contact with those who are negative or controlling.
The tobacco from a cigarette and as much basil, burned on charcoal, will provide a simple incense which will drive away negative influences from the place where it is burned. In all cases, basil is protective of the place where it is used.
The “noble laurel” is best known for its use in cooking meats. It has the reputation of being a hallucinogenic herb, as it was regularly chewed by the prophetic priestesses of the Oracle at Delphi. It also formed the “laurel crown” of poets and philosophers.
Magically, bay leaf is used for granting wishes. There are a number of forms of this spell, but the following is the simplest and most effective. It, like other wish spells, is based on the concept that if you really know what you want you can have it. Write the wish out on a piece of paper. Fold the paper into thirds, and place three bay leaves inside. Again, fold the paper into thirds, and put it away in a dark place. Once the wish is granted, the paper should be burned as a thank you. The process of writing out the wish, and folding the paper, must be done while concentrating on the wish.
The blessed thistle, or holy thistle, has a long history as a good luck charm. It may either be carried on your person or placed in your house to attract good luck. In the house it can be used in an arrangement of dried flowers in the main room. Occasionally it is placed in an arrangement by itself.
The blessed thistle is able to absorb negative influences, and this is what gives it its reputation as a good luck charm. If you decide to place some blessed thistle in your home, you might wish to change them every week or so, as they absorb their limit of negativity in that time.
Broom Tops or Broom Herb
The use of broom herb in a bath is mentioned in the chapter on water and baths. Broom herb is very useful as a washing compound. It may be used to clear away any astral detritus from floors, walls, and furniture. A cup or two of broom tea per bucket is all that is required. The mop or scrub sponge should be rinsed in another bucket to get the best cleansing effect.
Cool broom tea can be prayed over to make a protective sprinkle for the home. It is not particularly effective as a protection and does much better in cleansing.
Loose broom herb, placed in the corners of a room, can keep the astral environment of the room clean. The herb should be changed every week or so, as it has little staying power. Fresh broom herb is best for this use.
Cardamom is a popular spice—it is used to flavor coffee in Arabic countries; Scandinavian recipes call for it in baking; it is used to flavor meat in curries. In magic it is primarily used as an incense to calm the place where it is burned. Cardamom is not a good herb for baths, as it has only a temporary effect on the emotions, and, although it can balance the person, the effect is brief. As a calming incense, it's particularly useful for the consultation room.
Chestnut trees belong to Jupiter. As all nuts or fruits of plants relate to Jupiter, the nuts of the chestnut tree have a very strong power of Jupiter. They may be used (raw, not roasted) in a charm bag to add the virtue of Jupiter, and they expand any quality which the charm bag already has.
The nuts may be used in a bath to gain the virtue of Jupiter, for example, in assisting a woman to become pregnant. Five nuts (five being the usual number of Jupiter) should be used in the bath.
Chestnuts are a poor choice for the usual novice desire of drawing money, as the Jupiter vibration will usually encourage the individual to spend money rather than to acquire it. One nut, or a necklace of them, may be prepared as a charm for money, however. The prayer for a charm that includes chestnut should limit the time element involved, or the prayer will be too general to be of real effect.
It can also be prepared as a charm to place under the chair in the consultation room, to encourage clients to be generous, a practice that may fall into the realm of black magic!
Chewing John is so called because of its use as a chewing root. It can be chewed when you seek good fortune, or for its spicy taste. It adds a nice flavor to rice. Chewing John is often made into a good luck charm, prayed over, and carried on your person or in a charm bag.
The root finds its best use as a money drawing charm. It is placed in a chamois skin charm bag with three silver coins, usually dimes. The root will receive the influence of the prayer prayed over it very well, and it seems to act to open up opportunities for money to come. It can be used to make up an attractive charm, but as silver is more expensive now it is not always an easy charm to make.
The powder is one of the best casting powders (or “persuasion” or “compelling” powders) there is for sex. It should be prayed over and touched to the body of the person you desire to have sex with. It is not a “love powder,” it is strictly a “sex” powder.
Cinnamon is one of the most useful spices in magical practice. It is used for purification, blessing, protection, and prosperity. It is a primary ingredient in many of the powders and incenses used in both Eastern and Western magical practices. True cinnamon should be purchased from an herb store, as the grocery store product is usually cassia, an entirely different thing altogether. The Food and Drug Administration allows cassia to be labeled as cinnamon, so it takes a bit of searching to find the real thing.
Cinnamon is perhaps most useful in protecting yourself from the envy and jealousy of others. Using it is simplicity itself: simply place a dab of cinnamon, about half as much as will cover the head of a match, on your breastbone while you are dressing.
Warning: cinnamon is potentially a skin irritant, strong enough to leave welts on sensitive skin. Please use it with caution.
You can also mix it with plain unscented dusting powder. A half teaspoon of ground cinnamon to two cups of dusting powder will give you a good mixture. Used as a dusting powder after the bath, the protective influence of cinnamon will surround you.
Cinquefoil (also known as Five Finger Grass) is used as an ingredient in many charm bags, or as a charm by itself. It has the ability to make you speak eloquently, to the best of your ability. It acts to stimulate the memory and allow words to flow. A bath for this purpose is useful, for example, just before an employment interview. A teaspoon of cinquefoil to a cup of boiling water will make the solution for the bath.
Cinquefoil can also be used to make people speak their minds, not always the wisest thing to do. The name of the individual who is to speak should be written on a piece of paper, and cinquefoil herb placed over it. The paper is then prayed over for the effect desired. This is an excellent way to get a witness to testify in court, for he or she usually says more than necessary, and, in some cases, it is difficult to get the witness to shut up.
Devil's shoestrings is an aptly named herb, as anyone who has tried to clear it from a garden patch will testify. It is famed for its persistence, and its ability to add a “staying quality” to whatever it is used in. The herb itself will take a strong charge from the prayer made over it, and it will act with the same persistence that it displays in the garden.
The most famous spell which uses this herb is the “compelling spell,” which is used to gain agreement from another person. It is often used by people who have to negotiate, and it has an excellent reputation for success. The spell must be made for the person who is going to use it and prayed over in that person's name.
Pieces of devil's shoestrings are cut about one and a half to two inches long and placed into a wide-mouthed bottle. Several lumps of camphor are added, and the bottle is filled with bourbon whiskey. The filled bottle is then prayed over in the name of the person who is to use it. The bottle is then capped and stored in a dark place.
To use the spell, a piece of the root is taken from the bottle and rubbed between the hands. The root is then returned to the bottle, and the person using the spell simply shakes hands with the person he or she wishes to influence.
Fenugreek is one of our oldest cultivated plants. It is used as a food in many parts of the world, and as a condiment or seasoning in others. In ancient Egypt it was used as a part of the Kuphi incense, the Holy Smoke which was burned as an offering to the gods.
Fenugreek is still used as an ingredient in incense in some practices today, but its most common use is as a head wash. Tea of Fenugreek is allowed to cool, and the head washed thoroughly with it. Let the residue stay on the head for twenty-four hours and wash it off the following day. This has a clearing effect on the head and is specifically recommended for improving clarity of thought. Use this head wash on those days when you feel dull, afflicted or muddle-headed—it's a sure way to get your clarity back. It also works to destroy any thoughts which are being sent you by others. You might try it when you find yourself having strange and usually negative thoughts about yourself.
Garlic is a hardy perennial with long, flattened, solid leaves. The bulb, the part most used, is composed of several smaller sections known as “cloves.” The whole bulb is covered with a membranous skin. Garlic has been used throughout history as a medicinal and a food and has been credited with almost magical properties in curing disease. It is used in magic in numerous ways, and it has been a religious offering since Egyptian times.
Garlic is the exemplar of plants in its astrological response. It is very strongly aligned with Mars in Aries and is used as an offering to the warrior deities in most pantheons. It is also used to remove the Evil Eye, and to take aggressive action against enemies.
To keep money in the house, burn the skin covering the garlic cloves in the kitchen fire. Or burn it on a charcoal if you have an electric stove.
Dried ground garlic is often used in incense to remove heavy thoughtforms, negative entities and thoughts of depression. A blend of both garlic and onion powders is effective for these purposes, but the area should then be infused with a lighter incense, such as frankincense, to neutralize the heavy Mars influence of the garlic and onion mixture. Garlic and brown sugar mixed with benzoin in equal quantities is a useful incense for purifying and cleansing the inside of a building. It is especially effective in the rooms of someone who lives in a state of depression. It lightens the living quarters considerably.
Garlic can also be used in baths for personal protection. Boil nine cloves of garlic in a cast iron (or stainless steel) pot with about a quart of water. Boil for about twenty minutes, allow the solution to cool to room temperature. Take a regular cleansing bath, with soap and water, then pour the garlic solution over your head. Allow the solution to run out the bath drain while praying that evil be washed off. This bath is effective against most negative influences and is very good against the physical debilitation brought on by the Evil Eye or consistent negativity from others.
Three garlic cloves in a red charm bag are considered to be a very useful charm against the Evil Eye. Garlic is also the traditional protection against vampires.
Garlic has so many uses in folk healing that there have been several books written on the subject. Crushed garlic is occasionally rubbed on the feet to reduce fever. There is also a prayer to St. Ajo (St. Garlic) for healing—an indication of how powerful garlic is thought to be in medicine.
Garlic grows wild almost everywhere. I have found garlic plants in New York's Central Park and in vacant lots and fields in the city. I have also found it growing along the roadways of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It is certainly one of the most interesting magical and culinary herbs in the world.
It is the root of the ginger plant that we know as ginger and this is the part used—either whole, fresh, dried or powdered. Ginger has been used as a culinary spice since 550 BCE and is particularly prevalent in Chinese cooking.
This herb relates to Mars, but it is the active Mars, and is quite different from the Mars in Aries vibration of garlic. Ginger is used as a catalyst, promoting a rapid change in conditions. If you add small quantities of ginger to any incense, it will enhance the effects of the incense and make it work more quickly.
Elementally, ginger is the “fire of air.” It is used in spells of all kinds to assist them being brought to fruition more quickly. Take care that whenever ginger is used in a spell, it is the smallest of the components of the spell. If too much ginger is used, it will overwhelm the other components, making the spell a waste of effort.
Grains of Paradise
Grains of paradise are the guinea peppers of the East Coast of Africa. They are a prime constituent of African magical practice, as well as African food. They are used to feed the saints in some magico-religious practices. For this purpose, they are placed in small charm bags and hung behind pictures of the saints on the walls of the home or on the home altar.
Grains of paradise are also added to red charm bags to “add power” to them. Seven grains, steeped in boiling water, are used to make a bath for men who are having trouble with gaining the affection of women. Three grains are used to gain a favorable judgment in court, but as the spell requires that they be prayed over and then placed on the desk of the judge, it is a bit difficult to accomplish in the modern courtroom.
Grains of paradise are also used as an incense to summon specific deities in some of the magico-religious practices of African origin. This use is not only a bit tricky, it is an initiatory use which is not possible for non-initiates to use safely. This is an example of how you can get yourself into a good deal of difficulty with too little knowledge.
The hazelnut is the Celtic nut of wisdom. It can be used by people who desire mental stability, calm, or insight into difficulties. A bath made with nine hazelnuts can assist in cleaning the mental body as well as stimulating the mind. The bath is made by boiling nine hazelnuts in a cast iron pot with a quart of water for an hour or so. Once the liquid cools, it is added to a tub bath.
A necklace made from hazelnuts may be worn to gain the same effect, or to preserve the effect once the mental body has been cleaned. It will take several weeks for the necklace to have the proper effect, and it should be worn almost continuously during this time. Carrying a hazelnut in your pocket has almost no effect, as the vibration of the hazelnut is not particularly intense.
A tea made from nine hazelnuts will assist a business in obtaining customers. The tea is used to mop the cleaned floors of the business place and is made the same way you would make it for a ritual bath.
Adding ground hazelnut flour to foods may also assist the mental vibration, particularly if it has been prayed over.
High John the Conqueror
High John the Conqueror (Ipomoea jalapa) is one of the better-known magical roots. It has been prepared and carried as a good luck charm for many years. It is one of the best-known good luck charms, and its use dates from the days of slavery in the American South, where it was used and prepared by blacks. It is the subject of a number of stories which are legendary in nature. I have heard at least two versions of how an ancestor used the root to convince the “master” to set him free.
Because it is such a useful root, and because it is a basic part of most American magical practices, it is an example of how a single herbal substance can be used in a number of ways. It is one of the most versatile magical substances available.
High John the Conqueror Oil
Split four or five High John the Conqueror roots into small pieces. As it is a hard root, I recommend a chopping block and an axe. Place the pieces in a small bottle and cover them with olive oil (or cottonseed oil). For more negative work, mineral oil should be used. Place the bottle with the root pieces and the oil in the sunlight for at least a week, which allows the oil to absorb the virtue of the root pieces. You can either leave the root pieces in the oil or strain them out as you desire. As only a little of the oil is used at a time, it is probably just as well to keep them in.
High John the Conqueror Water
Boil four or five roots in a cast iron pot for a few hours. You will have to add water as the pot boils, for if the pan runs dry you will have to begin the process all over again. You should end up with about a pint of water and the roots. Throw away the roots and save the water. Add two or three shots of vodka to the water and store it away until you want to use it. It is better to store it in a dark place.
High John the Conqueror Powder
File away the outer covering of the root with a wood rasp, and file as much of the powder as you desire. To keep the powder fresh, you should only file as much as you are going to use at one time.
Using High John the Conqueror Root
The root, in whatever form you desire to use it, is a material which will change conditions. It has gained widespread reputation as a compelling material, to make another person succumb to the desires of the one using it. It may be used to gain love or money, but it is always used to influence another person to your advantage.
You can use the oil, by praying over it and putting it on someone. You can use the powder as a casting powder to be sprinkled over the doorstep of someone's house. The water can be used to wipe down a chair you know someone will sit in. In any of these cases you can have the other person at a disadvantage when dealing with you.
The disadvantage of the use of this root is that it must be prayed over for what you specifically want, in as much detail as you can think of. This means that you must know exactly what you want, without any obscurities or fudging. Once you know what you really want, you are halfway to having it in any event, with or without the use of magic.
The horse chestnut has an unusual property. It has the virtue of being able to absorb physical pain from those who carry it or apply it to themselves. It is very useful for people who suffer from arthritis or bursitis, and it can be carried in the purse or pocket to gain some relief. The nut should be prayed over in the name of the person before it is given to him or her.
A bowl of nuts, say three or four nuts in a small bowl, may be kept in the sickroom of a person who is in pain. The nuts should be prayed over in the name of the person, and then rinsed in cool water every day to increase their ability to accept the pain. Once a nut used for this purpose becomes damaged—its skin cracks, for example—it should be discarded. It has done its work and needs to be replaced.
Hyssop is the holy herb of Judaism, just as rue is the holy herb of Christianity and aloe the holy herb of Islam. The use of hyssop in Jewish religious practice is described in Psalm 51: “Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean.” Hyssop was used as an aspergillum, to spread holy water around the temple. It still plays some part in the Jewish liturgy, as one of the herbs served at Passover.
Hyssop has a cleansing quality. It is used in baths for cleansing as well as a sprinkle for cleansing the home. It may also be used as a spray, to lighten the vibrations of a place. It can be used to mop a floor or rug (damp mop) to remove feelings of negativity which may be present.
Hyssop tea is made by adding a tablespoon of the herb to a cup of boiling water. Let the tea cool, and use it as you desire—as a ritual bath, a sprinkle, or whatever.
Lovage is known as the “loving herb.” In English folklore it is used to bring love to the person who uses it, and it has been used in a variety of ways to attract love. A bath may be made from a tablespoon of the ground root steeped in a cup of boiling water for this purpose. The resulting tea is added to the bath, and a prayer for a lover is made while bathing.
Lovage root can also be used in another kind of love spell, one more suited for marriage. The root is split open, and a piece of paper with the names of the two lovers is inserted into the root. The root is then tied, paper included, with three threads, one red, one green and one white. The completed packet is buried along the foundation wall of the house in which the two lovers live. The intention of the spell is to provide permanent love between the two people.
The white string or thread is for purity, to keep the lovers faithful to each other. The red is for mutual passion, while the green is for prosperity and offspring.
Low John (Trillium grandiflorum) is also known as ground thistle or southernwood root. It can be used to reverse spells cast by others (see page 19). Low John is also used in love spells. Its influence is protective and can be used for any other work being done and added to charm bags for that purpose. Oil of bergamot is usually the preferred medium for love charms, but a piece of Low John root has about the same influence as two or three drops of oil of bergamot.
Low John can also be used negatively. Placed over a doorway, for example, it makes negative influences more uncomfortable in the room. It can also be placed under a bed or sewn into a pillow, for the same purpose.
Low John is not a particularly good incense in my experience. If you use it, be sure to pray over it before you use it.
The marigold is not only a beautiful garden or house plant, it is one of the most potent plants used in magic. As a plant of both the Sun and the Moon, it has a host of useful magical properties. In the garden, it is planted as a border to protect plants and seedlings from insects. In herbal medicine it has been used for healing damaged flesh and open wounds. It is an herbal specific for cancers which are ulcerous, several cups of the tea being taken each day until the cancer is healed.
Magically, the tea is made with a tablespoon of the flowers and a cup of water. It is an excellent condenser of the astral force. The tea may be placed in a charm bag and prayed over to keep the charm “on target,” or a few drops of the tea may be prayed over and rubbed on the hands.
Magic mirrors may be made through the use of the alcoholic extract of the marigold flowers. The mirror is made by coating the front of a piece of cleaned window glass with the solution, and then it is prayed over to see what one wishes to view. If the glass is not cleaned, the astral charge will reveal itself constantly through such a mirror.
Marjoram is the familiar kitchen herb. It is not used often in American cooking, and it is almost unknown in American magical practice. It does have a very interesting quality, however, which makes it worth mentioning. The herb can be used to clean negative thoughtforms out of a place by sprinkling it on the floor and sweeping the floor. The marjoram absorbs negativity and is swept out of the house with it.
While a tea may be made from marjoram (a teaspoon of the chopped herb to a cup of boiling water), it is not as effective as the use of the herb as a sweeping compound. If you do not wish to use marjoram as a sweeping compound, it may be used as an incense to rid a place of negativity, but it will work better as a sweeping compound.
The use of this herb in a cleansing bath is mentioned in the section on water and baths.
Mate is used as a magical powder to rid a person or thing of the influence caused by spirits of the dead. The fine powder is blessed, prayed over, and blown on the person to be cleansed. The influence will last as long as the powder remains on the person. In some of the Afro-Catholic magico-religious practices of South America, powdered mate and finely powdered eggshell are combined for this purpose.
The powder itself, or a tea made from the herb, can be used to reduce spirit influence in a place. The powder is placed in the corners of the room (or the corners of a drawer), while the tea is used to mop the floor. Add a cup or two of mate tea to a bucket of mop water.
A friend of mine places teabags of mate tea in the corners of his dresser drawers. I do not feel that spirits are that interested in laundry, but he thinks that there is some advantage to it. I would think that putting the herb in your pillow case would be more effective in reducing nighttime spirit activity in the bedroom.
Mint has a quality which stimulates. It may be used to “spice up” charms to make them work faster, or to turn your mentality so you can be in accord with the effect desired from your charm. As a spray or sprinkle it puts a mentally stimulating vibration throughout the place where it is applied. It would be ideal for a school, but it is also useful in an office or a house that is for sale.
Mint may be used as a floor wash in a business place, to stimulate business activity. Honeysuckle and cinnamon do better here though.
If you rinse your hair with mint, it will often remove minor mental dullness. Wash your hair and rinse it with a mint tea, made of a teaspoon of dried mint leaf to a cup of boiling water. Allow the water and mint to come to room temperature before you apply it to your head. When rinsing, scrub the scalp thoroughly. This is a first aid treatment for minor forms of malochia.
Mugwort is one of those plants which is usually considered to be a weed. Since ancient times it has been considered a bringer of prophecy through dreams. As an incense it is believed to assist people in trance or when they are asleep to “dream true.” For dreams you burn it as an incense in your bedroom before retiring, or you can make a mugwort “dream pillow,” the more usual method of using the herb.
A mugwort “dream pillow” is made by filling a pillow case with mugwort leaves. You should sleep alone when you use it and remember to have a pencil and paper at your bedside to write down any dreams that may come along.
Myrtle is a component of a blend called Angel Water, which is made from myrtle tea, orange water and rose water. Myrtle is used to bring positive spirit influences to a place but is not as effective as simply burning benzoin incense.
Myrtle is useful as a magical powder, for either casting or blowing. The powder takes a charge well and, depending on the prayer made over it, can be used to rapidly change conditions. Myrtle does not work as well as an incense, but if a small amount is added to other incenses, the effect of the original blend is usually enhanced. Add only a very small amount, however. Too much will make the incense smell like burning leaves.
Orrisroot (also known as Queen Elizabeth root) is the root of the garden iris. It is a well-known love charm and is often carried by people who wish to draw love to themselves. It can be used in powder form to draw others to you. In this case it can be added to talcum powder as a dusting powder. Add a tablespoon of orrisroot powder to a cup of talcum powder; pray over it for the effect you desire. It can be used to draw others for business purposes or for romance.
The powder of the root relates to the planetary influence of Mercury, through the Greek goddess Iris, a messenger of the gods. Orrisroot is a useful ingredient in any spell where communications or the opening of communications is desired. For this purpose, it is added to charm bags or baths.
Occasionally orrisroot is used as a condiment in Europe. As such, it has the reputation of producing love between those who partake in the meal.
Parsley is a beneficial herb for women. It can be made into a sprinkle which has the effect of calming and protecting the home. In a bath it gives benefit to people's financial problems. For either of the above, make a tea with a teaspoon of dried parsley to a cup of boiling water. Allow the tea to steep until the water reaches room temperature, and either add it to the bath or use it as a house sprinkle or spray. It may also be used as a floor wash if desired.
Some people avoid eating parsley, as this is supposed to confer financial benefit. The same is held to be true about pumpkins. This may be a superstition, but if one accepts it, it is as firm a belief as any other.
The leaves and flowers of the common peony are used in washes and baths, particularly in initiatory practices. The root of the peony is used as a good luck charm and is often added to charm bags for success and to reverse spells sent against the wearer.
The seeds of the Peony are considered to be very dangerous, as very powerful curses are placed with them. Peony seeds are said to cause disorder and strife when they are scattered in a room. The person who steps on a peony seed usually starts an argument with the one person in the room whom he or she should avoid in the first place!
The peony seed is the reputed Jumby Bean of folk magic, and its use in magic as an agent of cursing is well known.
This plant is also known as the inkberry plant. The berries of this plant make a good red dye when crushed and can be used as the “dove's blood ink” so beloved of occult supply stores. The root of the poke plant is used to break spells and curses. It should be boiled as a tea and added to the bath or scrub water. It is particularly effective immediately after the new moon. To use this bath effectively, first mop your floors, using a cup of poke root tea in a bucket of water. Then take the bath, adding a cup of the tea to your bath water. Any remaining tea can be sprinkled in the corners of the house.
Poke root has a strong influence on the astral condition, and it can be very effective for certain people who need stabilizing on their path in life. The well-dried root can be ground into an excellent magical powder and can be used to influence others to respect authority and straighten out their lives.
Rosemary is supposed to be used for remembrance. It is claimed that it improves the memory and is used as a hair rinse for this purpose. For some time it has been used as a hair rinse for strictly cosmetic purposes, which seems to be a better use than trying to improve your memory with it.
In most magical practices, rosemary is used as a protective herb, or for purification of the ritual area, persons, places, and things. In some of the older witchcraft practices, rosemary is spread around the place to be protected before the ritual worship begins. Whole rosemary “needles” are used for this purpose.
Whole or powdered rosemary can be made into a tea by adding a teaspoon of the herb to a cup of boiling water steeped until it reaches room temperature. The tea is good for a purification bath for those suffering from bad vibes. It can also be used to wipe down furniture which is brought into the house after having been used by others.
When either the powder or the leaf (which is needle-like in shape) is placed in the corners of a room, it adds a protective feeling to the place. It is a good thing to use in a child's bedroom during the “terrible two” phase.
Rue is the “herb of grace” in the Christian religion. It holds a place like hyssop in Judaism and aloe in Islam, as the “holy herb” of the religion. Carrying a sprig of rue is supposed to protect the person from the influence of evil spirits.
Burned as an incense, rue is supposed to add virtue to a place and protect those who use it against temptation. In fact, it strengthens the willpower of people who are in the place where it is burned.
Rue has been used as an incense to drive away evil spirits and negative influences. It also has been used to attract money to wherever it is burned. In all cases it acts to strengthen the willpower of the person using it, and thus assists us in gaining our desires, whatever they are.
Rue is occasionally used to sprinkle Christian Holy Water around a place, or on a person. In this use it has as much virtue as the person using it thinks it has.
St. John's Wort
St. John's Wort has the reputation of being one of the most protective herbs there is. It has been used to banish or drive away all phantoms, shades, spirits, and works of the devil. To use it for this remarkable purpose, simply hang the herb at the place where the negative forces are to be blocked. This could be at a window, a doorway, or even around the neck of a person. St. John's Wort is named for John the Baptist, whose feast day occurred at the summer solstice in the old (Julian) calendar. It is from the power of this famous personage who not only baptized Christ, but founded his own religion (The Mandian, or River Brethren) that the power of the herb supposedly comes. As with most herbs however, it is the inherent virtue of the herb which has been adapted to suit the personages of the religious practice.
The Druids supposedly used St. John's Wort to remove astral influences from people before the time of Christ. The history of the herb in magic is certainly of greater date than the spell which attributes the herb to the Apostle John provided here. This prayer is to be recited as St. John's Wort is burned in the family fireplace or used as an incense to fumigate the home.
Saint John the Apostle of Christ
Who was by Christ called the Beloved
Be with all in this house,
And through thy holy office,
Drive away all phantoms, shades and spirits,
Keep and protect us from the works of the devil,
That thy grace, and the mercy of Christ
Be with this house, and all in it,
So long as this house shall stand.
In the name of Christ Jesus,
Through the Glory of St. John
This is an example of how an herb with a strong virtue—in this case for protection—can be adapted to suit the beliefs of many cultures over time. The above prayer came from a Pennsylvania hex-practitioner. I asked if the herb was named after St. John the Baptist, and he said, “No, why would they name the herb after him, and not the Apostle?”
Sage is an herb of wisdom. It is used to bring problems or difficulties to resolution, to destroy illusions. A tea made from a teaspoon of sage and a cup of boiling water is added to a tub bath for this purpose. When the tea is sprinkled throughout a house, it will increase the mental clarity of the occupants of the house.
Sage may be added to a charm bag to increase the potential for thought about the matter at hand. In this case it allows the owner of the charm to think more clearly about the matter, and with less illusions about it.
Mint, sage and cinquefoil are often combined to make a charm which causes the person using it to seem wise and trustworthy to others. The herbs are blended in equal quantities and sewn up in a small white “pillow” of cotton cloth. This pillow is then prayed over for the effect desired, using the name of the one who is to use the charm. The completed charm is then placed in a small red charm bag and given to the recipient. Sage, as an incense, can go both ways with ease. It is better to avoid using sage in incenses, and if it is decided to use it, always pray over it first for the effect desired.
Sampson snakeroot (Orbexilum pedunculatum) is another useful herb which is usually treated as a garden pest. It is used in charms and has the reputation of aiding the restoration of male virility. For this purpose, a piece of the root is prayed over and worn around the neck. It should be worn for seven days before it is removed.
It is also thought that if a person chews the root, he or she will be liked by others. In this case, several small pieces of the root are taken and are chewed “all day,” one piece after another. By sunset the person is supposed to gain popularity.
This herb has an antipathy to iron, so the root should be broken off by twisting or biting, rather than cutting with a knife. Many herbs have various antipathies, such as “gather at the full moon,” or “gather at night,” and so on. It pays to experiment to see if these instructions are real, as many of them are not. The use of a knife on Sampson snakeroot debilitates its ability to accept the force of the prayer, which is a good reason to avoid cutting it.
Sandalwood is the single most popular incense fragrance. It is so popular that it is sold throughout the world as an incense, primarily in the form of sticks. It is burned as an incense for all sorts of reasons.
In Asian religious practice (the Chinese, Hindu, and Japanese religious pantheons) sandalwood is burned as an offering to deities. For this purpose, it is prayed over and dedicated to the specific deity. Like any prayer to a deity, this should be done only if one has a connection with the deity.
Sandalwood incense is thought to be invigorating to the elemental spirits. These are the spirits of earth, air, fire, and water who act to manifest the physical world. Occasionally this connection is taken advantage of by making a prayer for something which is desired while burning the incense. If one has a strong natural connection with the elemental forces, as indicated, for example, by pointed ears like Mr. Spock's, the prayer will probably work.
Southern John the Conqueror
Trillium, or Bethroot (Trillium erectum), better known as Southern John the Conqueror, is an unusual-looking root. It has a small solid body which is circled by tiny rootlets. It looks as if each of these rootlets was grasping, like a burr.
The root has been used as a money charm for many years. To make a most effective money charm from the root, put it in a small bowl and pray over it, asking the root to bring in money. The bowl and root are placed in a dark place in the house, in a closet for example. Once a week, as long as the money supply is coming in, it is fed with a penny, by placing the penny in the bowl.
If you wish, you can pray over the root and put it in a charm bag. If it is carried on your person, it will have the effect of opening up your personal money supply, but it is primarily a household money charm.
Solomon's Seal Root
Solomon's seal (Polygonatum biflorum) is well known as a magical plant. The root of the plant is ground and used as an incense in rituals. It is a good medium in rituals where you wish to summon a spirit to visible appearance. The fumes of the incense act as the body which the spirit forms itself around. Some fumes act better for this purpose than others—benzoin, for example, will provide a form for only the most elevated spirits, and is of little use to the average person. Solomon's seal root will provide a form for most spirits and will suit the spell-caster who works with a variety of spiritual intelligences.
Solomon's seal root provides an excellent wash for sacred areas—altars and so forth. The altars, walls, and floors of temples and ritual areas can be washed with a tea made by boiling a tablespoon of the root in a gallon of water for about twenty minutes. The solution is allowed to cool and is then strained through cheesecloth. The cleared liquid is added to the wash water, about a cup to a standard wash bucket. Preparing an area in this way will also assist in summoning to visible appearance.
The tonka bean, the seed of the Cumaru Tree, is a short blackish bean that vaguely looks like a small piece of a vanilla bean. It has a distinctive flavor and taste. In magical use, the bean has gathered a great reputation as a charm, being used both as a love charm, and to ward off the Evil Eye.
As a charm to attract love, it is simply carried in the pocket or worn in a charm bag. To ward off the Evil Eye it is worn on a necklace, or a number of beans may be strung on a necklace. Bracelets may also be made from the tonka bean. They cast a protective vibration on the person who wears them.
Vervain was known as the holy herb of the Druids and was used for magic and medicine. It is most useful as a spray or a housecleaning herb, as it will remove heavy vibrations and will bring peace and contentment, eliminating the more malicious thoughtforms.
The tea is made by steeping about a tablespoon of the herb in a cup of hot or boiling water. Once cool, the herb is strained out and the water is used as a spray, a sprinkle, or on a washcloth as a part of the housecleaning routine. This solution is also used to wash altars to remove heavy thoughtforms.
Burned as an incense, vervain will act to remove heavy and malicious thoughtforms. In the Middle Ages it was thought to drive out devils when it was burned in the fireplace. Vervain has so many herbal uses in magic that it is also known as the enchanter's herb.
The use of vervain as a sprinkle was known in ancient times. Both Pliny and Dioscorides wrote that “water in which vervain has been steeped, if it be sprinkled in a room will make the guests merrier.”
Wormwood has long had a connection with the spirit forces. Historically, it has been used for summoning the spirits of the dead since as early as the ancient Greeks. For this purpose, it was burned on a fire of privet, the wood chosen for use in funeral pyres, as it was thought to open the doors to the underworld. In Christian practice it is said that wormwood was cast out of the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. One might say that wormwood has a rather unsavory reputation.
To use wormwood to summon the spirits of the dead, it should be finely ground and burned on charcoal as an incense. Wormwood can be used either to summon a spirit into a medium, or to summon a spirit into visible appearance. It is not as effective as Solomon's seal root for spiritual forces or non-human entities, but it is excellent when working with the dead of the human community.
Wormwood can also be used in making love charms and for other work requiring a change in the astral condition. The use of wormwood in summoning spirits is its most important use in magic, however. In working with the dead, it finds a place filled by no other herb.
Those who would like to work with the dead may use the following incenses for summoning. There is a great deal more to working with the dead than having the proper incense at hand but use of a good incense will certainly assist matters.
SUMMONING INCENSE NUMBER ONE
This incense is useful for summoning recalcitrant spirits—those who are not in the best mood when they are summoned. It must not be used when attempting to summon higher spirits, but it is excellent for summoning the human dead.
3 parts wormwood
1 part Solomon's Seal
SUMMONING INCENSE NUMBER TWO
This incense is useful for summoning people who died in a depressed state, or people who are not aware they are dead. It is useful for lightening up spirits who are sad, as well as calling them to you. It will generally call a more elevated type of spirit than the first incense, but its action is much the same.
3 parts wormwood
1 part vervain
Yarrow is probably best known for its use in casting the I Ching. The small fresh leaves of yarrow which are plucked during the time immediately following the new moon in Taurus are also one of the most potent materials available for increasing love. Thus, yarrow forms the ideal love charm material.
Yarrow picked at any other time will promote the growth of love as well. A tea made with a tablespoon of yarrow over which a cup of boiling water has been poured may be used in a bath, floor wash, or as a sprinkle to increase the capacity for love in the place where it is used. In a bath it will assist one to locate a lover.