I’m sure that popular European culture has aligned Witches with possessing a prodigious herb collection since the first person was accused of witchcraft. We use them to heal, to hex, and to effect magical change. As Roderick notes in today’s description, many “Witches believe that herbs are living vibrational representations of specific magical influences. Because they are living, they carry great strength and hold their own spiritual power.” Consequently, some Witches view the use of herbs as a sacrifice to the Gods, since the plants do cease to actually live once we’ve cut and dried them. The ways we use the herbs are varied. We might just put them in a sachet we carry around with us, or steep them into a magical bath, or–if they can be ingested–make them into a tea. We can make them into various salves, or we can burn them on hot coals as an incense. Below is a list of some of the herbs Roderick outlines in today’s exercise. To begin with, he asks us to contemplate the following:
- Select an herb from the chart for its magical influence. Hold it in your hands during meditation, or place it somewhere near you during the day. What effects do you note?
- What herbs do you eat in your food? Do they have a magical effect that you can note?
- Start a magical garden and plant herbs that will aid you in your magical work.
To begin with, I will not be planting an herb garden since I do not own the home I’m currently living in–and V. definitely has her own plans in mind for her property. The herbs I tend to use most in cooking include: bay, basil, oregano, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, sage, ginger, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, paprika, mild chili powder, chipotle peppers, and peppercorns. I also tend to use a curry powder blend and fresh cilantro, parsley, mint, basil, and scallions. I honestly haven’t put much thought into how they magically affect me. Now that I think about it, though, I notice I’m a lot ‘peppier’ if I’ve eaten cilantro or mint, and cumin makes me feel warm and cozy. Cardamom makes me feel exotic and sexy. I’ll have to note my responses to the others. It should be an interesting exercise.
Unfortunately, the only herbs from this list that I had on hand were basil, bay laurel, cinnamon, rosemary, and sage. I’m low on the basil and need it for a recipe this week, so that was out. My cinnamon is actually cassia, and I didn’t want to cross wires. My rosemary is in a really sad state and needs replaced, and my sage is powdered…so bay it was! I started my meditation by cupping several leaves in my hands and deeply inhaling their scent. The breathwork helped my mind go to a meditative state, and the scent really got me focusing on the plant. The scent, I thought, was rather like a combination of eucalyptus, bergamot, and lavender. It made me calm, yet a little cheery, and ultimately made me feel quite safe and grounded. As I held the leaves, I also realized that I was feeling a very distinctive solar energy–something akin to what my HP, Y., brings when he calls down the God. I also realized I was feeling more invigorated–maybe this plant has fire energy? Ultimately, I think this herb has a good bit of positive, protective energy. I think the “honor, visions, prophecy” that Roderick pulls is because the plant does have mild psychotropic effects when chewed and the saliva ingested.