Welcome back to Advanced Herbal Magic. As promised I have come back with a sequel of additional herbs, resins and plants for more advanced practitioners of Witchcraft. In this article we will aim to go deeper and discover plants which have been associated with the practice of the Craft through the ages. All the plants that made it to the list are plants which may be rarer to find, however, they have gained a unique reputation among practitioners for ages.
Caution for the Advanced Herbal Magic
As a word of caution, some of the plants in the list can be poisonous and ingestion or skin contact should be avoided as they can cause serious damage in the hands of someone who has not handled them before. If you are a beginner then please refer to our beginner’s list with the 11 essential herbs for all Witches which can be found here!
With the above in mind let’s begin our journey to the magical world of plants and their magical uses.
- Magical catalyst and amplifier of spells,
- love, sex,
- against the evil eye,
- to contact spirits,
- to learn the secrets and the magical use of plants
The Mandragora was always considered the master plant for Witches and one of their greatest ally in all magical activities. The root has two main forms. The first one is that of a long solid root which due to its phallic form was used mainly as an ingredient in spells and magic that had to do with fertility, sex, love, virility and good luck, this was also used for money.
The second form of the root which is the most popular yet rare was growing different branches resembling a human body with two arms and two legs stretching and the main body of the root was forming a head. This form of the root was never cut but used as whole in various ways and was considered a great teacher and the witches familiar. A detailed article on the use of mandrake and the myths associated with the root can be found here!
2. Mullein (verbascum thapsus)
The plant was widely used in herbal remedies to ease conditions associated with respiration and garstrointestinal disorders, while a paste of the leaves was used to ease conditions of the skin. The plant was most respected by fishermen due to its formidable property to confuse and paralyse fish. The root was placed on the nets to ensure a good catch and therefore was greatly appreciated.
In magic Mullein was named Hekate’s torch. The plant was dipped in oil or fat and was lit in Hecate’s name. Hecate’s torch was banishing all evil spirits, used in uncrossing rituals and could assist gaining clarity even in the most obscure situations. The dried powder herb was named ‘graveyard’s dust’ and could be used as a replacement in all spells that required such an ingredient. Some hoodoo practitioners believe that mullein can bring forth evil spirits, however, from my experience it is exactly the opposite.
Evil spirits if associated with an individual would probably try to make their presence known as an ultimate effort of disruption, because the torch banishes them. Therefore, casting a magical circle before such rituals is necessary. The powdered plant when placed in a glass bowl and filled with water from a spring would help greatly with divination bringing forth visions.
3. Moonwort (lunaria annua)
- moon magic,
Not to be confused with the wild fern of the botrychium family, Moonwort is a great asset for all witches. The beautiful transparent pouches that carry the seeds of the herb were well respected and due to their size and colour were associated with the Moon. The beautiful flowers of theplant were used in love magic usually by female witches to find a partner.
The silver pouches were used as magical talismans to grant wishes. The pouch of the plant was held in front of the Full Moon and the wish was spoken. Then was carried with the witch for the manifestation of the wish. It was not rare to inscribe symbols associated with the wish as well empowering any spells or magical practices that would assist with the manifestation of the wish.
In the same manner, the silver pouches were empowered in the moonlight and later were used in magical spells and amulets for the Moon’s blessings. The silver pouches were also used in money spells and in french they are called ‘monnaie du pape” (The Pope’s money). Due to the pouches transparent nature, the plant is also called Honesty and it is being used in spells and rituals to encourage honesty in one’s life -honesty from others and honesty to one’s self.
4. Mimosa (mimosa family)
- connection with higher self,
- see in other worlds,
- contact with Fairies
The Mimosa family is a big one with more than 400 species known worldwide. The flowers and bark of many mimosas in a powdered form are used for purification, to bring love in one’s life, inner and outer. The pink flowers of many mimosa species which look like small brushes is believed to enable contact with the Fairy kingdom when touching one’s eyes gently and brushing them.
Mimosa pudica also known as touch me not is one interesting tree of the mimosa family because of the amazing reaction of its leaves to touch. When the leaves are being touched they start folding, therefore this plant was associated with overcoming shame and building one’s self confidence. It is also used for protection and is a great addition to all protection spells.
Mimosa pudica was also used in Hoodoo to bring shame for one’s non-rightful actions. Mimosa tenuiflora is another plant of the mimosa family which is very well known. In Brazil, the plant is called Jurema and it is an entheogenic drug which can bring visions when used properly. The bark of the tree is mainly used for such purposes which is high in dimethyltryptamine.
5. Foxglove (digitalis) *Poisonous*
- Contact with Fairies,
- summoning spirits,
- emotional healing
Foxglove is a beautiful and quite distinct plant and its flowers have the shape of bells. Witches believed that when the plant was gently moved the flowers made a magical sound that was heard in the spirit world and it was answered by fairies and spirits. Therefore, when they wanted to contact such entities they would focus their intention on the person or entity and ring the bells of the Foxglove to contact them.
Druids believed that the Foxglove was sacred to the elemental powers and should not be cut as it would anger the spirits of the Forest, however, this may have been a mere warning as the plant is poisonous.
If Foxglove is growing in your garden it will attract fairies and other spirits of Nature to guard the garden and the household that takes care of the plant. In the past, the plant had medicinal uses, however, the main issue was to determine the amount of active ingredients from herbal mixes.
In modern medicine, it is a very popular drug for arrhythmias and other heart conditions. Witches also believed that the plant was used to mend broken hearts and receive emotional healing after difficult times. The easiest way would be to write in a piece of paper the issue that caused them pain and visit the plant. What was written on the paper was read in front of the plant and then they explicitly stated their request for spiritual healing. The paper was placed at the base of the plant and then they rang the ‘bells’ as a form of an alarm or announcement to ask spiritual aid. A libation was offered to the plant and to the spirits for their assistance.
- astral projection
Also widely known as Deadly Nightshade, Belladonna is a cousin of Henbane and the Mandragora and belongs to the family of solanaceae. Belladonna was considered one of the famous ingredients of the flying ointment that allowed Witches to astrally project for the soul to leave the body while the person was remaining conscious. It’s name ‘Atropos’ was the name of the third Fate of the Greek mythology who was cutting the thread of life and therefore Belladonna was under her jurisdiction. In addition, in many grimoires the term ‘Belladonna’ is believed to refer to Hecate.
The plant was considered equally beautiful and dangerous as a woman and there are many stories and myths surrounding it. The fresh berries would be used in banishment by writing in a piece of paper what troubled the witch i.e. anxiety, pain, boredom etc and then smudged with a berry pressing to the paper until the juice smudges the handwriting. Then the paper would be burnt on the flame of a dark candle never to return again. The root would be used in love and seduction sachets to make the witch impressive and help him/her find a partner. The plant was also used to learn the secrets of the Magic Arts and gain wisdom. More information can be found here!
7. Hemp (cannabis)
Hemp is quite popular in the modern world due to the constant debates about its use as a psychoactive substance. The plant has been used from time immemorial in many civilisations and magical/spiritual systems to promote a state of relaxation for the mindand calm the body to encourage visions and an altered state of awareness which assisted in self-transformation and connection with the higher self.
However, even Witches of old have claimed that when the plant is not treated with respect or overused can have serious consequences for the person such as lack of clarity, inability to focus and other events which modern psychology describes as psychotic. It is believed that in Old Circles the plant was used to enhance spiritual work and to settle conflicts between witches.
For the latter use, honesty herbs were used in a potion and the two parties would sit down to discuss the conflict taking vows of honesty, while Hemp was used to promote a state of relaxation, encourage honesty and promote the discussion between the two parties. All Covens believed that matters could be settled between two Witches under these conditions, and this ritual was sacred as it ensured the survival of the Coven. Uncommon to popular beliefs about Witch Wars, most covens used similar ceremonies to ensure a peaceful manner of resolving issues. After all, all conflicts start within us.
In a similar manner, cannabis is used by the Rastafari religion in a ceremony called “Reasoning’. Reasoning is the ceremony where cannabis is smoked in a pipe shared among the participants. The Rastas before they light the pipe would state their intention and the reason for the meeting, the oldest one out of respect would light the pipe first and pass it clockwise. In an altered state of awareness, all discussions made are allegedly coming from a connection with God. In times of war, the Rastas would pass the pipe counterclockwise discussing the manner which peace and balance can be achieved again ensuring the survival of the community.
Cannabis in Ancient Times
Cannabis is considered to be one of the sacred herbs of Ancient Egypt and it was a symbol of the Goddess Seshat. Seshat was the initial Goddess of Writing, Wisdom and Knowledge, a deity of illumination, which was later replaced by the God Thoth. In most of her paintings she appears to write in a parchment or paper and above her head a seven pointed plant appears. Many believe that the plant depicted is actually that of the palm tree, however, it may also be the Hemp.
Uncommon to popular belief, hemp was one of the first plants mixed in a pulp to create paper. Parchments made from papyrus are also quite old and they were frequently used due to their endurance in time however they were more expensive and difficult to create. Seshat is the Goddess who opens the doors of Heaven and this can also be related to the use of hemp.Hemp has also been used in magical spells for protection and endurance given the nature of the plant. In addition, due to the nature of hemp to repel weeds it was used in a similar manner to repel unnecessary burdens and malevolent entities in magic. The magical lore of plant is broad and I will come back with an extensive dedicated article on the plant.
8. Milk Thistle (sillybum marianum)
- protection during pregnancy,
- banishment of dangerous people or spirits,
- spiritual nourishment
Milk thistle has been one of the most blessed herbs, loved by many Witches around the World. Due to its appearance and the milky substance it contains it was associated in very early times with pregnancy and lactation. The whole flowers along with the spikes were used for protection during pregnancy and were placed in a magical bag along with other herbs such as motherwort. The bag was placed underneath the bed of the mother to ensure protection during pregnancy and a safe labour.
The seeds of the milk thistle were boiled with milk and served to the newly born mothers to increase the production of breast milk. Please always consult your doctor on using herbs during pregnancy and lactation as it can be quite a vulnerable time and although milk thistle has a wide reputation it is better to check your individual case with your consultant. Its reputation in pagan tribes as the gift of the Mother Goddess remained during Christianity and the Milk Thistle was named Holy Thistle or the Thistle of Mary.
The legend says that the white spots on the flowers appeared when the holy milk feeding the baby touched them. Milk thistle is also used in magical herbal mixes for healing and the thorns have been used to banish dangerous spirits or people from one”s life. Finally, milk thistle is great for detox and the seeds were used in boiling water to prevent kidney damage.
9. Vetiver (chrysopogon zizanioides)
- hex breaking
Vetiver is a fragrant root that is usually found in India under the name of khus and has been used extensively in the fragrance industry. Vetiver has a sweet earthy smell and it has been used in many magical lotions as an aphrodisiac for centuries. Witches placed the root in a clear oil container and let it sit. The fragrant oil was used to summon a lover and give an aura of seduction.
The oil was also applied on candles and rolled on basil leaves. The candles were lit in a shop to bring business or they were used in petitions for money. In Hoodoo, the famous Khus Khus oil has Vetiver as its base and has given its name to the recipe. Nowadays, with the development of extraction methods for essential oils, the seducing fragrance of Vetiver can be found in good quality essential oils in the market that can replace the previous methods. Finally, Vetiver is being used in hex breaking rituals applied in black candles and rolled over Rue, Mullein and St john’s wort herbal mixes. The candles are lit in spells and rituals for breaking hexes and removing malevolent magic.
- to find the perfect partner,
- fidelity and endurance in relationships
Aplectrum, also known as Adam and Eve root, belongs to the orchid family and is native in the American continent and Canada. The roots – Adam and Eve- grow intertwined. The ‘Adam’ root looks like a sharp bulb similar to a nail with phallic resemblance, while the ‘Eve’ root is round, resembling female genitalia. In order to find a partner the Witch would place the roots in a red flannel bag on a Friday when the moon is waxing. A description of the ideal partner is recited and a candle is used to charge the bag.
Then the bag is carried by the Witch which acts as a magnet for the ideal partner as s/he requested. For fidelity, when two partners wanted to ensure that the fires of love remain lit when distance separated them they used the Aplectrum roots. One partner (traditionally the male) keeps the ‘Eve root’ and the other partner (traditionally the female) keeps the Adam root for the same reason. When lovers exchange the roots with love vows, the roots will always bring them together. Please note that ‘Adam and Eve’ roots are working in balance together and they do not like the company of other herbs and plants in magical preparations. More information on Aplectrum can be found here!
11. Mistletoe (viscum album – santalales genus) *Poisonous*
- Magical empowerment,
- connection with God,
- to prevent lighting,
Mistletoe, the sacred herb of the druids, -a hemiparasitic plant of the santalales genus- has a long reputation in many traditions. It was considered a masculine plant that was used in fertility magic for humans and animals and was also used to instil vigour and strength in men.
The belief that Mistletoe is a masculine plant came from the milky glue like substance that is being produced from its white berries when pressed that looked like semen. Druids believed that the plant was especially beneficial if it grew on an Oak as it enhanced its magical properties. Interestingly enough, Mistletoe was spread through the birds who would feed on the seeds and pass them to different places from their droppings. Because the birds nested on trees this was one of the main reasons why mistletoe was growing on the branches of trees.
It was also believed that for this reason as Mistletoe never touched the Earth from its birth it should not touch the Earth after it was cut as it would lose its magical properties. Blessed mistletoe was placed at the door of the house to prevent it getting struck from lighting during thunderstorm and we still believe that kissing under the mistletoe on the new Year’s Eve is a charm for love for the next year. Finally, Mistletoe is used to empower all magical work and its use in Solar Ceremonies is well respected and aids connection with God.
12. Benzoin (styrax benzoin)
- hex breaking,
- to revive the senses
Not to be confused with storax (styrax balsam), benzoin resin is being used in many magical rituals and ceremonies for purification and to raise the vibrations required in all magical work. In Witchcraft, the warm resin is being placed on magical envelopes to seal wishes inside and release them to the Universe.
The resin when burnt produces a sweet vanilla like scent which is believed to revive the senses and clear the mind aiding in concentration. Benzoin gum is used in magical inks for sigils and inscriptions. In addition, the resin when burnt along with other herbs that promote prosperity it can bring business to a shop and assist with money issues. Finally, benzoin along with myrrh and frankincense it is used as a hex breaking incense and in rituals to tackle malevolent magic and entities which refuse to leave a place.
13. Henbane (hyoscyamus niger) *Poisonous*
- astral projection,
- to contact spirits,
- to bring rain,
- to calm anger,
Henbane was and still considered a very notorious plant as it is very poisonous and in moderate quantities can cause delirium and death. As all the parts of the plant are poisonousit was associated with dark spirits. However, Witches that had the knowledge of the plant produced an incense that could assist with visions and along with a mixture of herbs including fern was used outdoors to bring rain.
Henbane is another plant which is also associated with the famous Witches ointment and assists with astral projection. The plant was also used in rituals to contact spirits and divine for the future. The root of the plant was placed in a bag inside the house and was charged to pacify all anger especially popular among women that were maltreated by their husbands.
The flowers of the plant were cut from witches that were dancing and singing in front of the plant to please it. These flowers were making a bed in a sachet to host the love wishing crystal. This crystal was clear quartz that was used to store all the qualities of the ideal partner and was placed on the bed flower. The sachet was carried with them and the stone was charged under the moonlight to ensure good luck in all matters of love. Enjoy the Magic and I am looking forward to come back to you with more information on the magical lore of plants, herbs, resins and spices.
The Easy Witch