Admittedly, I am an herb addict. (Get your mind out of the gutter!) My Witchy cupboard has always overflowed with exotic plants and spices, and I am nearly ashamed to admit how much money I have tied up in spell ingredients that I rarely use. I have raided the spice section of ethnic dollar stores, and traveled 500 miles to visit a particular apothecary in Salem, MA. I am thrilled to have unusual items to add their particular energy to my spellwork, but there are some herbs that always have a regular place in my magick, and I am never without them.
I thought it might be helpful to show you that you can have a fully-equipped spell cupboard with just a handful of simple, inexpensive herbs and spices. Many of our most common ingredients serve several spell intentions, and can be bought inexpensively anywhere herbs and spices are sold, or in your local health food store. It makes no difference in the potency of the spell if the items are organic, but there is an added benefit if they have come from your garden or windowsill. Your energy connection with the plant from nurturing and caring for it, and expressing your gratitude for its life force, deepens your bonds with the earth and always aids any spell.
That aside, dried herbs and flowers are less expensive, easier to store, and have a surprisingly long shelf life without diminishment of magickal energy. You can also do a lot with a little. Larger quantities in a spell do not necessarily increase the work’s potency or success, so there is no need to buy in bulk. Usually, a container the size of a jelly jar will serve you for a good while. In addition, I do recommend storing in airtight glass containers. Plastic has iffy vibes, and will not keep herbs fresh as long as glass. I prefer small mason jars, but glass locklid containers are fine too, just make sure the gaskets are supple and not dried out.
My most-often used ingredient! Use whole or ground, but if you’re doing a spell that involves burning it, ground will go up more easily. Whole clove needs a charcoal disc to burn, because it’s quite oily and resinous. Cloves are potent, so a little goes a long way in tea or food. Stud a fresh lemon with cloves to make a hanging pomander that attracts the powers of both to any area. Smudging yourself with burning clove also helps bring a stop to malicious gossip.
Protection, purification, love, money, stops gossip
Cinnamon is another great multi-purpose spice. Like clove, you can use it ground or whole. Ground burns more easily, and sticks work well on a charcoal disc. Steeping cinnamon in tea paves the way for a day of success and good luck, and gives strength to the drinker, and is an excellent overall health elixer.
Protection, love, spirituality, success, healing, power.
Lavender can be found in any shop that carries loose herbs, and just the smell of it can bring peace and relaxation. It is a go-to ingredient for tea enthusiasts and aromatherapy practitioners alike. It burns easily, and retains its aroma when stuffed into a poppet or mojo bag.
Purification, love, protection, happiness, chastity, sleep, peace, longevity
Basil is one of the best herbs for spells involving money and abundance. Slip whole dried leaves or a fabric pouch full into your wallet, checkbook, or the cash register at work. Steeping dried basil into tea, or chewing the fresh leaves, can aid you in astral travel and accessing the Akashic Records.
Love, money, protection, astral projection.
Bay is perhaps the most potent of purification and protection herbs, and has a pedigree of magickal use throughout the millenia. Steeped into a tea, it can help induce clairvoyant dreams and aid divination. Burned in a censer and used for smudging, it is twice as powerful as sage in clearing incorrect energies and negativity, including paranormal entities. Wishes can be written on the leaves and then burned to deliver your intent to the Universe. A leaf held in the mouth is also said to ward off bad luck.
Protection, purification, psychic powers, healing, exorcisim, strength
Garlic also has a long folk reputation for having metaphysical powers. Vampires notwithstanding, garlic is reknown for its ability to ward off evil of any sort. A clove carried in your pocket on an important day can keep misadventures at bay, and when sprinkled on windowsills or thresholds, incorrect energies may not enter your residence. Garlic also absorbs illness. In addition to making it a regular part of your diet, folklore encourages hanging it in a sickroom, or placing it under the pillow of one who is ill. This garlic must be buried afterwards, however. Do not ingest it, as it carries the illness it was charged to cleanse.
Protection, exorcism, healing, anti-theft
Lemon, fresh or the dried peel, is one of the best cleansing agents known to Witches and housekeepers alike. A mild solution of fresh lemon juice in spring water is excellent for cleansing energies from secondhand goods, either wiped on or by submersion. The same solution can be used to cleanse buildings and vehicles, too, and is most easily deployed in a spray bottle that has been cleansed and charged with the intent of purification. The dried peel is a potent ingredient in love and friendship spells, and is one of the best things to stuff a poppet with for healing magick. Sprouting a lemon seed in the name of a friendship or love affair helps insure healthy, happy growth of the relationship, and its long life.
Longevity, love, purification, friendship.
What are the must-have ingredients in your spell cupboard? Which do you use most often, and in what manner? Does one herb that has the same power as another work better than the other for you? I’d love to hear about it!
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Love & Blessings,
Rev. Brooke J Burke, HPs, CHTR, MScB