An Introductory Guide to Herb Magic.
Magic can be defined as causing change using methods not yet defined or accepted by science. These methods are often assumed to be supernatural. Just because science has still yet to find the reason why magic works does not mean it isn't real and cannot have great effects on those practicing it. There were times when science had no idea why many things that are now completely accepted where the way they are.
Magic is a natural science but it is important to be aware that just because it is natural does not mean that it is always safe and that no harm can come from it's practice. An old tradition, known as the three fold law states that whatever you put out will be returned to you three times over. So positive or helpful magic will bring good energy your way but any negative or harm caused through magical purposes will bring negative consequences back to you. Many people believe that magic should not be performed for your own gain and certainly not for payment. Others believe that either are exceptable as long as you do not harm and your intent isn't selfish.
Intent and also belief in yourself and your magic are very important aspects of magic. What you intent must be clear for the magic to work. It can help to visualise in your mind what you wish to happen.
There are many thoughts and traditions concerned with the timings of performing magic. Following these isn't essential but corresponding your magic to energies present in the universe at that time may help to bring more power to you workings.
Some examples of these are the different moon phases and days of the week. For example the waxing moon is thought to be the best time for performing magic linked to fertility, love, protection, prosperity and good health. The waning moon is said to be a more favourable time to work on magic designed to heal illness or disease or to help you break old habits.
Each day of the week is ruled by one of the classical planets. The influence of each planet has certain corresponding benefits;
Monday is ruled by the Moon. Perform magic connected to the home, cooking, dreams, the sea and clairvoyance.
Tuesday is ruled by Mars. Perform magic connected to strength, courage, war, conflict or men.
Wednesday is ruled by Mercury. Perform magic connected to study or learning, teaching, divination and communication.
Thursday is ruled by Jupiter. Perform magic connected to money and wealth, luck and legal matters
Friday is ruled by Venus. Perform magic connected to love, pleasure, art, partnerships and women.
Saturday is rules by Saturn. Perform magic connected to the elderly, buildings, reincarnation, death and ending disease.
Sunday is ruled by the Sun. Perform magic connected to friendship, healing, leaders and labour.
Herbs can be grown yourself, bought or in some cases gathered in the wild. In the case of the later make sure you are certain of what you are picking. Many plants look alike and not only may having the wrong one effect your magic working but it may be dangerous or even poisonous. Herbs can also be bought from many reputable suppliers on and offline. This can be very helpful if you only want small quantities of something, need it soon, if you need a plant that doesn't grow nearby or you have no growing space of your own. Most herbs are used dried and are generally bought as such.
Store your herbs in individually sealed containers out of sunlight. Dark coloured glass bottles are a good choice. Label all your containers clearly and it is helpful to keep a list for quick reference as to whether you have certain herbs or not. Keep herbs out of sunlight and in a clean environment free from strong odours. You can arrange them alphabetically, by days of the week, star signs, commonly usage or any another system you like.
Many people believe that magic should be performed in a clean environment and that at the very least you should sweep the floor, take a bath and wear clean clothes. Other people and traditions are less formal but it is important to do whatever feels right to you at the time. Try to relax and clear your mind of day to day thoughts and worries. Being able to focus on your magic will make your intent much clearer.
Herbs can be used magically in many ways. These include sachets, poppets, infusions, baths and incense. Sachets are small parcels of herbs made from cloth. These are sometimes called charm- bags and are very easy to make. They can be carried with you, placed around the home or hung over doors etc. Poppets are small dolls that can be made from pretty much any material you choose. They can be made to represent the person who the magic is for so this is worth bearing in mind when creating them if this is the case. Perhaps the person has a favourite material or colour that could be used, for example. If they are a woodworker or enjoy nature a carved poppet maybe ideal for them or a cardboard or paper mache poppet could be used for an artist or writer. The poppet is held in your hands while you clearly state your intention. Poppets can also be made to be used in most spells such as those for good luck, prosperity, binding or protection. When making these, colour, planetary, herbal, crystal and other magical correspondences can be taken into account and incorporated into the poppet. This is of course also true of personal poppets used in herb magic. Poppets do not have to be elaborate to work so do not worry about needing to create a flawless item. Your intent and energy are far more important to the success of your magic.
Infusions are made by soaking herbs in water. Metal can interfere with the herbs powers so metal container and tools are best avoided. Keep infusions covered so the steam isn't lost. Infusions can drunk as teas, used to anoint the body, used in baths or rubbed on to things such as doors, candles or furniture. When making infusions to be drunk it is of paramount importance that are you are certain the herbs you are using have been identified correctly.
Magical herb baths can be prepared either using previously made infusions or by making a sachet of fresh or dried herbs that is then placed in the water. Again you must be sure that the herbs have been correcting identified to avoid any irritation.
Some commonly used terms in herbal magic
Adept - A person who is skilled in the use of magic.
Amulet - An item worn to attract or repel certain vibrations from a person such as luck.
Athame - A witches sacred knife.
Balefire - An open fire such as a bonfire that has been lit for magical purposes.
Bane - Something that destroys.
Banish - To use magic to drive away something or someone.
Besom - A witches broom.
Botanomancy - A form of divination that uses herbs.
Censer - A vessel used to burn incense.
Charge - The act of infusing an item with magical power.
Charm - A spell or incantation.
Charm bag - A sachet used for magical purposes, generally filled with herbs and other items such as crystals.
Clairvoyance - 'clear seeing' the ability to receive information by means other than the five normal senses. Sometimes also called intuition.
Consecrate - To make something holy or pure.
Coven - A group of witches who create magic and worship together.
Curse - A deliberately created concentration of negative and/or destructive energy that is then directed at a person, place or object.
Deosil - Clockwise. The direction of all positive and beneficial actions in magic.
Grimoire - A book containing a witches collect of spells, magical rituals and other related information.
Handfasting - A solemn betrothal similar to a wedding.
Hallucinogen - Any substance that alters the minds perception of reality.
Hex - An evil spell.
Infusion - A herbal potion or tea.
Macerate - To soak in alcohol or oil.
Magic - The manipulation of forces to bring about change.
Narcotic - A substance than can induce sleep or a coma.
Poppet - A small image or doll in the same of human that has been charged with magic.
Rede - A tenet or rule of life.
Sachet - A cloth bag filled with herbs.
Spell - A ritual performed to invoke change.
Steep - To soak in hot liquid.
Tincture - An infusion made using vinegar or alcohol.
Widdershins - Anti-clockwise. In magic it is regarded as the direction of negativity.
Wise woman/Cunning man - A herbal healer.
Wort - An old word meaning herb.
© 2012 Claire