Herbal magick is arguably the oldest form known to us. Known for millennia, many species of plants have been incorporated into the practices of healers, shamans, and medicine men and women. In the old days, healing was often treated with herbal concoctions like teas, tinctures, and poultices accompanied by ritual and prayer. Today, we still employ many of these practices alongside modern medicine. Teas are imbibed as a calming ritual, honey and cinnamon soothe a sore throat, herbal vinegar rinses restore hair and skin balance. The combination of healing and magickal properties makes herbal knowledge an incredibly powerful part of modern magick.
Plants themselves harness and embody the power of the four natural elements. They utilize the Earth as a foundation, a home for their roots and minerals necessary for life. The heat and Fire of the sun are used for growth. Air is utilized in two fashions, both as a direct result of the plant’s life creating oxygen, and the wind helping to strengthen the plant and spread seeds. Water, of course, is necessary to carry nutrients, but plants also help purify and store water. As you can see, the four elements come together in a balanced cycle perfectly in the existence of plant life.
Herbal magick is probably the most versatile form of practice you can incorporate into your daily life. You can craft your own herbal teas, create oil infusions for anointing, blend incense, and create poppets and sachets. Let’s not forget kitchen witchcraft and all the herbs that we use in cooking every day.
Know your terms
- Herbs are any plants with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring food, medicine, or perfume
- Spices are the seeds, roots, or bark of a plant and are used primarily for flavoring, coloring, or preserving food
- Essential Oils are natural oils obtained by distillation and having the characteristics of the plant or other sources from which it is extracted
In magick, the word herb is typically used to describe anytime plant matter of any form is used. It’s worth noting that for witches, the broad designation of ‘herb’ applies to both plants that have benefits to the body, and those that are known to be toxic. Understand that the plant itself is not good or bad, much like the energy we use to perform magick, it just is. Be wary of plants called for in magick and do your research before you accidentally poison yourself or someone else. There are usually non-toxic substitutions you can make for things meant to be ingested.
To help you get started in your path of herbal magick, we have made a PDF download of the magickal correspondences of many common herbs and plants. The amount of information out there can be overwhelming, and we want you to have a quick reference guide available. If you decide to go further in your herbal studies there are many great books and websites out there dedicated solely to herbal magick.
How do you use herbs in your magickal life? Drop a comment and let us know!