After putting out that post on magical correspondence it occurred to me just how long some of those lists can be. And how unattainable some of those herbs are. I live in Florida, which is zone 10 and means that even most plants that say they can take full sun cannot. I am never going to be able to stick lavender in the ground and just be able to expect it to grow. Nor am I going to be able to get my hands on fresh spruce.
I cannot be the only witch with such a problem. So I have decided to create a list of my 3 go to herbs. I use these 3 herbs in almost every spell I do. They are easily attainable in the the grocery store. Best of all, they can be used in cooking so double bang for your buck.
The smell of cinnamon invokes something deep within my most primal memories. It’s warm, but not the warmth of the skin in summer, but that delicious warmth of hot chocolate sliding down your throat and settle in your belly on a cold winter’s day. On top of that, it is a magical powerhouse.
I strongly believe that knowing a correspondence’s history is part of being able to use its magic. So let’s learn a bit.
A Brief History
The source of cinnamon was a closely guarded secret until the 1500s. This was because of just how valuable the spice was. Cinnamon was a common gift to monarchs and to the Gods, but was nearly 50 times the monthly wage of a laborer in ancient Rome. Out of reach of the common man it began to take on mysterious and precious properties.
This was further enhanced by the tales told about its origin. According to Herodotus, it grew in Arabia and was guarded by winged serpents. Some claimed that the cinnamon sticks came from the nests of giant birds that gathered it from an unknown place and only the Arabs knew the trick to getting them to give it up. As late as the middle ages, it was believed that cinnamon was fished up in nets at the source of the Nile.
Cinnamon was used in the ancient world as a gift to the Gods-especially Apollo. Ancient Egypt used it in an incense called kyphi and as an ingredient in mummification. In the Roman world, it was used by the rich to burn in funeral pyres. There is even a story of Nero burning Rome’s yearly supply of it in his wife’s pyre.
Now that we know a little about the history and use of cinnamon, we can get to the meat and potatoes. Below is a brief list of its correspondences.
- Zodiac: Aries, Capricorn, Leo
- Solar System: Sun
- Days: Sunday, Thursday
- Element: Fire
- Energy: Yang
- Chakra: Solar Plexus
- Goddesses: Aphrodite, Venus, Isis
- Gods: Apollo, Angus, Anubis
- Mythical: Phoenix, Dragon
- Focus: Action, astral realm, attraction, authority, balance, business, focus, consecrate, creativity, defense, desire, harmony, illumination, increase, influence, inspiration, justice, love, luck, money, moods, passion, peace, prosperity, protection, purification, security, skills, success, wealth, wishes
The list of uses for cinnamon is huge. It’s edible so it can go in potions, elixirs, baked goods, etc. Plus, it’s an aromatic. You can create your own incense or boil it on the stove to fill your home with the smell. Most commonly coming in its powder form, you can dress candles in it. Really, your own imagination is the limit.
This pine scented herb is the plant that I connected the most with early on in my craft. I think it ended up in every spell that I cast for the entire year and a day. It also managed to worm its way into just about every recipe that I have developed since. For me, it has a strong earthy magic that invokes the security and safety of home. Perhaps that is why I connected so strongly with it as I was searching for my home.
Wreathes are the method by which rosemary is remembered by history. Wreathes were worn by brides on their wedding days both because of their scent and for rosemary’s association with women and virginity. Even one of Henry the VII’s wives was married wearing one. Indeed, some wealthy families gave gilded rosemary branches to wedding guests.
Rosemary’s association with women is so strong that it was immortalized in the saying “where rosemary flourishes the lady rules.” Men were warned not to cut down any rosemary growing on the property lest he not find any relief from his lady’s rule.
This versatile plant is considered to be one of the strongest memory aids. The Greek philosophers wore it in their hair to aid in memorization. It served a part in funeral rites were it was burned or buried with the dead. This was partly for remembrance and partly to mask the smell.
The Spanish used rosemary for protection against both witchcraft and general menace. It needed to be worn in the man’s cap or on the lady’s breast in order to offer protection.
Again, this is just a brief listing of things that correspond to Rosemary. The more you get to know this herb, the more uses you will discover. Years later and I am still finding my hand reaching for the rosemary first.
- Zodiac: Aquarius, Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, Virgo
- Solar System: Mercury, Moon, Sun
- Celebrations: Walpurgis, Yule
- Rune: Jera
- Element: Fire
- Energy: Yang
- Chakra: Root
- Magical: Faeries
- Focus: Afterlife, attraction, banish, bind, comfort, communication, focus, consecrate, courage, death, defense, empowerment, hex breaking, honesty, increase, learning, luck, protection, release, spirits, willpower, wisdom
Rosemary is a hardy little plant. It grows in good or bad soil as long as it has proper drainage. One of the best uses is to plant it near your house for protection. It evens survives well in a pot for apartment dwelling witches and is one of the few plants I can’t kill. It also makes great wreathes to hang for a variety of uses. Some use it to smoke cleanse, but I have a hard time getting it to burn correctly. I use it to asperge instead-I put it in water and use a branch to sprinkle the water around the area I want to cleanse or consecrate. It smells lovely and turns the water a milky color thanks to its sap if you use a fresh branch.
Rosemary also makes a huge appearance in my kitchen witchery. Being a Mediterranean native, a lot of recipes call for it today. There is nothing easier than using it with intention. A dash on meats for protection. A sprinkling on chips to help with memory for a test. You can even dress candles with it. Rosemary does it all.
Looking to grow some Rosemary? Botanical Interests is where I get all my gardening supplies. Check them out!
Sage-a witch’s best friend. It’s all over social media today having made its way into mainstream. However, there is a darker side to sage use. It was quite a journey learning about this herb in my practice.
Smudge or Smoke Cleanse?
Let me preface this with the fact that I am not Native American. My ties to the First Nation Peoples are the educational posts that they put out on this subject.
I don’t know if you noticed the fact that I almost never use the term smudge. There is a good reason for that and it began over 200 years ago when colonists starting arriving in North America. For those of you who never got more than the page or so dedicated to First Nation Peoples in a history book, that is when the systematic genocide and repression of the First Nations began. Part of that was the outlawing of their ability to practice their own religion and speak their own languages. Smudging is a religious practice for a lot of First Nation Peoples. A religion that is closed-meaning that unless you are born into it or invited you are not to practice it. Doing so is considered appropriation.
Smoke cleansing is what most of us are doing with sage anyway. Smudging is a full on ritual performed by the religious leaders of the tribe. Smoke cleansing is using the properties of sage to cleanse ourselves and our space. We visualize or fan the smoke into/unto what we wish to cleanse. The keyword here? Cleanse. We are cleansing-with smoke. Please use the term smoke cleansing instead.
A brief history
Now that I have gotten down off my soapbox, let’s talk about sage’s history. Sage has strong ties to medicine in the ancient world. The ancient world thought that it aided in digestion, helped clean wounds, and aided with fertility. Charlemagne even planted it wherever he conquered.
Sage is one of the main ingredients in 4 Thieves Oil-commonly used as a preventative for the plague. This association with medical uses and the fact that ancients considered illness to be the product of demons, ill humors, or ill favor with the Gods is where we get the association with cleansing.
I know that I hammered sage’s cleansing properties above, but sage is so much more than something that is burned to remove negative vibes. It, like some many herbs, is so much more than its mainstream uses.
- Solar System: Jupiter, Mercury
- Zodiac: Aquarius, Pisces, Sagittarius, Taurus
- Day: Thursday
- Celebrations: Mabon, Samhain, Walpurgis, Yule
- Rune: Tyr
- Elements: Air, Earth
- Energy: Yin
- Chakra: Throat
- Tarot: The Emperor
- God: Zeus
- Focus: balance, business, comfort, consecrate, fertility, gratitude, grounding, harmony, healing, knowledge, love, memory, money, peace, power, prosperity, protection, purification, release, reversal, spirits, stability, strength, truth, wealth, mental well being, wisdom
Everyone knows the most common use-smoke cleansing. But I like to use the leaves with salt water as a bath for my tools. It’s also great in a ritual bath. I like the taste so I often make a tea with other herbs and ingest it that way. Sage most often makes its appearance in stuffing for the holidays and I admit to calling upon its power of peace to help keep disagreements from exploding.
Fresh sage burns oddly in candles, but the dried is excellent. It also is a cheery little plant to grow in your garden where it will both protect your house and repel bad bugs.
Looking to grow some sage? I use Botanical Interests to get all my gardening supplies. Check them out!