Herbs have been used by witches for eons, Myrrh was burned on a daily basis by the ancient Egyptians, this was done as an offering to the gods, and there were many stories told about people and gods being transformed into trees.
Irish moss, holly, hazel, daffodil, orange, star anise, poppy, violet, wood rose, strawberry, apple, rosemary, moss and cotton are just some of the plants that are considered lucky, these and others will always be part of a witch’s arsenal.
To protect the home have some white heather in your kitchen. Witches also love to use hydrangea flowers in their magic spells, and for protecting the home sprinkle oregano around the outside while chanting, “I am protected”. Mistletoe can be worn or placed around the home for protection also. The Druids burned elder for blessings and elder was often hanging over people’s doors and windows. The following are plants used by witches:
Ague root; known as unicorn root
Arisaema; known as dragon tail
Bistort; known as dragonwort
Calliandra eriphylla; known as fairy duster
Calochortus albus; known as fairy duster
Calypso bulbosa; known as fairy slipper
Cat tail; known as fairy woman’s spindle
Ceratopteris spp; known as water sprite
Cowslip; known as fairy cup
Daemomorops draco; known as dragon’s blood
Datura; known as ghost flower
Devil’s bit; known as unicorn root
Disporum smithii; known as coast fairy bells
Dracaena spp; known as dragon’s blood
Elecampane; known as elf dock
Elm, known as elven
Epipogium aphyllum; known as ghost orchid
Eucalyptus papuana; known as ghost gum
Foxglove; known as fairy fingers
Juncus effuses, known as unicorn
Lavender; known as silver ghost
Molukka bean; known as fairy’s eggs
Moringa ovalifolia; known as phantom tree
Mohavea confertiflora; known as ghost flower
Peristeria elata; known as ghost orchid
Polpompholyx; known as fairy aprons
Primula malacoides; known as fairy primrose
Ragwort; known as fairy’s horses
Rosemary; known as elf leaf
Toadflax, known as dragon bushes
Wood sorrel, known as fairy’s bells
Zephyranthes; known as fairy’s lily
On Midsummer’s Day the 24th June, the Druids traditionally cut mistletoe as the plants powers were at their most potent on this day. Many witches still follow this tradition, as it is believed that it has healing and divining properties. Another plant to be used as this time is Saint John’s wort, this is used for healing. Vervain is a multipurpose plant also harvested on Midsummer and used for divination, healing and protection. The plants mentioned can be harvested at other times of the year, but Midsummer is said to be when they are at their most potent. Some witches harvested chicory on Midsummer’s Day to use for invisibility purposes. Wood betony can be placed under the pillow to stop nightmares, or placed in an amulet to be worn for protection.
Many witches gather thirteen times a year when the moon is full, this gathering is called an Esbat this is also a time for them to practice powerful magic, they would each bring an offering with them. Most witches have an herb garden inhabited by fairies and other spirit creatures, and as they spend time tending their garden they often find that they are inspired to make magic.
Botanomancy which is the practice of divination using herbs, is an ancient method of magic practiced by witches, they would burn plants and trees and read the message in the ashes.
The Druids held rituals associated with trees and plants, they used vervain and mistletoe for divination, for healing and for protection. Witches of long ago would sprinkle incense on a fire and watch how the incense smoke drifted to give them a yes or no answer to a question, if the smoke emanating from the incense drifts to the right this is yes, if the smoke drifts to the left the answer is no. If the smoke breaks up this means take care of your finances, if the smoke clusters and moves upwards this is a good sign for new enterprise and financial gain. If the base of the smoke is very thin and wider at the top, you are urged to move forward with care and show caution with money. Choose carefully the people you spend time with. If the smoke of the incense breaks in two it means you should slow down and give yourself some time to meditate, you may be taking on too much and are overwhelmed.
In ancient Greece the petals and leaves of roses were used to foretell the future, a rose with a concave shape is for answering a yes or no question, the diviner holds the rose petal and meditates, then presses both hands together in a clapping motion. A burst petal is a yes answer and a whole petal is a no answer.
A form of divination that psychic witches use when a couple want to know their fate, is the taking of two acorns on the night of a full moon, the initials of one partner are written on one acorn, and the initials of the other partner are written on the other acorn. The acorns are placed six centimeters apart then placed in a cauldron filled with water, their movements are observed. If they move towards each other the couple will stay together, if they move apart the couple will not stay together. If the acorns don’t move at all, the message given is to ask the question at a later date as their fate is not yet clear.
There is a superstition that requires you to take a root of ribwort and place it beneath a stone, to then leave it overnight, you do this when the moon is full. If there is marriage for you within twelve months, the initials of the one you are to marry will be found on the plant’s root. Another way of divining your marital future, is to pick twelve sage leaves during the evening of Halloween, and on the twelfth leaf you will see the face of your future partner. If no face appears, it means you will not be marrying within the next twelve months.
To find out if your lover has been faithful to you, take a bay leaf during the evening a full moon, prick your lover’s name upon the leaf with a pin, when this is done place the leaf under your pillow before you go to sleep. In the morning look to see if the leaf has turned brown, if it has you will know that your lover is faithful to you. If the leaf is the same colour, there is deception around you.
If you sleep with ivy leaves, mistletoe or myrtle under your pillow and you are unattached, you will dream of your future partner in marriage. Or on a Saturday night at midnight you can take seven leaves from a holly plant, tie the leaves in a handkerchief, or a piece of square fabric, and place the handkerchief under your pillow before going to sleep, this will also encourage you to dream of your marriage partner to be.
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