“All nature is a vast symbolism; every material fact has sheathed within it a spiritual truth.”
– EDWIN H. CHAPIN
Spicy Spells and Charms
The Green Witch and Herb Witch (among others) takes time getting to know Earth’s voice, its symbols, and energies. It seems natural then that after growing some of our own flowers and herbs, after cooking and brewing with them, or decorating our homes – we will most certainly want to weave spells using the gifts from Gaia.
This post provides insights into a variety of herbs and flower that you may grow in your garden (or find growing wild) along with sample charms and spells. Even if you don’t have these fresh, you can always obtain commercial products if the item fulfills your magical component needs. Take a peek!
Old wives’ tales say that any home that has alfalfa growing will always know Providence.
Money Charm: So long as you have a healthy alfalfa plant growing in your home, you will never want (Note: this doesn’t mean being wealthy, it simply means having your needs met).
Quick Money Spell: Snip pieces from your alfalfa plant when the moon is full. Dry these and burn just a few whenever you need cash quickly.
Bee Balm Magic
Paracelsus (a sixteenth-century Swiss alchemist) called this herb the elixir of life. It has retained that honor in modern society in that we call a healing salve a “balm.”
Anxiety Charm: Gather some lemon balm and put it in a cotton drawstring bag or a tea ball. Empower this by saying “When taken within, let peace begin. Anxiety ceases, as the magick’s released.” Carry this with you and steep it in hot water for a calming tea when needed.
Joy Spell: Take a fresh balm leaf and rub it over your heart Chakra saying “Joy, joy, joy within, by my will the magick begins. Sadness depart, restore joy to my heart.” Dry the leaf on your altar and when the spell manifests burn it with a prayer of thankfulness.
One of the folk names for basil is “witch’s herb.” In India, it’s a traditional funerary herb especially for prominent leaders.
Affection Charm: Plant a pot of basil and tend to it lovingly. When it’s growing heartily, give it to someone you love. This encourages love and devotion.
Banishing Spell: Put a symbol or word on a fresh basil leaf that represents what you want to banish. Leave this in the light of the sun to dry. When dried, pound the leaf into minute parts and burn it. This will release the negative energy.
Bay was often part of the incense used at the Delphic oracle to improve divinatory abilities. It is sacred to Apollo.
Energy Charm: Bind bay together with marigold petals in a yellow, orange, or gold color sachet and carry it with you for increased vitality. This also provides strong protective energy.
Romance Spell: Take a fresh bay leaf and rub it into the surface of a pink candle (or one of a color that symbolizes romance to you). Twirl the candle clockwise in one hand, holding the leaf on its surface with the other, saying thrice “Me and you and we; let love have its way and romance dance free!” Light the candle when you’re spending time with your significant other.
Irish farmers trusted in buttercups to improve the yield of butter from cream or milk from cows to produce that cream. Conveniently they often grow wild.
Money Charm: Carry a dried, pressed, or waxed buttercup in your pocket to promote prosperity. To increase the effectiveness, bind the buttercup together with a silver coin inside a green cloth during a waxing to full moon or better yet, on May Day.
Health Spell: Take the petals of a dried buttercup and remove them from the plant saying, “Heal my body, make me well, heed the words within my spell.” Toss the petals on a fire and let them burn completely, then sprinkle the ashes with salt. This is an adaptation of a medieval healing charm especially suited to mental illness.
In Korea, carnations are used for fortune-telling. During the Middle Ages, they were added to curatives to combat fever.
Courage Charm: Simply pinning this flower to your scarf or lapel is said to inspire courage and bravery. It is also a sign of honor. To add more magick to the equation, bless the carnation, saying “Carnations of valor to have, and to hold, by this magick make me bold!”
Anti-anger Spell: Take a carnation in your hand. Focus your negative feelings and let them saturate the flower. Continue until you feel empty. Next put the carnation in the freezer to quite literally “chill out!”
A wise Green Witch grows this herb in her garden to make everything therein healthy, lush, and fertile.
Money Charm: When you want to hold on to your cash, wash it before you go out, in a chamomile tincture. According to tradition this either draws money or helps you save it.
Solar Spell: To saturate your aura with all the attributes of the sun, bathe at noon on Midsummer’s day in chamomile-laden water. As you do, visualize your body being filled with the golden rays of the sun, and any negativity washing away down the drain.
The name of this blossom means “golden flower.” It is the national flower of Japan, while in China, Buddhists believe that Keu Tze Tung’s sacred stories were written on dewy chrysanthemum petals.
Longevity Charm: People of the Far East believe that these flower petals grant long life to a person, project, or relationship. So, keep some fresh or dried chrysanthemum petals near those things you hold dear and want to last. Don’t forget to bless them, perhaps by saying “Golden flower from the sun, by my will this spell’s begun. See in me a heart pure, that this ______ may endure.” (Fill in the blank according to your goal.)
Smile Spell: Quickly blanch some chrysanthemum petals and toss them in a bowl with a hint of vinegar and some chopped egg, then eat. This internalizes improved disposition.
In Scotland, people sometimes created a milk bath with clover to alleviate melancholy. Druids felt it was a potent amulet against evil.
Love Charm: Put a four-leaf clover in your shoe and love will walk with you.
Luck Spell: Pick a full clover, leaves and all, and gently turn the leaves counterclockwise until they break off saying “Bad luck turn, turn, turn away, burn, burn, burn away.” As you say the last part, burn the leaves. Carry the head of the flower with you for protection and improved fortune.
Daisies are the traditional decoration for Midsummer festivals. According to lore, these flowers sprang from Mary Magdalene’s tears.
Solar Charm: Once the daisy was called “day’s eye” because it turns its face to follow the sun. In keeping with this, pick a daisy at noon on a bright sunny day and carry it with you to augment solar energies (the conscious mind, strength, and leadership).
Fidelity Spell: Take a freshly picked daisy and slowly remove its petals saying, “Love be true, love be kind, in these petals my magick bind.” Burn these petals just before meeting your lover, or carry them with you to the next rendezvous.
The patroness of witches, Hecate, once entertained Theseus with dandelion wine. In the language of flowers, it represents ancient oracles.
Anti-Magick Charm: In Sicilian tradition, gathering a handful of dandelion heads on St. John’s Eve (Midsummer) ensures the wearer of protection from witches.
Psychism Spell: To improve your powers of spiritual insight, make a tea out of dandelion flowers and leaves. Stir it clockwise saying, “Open my eyes and let me see beyond the veil, my spirit freed.” Drink the tea to internalize this flower’s energy just before divination efforts.
Binding dill to a home was once a common anti-magick charm. Perhaps this protective power is why the Greeks used dill as part of decorative crowns for heroes.
Yin-Yang Charm: According to magickal tradition, dill promotes a healthy balance between the conscious and unconscious mind, the esoteric and mundane. Smell it or carry it to help create this balance.
Luck Spell: Take a loaf of frozen bread dough and allow it to rise. Knead in a personally pleasing amount of dill, then bake according to the directions on the package. The heat and the rising of the bread will both activate and release fortunate energy.
Rural lore in the United States claims that snakes will not cross the path of this plant. More practically, place it in your windows to keeps flies away.
Hospitality Charm: To encourage the arrival of desired guests in your home, and make them feel welcome once they arrive, simply pick some fresh geraniums, and bring them indoors. Put them in water and place them in your living room.
Fertility Spell: Pick a white geranium and carry it close to your heart (as you would keep a child emotionally close). When the flower dries, burn it, whispering your wishes into the smoke. Note: You can also rub this flower on your threshold to bless all who dwell within your home.
This was such a beloved herb to the ancients that people said it was first grown in Eden!
Health Charm: Find a piece of ginger root that resembles a person, then wrap a piece of fabric from an old piece of your clothing around it. As long as you keep this safe, it will promote well-being.
Consecration Spell: To dedicate your athame, burn some ginger on a fire source and move the blade through it as you invoke your vision of the Divine and ask for his or her blessings. Ginger not only helps with the consecration process but also increases the amount of magickal energy with which you have to work.
Heather was often featured in the initiation rites of Scottish witches. In this region, it was also believed that sleeping on a bed stuffed with heather will keep you healthy.
Rain Charm: Burn a little-dried heather or heather-scented incense when you want to invoke rain.
Cleansing Spell: On Midsummer’s Day, it’s customary to use a sprig of heather to asperge the sacred space. Dip the heather in spring water and move clockwise around the circle saying, “East and South, West and North, beauty and blessing now come forth!”
Iris Charms and Spells
These lovely flowers bear the name of the Greek goddess of the rainbow. Its three petals are said to represent bravery, discernment, and faith.
Faith Charm: When you need to trust in yourself more, or in a specific ideal, bathe in water that has iris petals floating in it. Afterward, dry one of the petals and carry it with you.
Goddess Spell: When you want to focus on the feminine aspect of the Divine, use this spell. Pick an iris and put it on your altar saying “One petal is the maiden, the next the mother, the third the crone. All are welcome in my sacred space of home!” Refresh the flower as necessary.
Roman prostitutes used the aroma of lavender to attract clients. Wearing a sprig near your head during the fall helps keep colds at bay.
Anti-Abuse Charm: If you suffer emotional abuse from those around you, tuck a piece of lavender in a bag and wear it near your heart. It will help banish the negative words and give you greater inner strength.
Dream Spell: Gather a piece of fresh lavender just before going to bed on the night of a waxing to full moon. Hold the lavender in your hand and say, “Flower of blue, bring dreams that come true!” It is said that if you have a dream, it will soon come true.
It’s considered bad luck to wear lilacs on May Day. It means you will never marry. On the other hand, bathing in the lilac water on May Day makes you more beautiful!
Anti-Ghost Charm: Simply planting lilacs near your home or office will keep the entire area safe from any unhappy, wandering souls.
Happy Love Spell: For this spell you need to gather a few white and purple lilacs (white is for joy, purple is to inspire adoration). Take these to a windy location, if possible where the wind is blowing from the South (warmth), and release the petals saying “Let there be joy in my love. Let this relationship be blessed by the god and goddess above.”
Magic with Marigold
The prevailing myth about this plant is that it originally grew out of the blood of those slain during Cortes’s conquest of Mexico.
Anti-gossip Charm: Picking this flower in August and keeping it with a bay leaf turns all wagging tongues away.
Anti-Anxiety Spell: Marigold is a flower of the sun, so it’s most potent when picked at noon. Take your noonday blossom in hand saying “The light of the sun shines on my heart. Chase the shadows, all sadness departs!” Tear up the flower and release it to the Earth to release your anxiety.
This herb is sacred to Venus, so it’s not surprising to discover that it is used for both love spells and love divinations.
Dream Lover Charm: Put a bundle of marjoram under your pillow (fresh is best), and it will bring you dreams of future love, or sweet dreams of someone you hold dear.
Rest Spell: When you’ve been feeling uneasy and need to calm your spirit, drink a cup of marjoram tea that’s been stirred counterclockwise (banishing) while saying “Anxiety cease, tension release!”
Mint is one of the most versatile magickal herbs because it comes in so many varieties including sage, lemon, peppermint, and pennyroyal.
Study Charm: Dab a little mint on the corners of your books and on your temples to improve your concentration. Or, enjoy a mint tea and internalize its energies.
Sweet Words Spell: When you need your communications to be particularly gentle and sweet, use this spell. Begin with several fresh mint leaves steeped in warm water to make a tea. Stir this clockwise saying thrice: “By this charm, I now repeat, let my words be ever sweet!” Rinse your mouth with the tea just before your conversation occurs.
Magic with Orchids
Greek legends tell us that Satyrs loved this flower as a snack, and they are edible!
Friendship Charm: Tradition tells us that simply wearing this flower promotes friendship. Or, you can present it to someone as a way of opening the door to improved relationships.
Passion Spell: This spell uses the root of the orchid rather than the flower. Begin by boiling a little sliced root (1/4 inch is fine) in water. To this, add a little lemon juice and orange rind saying, “Passion and zeal, bring me greater sex appeal!”Eat to internalize the energy. An alternative is to bless some petals and have them on a sandwich.
Also known as kiss-me-quick, this flower also symbolizes thought. Folklore has it that the pansy once had an aroma, but prayed to have it removed so people wouldn’t ruin fields just to acquire it.
Rain Charm: Pick a pansy at dawn, which represents hopefulness, and sprinkle water on it. Rain will follow.
Love Spell: Again, you should pick your flower at dawn. Tie it gently onto a string about 3 feet long. Put this across from you at a table. Begin chanting “Love, love, come to me” as you slowly draw the flower toward your heart chakra. When the string is used up, carry the flower until your spell manifests.
In the Victorian Language of Flowers this represents socialization, whereas during the Middle Ages people consumed parsley to allay rowdiness and drunkenness.
Celebration Charm: If you’re desirous of having an occasion for feasting and merriment, cut parsley from your garden on Good Friday. This also attracts more luck into your life.
Cheerfulness Spell: Rub a fresh sprig of parsley on your forehead, temples, and heart chakra (in that order) saying “Let my mind focus on happy thoughts, my ears hear only good news, and my heart overflows with joy.” Dry the sprig and use it for an uplifting incense later.
People in England and France sometimes refer to this flower as the Sorcerer’s Violet because of its use as a protective amulet.
Anti-Envy Charm: Wash your hands in spring water, then pluck this flower on the either the first, ninth, eleventh, or thirteenth night of the moon and carry it with you. This protects you from those who would do you harm and also grants abundance.
Peaceful Spirit Spell: If you feel that someone’s spirit is not resting quietly, go and sprinkle periwinkle petals on his or her grave saying, “May your wandering cease, let your spirit find peace.” In Welsh tradition, this is thought to help children’s spirits especially.
If you’d like to use primroses in a clock garden, the evening primrose will close with a loud click come nightfall.
Garden Charm: Simply plant primrose bushes at the four corners of your garden, or in a central location, to ensure the growth and lushness of everything therein.
Fairy Spell: To attract fairies or improve your rapport with them, place some fresh primroses on your altar saying “Spirits of the fairy world, hear my wish, heed my words. Come dance with me in the sacred space, while working magick in this place!” Be aware of any changes that happen after this, and have some little gifts (like sweet bread) ready to place on windows or doorways as an offering.
Roses are sacred to a variety of gods and goddesses including Eros, Cupid, Demeter, and Isis. There are over ten thousand known varieties of this flower.
Love Charm: Begin with equal portions of cinnamon, ginger, rosewater, powdered clove, nutmeg, myrrh, and dried rose petals. Blend these together and crush them until very well mixed. Add a few drops of pink wax and form this into a ball. Once dried, place this in any area where you want emotional warmth to fill the room.
Unity Spell: For this spell you’ll need to make a garland of roses long enough to go around two people’s wrists (you may use silk roses dabbed with oil as an alternative to fresh ones, otherwise carefully remove the thorns). As you make the strand say “Aphrodite, great goddess of love, bind your blessing in these your flowers till they wrap ‘round the wrists of two who are promised to each other. There, release your power into their hearts that they may never part.” You can now use this strand as part of a handfasting (bind the wrists with the garland at the end of the ritual to denote unity). You can also alter the incantation so it applies to other kinds of unity, (such as business partnerships), and then use the strand in your alliance ritual.
Rosemary was favored in Hungarian beauty preparations. Romans trusted in this herb to bring peace to the dead and to restore happiness to the living.
Memory Charm: This herb was among the first used to improve the conscious mind. Just smelling it before any mental endeavor is said to clear the mind and improve memory retention.
Woman’s Reclaiming Spell: Rosemary has always been considered a woman’s herb that, when grown near the home, indicates a strong feminine presence within. So, if it’s necessary to reclaim space from imposing guests or housemates, simply burn some rosemary while moving counterclockwise through the space saying, “I reclaim this, my sacred space, here my magick shines, my energy saturates every space, to make this home truly mine.” Douse the incense and keep it somewhere safe in case you need to do spiritual housecleaning again.
In Native American and many other indigenous traditions, sage is a favorite herb for clearing away negative vibrations.
Insect Repellant Charm: Sage effectively keeps away natural and spiritual pests in all shapes and sizes (including annoying people!). Wash your body in a tincture of sage water and keep a fresh or dried sprig with you.
Wisdom Spell: Take a handful of sage flowers and close your eyes. Focus on your desire to grow in wisdom saying “Floral spirit by your name, my life will n’er be the same. My will, my heart, pray now see, and bring back to me sagacity!” Release all but a pinch of the herb to the Earth, and sprinkle the rest in your shoes so wisdom walks with you.
Persians loved to eat thyme flowers in everything from soups to stuffings and vinegars. Greeks used it as a favored herb to honor the gods.
Beauty Charm: According to ancient Roman custom, washing in thyme water will enhance your natural comeliness. To increase the effect, steep the herb in dew gathered on May Day morning.
Humor Spell: Since this herb is associated with the fairy folk, it has a whimsical nature. When you want to improve your sense of humor, steep some thyme in water and sprinkle it into your aura. Afterward, take a feather and move it clockwise throughout your aura to literally tickle yourself happy again.
Tulips open at dawn and close by dusk, making them lovely solar emblems. These flowers are edible and make a fanciful cup for chicken or tuna salad.
Solar Charm: At dawn, gather a tulip that’s just opening as you recite this incantation, “At sunrise let my mind be keen, alert, and wise; at sunset, put the spell to rest.” Carry the flower with you until sunset, then bury the petals in the Earth for a good night’s sleep.
Prosperity Spell: Gather a handful of tulip seeds and scatter all but two to a southerly wind saying “Silver and gold, silver and gold, one to have and one to hold. To the winds fly fall and free, bring to me prosperity!” Put the last two seeds in your wallet or purse to attract money.
In the Doctrine of Signatures, violets are known as “heart’s ease” because of the heart-shaped leaf. In Christian lore, violets turned purple from drops of blood off the Cross.
Heartbreak Charm: To overcome sadness from unrequited love, carry a waxed or pressed violet close to your heart.
Peace Spell: Living violets are said to bring peace to both the living and the dead. Plant them wherever you want to be surrounded by tranquility saying “Where these flowers are sown, bring peace. Where the blossoms abide may calm never cease.”
There are so many other herbs and plants (including fruits and vegetables) useful spells and charms that they could easily fill a book. While not all of these items exist in the green witch’s garden or home, everything that nature gives us has potential for magick. It’s just a matter of obtaining what we wish, then using it appropriately, adding personal vision and flair for more pleasing and powerful results. So, as you walk through supermarkets, spice shops, nature stores, or the forest, don’t forget to see what wonders Gaia may have brought to those places. Store- bought or plucked fresh, green witches find magick in every bit of flora, and then happily weave that magick into their daily lives.
Adapted from “A Floral Grimoire,” by Patricia Telesco. All Rights Reserved.