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10 Magical Herbs for beginner Witches.

Magical herbalism is one of the most popular forms of magic in modern witchcraft.

For centuries and across cultures and traditions, witches have drawn on the power of herbs within spellwork. We inherently understand the power of herbs to both heal and assist us within our magic to achieve change in our lives.

Today, if you pick up any modern spellbook, most of the spells will have correspondences for using herbs.

“Plants are an embodiment of life and abundance on earth. We can learn so much from the myriad specifies of vegetation around us – resilience in the face of obstacles, the ability to continually renew and reinvent ourselves, and a desire to be of service to those around us.” (Judy Ann Nock, The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Magickal Herbs, 2019)

In this blog post, we will be using the term ‘herbs’; but it is worth noting that we are often talking about a wide range of botanicals and parts of a plant, this will include, roots, leaves, flowers and petals.

Technically, each of these has it’s own unique magical category but to keep things simple for now; we will refer to all of them as herbs.

(©Kath Wallace – stock.adobe.com).

Spellcrafting with Herbs

There are entire books and websites devoted to herbal correspondences in witchcraft.

When we talk about correspondences, we mean the way in which a herb represents another object, person or concept. One of the most well-known examples of this in popular culture is the association of red roses with love and St Valentine’s Day.

When we see a red rose, we automatically think of love, relationships, romance and passion, therefore it is no surprise to know that rose is a key ingredient in love spells.

The principle of correspondences brings together connections between non-magical items and magical concepts. When we work with herbs, we are tapping into the inherent powers of the plant and as well as it’s associations.

One of the best ways to work with herbs effectively is through hands-on experience.

If you can, select a herb if you wish to work with, either fresh or dried, and hold it in your hands. Take a deep breath and centre yourself, and ask to connect to the energies of the plant so it can share its wisdom with you.

You may get a visual image of how to use it, intuit a particular energy or you may ‘know’ what that herb wants to teach you.

We can work magic with herbs through utilising the natural energy contained within the plant towards a specific goal.

We can produce powerful results by ensuring we fully align our intentions to the herbs we select. Some of the things to consider when choosing a herb to work with are:

  • Elemental ruler

  • Planetary ruler

  • Physical properties, e.g. stinging nettles for protection work

  • Colour

  • Astrological ruler

  • Smell

(©Kath Wallace – stock.adobe.com).

By considering these different aspects of a herbs properties, we can build a spell that really packs a potent magical punch and is entirely in tune with our intention. Magical herbalism is so popular with witches because there are herbal correspondences for so many different intentions. We can find a suitable herb for any magical goal or purpose we can imagine.

Using herbs in magic is also extremely versatile, and we can use herbs in multiple different types of magic. Examples of different kinds of spellwork using herbs include:

  • dressing candles

  • making incense

  • smoke cleansing

  • spell or charm bags

  • spell jars

  • poppets

  • infusions

  • oils

  • powders

  • teas

  • floor washes

  • kitchen witchery

  • ritual baths

  • charging sigils, and crystal grids

  • salves, ointments

  • tinctures

And more besides!

Building your Magical Apothecary

As a new witch, it is easy to get carried away and believe you need to spend a lot of money on 50 different herbs that you don’t ever use.

We recommend building a small collection of herbs that you will find yourself reaching for again and again and then add to your apothecary over time.

Unlike some other witchcraft tools, herbs are cheap, readily available and are very flexible. We can find herbs growing in our local area, or if we have space and green fingers, we can grow our own.

We can also buy fresh or dried herbs in supermarkets as well as health or witchcraft and pagan shops. It is worth stressing that you do not need to buy ‘special’ witchcraft herbs and the majority of the herbs mentioned in the blog are easily found in your supermarket.

(©Kath Wallace – stock.adobe.com).

Safety is always crucial, and especially if you are using herbs in spellwork where you will be consuming them, such as tea magic or making tinctures.

Just because herbs are natural – does not mean that they are not dangerous. Some herbs are highly poisonous and should not be ingested or handled without gloves (though these are not included here).

Therefore, please do your research and ensure any herbs are safe to consume, and there are no interactions with any medication you may be taking. Also, please look at buying herbs described as ‘food grade’ to ensure they are safe for internal or topical use.

You may want to invest in is a solid mortar and pestle as for some spells, herbs need to be ground to a fine powder.

Or you can cheat like I do and use an electric coffee-grinder! You may also want to consider how you are going to store your herbs and ensure they are correctly labelled.

10 Magical Herbs

The first thing to say about this list is that these are only my suggestions for a herbal starter kit. These are the herbs I find myself utilising the most in my practice. However, other witches will have their own ‘go-to’ list, though most witches will agree on at least some of these. The selection below will give you lots of flexibility in most types of spellwork and cover a wide range of purposes. I’ve also chosen these because they are readily accessible.

So, let’s proceed, with my suggestions for a basic herb kit and a summary of their magical properties:

1. Basil

Ruled by Mars, elementary ruler is Fire

Properties: purification, exorcism, protection, love and fidelity, prosperity, luck, blessings.

2. Bay

Ruled by Sun, elementary ruler is Fire

Properties: purification, protection, divination, healing, luck, success, confidence, manifestation.

3. Chamomile

Ruled by Sun, elementary ruler is Water

Properties: cleansing, money, luck, healing, peace, relaxation, purification.

4. Cinnamon

Ruled by Sun, elementary ruler is Fire

Properties: Love, passion, protection, spiritual development, inner strength, courage, prosperity and abundance, brings speed to spellwork.

(©Kath Wallace – stock.adobe.com).

5. Lavender

Ruled by Mercury, elementary ruler is Air

Properties: love, peace, happiness, purification, love divination, dreamwork, attraction, glamour magic.

6. Mint

Ruled by Venus, elementary ruler is Air

Properties: healing, purification, energy work, unblocking, clarity, prosperity, success in business, strength and fortitude.

7. Mugwort

Ruled by Venus, elementary ruler is Earth

Properties: psychic protection, clairvoyance, spiritual development, divination, dreamwork, consecration, cleansing

8. Rose

Ruled by Venus, elementary ruler is Water

Properties: love, self-love, romance, happiness, fertility, clairvoyance, prosperity. You can use the thorns and stems for protection and binding. Colour can also be a powerful consideration when working with rose energy.

9. Rosemary

Ruled by Sun, elementary ruler is Fire

Properties: purification, love, dreamwork, concentration, success with mental and intellectual pursuits, glamour magic, protection.

10. Sage

Ruled by Jupiter, elementary ruler is Air

Properties: healing, purification, prosperity, success, banishment, learning and wisdom.

As you can see, each herb has several magical properties, and these often overlap with the physical use of the herb in natural practices such as herbal medicine or aromatherapy.

I think this means you can address situations from multiple angles in both mundanely and magically.

For example, sage is very beneficial for sore throats, so I can make sage tea to soothe my throat, but I’d also enchant and charge the sage to give it a magical healing kick too.

Also, having multiple properties for each herb, means you can substitute a herb if you don’t have a particular ingredient available for a specific spell.

Magical herbalism is one of those areas of witchcraft that the more you delve into it, the more fascinating it becomes and the more you want to learn.

I hope this inspires you to start the journey!

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How to Get in Touch with Your Inner Witch.

So, you have decided to answer that calling… that gnawing sense that there is something beyond that which we see and experience with our five senses, and you are beginning to explore the path of Witchcraft.

Maybe you have been fascinated by Witches since childhood? Perhaps you’ve come across posts about Witchcraft on social media that pique your interest … or perhaps you just ‘know’ that it’s something you are drawn to.

However, now you have decided to start exploring what it means to be a Witch – that excitement can quickly turn to a feeling of being overwhelmed and lost.

Don’t worry! You aren’t alone; if there is one question, we get asked more than anything here at Secrets of the Cauldron, it’s this … “I feel drawn to being a Witch, but I don’t know where to start?”

Well, you know the famous saying from Alice Hoffman who, wrote Practical Magic; “there is a little Witch in all of us.” Here at Sisters of the Cauldron, we wholeheartedly believe that’s true. In fact, if you want to embrace it, there is A LOT of Witch inside us …

So, here we are going to share five tips to start getting in touch with your inner Witch!

1. Read, Read, and Read Some More!

As a new Witch, I read everything I could get my teenage Witch hands on and I quickly learned that books would become my most powerful tools.

Witchcraft IS a practice, but it also a path of knowledge.

I find it is not enough to know that Witchcraft works - you will be a more empowered and effective Witch if you understand how and why it works.

I’d recommend you start with some introductory Witchcraft books so you can become familiar with the terminology, and you begin to develop an understanding of the basics.

The benefit of studying these books is you get an overview and will quickly get a feel to what aspects of Witchcraft draws you.

(©Kath Wallace – stock.adobe.com).

Most ‘beginner’ books do not give you in-depth knowledge, but they do provide orientation and give you a ‘jumping off’ point into the rest of your studies.

Also, I’d suggest that you don’t start with ‘spellbooks.’

Spellbooks are great for inspiration when you are ready to start spellwork, but the majority do not have sufficient in depth or quality information to begin your studies.

I’d also recommend that you go to source material wherever you can and especially when you want to go deep into a topic.

For example, if you’re drawn to green Witchery, then hit the botany and medicinal herb books rather than just relying on green Witchcraft books.

If you want to learn more about the history of Witchcraft, then delve into the history books.

Remember, just because it’s in a book – it does not mean it is automatically right or true for you.

Make notes of what truly resonates and speaks to you, but equally, identify what does not feel right.

A lot of Witchcraft books are written from the personal perspective of each Witch (which is why you will find so many contradictions), so don’t feel you have to agree or follow their advice.

Witchcraft is a vast subject with numerous sub-topics, so don’t feel you have to learn everything at once because that is impossible!

Make some notes of areas of interest that you want to return to at a later date. Choose a couple of topics to focus on at any one time to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.

Finally, it is worth acknowledging that you will never stop learning with Witchcraft, so you really can relax and take your time – there is no hurry to ‘learn it all.’

Most Witches keep studying, researching, and absorbing knowledge throughout all their years of practice.

There is always more to learn, and that is one of the things that makes Witchcraft so exciting!

2. Keep a Journal

I am not a natural journal keeper, but keeping a journal about my Witchcraft practice was an invaluable piece of advice given to me in my teen Witch years.

Some Witches will create beautifully curated Books of Shadows and grimoires, and that can certainly come later.

However, for now, all you need is to grab a simple journal and pen.

(©Kath Wallace – stock.adobe.com).

I would suggest that you start making notes of things that you have read that you particularly resonate with, as well as information you disagree with.

You need to start developing your thoughts on the material you are studying, so add your ideas and commentary to your notes.

This is the start of growing your unique insights that will inform your individual pathway.

Your journal is also the place for you to write without censure about Witchcraft and what being a Witch means to you.

You can write about your goals and aspirations as a Witch; as well as any fears and concerns.

It is essential to be open in these pages and speak to your journal from your heart and spirit. Look for journal prompts or written exercises to guide you.

You can also start making notes of any dreams, symbols, meditations, or visualisations in your journal. The act of journaling itself promotes mindfulness and will help you make sense and process any experiences you are having.

It is also really rewarding to look back on your old journals and see how far you have progressed, as you will find you have amassed and processed a lot of information in a short space of time.

3. Hone those Witchery Skills

Witchcraft is a practice, and like all practices, it comprises a set of skills and techniques that are learned.

This especially applies if you see spellwork being a significant part of your pathway, although not all Witches cast spells (however, that is a separate blog post!).

Despite what many spellbooks would have you believe, you can’t just follow a spell as you would a recipe and expect magic to happen.

Magic works through the application of both natural and supernatural energy towards your intended target.

Most of us will need to practice specific skills to work with energy in such a focussed way.

The good news is that these are skills that everyone can learn! I suggest that beginner Witches research and practice the following:

  • Grounding your energy into the Earth

  • Centering your energy and stilling your mind

  • Visualisation techniques

  • Sensing and manipulating energy, e.g. creating energy balls

  • Raising and channelling earth energy

  • Drawing down celestial/universal energy

  • Entering the alpha brainwave state

  • Opening your third eye

(©Kath Wallace – stock.adobe.com).

These are only examples, and there are many more skills you will acquire along the way.

However, I believe these are some of the foundational skills that are beneficial for effective spellwork. You will find example exercises on YouTube, meditation apps, and in spiritual or Witchcraft books.

Don’t worry if you can’t grasp these skills straight away … it’s like learning any new skill; it takes time and dedication as well as trial and error.

However, if you keep practising, you will find yourself being more comfortable with them and they will become more natural.

Having a strong basis of knowledge as well as practical Witchery skills can start you on a path of potent Witchcraft.

4. Develop a Magical Mindset

As Witches, we do not spend most of our time casting spells.

The majority of the time, our Witchcraft practice is about how we view and experience the world and our day to day lives.

It is about finding patterns and meaning in the mundane and connecting to the natural world. By seeing our everyday life through a magical lens, we start to build a stronger connection to our Witchcraft.

So, one thing we can do to develop ourselves as Witches is to create a daily simple magical practice.

This is a short activity that you can undertake for just 5-10 minutes each day to connect to your inner self and the energies around you.

(©Kath Wallace – stock.adobe.com).

It is crucial to find a daily practice that is both meaningful and realistic for you.

Some suggestions could include:

  • Lighting a candle or incense and quieting your mind

  • Spending some at your altar or in sacred space

  • Undertaking divination e.g., doing daily tarot card pulls

  • Doing a short meditation or breathwork

  • Undertaking grounding and centring exercises

  • Blessing and energising your food and drinks

  • Doing Visualisation exercises

  • Spending time outdoors or in nature and consciously connecting with the Earth

  • Connecting with any deities, spirits, guides, angels or ancestors you work with

  • Reading or journaling

  • Repeating mantras or affirmations

There are many more ideas for daily practice, but the aim is to start finding the magic in our daily routines.

Being a Witch is so much more than being able to cast spells – it is about how we walk through and interact with the world.

5. Embrace Being a Beginner

The final tip is to simply embrace and accept the fact that you are a new Witch.

I see a lot of beginners desperate to run through the basics and trying to learn everything they can as quickly as they can.

While some eagerness and excitement are to be expected and encouraged, it’s also essential to take your development at the right pace.

I have seen new Witches become obsessive for a few months and live and breathe everything Witchcraft and then become out of balance and ultimately burn out.

This fixation has led to some individuals turning away from Witchcraft completely and, sadly, means the witchcraft community loses some talented new Witches.

There is genuinely no hurry to learn everything.

You will be a much more effective Witch by developing a sound knowledge-base supported by a regular magical practice that grows slowly and steadily.

Even the most experienced Witch will be a beginner in particular areas of Witchcraft.

For example, despite being a Witch for 23 years, I am still a beginner when it comes to certain types of divination, such as reading the runes.

Also, I go back to the basics all the time.

When I feel that I am getting off my pathway or losing my connection, I will go back to grounding and centring exercises and my daily practice.

You can afford to take your time – your pathway and magic aren’t going anywhere!

So, there we go – 5 tips and tricks to assist you onto your pathway as a beginner, Witch.

Welcome to the neighbourhood … it’s a magical ride!

Solar Magic

silhouette of dandelion against the sun

As witches, we are innately drawn to working with the Moon and lunar energy.

The mystical Moon enchants us with her feminine energies, guiding our magic through her waxing and waning phases.

However, here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are in the Summer Season and so it is the perfect time to work with the Sun’s energy.

Across many ancient cultures, especially agricultural, the Sun was worshipped as the life-giving force. Now, many neo-pagans follow the Wheel of the Year, which is a cycle which honours the changing energy of the seasons as the Sun's power waxes and wanes throughout the year.

Image from Pixabay

When you stop and consider the role that the Sun has in our lives, it is evident that we could benefit from incorporating its energies into our magic.

We live our entire lives around the timing and phases of the Sun; governing both our daily routines and the seasons.

The Sun also has a significant impact on our physical and mental health.

It is one of the best and natural sources of Vitamin D which supports essential functions in the body, such as reducing inflammation and giving us strong bones and teeth.

It raises our mood through increasing serotonin, lowers our blood pressure, and improves our sleep.

The Sun in Magical Work

The Sun is considered as the embodiment of masculine or yang energy.

In astrology, it represents the Father as well as our primary identity and sense of self.

We instinctively respond to the Sun both physically and energetically. A lot of us feel better and more upbeat when the sun is out.

People look each in the eye more, we smile at strangers on the street, and we even feel more confident and cheerful in ourselves.

So, we naturally feel the Sun’s energy as outgoing, upbeat and expansive. The Sun’s energy can be used to augment most magical workings but particularly consider working with the Sun to bring:

  • New Beginnings

  • Positivity

  • Happiness

  • Upliftment

  • Success

  • Vitality

  • Healing

  • Connection to the Divine Masculine

  • Ambition

  • Self-confidence

  • Prosperity

  • Freedom

  • Growth

Simple ideas to practice

  • Spend some time outside (safely – remember sunscreen people) soaking up the Sun’s bountiful energy. Feel the warmth on your skin and let it seep into your cells. Imagine your body filling up with warm, yellow, and gold light, revitalising your cells and easing any physical pain.

  • Do some candle magic. Consider what intention you want to set aligned to the solar energy (list of ideas above). Grab a red, yellow, or orange candle. Carve it with the astrological glyph or symbol of the Sun (circle with a dot in the centre). You can also carve other symbols or words of power associated with your intention. Dress it with an essential oil associated with the Sun e.g. orange, lemon, patchouli, chamomile etc. If you do not have essential oils, sunflower or olive oil will work just as well. Visualise the Sun’s blessings radiating your intention onto you as you focus on the candle flame. You can add other herbs, crystals, or representations of your intentions to help your focus and add energy if you wish

  • Put out your crystals and magical tools to charge with Sun energy.

  • Create Solar Water. Place a cleansed vessel with fresh water outdoors to charge in the Sun. You can add your choice of herbs or crystals. You can also make Sun Tea by filling an air-tight container with water and herbal tea bags and leave it to steep in the hot Sun for a minimum of six hours. You can add a written intention under your container when making Solar Water or Sun Tea and drinking these are a fantastic way of consuming Sun Magic.

Image from Pixabay

  • Mediate or journal with The Sun tarot card. Grab your journal and ask yourself, what does the card mean to you? The traditional image of the Sun tarot card is of a child on a horse throwing their arms out to the world saying “Here I Am” – what does feel like for you? The child is naked and is completely free – what does freedom mean to you? What other meanings and symbolism can you find in the card?

  • Create a Sun Altar to bring the energy of the Sun into your home. This can be small or as complex as you want it to be. Ideas for solar correspondences include:

- Red, orange, gold or yellow cloth and candles

- Crystals ruled by the Sun, e.g. citrine, topaz, tigers eye, carnelian, sunstone etc

- Herbs and botanicals ruled by the Sun, e.g. bay, cinnamon, goldenseal, rosemary, chamomile, dandelion, sunflower, frankincense

- Representations of the Sun,

- Images of animals ruled by the Sun e.g. cheetah, lion, lizard, salamander

- Pictures of solar deities e.g. Ra, Helios, Bast, Aurora, Sol, Apollo

- Gold coloured metal.

  • Not everyone likes warm weather, so create a refreshing ritual bath, with cool water and the addition of Sun energy. Add orange and lemon essential oil or slices, herbs and petals from solar botanicals (St John’s Wort, sunflowers, marigold, dandelions, honeysuckle, buttercup), grab a fruit juice or a cocktail and relax.

  • Create a Sun Spell Jar to bring the solar energy into your altar or home even when it’s cold and cloudy (see Sun Altar for ideas).

  • Experiment in working magic at different times of the day e.g. sunrise, noon, sunset to understand how the individual solar energies impact your spellwork.

Hopefully, there are some ideas there to inspire you to work with the life-affirming Sun.

It’s time to catch some rays, Witches!

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