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A division of The Career Press, Inc. Franklin Lakes, NJ

Copyright © 2002 by Gerina Dunwich All rights reserved under the Pan-American and International Copyright Conventions. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or hereafter invented, without written permission from the publisher, The Career Press.

Herbal Magick

Edited and typeset by Nicole DeFelice Cover design by Visual Group Printed in the U.S.A. by Book-mart Press

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Dunwich, Gerina.

Herbal magick : a witch's guide to herbal folklore and enchantments / by Gerina Dunwich. p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 1-56414-575 (pbk.) 1. Witchcraft. 2. Herbs—Miscellanea. I. Title.

Meu? page

Ibooks

BF1572.P43 D85 2002 133.4'3—dc21

2001044650

Also by Gerina Dunwich:

Candlelight Spells The Magick of Candleburning {republished as Wicca Candle Magick} The Concise Lexicon of the Occult Circle of Shadows Wicca Craft The Secrets of Love Magick {republished as Wicca Love Spells} The Wicca Book of Days

The Wicca Garden The Wicca Source Book The Wicca Source Book {Revised Second Edition} The Modern Witch's Complete Source Book Everyday Wicca A Wiccan's Guide to Prophecy and Divination {republished as The Wiccan's Dictionary of Prophecy and Omens} Wicca A to Z Magick Potions Your Magickal Cat The Pagan Book of Halloween Exploring Spellcraft The Cauldron of Dreams

Contents

Foreword 9

Introduction 13

Chapter 1

Pagan Herb Lore 17

Chapter 2

Herbal Superstitions A to Z 35

Chapter 3

Herbal Divination 49

Chapter 4

Tasseography 61

Chapter 5

Healing by Root and Flower 69

Chapter 6

Herbs of the Ancient Sorcerers 79

Chapter 7

Hoodoo Herbs 85

Chapter 8

Gypsy Herb Magick 91

Chapter 9

Magick in Bloom 99

Chapter 10

A Garden of Dreams 115

Chapter 11

Herbal Correspondences 139

Chapter 12

Where to Buy Magickal Herbs 187

Chapter 13

Gods and Goddesses 195

Appendix

A Calendar of Magickal Herb Lore 213

"Elemental Magick" 227

Bibliography 229

Index 233

About the Author 239

Foreword

I am often asked during interviews if I am a "White Witch" or a "Black Witch," which has always brought to mind Glinda asking Dorothy is she is "a good Witch or a bad Witch" in The Wizard of Oz. I always reply that if I had to attach a color to myself as a Witch, it would be "Gray." Like Wiccans, I also try to work my spells for the good of others and I seek to harm none. Being a Witch who is rather well known throughout the world due to my numerous published works, I am occasionally approached by individuals seeking to have an enemy or two done away with through magickal means. There was one man from Russia who went as far as to mail me a letter, signed in his own blood, promising to pay me $1000 if I would curse his son's wife to have a miscarriage simply because he disapproved of his son marrying outside of the family's orthodox religion! Despite my being offered some generous amounts of money and expensive gifts in exchange for such services, I have always refused and will continue to do so. I do not believe in using magick for the purpose of doing harm to others, except in extreme cases where it is absolutely necessary for one's own self-defense or survival.

I firmly believe in magickal self-defense and the teaching of lessons (for the good of others, of course) when they are needed, or when all else fails. If someone tries to inflict harm upon my loved ones or me, I will not hesitate to work my magick to bind or bring down a hex upon them. And if someone dispatches a curse to me, I do not turn the other cheek or take the attitude of "let the gods deal with it." I send it right back to the sender. Those are my personal set of ethics. You may or may not agree with them, which is fine in either case, but I will neither compromise or hide what I believe in for the mere sake of being "politically correct."

The casting of spells involves working with powerful (and often dangerous) magickal energies and is by no means something that should be undertaken by an untrained novice. Whenever working with energies, you should always take care to protect yourself the best you can through the use of magick circles, amulets, talismans, and so forth. You should also be warned that, despite your magickal knowledge and your best efforts, the possibility of any kind of a spell backfiring always exists. This is not an uncommon thing to have happen, and many of the practitioners that I know, including myself, have experienced it at least once. It has nothing to do with karma, displeased gods, or Gerald Gardner's threefold law, despite what some people choose, or are led, to believe. It has everything to do with the instability of magickal energy and/or a practitioner's incorrect application of it.

Within this book you will discover the magickal history of herbs and learn how different Pagan traditions have employed certain plants in their magickal workings and religious rites. Without question, some of the spells contained herein might be viewed as falling within the parameters of what is popularly referred to as "gray," or possibly even "black" magick. However, it is important to remember that the majority of these spells were either borrowed from, or inspired by, a number of centuries-old magickal traditions unrelated to the relatively modern religious movement known as Wicca.

Should you find yourself feeling uneasy about performing any of the spells in this book, you should not hesitate to modify them to suit your particular needs, tradition, ethics, and so forth. Provided that you do not alter any of its basic correspondences, a spell can often be changed without altering its purpose or rendering it completely useless. In fact, I have always been a firm believer that the more you personalize a spell, the better results it will yield for you.

Your other option, obviously, is to simply not use a particular spell that you feel uneasy with or not drawn to. The choice is up to you. However, where ethics lie, I will not decide for you what is right and what is wrong. But I will try to present the pros and cons as honestly and completely as I can so you can make an informed decision for yourself.

With all that being said, it should also be noted here that nearly all Wiccans are strongly opposed to the use of magick (in any form) to manipulate the free will of others, and especially to bring down curses. Although I am not a Wiccan myself, I respect those who adhere to their Wiccan Rede of "harming none." However, I am one Witch who does not pass judgment against my fellow practitioners who may employ the darker forces of magick when they feel that it is absolutely a necessity.

Introduction

Throughout history and throughout the world, herbs have played a major role in magick, religion, superstition, and divination, as well as in the development of humankind.

Witches and Pagan folk the world over have held a special relationship with herbs since the days of antiquity. Developing various methods to harness the magickal energies contained within flowers, leaves, roots, and bark, they have used them as tools for healing, divination, spellcrafting, and connecting with Deity.

The ancients believed that all herbs possessed a spirit, or, as in the case of many poisonous or mind-altering plants, a demon. Nearly every culture has recognized the occult vibrations of herbs, and attributed certain magickal properties to their native plants and trees.

It is said in the Magic and Medicine of Plants (Reader's Digest), "Our distant ancestors did not need to be trained botanists to observe and appreciate the remarkable energy and diversity of the plant world."

Early civilizations sought to harness and direct the magickal powers of plants for curing diseases, warding off misfortune, divining the future, and appeasing the gods. In ancient Egypt, a land that has been described as "an ideal breeding ground" for magickal herbalism, plants such as the lotus, the papyrus reed, and the onion (which was often presented as a sacrificial offering to the gods) were greatly revered and believed to possess spiritual virtues.

Despite the fact that myrrh trees were not native to Egypt, myrrh played a vital role in the religious and magickal ceremonies of the ancient Egyptians. The fragrant aroma produced by the burning of myrrh was believed to be pleasing to the gods. Myrrh was burned every day at the midday hour as an offering to the sun god Ra, and was also fumed in the temples where the goddess Isis was worshipped.

The people of ancient Greece and Rome linked their native trees and plants to the gods and goddesses of their pantheons. In the old Greek and Roman religions, plant myths figured predominantly. Tales of mortals and gods alike being transformed into trees were common, and nearly every deity was known to have held one or more tree and/or plant as a sacred symbol.

Historically, belief in the magickal properties of plants was by no means restricted only to Pagans and pre-Christian religions. Numerous references to herbal magick and botanomancy (the art and practice of divination by plants) can be found throughout the Bible, from the burning bush oracle of Moses, to Rachel's use of mandrake roots to magickally increase her fertility, to Jacob's magickal use of striped poplar, almond, and plane-tree rods to bring forth striped, speckled, and spotted livestock offspring.

During the Middle Ages, Witches (or, perhaps more accurately, women and men who were accused of being Witches) were believed to have employed a wide variety of plants to bring about evil, as well as to do good if they so desired. Those who made use of poisonous plants such as hemlock and henbane to lay curses or cause mischief were labeled "Black Witches." Those who applied their herbal wisdom for the benefit

Introduction

of others (such as for healing or working love magick) earned for themselves the reputation of a "White Witch" (which was equated to being a good Witch.) Those who were "White Witches" were far more respected in most circles than their "Black" counterparts. But of course not all Witches were exclusively "White" or "Black." Those who practiced a little bit of both were said to be "Gray."

However, as a charge of Witchcraft (regardless of its "color") oftentimes resulted in a death sentence preceded by the most heinous acts of torture, wise Witches of old needed to carefully practice their craft veiled behind the shadows of secrecy.

A great deal of what little botanical witch lore remains from centuries past is contained in the transcripts of the Witchcraft trials that took place during the Burning Times. "From such sources," observe the editors of Magic and Medicine of Plants, "we gather that witches were heirs to ancient lessons about the medicinal properties of many substances found in nature. The Witches preserved and continued to use plant lore that the Christian church had suppressed as 'heathen' mysteries."

In the United States, magickal herbalism is largely rooted in European botanical lore brought across the Atlantic by immigrants from distant lands, and influenced to varying degrees by Native American herb lore and the plant magick practiced by African slaves.

In contemporary times, as it has been in the past, herbal magick remains an essential part of the Witches' craft. It can be used to assist an individual in attracting a compatible lover, landing the right job, changing bad luck into good, and even increasing one's wealth! Empowered by the energies of Goddess Earth and her elementals, herbs have long been used as amulets to protect against evil, dried and burned as magickal incense during rituals, and added to flying ointments and cauldron brews.

Herbs can be used to cure or to curse, as well as to conjure or to banish supernatural entities. They can enchant our gardens and our homes, and guide us on the path to transformation and self-improvement. But, most importantly, herbal magick can open the door to spiritual realms and other worlds, and serve to connect a human being with Mother Nature and the Divine.

There probably exists no plant or tree that hasn't at one time, in some part of the world, been used in a spell or potion, or utilized as an amulet. And it is said that all parts of a plant, whether they be roots, buds, flowers, stems, or bark, are magickally significant.

Herbs are Mother Nature's gifts to all of humankind, regardless of spiritual beliefs, magickal tradition, or culture. And whether you pride yourself as a country Witch or an urban Pagan, herbs can reward you with a wealth of enchantment, divination, and folklore.

Blessed be!

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