This list will include the following: What planet and element works best with the herb, the magickal use and the general use of the herbs. Of course, there are multiple uses for all of the herbs, to list them all would be impossible.
The Herbal Code
In old magickal recipes and spells, strange ingredients are often called for that cannot always be taken literally. In one ancient Greco-Egyptian spell, the recipe called for “the navel of a male crocodile”, which really meant pond weed; “the heart of a baboon” meant oil of lily. The “sacrifice” in folklore was usually an egg buried in the ground.
Here’s what those unusual nouns really meant!
Adder’s tongue; Plantain
Bat’s Wing: Holly Leaf
Bat’s wool: Moss
Blood: Elder sap
Bloody fingers: Foxglove
Bodily Fluids: Houseleek
Brains: Congealed gum from a cherry tree
Bull’s blood: Horehound
Corpse candles: Mullein
Crocodile dung: Black earth
Dead Man: Ash or Mandrake root carved in a crude human shape or poppet
Dragon’s scales: Bistort Leaves
Ear of an ass: Comfrey
Ear of a goat: St. John’s Wort
Hair: Maidenhair fern
Hand: The expanded frond from a male fern used to make the true hand of glory, which is nothing more than a candle made of wax mixed with fern
Lion’s tooth: Dandelion
Skin of a man: Fern
Snake’s blood: Hematite stone
Tongue of dog: Hound’s tongue
Tooth or Teeth: Pinecones
Unicorn horn: True unicorn root
Worms: Gnarled, thin roots of a local tree
Information from The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation Solitary Witch by Silver RavenWolf
Oh Mother Goddess,
All abundance is known;
Your love cheers the heart
And sustains the soul.
Misty summer mornings are ideal times for harvesting herbs. To enhance the magical power of your herbs, it is best to make every step in the gathering of herbs a magical one. Rise early and rinse your hands in cool water. Wearing clean colothing, or nude if location permits, go out into the garden. Bring with you a small basket, a clean cloth, and a cutting tool. The tool you use to harvest herbs should be one specially designed for this purpose, and duly consecrated. Any sharp blade will do, but a lovely way of honoring the Moon Goddess who presides over the growth of green things is to use a small sickle-shaped knife. The shining surface of the blade and its shape both connect it to the power of the moon tides.
Consecrating Herb Tools
Any consecration rite for objects can be used to bless your cutting tool. A simple rite is to wash the tool in fresh water, ideally rain water or water from a stream. As you rinse the implement, visualize all past influences and impurities leaving it. If you prefer, do this rite at night where you can catch the moonbeams in the shining surface of the blade.
Say these words or similar:
Mighty Goddess of all that grows
Bless this blade as moonlight glows
With this blade of shining power
Let me cut both herb and flower
So mote it be.
Take your newly consecrated blade and wipe it dry with a clean, white cloth. Place it in your basket, along with the cloth.
Approach the herb you have decided to harvest. Praise its beauty and abundance. Explain that in exchange for the careful care you have given to it, you will now, with its permission, take a small portion of it in return. The following is a harvesting prayer based on one favored by Scott Cunningham, and should be said while touching the herb to be harvested with the point of the harvesting knife.
You have grown by favor of the Sun, the Moon, and the dew. I make this request, herb, I ask you to be of benefit to me and my art, for your virtues are unfailing. You are the dew of all the gods and goddesses, the eye of the Sun, the light of the Moon, the beauty and glory of the sky, the mystery of the earth. I purify you so that whatever is wrought by me with you may, in all its powers, have a good and speedy effect with good success. Be purified by my prayer and be powerful.
Cut some of the herb. Shake off any excess dew. Set the sprigs carefully on the cloth or into the basket. To retain maximum magical power, the herbs should not touch the ground. Do not harvest from plants that are not fully grown, and never take more than about a quarter of the plant. If you are harvesting roots or bulbs, always leave enough to ensure next year’s growth. After collecting the plant, you may want to leave an offering, particularly if you are gathering wild plants that you did not tend while they were growing. A silver coin, small crystal, bit of bread, or a few grains of a fertilizing compound are all appropriate offerings to the spirit of the plant.
Dry your herbs by tying them in bunches and hanging them up in a warm, dry area that is free of sunlight and dust. If you are harvesting the herbs for seed, tie brown paper bags loosely around each bunch of hanging herbs. The bag will catch the seeds, which fall away from the foliage as it dries. When the herbs are dry. Gently shake them before removing the bag to loosen any additional seeds.
If you need to hasten the drying process, place the herbs on a cookie sheet in a low-heat oven, checking them frequently to be sure that they do not turn brown. Store in clean, dry, airtight jars, preferably of amber or cobalt blue glass. Keep jars out of direct sunlight.
Some Magical Uses of Herbs
Love: Cardamom, chickweed, cinnamon, clove, lavendar, lemon balm, rose, rosemary, tansy, vanilla, violet, yarrow.
Good Luck: Allspice, heather, nutmeg.
Healing: Angelica, bufdock, cinnamon, eucalyptus, hyssop, lemon balm, peppermint.
Prosperity: Basil, benzoil, bergamot, cinnamon, cinquefoil, lemon balm, mint.
Protection: Alyssum, angelica, basil, bay, garlic, mullein, rue, sunflower, white sage.
Psychic Skills: Angelica, anise, bay, borage, cinnamon, fennel, mugwort.
Purification: Anise, bay, chamomile, clove, copal, fennel, lavender, white sage.