WILLOW FOR LOVE, OAK FOR STRENGTH
by Edain McCoy
(from the ’97 Llewellyn Magickal Almanac)
Many mystical and magical uses have been found for the thirteen trees which
symbolize the months of the Celtic lunar year, and it is likely, considering the
popularity of Celtic Paganism, that many more will be discovered. However you
choose to observe the lunar months, it can be helpful to first imbibe a magical
brew designed to attune your body and spirit to the occasion.
Following are the recipes for thirteen teas which will accomplish just that. The
measurements given are approximate, and for making one eight-ounce mug full you
should use no more than a single heaping teaspoon of dry herbs placed inside a
tea ball or cheesecloth strainer. All liquid measurements should be added to
taste. Allow the tea to steep at least two minutes, longer if you prefer a
stronger flavor. As always, when ingesting untried substances, be sure to test
for any allergic reactions first, and remember that no herbal preparation should
ever be taken over the long term without consulting an expert pharmacologist or
Though very few of the recipes actually contain any part of the trees to which
they are attributed, they work quite well because their ingredients rely on
using herbs and juices which share magical affinities with the properties of the
tree. These properties are listed after the name of each tree so that, if you
choose to, you can make substitutions based upon this knowledge. Depending upon
the particular Celtic tradition you follow, the lunar year starts with either
the first new moon closest to Samhain or the one just before Yule.
Matter of beginnings and children, purification.
3 parts ginger
1 part lemongrass
pinch of dill
splash of lemon juice
Empowerment, clairvoyance, air magic, exorcism.
1 part valerian root
3 parts peppermint
pinch of eyebright
pinch of ginger
Editors note: Valerian is a powerful sedative that affects each person
differently. You may wish
to use a very small amount of this herb at first to determine how it affects
your body chemistry.
Matters of the intellect, magic, healing.
2 parts angelica
½ part sage
½ part black cohosh
pinch of rosemary
Matters of the Otherworld, healing, love, water magic, feminine mysteries.
2 parts willow bark
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ part dried apples or a splash of apple juice
pinch of rosemary
Lust, strength, energy, endurance, fertility, fire magic, male mysteries.
1-1/2 parts white oak bark
½ part mint
½ part orange peel
pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg
Manifestations, protection, healing, fertility.
2 parts ginseng
½ part mugwort
pinch of savory
slash of any noncitrus juice
Spirituality, wholeness of being.
1 part linden
1 part hibiscus
2 tablespoons of cream or milk
splash of cranberry juice
Peace, sleep, dreams, prosperity, happiness.
1 part hawthorn
1 part catnip
½ part rue
½ part chamomile
Matters of animals, magic, prophecy.
1 part kelp
½ part rose petals
½ part raspberry
pinch of yarrow
Earth magic, sex magic, overcoming difficulties.
1 part blackberry
1 part dandelion
splash of currant wine or grape juice
pinch of hibiscus
Healing, cooperation, binding.
1 part mullein
¼ part eucalyptus
½ part barberry
Exorcism, prosperity, astral travel. Finding faeries.
1 part ginko
1 part mugwort
1 part valerian (see note under Rowan Moon)
1 part spearmint
pinch of anise (may substitute extract)
pinch of allspice
Fertility, love, protection.
1 part red clover
1 part hyssop
1 part boneset
pinch of slippery elm