A Good Bonfire

Crooning with the Crows

Day Of The Dead

Divination at Halloween

The Elder

The Story of Dot Coming Home

Samhain History

Samhain Pouch

Samhain ritual for solitary practice

Magic of Halloween Herbs

Understanding The "Death" Tarot Card




Memories of Bonfire Nigh

The Magic Of The Halloween Herbs

There are several herbs that are traditionally associated with Samhain. In view of the nature of this season, I thought it would be fun to review the magical properties of these herbs.

Apple has been used in love spells for centuries. It is also used in healing, garden, and (most important at Samhain), immortality magic. The Apple is sometimes called the Fruit of the Underworld, and can sustain those questing into dark, secret places, such as the realms of death. An apple buried at midnight on Samhain eve will feed spirits awaiting rebirth. Also at Samhain each member of the household would eat a large apple for good luck in the next year. Apple is associated with the planets Venus and the Sun, and the element of water.

Sacred to the Druids, corn is used for spells of protection and luck, and in divination. It represents the Corn Mother and cornhusks or wheat straw are used to make 'Corn Dollies' that are used for protection. Amulets containing corn can be worn to encourage a closer connection to the Earth Spirit. Corn is useful in fertility magic. If you want to get pregnant, eat corn on the cob

You can use Dittany of Crete to seek comfort and wisdom from the departed. It also helps one to connect with loved ones over long distances as if they were right next to us. Throw a little into the Sanhain fire to invoke these properties.

Fumitory is perhaps best known for its use in exorcisms, though it’s also good for money, purification, and protection spells. Fumitory has been burned for centuries to exorcise evil spirits, demons, and other evil entities. Legend has it that the plant grew, not from seed, but from vapours rising from the earth (hence its name "Earth Smoke"). To draw money to you quickly sprinkle an infusion of fumitory around your house and rub some onto your shoes once a week. Fumitory is associated with Jupiter, Saturn, and the element of water

Hazel is used for luck, spirit contact, protection, prosperity, wisdom, dreams, wisdom, marriage, fertility, inspiration and reconciliation spells. It is well known for its use in divination and dowsing. A forked hazel stick was formerly used to divine the guilt or innocence of people accused of murder and theft - it is still in use for divining water or to find buried treasure. Wands of hazel wood were used by druids to find ley lines, and as hazel trees are sacred to the fey, a hazel wand can be used to call faeries. Hazel is known as the Tree of Immortal Wisdom; its wood can divine the pure source of poetry and wisdom and eating hazelnuts opens the way to knowledge. If you sleep under a Hazel bush you will have vivid dreams. Because hazels are often found at the border between the worlds, the wood is very suitable for making magical tools. Hazel was carried or hung high in a room for luck and for protection against lightning. Its leaves and twigs bestow protection at sea and against shipwreck. English brides were given hazelnuts (symbols of fertility) for luck, and to ensure a fruitful marriage. Hazel should be gathered after sundown on Samhain when its magical energy peaks. Use a flint, never a knife, to cut it. Hazel is associated with Mercury and the element of air.

Mullein is used for spells involving courage, protection, health, love, exorcism and divination Mullein leaves look like candle flames and the plant itself is fuzzy like a wick. Single stalks can be dried or soaked in melted wax, then burned like candles. At Samhain, burn one stalk for each departed soul you want to honour. Burning Mullein gives protection from sorcery and hexing magic, banishes bad influences and puts an immediate stop to bad habits. The leaves can also be carried or hung over doorways for protection from evil spirits and for courage to face adversity. The herb keeps away poisonous creatures and wild beasts in the wilderness, it’s good for cleansing and purifying, and it is also used in exorcisms. Mullein is associated with Witches. In mythology, Ulysses used Mullein to protect himself against the witch, Circe. If you put some under your pillow it will keep nightmares away. Mullein is associated with Jupiter, Saturn and the element of Fire

Nightshade is used to aid astral projection - it was an ingredient in old recipes for Flying Ointment. For 'black magic', an odd number of Nightshade sprigs were gathered during certain phases of the moon, from a spot untouched by the sun. Deadly Nightshade is associated with Lucifer. Woody Nightshade guards against the evil eye _ a necklace of its berries was found in Tutenkahmun's tomb. Placed on the body, it will dispel the memories of old loves. Nightshade is associated with Saturn, Mars, and the element of water

Oak represents male fertility and sacred kingship. It is well known that the Druids revered this tree and met in groves of sacred oaks. The Wiccan cycle of the Oak King and Holly King represents the death and rebirth of the sacred king. Oak leaves are used in spells for prosperity, protection, strength, longevity wisdom health and fertility. Burn the leaves to purify an area. The wood is often used for magical tools. The fruit is used for fertility wishes. Things are buried under oak trees for the manifestation of wishes. Carry oak for wisdom, strength and to preserve youthful attractiveness in males, or hang a sprig in the home to ward off negativity and strengthen the family. Never cut an Oak for magical purposes unless it is during the Waning Moon.

Pumpkins are associated with vampires. Bosnian gypsies believe that pumpkins, kept too long in the house, can turn into vampires. Pumpkin seeds are used for divination. At Samhain, Pumpkins are commonly used to represent the harvest, the spirit and the moon. They can be carved into Jack'O Lanterns and lit to help guide the spirits of the recently departed along their way - a modern form of an ancient custom. The Pumpkin is sacred to the Moon

Rosemary is worn in remembrance. It is used for contentment, love, protection from evil spirits, clear thinking and money spells. Hang a branch, use it in cooking, or wear it to relieve tension and promote contentment and happiness. . The smoke from rosemary will purify any area. Drink the tea to improve mental clarity and memory or sniff the flowers to retain youthfulness. Carried in a sachet, talisman or amulet, rosemary guards against negative energies. At Samhain, maids would place it under their pillows to dream of their future husbands. Rosemary also prevented the faeries from stealing infants.

Rue was used for protection against black magic and evil spirits - especially at Samhain. It is also used for repentance, healing, health, mental powers, exorcism and love. Some rue added to the bath water removes hexes. Hang this dried herb indoors from the ceiling to help others and yourself see and understand their mistakes Burning rue releases blocked energy, banishes negativity and gets rid of bad habits. Pliny says that weasels eat rue when they are about to fight with serpents, and that a person who carries it will never be bitten by venomous creatures.

Sage is used for fertility, healing, health, longevity, memory, money, protection, purification, wisdom and wish spells. It should not be cut with a metal blade. If you wish to become wise and immortal, eat sage. Place a bit of sage with your Tarot cards or runes to protect them and keep them 'clean'. It is a main ingredient in "Smudgesticks" used to cleanse and purify. Carry a smouldering sprig of dried Sage from room to room, Or carry it in an incense bowl and use a feather to fan the smoke around the room. Use sage in sachets and amulets for healing and also burn or place near a personal object of the person to be healed. It can also be drunk as a tea to help promote healing. Sage is associated with Jupiter or Venus, and the element of Air

Turnips are used for protection and for ending relationships. To dream of eating turnips, means you can expect family troubles. At Samhain, turnips are important for protection spells. The original Jack O'Lanterns were probably hollowed out turnips. Jack O'Lanterns made from turnips can actually be used as lanterns. Pliny tells us that turnips' seeds will protect a person from snake bites and other poisons.

Wormwood (or absinthe) is said to be dedicated to Diana - hence the genus name Artemisia from Artemis, the Greek name for Diana. It is used in spells for psychic powers, protection, love, banishing, and calling spirits. Burn it or use it in potions (as a tea) for protection. It rids a person or an area of anger and negativity. Hang some in a muslin bag on a car's rear view mirror to prevent accidents Pliny tell us that wormwood placed in your shoe will protect you against seasickness. If you carry a twig of the herb, it protects from fatigue. It was believed that wormwood juice repelled snakes, bookworms, moths and other bugs. Medieval scholars added it to their ink to protect their books. Witches burn Wormwood on charcoal to raise helpful spirits. As a herbal incense, it helps with psychic abilities. It is excellent when used in divination and clairvoyance incenses. Wormwood and Sandalwood burned together at a grave will summon the spirit of the departed. At Samhain, it can be thrown or sprinkled on fires for protection from evil spirits. Wormwood is associated with Mars and the element of Air.