Sunday, April 1, 2012

Three Other Things a Witch Can Do with Herbs


As a modern (and lazy) witch, I just buy my magical herbs from the magical grocery store. The problem I get with this is that I end up buying about a cupful of herbs, use a teaspoonful or two for oils, tinctures, and gris-gris bags, and then the remaining herbs would be left on stock for seemingly eternity.

It's probably just me being O.C. but I couldn't stand seeing jars of spices and herbs sitting around doing nothing, so I had to think of other stuff to use them for.

1. Herb-Powered Paper talismans.

While I don't make herbal oils and charms that often, I do make talismans a lot.

To prepare the paper to be used in making talismans, I simply make an infusion or tea of the appropriate herb(s) and soak the paper in it for some time. The color of herb infusions take a while to get into the paper so I usually let the paper soak into the infusion overnight. Sometimes I would mix the remaining infusion with acrylic paint to make magical ink for writing the symbols with.

I'm happier using tea-stained papers for making talisman than cardboard and metal. That aged parchment color just make them look especially arcane.


A Mercurian-Jupiterian talisman on tea-stained paper being prepared for consecration.

2. Let Them Simmer.

Herbs and spices are often used to make raw incenses, but I honestly don't like making my own. It's fairly easy to do, but it's tough to use. For some reason, I couldn't keep a charcoal burning long enough, and putting incense periodically into the censer sometimes ruin the ritual mood for me.

I find that simmering the herbs on water in an aromatherapy oil diffuser is a useful alternative. I don't have to tend to the candle flame and it doesn't suffocate me with smoke. However, compared to incenses, the smell is very subtle so I find it more useful for meditation than magical rituals.

Actually I don't use an oil diffuser anymore. I use a glass bowl on a metal tripod, which I received as a birthday gift from a friend. I find it so fun mixing herbs on hot water that sometimes I get carried away and forget the meditation entirely.

Though I haven't tried it yet, I figure this sort of thing can be used for divination too. I might give it a go sometime. I've always wanted to feel like one of those evil witches in Disney cartoons skrying into the boiling liquid of a sinister-looking cauldron.

Cinnamon. Smells like Christmas.

3. Protect Your Altar from Vermin.

I once offered a bowlful of rice grains to Ganesh and noticed thereafter that it was dwindling day by day. I have almost come into believing that the Lord Ganesh had been miraculously consuming my offerings. But to my utter shock (and regret) I woke up one night to find a pair of mice having dinner on my offering bowl! It's as if my altar have become a romantic Asian restaurant, with candles and flowers and all.

Eventually I learned that spice repels mice - especially the strong-smelling ones. So on my altar I placed a small woven box filled with bay leaves, cloves, ginger root and some pepper, and thankfully there has no longer been any dinner-dating mice on my altar ever since.

Herbs and spices apparently also repel other types of vermin - like moth and silverfish, which tend to make a snack of our beloved books. Making a sachet of strong-smelling herbs and putting it somewhere within the bookshelves would help keeping these little demons out of the way.


Basbasan Nawa!

5 comments:

Cael Parcia Pinto said...

My Ostara offering was also consumed by my friendly invisible room mates... hayz!

noelbarcelona said...

Hi! Lord Ganesh's best friend is a mouse. :)

Murmur said...

I did realize that after posting this. It seems my offerings were being appreciated. :)

Next time though, I'd be placing my offerings on safer places - away from lit candles and fragile stuff.

linneth. said...

where do you get your herbs in the philippines? is there a store?

Murmur said...

Quiapo, online shops, and the grocery store.

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