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Pagans and Druids have used herbs in rituals and magickal evocations for millennia. The sacred groves where these plants once grew were venerated places where offerings were given to appease land spirits and ask favours of deities. There was widespread belief in the potency and power of herbs and medicinal plants. A belief that survives in Wiccan and pagan religions to this day. It is why we want to learn how to charge herbs.
In this article we’ll discuss a few different applications for herbs in Wiccan practice. We’ll also touch on how to charge herbs to enhance their magical properties. Let’s dive right in.
A Word on Sustainability
To be a Wiccan or Pagan in modern times requires an implied knowledge of our planet’s sacred nature. Wiccans value outdoor experiences. They venerate spirits of nature. And they incorporate the five elemental signs of earth, air, fire, water and aether into their rituals and spells.
That makes sustainability and the protection of local ecosystems a real concern for the practising Wiccan. To perform rituals or spells in outdoor spaces, you’ll need to make sure your tools are organic and fair trade. If you’re going to leave anything after the ceremony, make sure it is biodegradable and safe to leave behind.
Dried (non-seeding) plants and herbs fit that description perfectly!
An Introduction to Herbs in Magick
There is great news about herbs when it comes to Wiccan magical practice and ritual! There really is no right or wrong way to go about your experiments.
In fact, when learning how to charge herbs, the simple act of growing your own herbs can almost complete the charging process by itself. Choosing, growing, drying and blending with care infuses your love and positive energies into the herbs. This is true just like other magickal processes which we do by hand.
Smell, touch, intuition and nurture all play a part in the process of readying herbs for use in Wiccan offerings and spells.
How to Charge Herbs
The ongoing process of cultivating herbs and charging them with magickal power is a long term project, but an enjoyable one.
Note: It’s perfectly possible to simply buy pre-dried herbs from a supermarket. There’s certainly no shame or negative magickal impact in doing so. Wiccans have many tools in their arsenals to bless and charge all kinds of objects to give them energy. Dried herbs are no different. However, for the most powerful impact we’d always recommend the lengthier process of growing and drying your own plants. It’s a simple process, and can work well even in the tiniest of apartments!
Here’s How the Process Plays Out
Choose a Sacred Time:
Many Wiccans choose to plant their herbs during specific lunar phases, like the full moon. Or sometimes they plant at other significant times of the year such as equinoxes or solstices.
It doesn’t really matter exactly when you choose to sow seeds. The important thing is that you pick a time to allow your plant to draw on the power of the moon and the energy of the sun at the moment of planting.
Establish a Sacred Grove:
If you really want to revive the ancient druidic spirit, consider planting a sacred grove.
You don’t have to make a sacred grove overly complex. Few of us have access to a shaded forest grove awash with lush plant life. If you live in an apartment, a simple planter can form the basis of a sacred grove. Think of it as a kind of “Altar to Nature”. A place where you can leave offerings, say prayers and bless your plants as they grow.
Processing Your Herbs:
Once you have a collection of well established herb plants, you can trim them as required without destroying them. After that, it’s simply a matter of drying out the clippings. Then add them to a pestle and mortar and grind them into a blend.
While grinding the dried herbs, you can repeat a mantra or to say a short prayer to amplify the ritual charging process. Try using a clockwise motion and repeating the following adapted from Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs.
“I gather you, rosemary, herb of the Sun, to increase my mental powers and concentration.”
(Adjust the name of the herb and its properties to suit your application.)
Store your dried and ground herbs in mason jars or small glass containers for safe keeping.
Choosing the Right Herbs & Plants
The key to growing powerful herbs for your spells and ceremonies is to think about their magickal purpose during cultivation.
With that being said, there are definitely choices to be made when it comes to the herbs you chose to grow. Each variety comes with its own properties, powers and even medicinal benefits. You can refer to our guide on the herbs every witch should grow for further reference, but here are a few great examples:
Rosemary: Has been used in folklore tradition for centuries. It’s a real “old world” magical herb. Rosemary was used in cleansing and purifying incenses since the earliest times. In concentrated form it has strong antiseptic properties. Rosemary is strongly associated with Aphrodite (Rosemary’s name means “dew of the sea” in Latin). The herb was also worn by medieval brides and carried by wedding guests as a token of love and virtue. It was also used during the same time period to prevent evil spirits entering the home.
Rose Petal: Produces a beautiful smell and colour and gives off a distinctive and opulent aroma. Rose is a protective and healing plant that has recently been found to have positive medicinal benefits for the heart. Like rosemary, rose flowers are associated with Venus, and the plant’s thorns evoke the notion of spiritual protection.
Lavender: Is a herb governed by Mercury. It has been used for millennia for purification and to ward off evil spirits. Lavender is associated with sleep and calm, so it’s an ideal herb for entering states of meditation and prayer.
Elder: Is associated with the spirit realm. It brings positive energy to the land and is connected to the summer solstice. Elder was thought to have been the wood of Christ’s crucifix, an idea probably borrowed from ancient pagan tradition. On a lighter note, if you long to catch a glimpse of fairies, all you need to do is stand under an elder tree on Midsummer’s Eve. Just be careful not to drift off to sleep before they carry you away!
How to Charge Herbs: The Final Part of the Puzzle
Although the simple act of cultivating and drying herbs aids in their charging, it’s important to take the charging process a stage further to “program intention” into your herb mixtures before using them for spells and offerings.
Here’s a simple four step process to get you started:
1. Program an intention
Program an intention into your crushed herb blend by getting into a meditative state and holding the mason jar of herbs between your hands. Once you become tuned in to the “essence” or “aura” of the plant, you can begin to visualise the dry blended herbs absorbing the energy of your thoughts.
2. Use a ritual for reinforcement
Use a ritual to reinforce the energetic connection between your mind and the herbs by saying a simple statement of intent out loud:
I program this blend of herbs for use in —
(Add in a brief mention of the spell, offering or ceremony where you plan to use the herbs.)
3. Charge with connection to a chakra
Charge the herbs by connecting them to a chakra. Once you’ve established a connection to the blended herbs and you’ve stated your intention to them, it’s time to amplify the effect by connecting them to a chakra of your choice.
For example, the solar plexus chakra (just under the ribs) helps to grow your confidence and vitality. This empowers you to follow your true path and create the life you desire. However, feel free to pick a chakra that resonates with your intentions. Open the blended herb jar, moisten your finger, then dab the contents and transfer them onto the chakra of choice.
4. Request the herb’s energy
Ask the plant or herb to share its energy with you, and in turn, offer your own energy to it. This will cement the connection and complete the charging process, sealing your intentions into the blended herbs and amplifying their own healing or magical properties.
The Charging Process is Now Complete
With the herbs charged, now just simply a matter of store them until needed. Because the herbs are dry and sealed in jars, you can keep them for a virtually unlimited period of time. Once batches of herbs are dried and stored, use them as powerful protective charms around your home.
So there you have it. You now have all the information you need to create powerful, magickally charged herbal blends. Use them as a cornerstone to more sustainable and ecologically sound Wiccan ceremonies and offerings!