I understand that some of us have apartments and do not have a green thumb but, here are reasons why you should grow them its for the strong cheap witch! It makes your spells stronger because you are connected to the ingredients!
Throughout history, herbs have played a major role in ritual and magick. Our ancestors used herbs in potions, incense, and amulets that were made for protection and to ward off evil and illness. Since most herbs are relatively easy to grow and oftentimes require little space, modern-day Pagans, Witches, and Wiccans can also utilize the fragrant gifts of home-grown herbs in their magickal lives.
Here’s some tips on when, where, and how to make a magickal herb garden as well as the magickal properties of some of the more familiar herbs.
Indoors or Out
Magickal herb gardens can be planted indoors or out and be grown in the ground or in containers and pots. For outdoor herb gardens, Spring, Summer, and early Fall are good times to start one in most locations. In temperate climates, herbs can be planted and grown outside almost year round. For those of us in colder climates, herbs can be started outdoors and then moved inside when colder temperatures prevail. Indoor herb gardens can be started just about any time of year. The main thing to remember is that whether indoors or out, herbs love warm, sunny places and thrive best with at least six hours of sunlight. Southern and western exposures seem to work best.
Don’t have a yard or don’t think you have enough room for a magickal herb garden? Think again! It doesn’t matter if you have a large spread or a tiny apartment, herbs can be grown on window sills, balconies, porches, patios, and decks. Just look around your front and back doors, porch steps, or kitchen window for a location with the most available sunshine.
Containers or In-Ground
Should you decide to grow your magical herbs in containers, you can grow them in multiple pots grouped together on a window sill or plant several herbs together in one large planter on a porch. Aside from the usual nursery or garden section of a home improvement store, thrift stores and yard sales are great places to hunt for containers. You can also use tin coffee cans, metal buckets, or large old roasting pans. Almost any container is suitable as long as it has a few holes on the bottom for drainage. If needed, holes can be pierced in the bottom of most metal containers with a large nail and hammer. Even if you have very little yard space available, you can still probably plant a magickal herb garden in the ground. A fairly good variety of herbs can be planted in a sunny area that is no larger than two feet by three feet. You can also create raised beds for planting out of stacked pieces of landscape blocks, wooden railroad ties, whiskey barrels, or even old metal wash basins.
Whether indoors or out, you can grow your magickal herbs from seeds or from seedlings. Just remember to check and follow the growing directions printed on the packet or pot for the herbs you choose. If planting herbs together in the same pot, be sure to group herbs with similar growing instructions and watering needs together.
Some herbs have a reputation for growing well even in poor soils, but average soil with good drainage will suit just about all species. For herbs grown indoors or in containers, choose a light potting soil with a high sand content to ensure good drainage. Most herbs need their soil to be kept damp, but not WET, so don’t overwater. It’s safest to water in small amounts. For plants grown outdoors in the ground, a layer of mulch around the herbs will curb the growth of weeds, help keep the herbs clean, and protect the soil from the sun baking it around the roots.
Harvesting and Drying
Herbs have two cycles of growth: a leaf-growing cycle and a reproduction cycles when they begin to flower. Most magickal herbs are at their most potent when harvested during the leaf-growing cycle just before they flower. This is because the oils have settled into the leaves and are at their highest level. The best time of day to harvest is in the morning right after any dew has dried. You still can harvest herbs after they begin to flower, but the leaves may become tougher or more bitter to the taste during this stage of growth making them a tad less potent. The exception to this is in harvesting those herbs in which the flowers comprise the main harvest, such as camomile, lavender, and marigold. In this instance, the herbs should be cut when the flowers are in full bloom. Regardless of when you cut your herbs, each time you harvest a sprig, be sure to pinch the stem back to a set of leaves to promote new leaf growth.
Once harvested, your magickal herbs should be air-dried in a relatively cool, dry, and shady location. Air-drying is greatly preferred over oven drying, as artificial heat removes some of the oil inside the leaves. There are two different methods for drying herbs. One calls for hanging up herbs in bundles or bunches to dry. This is done by gathering your cut herbs into bundles or bunches, each about the thickness of what you can grasp in one hand. Tie each bundle or bunch together using twine or string or use a rubberband to gather one end of stems together. Then, hang it upside down for drying. A dry garage or out-of-the-way kitchen shelf are good places to hang your herbs to dry.
The other method for drying herbs is to spread the herbs in a single layer on a wire netting or rack. An old window screen covered with a cheesecloth makes a good drying rack. Place the screen where there is cross ventilation so that air reaches it from above and below. Make sure the screen is stored in a shady, cool, and dry location while the herbs are drying on it.
Do not place the herbs in a plastic bag or sealed container of any kind until thoroughly dry as doing so will keep moisture inside the plant. This promotes the growth of mold and can possibly rot the herbs. How long it takes to completely dry depends on the humidity and temperature of the location you choose as well as the thickness of the stems and the amount of moisture inside the herb’s stems and leaves. It could take anywhere from several days or weeks to even a month or more. Dryness can usually be determined by crushing a leaf. If it’s crisp and breaks into little pieces, it’s dry enough to store. When growing and harvesting plants for magickal work, be sure to allow more than enough time for them to thoroughly dry before you’ll need them for ritual and spell work.
Once the herbs have completely dried, store them in sealed containers, and if possible, keep them in a dark place. Your herbs will retain their color and potency much longer this way. Glass containers are best, but sturdy plastic ones can also be used. Resist storing herbs for any length of time in plastic bags as the scents end up mingling together, and the herbs lose their potency fairly quickly. Be sure to label and date the containers. All herbs meant for ingesting and cooking should be used within six months. It is also recommended that herbs destined for use in ritual and spells also be used within six months for maximum effectiveness. But in any event, all herbs earmarked for ritual and magickal works should be used within a year of harvesting. After a year, their potency is very weak, and their effectiveness is greatly diminished. If you feel bad about throwing out any unused herbs, you can save them for use in crafts, if desired.
Annuals, Perennials, and Biennials
Once you’ve decided to grow a magickal herb garden, how do you know what herbs to select? Here’s a brief explanation of the three basic types of herbs and some magickal properties of a few specific herbs to help you make your selections.
Like all plants, herbs can be classifed as annual, perennial, orbiennial plants. Annual herbs bloom for one season only. They flower during the Summer and Fall, and then die. They need to be sown by seed anew each year. Examples of annual herbs include:
Once established, perennial herbs come back every year. They survive the Winter to bloom each season. Examples of perennial herbs include:
Biennial herbs live for only two years. They sprout from seeds the first season, but usually don’t flower until the second, after which they die. Biennial herbs are somewhat rare, and include:
Herbs for Protection
The following herbs all have protective properties good for repelling negative vibrations or energy. They disperse negativity and create a protective barrier when burned, carried on your person, or hung wherever needed. Please note that this list in not all inclusive:
St. John’s Wort
**An example of a simple protective spell is to make an amulet using any three of the above herbs. Mix them together, and place the mixture in the center of a small piece of red or white cloth. Gather up the corners, and tie it closed with a red ribbon. Hold the amulet in your projective hand (the one you write with) and the amulet by chanting the following three times:
“By Water, Earth, Fire and Air
Protect that for which I care!”
Carry the amulet with you in your pocket or purse. To protect you in the car, place it under your seat or in the glovebox. To protect your home, place it near the fireplace or hang it over the front door or over the door to your room.
Herbs for Purification
Sometimes, we can sense the presence of negative energy in our home, work place, or even in the car. Or, perhaps you’re feeling out of sorts or just have a general feeling that something isn’t quite right. In these instances, magickal works pertaining to purification will probably set things straight once again. Purification spells are also done to purify a new home or apartment to remove any energies left by the prior tenants. The following herbs all have purifying properties. This list is not all inclusive:
**An example of a house purification spell is to make a powder from three (or multiples of three) purification herbs. Pulverize the powders and make a loose incense for burning over charcoal. As you mix the powdered herbs together, visualize a clean breeze blowing all the negativity out of the house. If possible, open all the windows in the house. Light the incense. Carry the smouldering incense, and slowly walk from room to room. As you do so, visualize the smoke from the incense driving away any remnants of negativity.
**Another purification spell that can be done to remove negativity from a home or workplace is to brew a strong rosemary tea. Then, dip a branch of rosemary or yarrow into the tea, and use it to thoroughly sprinkle drops of the tea in every room. While doing this, visualize all negative influences be washed away.
**Another popular method for purifying is by smudging with sage. Harvest and then dry sage that has been tied into small bundles or bunches with cotton string or twine. When thoroughly dry, light a small sage bundle. Use a heatproof saucer or plate underneath, and carry the smoldering sage from room to room. Visualize all negativity being replaced by the purifying fragrance of the sage.
Charm bags are bags that are made, filled with specific ingredients, and then for a particular purpose. They are then carried or kept close to the person for whom they are meant to help, usually for a specified period of time. The following are some examples of charm bags using magickal herbs.
**Prosperity Charm Bag
On the New Moon, make a small bag out of green fabric or cut a square out of green fabric. Place three bay leaves and a small lodestone inside the bag or in the center of the square. If using a square of fabric, gather up the four corners and tie closed with a gold or green ribbon. If using a bag, tie the bag closed with a gold or green ribbon. Anoint the bag with a drop of almond oil or patchouli while chanting three times:
“Fortune smile on me this day
May all I need come my way”
Carry the bag in your pocket or purse from the New Moon until the Full Moon. At the Full Moon, bury the bag in the ground or in a deep planter or pot of dirt.
**Love Charm Bag
The purpose of this spell is to attract love into your life, NOT to attract a specific person.
Any time after the New Moon, make a small bag out of pink or red cloth. Add a piece of rose quartz inside, and fill the rest of the bag with lavender and pine needles.Tie the bag closed with a pink or white ribbon. Anoint the bag with patchouli or rose oil while chanting three times:
“By Air, Earth, Fire and Sea
Open my heart!
Bring love to me”
Sleep with the charm bag under your pillow until you get results.
This Health Charm Bag is created to attract good health or to maintain good health. During the waxing phase of the Moon, make a small blue or purple bag. Inside the bag, add a small piece of amethyst. Then, fill the bag with lavender, sage, and St. John’s Wort. Tie it closed with a purple ribbon. Anoint the bag with oil of peppermint or spearmint while chanting three times:
“Keep my mind and body strong and fit
Strengthen both my heart and wit”
Sleep with the bag under your pillow at night. Keep this bag as long as necessary. Burn or bury it when no longer needed.