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Herbalism For Your Day

 By Katrina Rasbold

Unfortunately, life obligations made is so that Cat Gina Cole can no longer continue her Herbalism column for this blog. Since that was one of our most popular columns, I am going to do my meager best to step in and provide a not-nearly-as-good herbalism segment. This week, we’re talking about how to use herbs in magical work.

Of course, there are many ways to use herbs for healing and cooking and I do both, but not on the scale that Cat does. Any herb work I do for healing mostly comes from this book:

There are many editions of it released over the past twenty years or so and although it is regularly updated, most of its information is good, so if you find one at a thrift store or on Amazon Marketplace, don’t be afraid to invest in it. You aren’t going to encounter any life or death changes between an old edition and a new one.

When I left Kentucky in 1978, my arsenal of cooking herbs was: salt, pepper, onion, cinnamon, vanilla extract.

The first I added when I got to Guam was garlic and from there, the collection grew. I am still not wildly adventurous in that regard. When I learned to cook Mexican food, cumin joined the club. Rosemary came in with rosemary potatoes. Thyme came in because I realized it lifted the flavor of certain gravies. Oregano stepped up when I began making my own pizza and lasagna. My husband learned to make his own Indian curry and added I don’t know what all to the cupboard for that (because I don’t care for curry, I don’t pay attention to it).

Get me into herbs for magical use, however, and I am a duck in a happy pond. So that means that while my cooking herb collection looks like this:

…with some of those being Eric’s herbs that I disregard, my magical herb collection looks like this:…and this

and this…

Spoiler: Those drawers are very deep

What’s amazing is that I do use nearly all of those herbs on a regular basis. I think the only one I have that I do not use is pine resin and I only have that because someone asked me, “Do you want this pine resin” and I said, “Hell, yeah, I do” and started gesturing as if I was on a flight line landing a plane.

I use herbs and oils to make loose incenses of all kinds. I put herbs into mojo bags and witch’s bottles. I use rosemary, dragon’s blood (a resin, not an herb), sagebrush, asafetida, and juniper with a little banishing oil in protection rituals and spells. I put sympathetic herbs onto the top of my prayer candles to empower them:

I put herbs in the goats milk soaps, baths, magical powders, and oil blends that I make.

What I have found over the past thirty or so years is that the information you find online regarding the magical uses of and correspondences for herbs are usually extremely accurate. I would give it a solid 95% accuracy rate and those are odds I will gladly play since a great deal of the info is subjective unless it’s going into your body as a health treatment. What you have to be careful of is to note any issues you’ll have burning it. The herb fumitory, for instance, is great for exorcisms and dumping unwanted spirits from your home but Holy Mother of God… that stuff smells RANK when it is on fire. There’s a reason why even spirits leave the house if you burn it. If you use oils or herbs in baths or soaps, you have to pay attention to whether the herb is caustic to the skin. Cinnamon smells great, but if you use too much of it, it can irritate the skin and especially those very personal mucous membrane areas.

If you want a hands on book for herbal knowledge, I have found so many over the years that were just amazing, but I always come back to these classics:

This is my go to and my copy is swollen with water damage, beaten up, and highlighted. I love you, Scott, but “graveyard dirt” is not another word for “mullein.” Mullein is mullein and graveyard dirt is literally graveyard dirt.

Between the two of these, I can always find whatever I need. The books are cross-referenced according to the name of the herb as well as by intention (“herbs for luck,” “herbs for love,” etc).

Be sure and check out Cat’s archived columns on herbalism if you have not already done so and I will do my best to hold my own here now that she is sadly no longer a columnist for us.

Katrina Rasbold is a professional Witch, published author, priestess, and editor of Green Egg Magazine. She and her husband, Eric, are the creators of the CUSP spiritual path and owners of Crossroads Occult. She and Dahlia Rose host the popular livestreamed video broadcast “Crossroads of Cognizance” most Thursday afternoons. You can reach her through

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