An Herbal Materia Magica
Nine Magical Herbs! Nine is a powerful number that pops up over and over again in societies of magic and mystery. 9 is a sacred number to the Maya Healers, for the number corresponds to the 9 Maya Spirits; Ancient and very strong spirits for healing among the Maya Healers. In African American Folk Magic circles it is a very important number for activating effective communication with the unseen world. In Western Numerology the number represents death and the completion of a cycle. This makes the number closely relatable to ancestors and the “other side”. In the Santeria tradition, there is a Goddess of the wind & death named Oya. She is referred to as the “Mother of Nine”. I have chosen nine herbs for this class in the spirit of those wonderful magical circles that have come before.
Plants have been used to aid in exorcisms and banishing evil since the dawn of man. Here is a list of herbs said to be great for ridding a home or person of evil spirits.
1. Rosemary- The last time that I had a hard time sleeping because of a nightmare of one kind or another, I placed some rosemary into my pillow. Very forcefully, I was pulled from the consciousness of the negative dream to a place where images were much more pleasant. It was as if hands were in my brain rapidly tapping out codes to alter my consciousness.
Quote-“I rushed back to the cement house with the coals, catching Panti dousing the woman with holy water from head to foot, nearly shouting the Mayan prayers over her. I went to fetch the pieces of Copal…He also sprinkled dried Rosemary on the coals as he repeated the prayers and held her pulse.” –Rosita Arvigo “Sastun”
Lore- Rosemary is said to stimulate memory. It also promotes joy in people feeling the blues. It is extremely famous in esoteric circles for getting rid of bad dreams once sprinkled inside of a pillow. It has been used to attract luck and is often mixed with copal to aid in spiritual purification. Rosemary is an all around sub for any spiritual use.
Medicinal Factoid- “Drink a tea of leaves to cleanse stomach of mucus.”
2. Rue- I met a woman that told me that her son suffered from night terrors. He would wake up in the middle of the night and walk around screaming, fighting and crying while still asleep. She tried all sorts of modern approaches to the problem to no avail. While studying herbs she found out that Rue was used in repelling bad spirits. She sort of chuckled and brought a rue plant home and sat it in her son’s room. From then on out, there was no sign of even a nightmare!
The first time I slept near this herb, I dreamed of powerful being with great white wings; an amazing force of love and light!
Quote- “The main ingredients he used were holy water from any Catholic Church, an herb called Rue and Copal incense, which he garnered from the resin of the sacred Copal tree. Rue known around the world as the Herb of Grace, has many different uses in both physical and spiritual healing. It is a favorite household remedy for many ailments but it is best known for its sure action against evil spirits.”
Quote-“That night I had a dream…to me left was a pure white female Angel, clothed in glowing crystalline garments the poured forth pearly white light. She stood serenely, emanating love and grace. She was the spirit of Rue.”
Lore- Rue is a powerful ally, worn for blessings and protection, pushes away harm and calls health and all good things. Said to actually irritate evil presences that may be floating around you; Popular in Mediterranean traditions, especially in the realm of Italian Witchcraft. Central and South American practitioners also recognize the power of Rue and used it for the same exact purposes. Some skin types are extremely sensitive to rue so be careful in handling this plant.
Medicinal Factoid- Hysteria, menstrual cramps, stomach ache and onset of epilepsy.
3. Juniper- Quote- “Overlapping traditions are useful in triangulating valid functions in folk medicine. If unrelated traditions say that Yarrow clots the blood, it is easier to accept that is probably the case; if they say juniper clears “bad vibes” many of us start to back up and start to twitch skeptically. “- Michael Moore
Quote-“But he himself (The Biblical Elijah) went on a day’s journey into the wilderness , and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die…And as he lay and slept under a Juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, arise and eat.” -Bible
Lore- Tibetan Monks write letters and burn the letters over the smoke of burning juniper leaves to make sure that the message gets to the “other side” safely. It is said that angels can easily make use the smoke or steam of a juniper branch to manifest in the physical realm. It is said the Juniper can go deep into the spiritual body of a person to remove old baggage and developing seeds of negativity. Lore suggests that one should chew the berries if they fear that they may catch the sickness of another. The berries have been carried in pouches for protection or as spiritual medicine by certain native groups. Chinese, Pueblo Indians and many other groups use this great smelling plant to ward off all evils.
Medicinal Factoid- Urinary Tract Herb
4. Basil- I get good vibes from Basil. I sense it as being a masculine herb that emanates a spirit of abundance and courage. It is an herb that has a high affinity for people.
Quote-“It is revered in ancient tradition. It was sacred to Krishna and Vishnu and it was said to be that every Hindu slept with a Basil leaf on his breast.” Anthony Kweku Andoh
Lore- The plant has been used as a talismanic charm by the Hindu people who would plant the herb in the front yards of their homes. Some Hindu families would worship the divine presence behind the sacred herb. They would ask this herb to bring protection to their bodies and to inspire fertility among the men and women. This plant is also revered as one of the mighty “3 sisters” by Mexican healers: Basil, Rue and Rosemary. These plants together are said to be a powerful aid against spiritual evils. Basil is also used by the Ashanti people of Africa to rid a space of evil. Praised as a love herb by Italians and Sicilians, young people place a spring behind their ear to attract love and let others know that they are ready for it.
Medicinal Factoid- Noted as being good for stomach disorders, nervousness, migraines and insomnia.
5. Osha- Osha is the most powerful anti- evil herb in my world. Evil won’t go near it. The plant houses a consciousness that only attracts other angelic presences. The spirit within the herb is large, ancient, divine and powerful. The roots love to be talked to and the smell of the roots alone is invigorating to the body, mind and spirit. Love is all this plant knows. There is no way to use this plant for sinister causes. Osha only blesses. In the case of an exorcism I would wear these roots in a pouch around my neck and place the root around the neck of the demonically possessed individual while at the same time burning the root along with other herbs such as rosemary and sage.
Quote-“There is a long standing belief that wearing or carrying Osha wards off snakes, especially rattlesnakes.”
Lore-Also known as the Empress of the Forest, Osha is highly revered by Native American groups. The plant is more famously known as “Bear Meidicine” because bears have quite an affinity for it. They dig it up, eat it, offer it to their mates, roll in it and have even been seen “praying” with it. The herb is looked at by many Native groups as a talisman to bring luck and power. It is said that the root wards off evil spirits and negative thoughts. The root is also used in dream work and can be burnt in ceremonies to bridge this world to the next.
Medicinal Factoid- Osha is exceptional for throat problems and clearing the lungs of excess phlegm. Chewing on the root makes one feel refreshed and strong during hard physical work.
6. Angelica- Quote-“Angelica is a powerful guardian and healer, said to enhance female power, protect children, ward of evil and improve health and family matters” Catherine Yronwode
Lore- Angelica is a much used magical herb praised by many groups. In the African American Folk Magic Tradition or “Hoodoo” it has many uses. A whole Angelica root is placed in a bag with a mix of Marshmallow Root, Flax Seed and Rose buds. This bag is blessed with Holy oil and placed near a sleeping baby for protection. The powdered root is also mixed with salt and sprinkled in each corner of each room to purify a home. It is also used by the Iroquois people who would make a tea out of the root and sprinkle it around their homes to quiet poltergeists. In the Mexican tradition it is advised that a young woman who has been badly frightened to carry a whole Angelica root in a white bag.
Medicinal Factoid- Angelica is a great women’s health herb.
7. Copal- Quote-“The Copal tree is considered a spirit in its own right and is also capable of cancelling out evil.”
Quote- “She burned Copal all night, and for the first time since she took ill, we didn’t have to tie our mother down on the bed.” –Rosita Arvigo “Sastun” (both quotes)
Lore- The resin from the Copal tree is used by Maya healers for the purposes of dispelling evil. The quote above was referring to a woman who was healed from a bad case of spirit possession in Rosita Arvigo’s “Sastun” a book on her apprenticeship with a Maya Healer named Don Elijio. He would often mix Rosemary and Copal to cleanse etheric space of all evil. Maya Healers also use the resin to induce trance states and make space right for divinatory practices. In Guatemala, Saint Statues are passed through the smoke for purification reasons.
8. Garlic- Quote- “The Arhuaco Indians have known about the garlic’s elemental magic since very ancient times. The garlic shrub possesses various little thin elementals with white tunics.” S.A.Weor
Lore- Most famous for its effects against vampires, garlic is revered for deterring other evil forces as well. Garlic is used in spiritual scrubbing mixes and a braid of garlic is also hanged in the home to ward off evil.
Medicinal note- Garlic Eaten raw can soften the hoarse cough and bring back the voice.
9. Marigolds- Whenever I am around the flowers of this plant I can feel the presence of another dimension. Its other worldly vibration speaks to me. The veil between the two worlds is thinner than before. Marigold flowers attracts ancestor and spirit guides. The flower also speaks of abundance, joy and festivities. The flower is magic itself manifested in flower form. It is what the essence of magic looks and feels like. This flower is of a “calling” nature. It’s a spiritual magnet that draws in. If you wear it makes you visible to the “other side”. It is attractive to spirits of all kinds.
Quote- “It is believed that the spirits of the dead visit the living during the celebration. Marigolds guide the spirits to their altars using their vibrant colors and scent.”
Lore-It is said that the Aztecs used this “flower of death” as a remedy for hiccough and lightning strikes. It is also said by some to be the only flower that spirits can smell from the “other side.”
There you have it! 9 Powerful plants! I mentioned 9 but there are many more protective herbs such as Hyssop, Ivy, Heliotrope, Elecampane and Asafetida. These plants can add so much color and positive energy to your practice. In the case of needing to banish or exorcise, I’d prefer the heavy hitters, Rue, Osha, Copal, Rosemary, etc. If you can’t get all the herbs you want, try others. The energy will be weaker or stronger or different depending on your herb combination but sometimes even a weak combination is enough to scare off an evil.
Lore notes from Nichola Battilana, Samuel Weor, Don Elijio, Anthony Andoh, Christopher Penczack, Cat Yronwode