Some herbs aren’t for the living but for the dead, Wreaths of Bay Laurel were is in funerals, Parsley was strewn in the path of the funeral procession to give the dead luck in the afterlife. Rosemary was thrown into graves for remembrance, Pomegranate and periwinkle were used for immortality and rebirth and marjoram was used to allow the spirits to rest in peace.
A Herbal Offering
Take sprigs of Rosemary, marjoram, parsley and bay and make a posy tied with white ribbon and place it on your altar as an offering to the spirits. These posies can be taken to cemeteries as offerings for the departed or added to funerary floral arrangements for subtle wishes.
Thyme has been used in protective blends for funerals and also to raise psychic awareness. A sachet of thyme added to a bath can protect you from negativity if attending a funeral. Thyme has also been used in ritual cups before communing with the dead.
A Simple Recipe for Thyme Ritual Cup
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup boiling water
Allow herbs and honey to steep in boiled water for ten minutes then drink during ritual to contact the departed.
*do not use if you are allergic to lamiaceae herbs (rosemary, basil, oregano, celery)
The leaves and amber of the acacia can be burnt as incense the leaves are often burned with frankincense and myrrh to open the mind to psychic visions and the amber is burned to cleanse sacred spaces. To communicate with spirit the leaves are used to sprinkle the altar with holy water and burned as an incense
Ancestor Communication Incence
Take 1/2 teaspoon of frankincense,
1/2 teaspoon of myrrh and
1/2 teaspoon of acacia leaves stripped from the branch.
Mix these in a small bowl with a drop of cinnamon essential oil then burn over charcoal during rites to communicate with the dead.
~*Belladonna & Bones*~
Image (c) Melburnian via Wikipedia
Wands made with the wood of apple are often used for communicating with spirits and accessing the underworld. Apples are strongly associated with Samhain and often used in Samhain rituals. The Celts believed that Apples and hazel nuts were the fruits of the otherworld and were eaten to attain knowledge.
At Samhain offerings of apples are buried along paths and roads and by the front door for the wandering dead. A candle can be placed in a hollowed out apple and placed by the window to guide the dead of the family home for the Samhain feast.
~*Belladonna & Bones*~
Image (c) Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen
Today the Counting crows and I ventured out into the forest in search of some magical fungi. I was on the hunt for ingredients for something special to cook up at Samhain. I wove my way though the hills and back-roads, stopping at springs and falls. Following wombat trails and paths overgrown with Raspberry and Hawthorn until I found my prize.
I washed my cares away in the cool, crisp spring water and thanked the spirits for the quiet day that let me have this special place all to myself. I spoke to the birds and listened to their song then collected Willow and Oak for charms and amulets.
Offerings were left for the spirits of place, bark and mushroom and once I was done I feasted on meat and cheese and herbal tea.
The days ahead are filled with tasks, offerings and ritual. A solar-eclipse, two days before Samhain? Watch for spirits to cross early, I think I hear them knocking already.
Sigils: Here to Stay
Yesterday I talked about set & forget sigils, one’s that are destroyed or hidden to set their magic in the consciousness.
Other sigils can be created in a more permanent manner to create amulets of power.
As I mentioned previously you could take a dremel and carve your sigil into a rock to create an amulet that stays with you to constantly charge that amulet with intent and carry it’s magic with you through out the day.
Sigils: Set and Forget
One train of thought on sigils is that they should be charged with energy then destroyed or hidden so they have an unhindered ability to effect change upon the universe.
You can do this a number of ways;
Throwing into moving water (fast moving is better)
Leaving the sigilised item at a crossroads
Check back in in later and I’ll talk about Sigils that are here to stay!
~*belladonna & bones*~
While I’m a big fan of the portability of Sigil magic I still believe that sigils can be creations of beauty and can and should be used as part of more elaborate rituals.
Sigils can be worked in large temporary structures in group workings or by the solitary practitioner. Perhaps you could take inspiration from the Rangoli mandalas created by Hindu women during the festival of Diwali.
I think it’s a beautiful way to give your intent to the wind by working in such a transient media as sand or rice powder.
Ooh that makes me thing sigils in the sand to be washed away by the ocean… So many possibilities…
Do the images of Rangoli inspire you to work a little large scale Sigil magic?
The Ceremonial Magician Frater U:. D:. Expands on the earlier work of Austin Osman Spare by suggesting that every magic practitioner should create their own Magical Alphabet of sorts.
For instance, my go-to symbol for a bit of protection on the run is an earth invoking pentacle. If I’m feeling a little at risk or I want to protect something or someone I trace out the Earth Pentacle with my finger on a surface or on some skin
U:.D:. suggests that as you create sigils for frequently used phrases or intentions that you record them for future use as a kind of shortcut to your sigil creation process.
Do you have any go-to symbols you could call part of your magical alphabet?
Sigil magic is one of the most uniquely portable tools in your magical repertoire.
You don’t even need a pen and paper! A bit of saliva and a flat surface and you can work your magic anywhere you like. Of course in an office environment perhaps you’ll want to raid the stationery cupboard for a post-it note and a sharpie to work your magic.
And if you are in a hurry (the boss want to see you in his office, now…) don’t fret, simply go with instinct and write your need in a circle three times. Be messy, let the words over lap. In the image I’ve written “Protect me from harm” Then fold that note up into your pocket and walk into that meeting head held high.
*hint* you’ve not only created a sigil you’ve made a temporary protection amulet as well!