Magic with Kitchen Spices

Run out of some magical ingredient and need to work a spell or ritual in a hurry? There are many ways you can use your kitchen herbs and spices in your magical work, as well as for home remedies and personal care.

I often visit Pagan conferences, markets and camps and see people looking around for the hottest trend, the latest magical or healing ingredient, and the rarer and more expensive it is, the more magical and useful they think it must be. This is nothing new. The spices we use daily for cooking were once extremely costly and rare, coming from faraway, exotic places, and because of this people scrabbled to get hold of them, believing they had mystical properties and greater healing powers than the herbs that grew at home – sometimes this was even true. It is hard to imagine now but the black pepper you probably sprinkle on your dinner every day was once one of the most valuable commodities in the world, worth its weight in gold because of its medicinal properties and culinary piquancy. When Christopher Columbus set sail on his voyage of exploration it was to find a new route to get black pepper cheaper, but he landed in the New World and found chilli peppers instead. Some spices were so mysterious, they were thought to have magical origins. Cinnamon was believed to grow in in deep glens guarded by deadly snakes, where the legendary phoenix birds built nests from it, immolating themselves so that they might emerged reborn from its ashes. [1] Naturally, this story justified the exorbitant price that traders charged for it.  

For our ancestors, plants were a wonderful treasure trove of natural resources that could be employed for food and medicine, or used to provide clothing, furniture and building materials. However, it was also believed that they had a spiritual quality, and their employment in magic and religious practice was equally important.

Each ingredient possesses its own virtues and energies. Always remember that you are working with the virtues inherent in the plant to achieve the result you want, whether that is to evoke the energy of a particular deity or season, for protection, cleansing, love, purification or abundance, and so on.  You can cook up a magical feast, adding sage for wisdom, rosemary for remembrance, nuts for fertility, grains for abundance, or fruits for love. The kitchen is a magical workshop, the stove an alchemical tool.

MAGICAL KITCHEN HERBS & SPICES:

ALFALFA (Medicago sativa) – grounding, money, prosperity, protection. Ruled by the planet Venus and the element of earth.

ALLSPICE (Pimenta dioica) – energy, healing, luck, money, virility. Ruled by the planet Mars and the element of fire.

ALMOND (Prunus dulcis, syn. Prunus amygdalus/ Amygdalus communis/ Amygdalus dulcis) Ostara, regeneration, divination, fertility, love, luck, money. Ruled by the planets Mercury and the Sun, the element of air, and the star sign of Gemini. Sacred to Zeus, Freya, Phyllis, Amacas, Demophoon, Cybele, Attis, Nana, Car, Metis, Carmenta and the Caryatids.

ALOE VERA (Aloe barbadensis, Aloe indica, Aloe perfoliata, Aloe vulgaris) – healing, love, home protection, divination, spiritual development. Ruled by the moon and the element of water. Sacred to moon goddesses, Artemis, Aeacus, Amun Ra, Chandra, Indra, Rhadamanthus, Vulcan, Yama and Venus.

AMARANTH (Amaranthus spp.) – death, funerals, healing, immortality, protection. Sacred to Artemis and Demeter. It is ruled by the planet Saturn, the element of fire and the star signs Capricorn and Aquarius.

ANGELICA (Angelica archangelica syn. Angelica officinalis) – Beltane, Midsummer, south, healing, protection, cleansing, exorcism, purification, banishing, blessing, clairvoyance, visions, warding, peace. Ruled by the Sun, the element of fire and the sign of Leo. Sacred to sun gods and Venus.

ANISE (Pimpinella anisum) – clairvoyance, banishing, divination, exorcism, protection. Ruled by the planet Mercury, the element of air and the sign of Gemini. Sacred to Apollo, Hermes and Mercury.

APPLE (Malus spp.) fertility, lust, love, marriage, immortality, fidelity, harvest, initiation, wisdom.  Ruled by the Sun and Venus, the element of water and the sign of Taurus. Sacred to Aphrodite,  Apollo, Bel, Ceridwen, Demeter, Diana, Eve, Flora, Godiva, Herakles, Hesperides, Iduna,  Inanna, Kore, Lugh, Mêliae, Morgana, Nehallenia, Olwen, Persephone Pomona, Sun Gods, Titaea, Venus, and Zeus.

APRICOT (Prunus armeniaca) – love. Ruled by the planet Venus, the element of water and the star signs Taurus and Libra.

ASAFOETIDA (Ferula foetida) – exorcism, purification, prophetic dreams, fertility. Ruled by Saturn or Mars and the element of fire and the star signs Aries and Scorpio. Sacred to Athene, Priapus and Saturn.

ASPARAGUS (Asparagus officinalis) – fertility, lust, potency. Ruled by the planets Mars and Jupiter, the element of fire and the signs Gemini and Virgo. Sacred to Zeus, Hermes and Mercury.

AUBERGINE aka EGGPLANT (Solanum melongena) – prosperity, wealth. Ruled by the planet Jupiter.

AVOCADO (Persea americana) – happiness, wealth, longevity, love, lust.

BANANA (Musa spp.) – passion, fertility, potency and prosperity.

BASIL (Ocimum basilicum)healing, revitalising, love, initiation, business, fidelity, happiness, harmony, home, money.  Ruled by the planet Mars, the element of fire and the sign of Scorpio. Sacred to Erzulie, Krishna, Lakshmi and Vishnu.

BARLEY (Hordeum vulgare) fertility, initiation, harvest, Lughnasa and the Autumn Equinox. Sacred to Demeter and Ceres.

BAY (Laurus nobilis) prophecy, divination, healing, consecrating tarot cards, protection, banishing negativity, cleansing, spiritual purification, prophetic dreams, sealing. Ruled by the Sun, the element of fire, and the star sign Leo. Sacred to gods of healing, Adonis,Apollo, Aesculapius, Ceres, Ceridwen, Cupid, Daphne, Eros, Faunus, Ra, Vishnu, Mars, Ares, sun and dawn gods and goddesses.

BEAN (Fabaceae/ Leguminosae spp.) – death, spirits of the dead, funerals, banishing negativity and evil. Ruled by the planet Mercury and the element of air. Sacred to Blodeuwedd, Carnea, Cardea and Demeter.

BERGAMOT, MONARDA (Monarda didyma) – protection, meditation. Ruled by the planet Mercury, the element of air and the star signs Gemini and Virgo.

BERGAMOT, CITRUS (Citrus bergamia) – money and success. Ruled by the planet Mercury, the element of air, and the signs Gemini and Virgo.

BILBERRY (Vaccinium myrtillus) – counter magic, protection, luck, money. Ruled by the planet Jupiter, the elements fire and water and the signs Sagittarius and Pisces.

BLACKBERRY (Rubus fructicosus) – the Autumn Equinox, harvest, abundance, death, consecrating the cup or cauldron. Ruled by the planet Venus, the element of water, Aries. Sacred to Brigantia, Brighid, fairies and harvest goddesses.

BLACKTHORN (Prunus spinosa) – Samhain, death aspects of the Goddess, particularly Ceridwen. Ruled by the element of earth and the planet Saturn.

BUCKWHEAT (Fagopyrum esculentum) – protection from negativity, poverty and evil, money attraction and wealth, Autumn Equinox. Ruled by the planet Venus and the element of earth. Sacred to harvest gods and goddesses.

CARAWAY (Carum carvi) – protection, cycle of the year, faithfulness, cleansing. Ruled by the Sun and Mercury and the element of air.

CARDAMOM (Elettaria cardamomum) – love, passion, lust. Ruled by the planet Venus and the element of water.  Sacred to Erzulie, Hecate and Medea.

CAROB (Ceratonia siliqua) – health, wealth. Ruled by the planet Jupiter, the element of fire and the sign Sagittarius. Sacred to Zeus and Jupiter.

CARROT (Daucus carota) – fertility. Ruled by the planet Mercury, the element of fire and the signs Gemini and Virgo.

CHERRY (Prunus avium)- happiness, love and divination.

CHERVIL (Anthriscus cerefolium) – mental activity, clarity, Samhain, initiation, connection to the higher self. Ruled by the planet Jupiter and the elements of air and water. Sacred to the goddess Ceridwen.

CHICORY (Cichorium intybus) – removal of obstacles, invisibility, Lughnasa, Autumn Equinox. Ruled by Jupiter and the element of air. Sacred to harvest gods and goddesses.

CHILI PEPPER (Capsicum spp.) – fidelity, love, counter magic. Ruled by the planet Mars, the element of fire, and the signs Aries and Scorpio.

CINNAMON (Cinnamonum zeylanicum syn. Cinnamonum lauraceae) purification, raises magical vibration, peace, healing, blessing, lust, money, healing. Ruled by theSun and fire, and sacred to Aesculapius, Aphrodite, Helios, Ra and Venus.

CLARY SAGE (Salvia sclarea) – visions, getting the sight, opening the third eye. Ruled by Mercury and the moon and the element of air.

CLOVE (Carophyllus aromaticus syn. Syzygium aromaticum) – aphrodisiac, lust, money, prosperity. Ruled by the planet Jupiter and the element of fire.

COCONUT (Cocos nucifera) – luck, purification, protection and chastity.

CORIANDER (Coriandrum sativum) – healing, eternal life, aphrodisiac, love, protection and peace. Ruled by the planet Mars, the element of fire and sacred to Aphrodite and Venus.

CORN (ie. all grain crops) – abundance, harvest, Autumn Equinox, Lughnasa. Ruled by the Sun and the element of fire.  Sacred to gods and goddesses of the harvest such as Demeter and Ceres.

CUCUMBER (Cucumis sativus) – chastity, healing, fertility, astral travel. Ruled by the moon and the element of water.

DATE PALM (Phoenix dactylifera) regeneration, fertility, rebirth. Sacred to Amun, Isis, Lat, Demeter, Leto, Nike, Inanna, and Nepthys.

DILL (Anethum graveolens) protection against witchcraft, clears the mind, protection, cleansing sacred space, Midsummer, Beltane. Ruled by the planet Mercury, and the element of fire or air. 

FENNEL (Foeniculum vulgare) – courage, Lughnasa, Midsummer, purification, protection. Ruled by the planet Mercury and the element of fire. Sacred to Apollo, Dionysus and Prometheus.

FENUGREEK (Trigonella foenum-graecum) – Lughnasa, music, poetry, healing. Ruled by the planet Mercury and the element of air. Sacred to Apollo.

FIG (Ficus carica) – love, fertility. Ruled by the planet Jupiter, the element of fire and the sign of Sagittarius. Sacred to Dionysus, Bacchus, Juno, Pan and Isis.

FRANGIPANI (Plumaria spp.) – love, attraction.

GARLIC (Allium sativum) – banishing, exorcism, protection. Ruled by the planet Mars, the element of fire and the star sign Aries. Sacred to Circe, Cybele and Hecate.

GINGER (Zingiber officinale) – energy, passion, lust. Ruled by the planet Mars and the element of fire. Sacred to Mars and Aries.

HAZEL (Corylus avellana) Autumn Equinox, wisdom, inspiration, making and consecrating wands, dowsing, protection. Ruled by the planet Mercury and the element of air.  Sacred to Aengus, Artemis, Diana, Chandra, Connla, Fionn, Hecate, Lleu, Lugh, Mac Coll, Manannan, Mercury, Ogma, Taliesin, Thor and Boann.

HIBISCUS (Hibiscus spp.) – love, lust, divination.

HOP (Humulus lupulus) – Lughnasa, underworld travel, wolf totems. Ruled by the planet Mars and the element of air. Sacred to Brighid and Leto.

LEMON (Citrus x lemon) – cleansing, love, protection. Ruled by the moon and the element of water.

LIME (Citrus acida) – healing, love and protection. Ruled by the element of fire.

MAPLE (Acer spp.) – travel protection, abundance, divination. Ruled by the planet Jupiter and the elements of air and earth.

MARJORAM (Origanum majorana) protection, repels negativity, happiness, love, weddings, handfastings, healing, unblocking the heart chakra. Ruled by the planet Mercury, the element of air and the zodiac sign of Aries. Sacred to Aphrodite, Jupiter, Osiris, Thor, Venus and Hera.

NUTMEG (Myristica fragrans) – counter magic, luck, justice, money, virility, Yule.  Ruled by the planet Jupiter, the element of air and the sign of Pisces.

OLIVE (Olea europaea) new beginnings, peace, continuity, the expulsion of evil and negativity, consecration, purification and blessing. Ruled by the Sun and the element of fire. Sacred to  Amun Ra,Apollo, Artemis, Athene, Auxesia Hera, Damia, Demeter, Ganymede, Hercules, Hermes, Indra, Isis, Juno, Jupiter, Nut, Poseidon, sun gods, and Zeus.

ORANGE (Citrus × sinensis) – love, energy, joy. Ruled by the Sun and the element of fire.

OREGANO (Origanum vulgare) – healing, joy, luck, protection. Ruled by the planet Venus and the element of air. 

PARSLEY (Petroselinum crispum syn. P. satirum) the Underworld, ancestral knowledge, the dead, Autumn Equinox and Samhain. Ruled by the planet Mercury and the element of air. Sacred toAphrodite,Archemorus, Persephone, Venus and death gods and goddesses. 

PEAR (Pyrus communis) – love, marriage, fertility. Ruled by the planet Venus and the element of water. Sacred to Hera and Juno.

PEPPERMINT (Mentha x pipreta) – clarity, cleansing. Ruled by the planet Venus and the element of air, and the star signs Virgo and Aquarius. Sacred to Minthe and Hades.

RICE (Oryza sativa) – blessing, money, prosperity, fertility, protection, and wealth. Ruled by the Sun and the element of earth.

ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis) mind and the memory, concentration, meditation, healing, love, marriage, births, funerals and memorial services, protection, dispelling negativity and evil, attracting fairies, and spells designed to retain youth. Ruled by theSun, the element of fire, and the zodiac sign of Aries.

RUE (Ruta graveolens) anaphrodisiac, inner vision, clairvoyance, banishes negative energies, exorcism and purification. It is ruled by the Sun, the element of fire and the sign of Leo. Sacred to Aradia, Diana, Hermes, Horus, Mars, Menthu, Mercury and Odysseus.

SAFFRON (Crocus sativus) love, marriage, handfasting, lifts the spirits, divination, aphrodisiac, beginnings, dawn, strength, wealth. Though given to the sun by the astrologer-herbalists, for its golden stamens and dye, the ancients thought saffron was sacred to moon goddesses. It is ruled by the Sun and the element of fire, the sign of Leo and is sacred to the deities Amun Ra,Ashtoreth,Eos, Indra, Jupiter, and Zeus.

SAGE (Salvia officinalis) wisdom, prophetic dreams, warding off the evil eye, purification, cleansing, aura cleansing, immortality. Ruled by the planet Jupiter and the element of air. Sacred to Consus,Jupiter and Zeus.

SORREL (Rumex acetosa) love.Ruled by the planet Venus and the element of earth. Sacred to Venus and Aphrodite.

STRAWBERRY (Fragaria vesca) – blessing, love, Midsummer, fertility. Ruled by the planet Venus and the elements of earth or water. Sacred to fairies, Freya,love goddesses and mother goddesses.

TANGERINE (Citrus tangerina) – energy, strength, power. Ruled by the Sun and the element of fire.

THYME (Thymus vulgaris) warrior path, courage, strength, purification and protection, especially from nightmares, remembrance of the dead, healing and love attraction. Ruled by the planet Venus, the element of water and the star sign Aries. Sacred to Ares, Mars, and fairies.

TOMATO (Solanum lycopersicum) – love, protection.

VANILLA (Vanilla planifolia) – happiness and good fortune.

VINE, GRAPE (Vitis vinafera) – everlasting life, divine intoxication, entheogen, negating the ego, Lughnasa and the Autumn Equinox. Ruled by the Sun and the element of fire. Sacred to Adonis, Apollo,Bacchus, Dionysus, Flora, Inanna, Ishtar, Liber Pater, Orpheus, Osiris, and Ra.

WALNUT (Juglans regia) – fertility, anointing, wishes. Ruled by the Sun and the element of fire. Sacred to Adonis, Apollo, and Jupiter.

© Anna Franklin, abstracted from The Hearth Witch’s Kitchen Herbal, Llewellyn, 2019


[1] Theophrastus, (trans. Arthur F. Hort), Enquiry into Plants, Volume I: Books 1-5, Loeb Classical Library 70, 1916

Author: annafranklinblog

Anna Franklin is the High Priestess of the Hearth of Arianrhod, which runs teaching circles, a working coven, and the annual Mercian Gathering, a Pagan camp which raises money for charity. She regularly speaks at conferences, moots and workshops around the country. She is the author of many books on witchcraft and Paganism, including the popular Pagan Ways Tarot, Sacred Circle Tarot, The Fairy Ring, Herb Craft, Magical Incenses and Oils, Personal Power, A Romantic Guide to Handfasting, Familiars, The Oracle of the Goddess, Hearth Witch, The Path of the Shaman and The Hearth Witch’s Compendium. Anna’s books have been translated into nine languages.

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