When humans first gained control of fire they threw a handful of aromatic herbs into the flames and created an atmosphere ripe with magick. This same plant magick is still being used as medicinal tools in smoke, tea and drugs over 50,000 years later.
All plants and minerals have a spirit and the land itself has a spirit. The Genius loci is the spirit of the land, and the plants tap into that via hairlike roots. This is how they gain knowledge and hold memory. Plants hold memory from ancient times. They impart that knowledge onto us through medicine, teas and burning incense to name a just a few.
All things that have ever lived, have been absorbed into the earth. Plants have a connection to this energy. Additionally each plant has a memory of the type of plant before it, and its purpose. For example, the juniper berry bush has a purpose of protection and it grows on the battle field of Little Big Horn. A field where so many brave soldiers of both the United States Calvary and the Lakota Warriors have died. This juniper berry bush that has lived on this field and connected with this energy for over a hundred years will have a much more potent protective spell than some other juniper berry bush.
All parts of the plant are useful to us in various stages. During its life it gives us flowers, fruit and seeds. And in death it continues to sustain us with its roots, stems, resins and essential oils.
Dried herbs, flowers, leaves and stems are the bones of the plant. Resins are made from the liquid inside the plant and are the blood of the plant. Essential oils made from a distilling process by which steam extracts the essentialness of the plant and this is the spirit of the plant.
Plants that witches grow can be informed of their purpose. Most people talk to their plants, and while that is very good for the plant and its health, it is even more important to connect with the plant’s spirit. When you first plant your seedling, you can meditate with it, try to connect with the
spirit of the plant. Touch the plant softly, and tell the plant just what you plan to use it for. A symbiotic relationship with the plant will help you to have more potent incenses, spells, and teas.
Once the Witch has the connection with the plant, the magick incense and smudge stick making can begin. Choose the plant by its magickal properties as well the scent. You can create a protective cleansing incense by using bay leaves and sage. Lavender will create a peaceful relaxing atmosphere
and by adding mugwort you can then stimulate prophetic dreams.
You will have to experiment with your incense and smudge sticks for a while before you find what your looking for. An essential oil will smell very different from a burning herb of the same plant.
Once you have decided on your ingredients you can create your magick.
Your mortar and pestle is your main tool. You can use a grinder to get your more hard to chop roots, but even so it is important to use the mortar and pestle. This is your energy interface with your ingredients. As you grind each of your items into the incense you will send your energy down through the pestle and into the plant. The plant will then mix your energy with it and send it back to you. Creating an energy circle. You must send the intent into your incense. You can come up with a chant to help you do so. This is particularly important because you may not have grown all of your ingredients yourself, therefore they will not all be informed by you and have that special relationship.
Once you have finished your mixing its important to charge your incense. Send your energy into the incense and let it know exactly what it is for that it is now one whole being with a purpose, and no longer separate ingredients. At this point your incense is ready to go as is. You can burn it on a charcoal, or toss it in a fire. Or, if loose incense is not for you then add a drop of honey to stick the incense together. You can roll it into pea size balls and let it sit for a few weeks turning every day, or put it a dehydrator.
Smudge sticks work on the same principle as the incense. Choose plants for their magical properties as well as burning scent and colour. Put them together in an eye pleasing way. Rose petals and lavender look good, smell great as they dry and when burning, they also create a peaceful, loving,
Once you have arranged the plants in a bundle, take some thin twine, natural, not plastic coated (remember it needs to burn). Tie it to the bottom of the bundle in a knot, wrap the twine around the bundle going to the top and then down again. Tie as many knots as you need, make it as tight as you can, because as it dries it will loosen up. As you tie each knot, put your intention into it. Tell the bundle what you expect to achieve from it.
Hang it upside down to dry. A smudge stick will do its work while it is drying, it will smell great, create a magical atmosphere and then when it is fully dried you can burn it to create the smoke you want.
Incense and smudge sticks are just one way to use the plants we have in our life. Teas, medicines, tinctures and oils can also be beneficial for the witch. The plant world is close to the witch’s heart for we strive to connect our energy with the natural world.
Some basic incense recipes
Sweet Dreams Incense
2 parts White Sage
1 part Bay Laurel
1 part Rose
4 Parts Benzoin
2 Parts Gum Mastic
1 Part lavender
1 Pinch Wormwood
1 Pinch Mistletoe
Full Moon Meditation Incense
2 part Frankincense
2 part Myrrhh
4 parts frankincense
3 parts cinnamon
1 part dried orange peels
1/4 part thyme