Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How to Choose the Right Herb for Your Work

How to Choose the Right Herb for Your Work
Categorizing the Element, Gender, & Planet
I’d like to share the information I've learned over the years regarding the “Gender, Planet & Element” of the herbs and how these aspects affect what herbs should be used for each specific work. Some of them will vary from that found elsewhere (such as books and online). The reason being that, during my own personal research and experimentation I found the information to be incorrect, contradictory, different from one source to another, or just not there at all.

After a lot of research I found that the herbs are divided in these categories for specific reasons, such as the part of the plant used, the magickal intents it’s used for, or its medicinal uses. Each category has a set of standards that, when an herb is not in the right “category” in one of the placements of “Gender, Planet, & Element”, then it makes the information contradictory, if not incorrect. And as I never found any explanation for the incorrect usage, but plenty for how to apply correct categorization, I subsequently altered the incorrect information.

Each herb is categorized according to the combined attributes of: the Element (Earth, Air, Fire, or Water), its gender (Masculine or Feminine), the part of the herb used (Seed, Root, Leaf, or Flower), and the Planet (the Zodiac and the planets of the days of the week). Here are the four groupings from which a plant is categorized:

Aquarius, Gemini, Jupiter, Mercury
Aries, Jupiter, Leo, Mars, Sun, Sagittarius
Capricorn, Earth, Saturn, Taurus, Virgo
Cancer, Moon, Pisces, Saturn, Scorpio, Venus

Herb Usage in Magick Works
When we begin our Pagan’s/Witch’s Path we begin with simple actions such as lighting a candle and incense. Those are so easy. They’re so harmless. Everybody does it, so it doesn’t look like you’re doing something “weird”. Nobody has to know you’re actually doing a spell.

But then you begin to feel like you need “more”. Something’s missing but you’re not totally sure what. You think of the what your books and online articles say: herbs, oils, and stones. Ok, oils are easy, they can be bought in little bottles already labeled as to what they’re for. You have no idea what’s in them, but who cares at this point, its just all too confusing. But then you get to the herbs. Oh, shit. WTF! Now what?

I mean, there are literally millions of plants, herbs, and trees that each have their own attributes that can be applied in your magickal works. So, now you have to research all those herbs. Some websites list a few, some sites list hundreds. Books are great for learning even more about these herbs & plants. My own personal library has more than a dozen various books on herbs, their uses, growing & harvesting them, etc.

But, what about those spells that call for all these “odd” herbs you don’t have? You’ll have to either buy them or grow them, provided you live in the right climate. There has to be an easier way to acquire an herb pantry with enough variation in herbs that have a good cross-over of attributes that you won’t have to buy or grow too many.

Aside from deciding which herbs have enough cross-over attributes you will have to also take into consideration who or what they’re being used for, meaning the gender of the person or energy of the intent.

For example: a woman who needs personal power to overcome a co-dependency situation would need very powerful herbs of strength & protection. You might consider herbs that are feminine in gender because she’s a woman, but to overcome a very masculine problem you would need masculine energies to fight them with. A simple amulet to carry around for this situation would be an acorn, which is a favorite of the old Scottish Witches for strength & protection. There are many herbs that are excellent for burning in ritual, dressing a candle, adding to a ritual meal. But you must make sure that the herbs chosen have all of the attributes that fit the situation, not just “strength & protection”. In our example we will look for “power, protection, strength”.

The attributes known for each herb must be taken not individually, but almost as a whole. For the above mentioned example here are a few comparisons:

Agrimony: Banishing, Binding, Counter-magick, Exorcising, Healing, Hex breaking, Protection, Reverse spells, Sleep

Alder: Adventurism, Banishing & controlling Elementals, Bravery, Charisma, Charm, Face that which you’ve been avoiding, Creation magick, Divination, Elemental magick, Faery magick,  Guidance, Fertility, Journeys, Leadership, Love, Prophecy, Protection, Resurrection, Sacred to Druids, Self-confidence, Spiritual growth, Supervision skills, Visions, Weather magick, Wind magick

Camphor: Chastity, Control, Divination, Dreams, Health, House blessing, Personal influence, Past-life memories, Persuasiveness, Psychic awareness, Purification, Sexual desire repression

Carnation: Emotional healing, Healing, Luck, Masculine energy, Power, Protection, Strength, Vitality

Cayenne: Cleansing, Divorce spells, Fire magick, Healing, Hexing, Love, Passion, Protection, Purification, Repels negative energy, Separation spells, Strength, Un-hexing

Chrysanthemum: Protection, Strength

Cinnamon: Abundance,  Aphrodisiac, Attraction, Creativity, Courage, Energy, Fertility, Financial matters, Fortune, Healing, Love, Luck, Lust, Passion, Power, Protection, Prosperity, Psychic powers, Speed, Spirituality, Strength, Success

Dragon’s Blood: Aggression, Banishing, Courage, Defensive magick, Dragon magick, Empowerment, Energy, Exorcism, Fertility, Fire Elemental invocation, Empowerment, Fire magick, Hex breaking, Love, Lust, Physical strength, Political magick, Potency, Power, Power amplifier, Protection, Purification, Rapid results, Sex magick, Strength , Warding evil

Fennel: Clear vision, Flattery, Healing, Power, Protection, Purification, Sex magick, Strength, Vitality

Hawthorn: Anti-lightning, Attract Faeries, Banish negative spirits, Celibacy, Charm making, Chastity, Cleansing, Clear away old habits, Concealing magick, Creativity, Faery magick, Fertility, Fishing magick, Ghost repelling, Happiness, Health, Inner journeys, Insight, Intuition, Love, Masculine sexuality, Marriage, Patience, Prosperity, Protection, Psychic protection, Purification, Purity, Self-confidence, Sexuality, Wands, Weather magick, Wishes

There are many, many more, but these will do for this demonstration. Now, look at each of those herbs mentioned. What “feel” do you “see” in this grouping of herbs? Never mind their attributes, I‘m referring to the herbs themselves. They’re all “spicy”! They have a “bite” to them. They emote a strong essence.

Now, compare those above with these in relation to the situation we are working on (personal empowerment to overcome co-dependency):

Cedar: Abundance, Baby blessing, Courage, Fertility, Fortune, Healing, Health, Money, Love, Luck, Power, Prosperity, Protection, Psychic power, Purification, Strength, Wealth, Wiccaning

Ginger: Abundance, Courage, Fertility, Fortune, Love, Luck, Money, Power, Prosperity, Sex magick, Sexuality, Strength, Success

Ginseng: Beauty, Healing, Health, Love, Lust, Protection, Purification, Wishes

Kelp: Healing, Protection, Strength, Travel, Water magick

Mandrake: Binding, Fertility, Health, Love, Magick, Money, Power, Protection, Psychic powers, Sexuality

Mistletoe: Abundance, Business, Creativity, Exorcism, Faery magick, Fertility, Fortune, Handfasting, Healing, Health, Hunting, Love, Luck, Peace, Prosperity, Protection, Purity, Repels negative energy, Sexuality, Strength, Success

That’s enough for here. Ok, what do you “see” & “feel” here? They’re “warm”, but not “spicy”. While the wanted “power, protection, strength” may be given attributes, there are many others that do not “fit” the situation we’re dealing with. These have an abundance of money, travel, and sexuality in them. These would be fine as a secondary ritual to acquire the money needed to travel away from a sexually explosive relationship……can you see what I’m doing? I’m reading the herbs like a descriptive sentence.

I know this sounds like a lot to do, but the way I started out studying which herbs to work together with in particular rituals, is to look them up, write them down (or copy & paste on the computer - much easier), and then compare them by reading them into my descriptive sentence. Sometimes I feel compelled to add one that I wasn’t planning on. If my intuition is telling me to add it, then I do. Later, when I double check it, I am always amazed at what its attributes are because they inevitably add a dimension to the herbal energies that I wasn’t even thinking about, but were the perfect “cherry on top”!

Herbs can be intimidating at first. Too many books & websites only list the herbs by their attributes, but don’t take into consideration their gender, planet, or element. This will make a difference, especially in certain situations.

Another method when considering which herbs for a situation is to make a list of the herbs you want that have the correct correspondences, then divide them according to Gender, Planet, and Element. Here’s an example for the purpose of “Blockages Removed”:

Herbs of Choice:
Dragon’s Blood

Masculine Herbs:
Dragon’s Blood

Feminine Herbs:

Planet of Each Herb:
Sun: Chamomile
Moon: Lemon
Mars: Cayenne, Dragon’s Blood, Pepper
Jupiter: Hyssop, Sage
Venus: Yarrow
Saturn: Yarrow

Element of Each Herb:
Earth: Yarrow
Air: Sage
Fire: Cayenne, Chamomile, Dragon’s Blood, Hyssop, Pepper
Water: Lemon, Yarrow

Now, look at each in each correspondence and see which ones have the same aspects of Gender, Planet, and Element.

Cayenne, Dragon’s Blood, Pepper

Masculine/Jupiter (2)/Sun (1)/Fire (2)/Air (1):
Chamomile, Hyssop, Sage

Chamomile’s planet is the Sun, its addition here being obvious, as it is a great big ball of fire in the sky.

Sage’s Element is Air, but it is included with Chamomile & Hyssop because it has two of the same aspects plus Air which fuels Fire. Without Air Fire is non-existent.

Feminine/Moon/Saturn/Earth (1)/Water (2):
Lemon, Yarrow

These are both Feminine plants. While Yarrow has aspects of both Water & Earth, it is the aspects of Water that would be included when using these two together.

Analyze these 3 recipes. Which one would be the strongest and most powerful, and thus the best for a hard & fast blockage removal? Which one would work best for a long term, subtle blockage removal?

Hard & fast: 1st choice: Cayenne, Dragon’s Blood, Pepper; 2nd choice: Chamomile, Hyssop, Sage

Slow & subtle: Lemon, Yarrow

Each will work for blockage removal, which to use is dependent upon what effect you need or want.

Get to know these Gender, Planet, Element formulas, it will make a huge difference in your herbal knowledge and working. (Nobody taught me this, I had to figure it out for myself. I hope it will be of as much use to all of you as it has been for me).


  1. thank you so much for sharing this information...

  2. Thank you & you're welcome! I'm glad you found it helpful. :)