When you’re first getting started with witchcraft or another magical practice, it can be easy to get caught up in all of the material stuff involved. Witchy hashtags on social media are filled with pictures of huge sparkly crystals, gorgeous handmade ritual tools, and beautifully elaborate altars. Many spells in books or online call for a long list of herbs, some of which are expensive or hard to come by. For baby witches, it’s easy to feel like you can never be a “real” witch unless you have money for these expensive tools and toys.
This is not true. As we’ve talked about in previous chapters of this series, you don’t need any tools or material components to cast a spell — however, harnessing the energy of plants, crystals, and imagery can be a helpful way to add energy to your work. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money. In fact, many of the most powerful and useful magical tools can be found on the spice aisle in your local supermarket, or even at the dollar store.
- Salt. Salt is a witch’s best friend. It can be used for cleansing, banishing, protection, grounding, or to neutralize energy. Surrounding something with a circle of salt will protect it [Note: do NOT make salt circles outside, as salt will kill plant life!], and washing something with salt water will cleanse its energy. I often include salt in any spell that I feel needs an extra layer of protection.
- Sugar. Just as salt banishes unwanted energy, sugar attracts the things you want into your life. Sugar can be used for any and all attraction spells, whether you’re looking to attract love, money, success, or something else. It can also be used to “sweeten” a situation, or make it more favorable.
- Cinnamon. There’s pretty much no positive spell that doesn’t benefit from cinnamon. Cinnamon has associations with healing, love, success, and material wealth, but is also strongly associated with protection. I love burning cinnamon as incense — it fills the whole room with warm, cozy energy.
- Cayenne. Cayenne is often used for banishing or binding spells, but a lesser known use is for getting things moving. Cayenne is a very fiery plant, so any spell dealing with passion, motivation, or drive can benefit from its inclusion. Cayenne can be used to “light a fire” under someone to motivate them to action. However, cayenne is a more harsh energy, so I often pair it with lavender or another soothing herb.
- Coffee. I most often use coffee for grounding or to anchor things to the physical world. For example, I might include it in a prosperity spell to make sure the results manifest in my everyday life. Coffee is also energizing and brings mental clarity, and can enhance psychic abilities. Brewed coffee is also used in some traditions as an offering for spirits.
- Bay leaves (Bay Laurel). Bay leaves are one of the most popular spell components because of their association with granting wishes. You’ve probably heard of the practice of writing a wish on a bay leaf and burning it to manifest your desire. I often include bay leaves in manifestation magic for this reason. Bay leaves can also be used for purification, cleansing, and exorcism.
- Ginger. Ginger adds power to any spell it is included in. Ginger tea or gingery food can also give you a personal energy boost. I add ginger to any spell that needs some extra “oomph.” It is also associated with success.
- Basil. Basil is very commonly used in money spells. Carrying a basil leaf on your person is believed to attract wealth. It also has associations with protection.
- Peppermint. Peppermint is another herb that can add power to virtually any spell. It can bring healing and purification, can remove obstacles and free up stuck energy, and can enhance psychic abilities. Peppermint is a common ingredient in dream pillows. You can find peppermint tea at virtually any grocery store, and many stores also carry the essential oil.
- Lavender. Lavender is my favorite herb for bringing peace to a situation. It’s very good for healing magic and for soothing difficult emotions. Lavender is also associated with love, and I especially like to use it in spells for self love. Most stores carry lavender essential oil, and you can also find herbal teas that include it as an ingredient.
With the above herbs at your side, you’ll have everything you need to cast virtually any type of spell. Honestly, even if you just have salt, sugar, and maybe some white candles, you can create powerful spells for dozens of different intentions, from protection to self love to getting a job. Remember, what matters isn’t so much what you have — it’s your intention.
These are also edible, so they can be incorporated into magical recipes for different intentions. In fact, most of the ingredients you cook with every day have magical associations and can do double duty as powerful additions to your spells. For more information about the magical uses of common household herbs and spices, I highly recommend the book A Green Witch’s Cupboard by Deborah J. Martin, which is where most of the info for this post came from.
Other useful magical items that you can pick up at the grocery store include:
- Olive oil. Olive oil can be used as an all-purpose anointing oil for candles, ritual tools, or your body. It can also be used to dilute essential oil, or as a base for custom magical oils.
- Tealight candles. These small candles are perfect for candle spells. White tealights can be used for any intention.
- House plants. Many common houseplants have magical associations. For example, aloe brings protection and healing. You can also grow some witchy herbs, like peppermint or rosemary, indoors.
- Epsom salt. Epsom salt is a great base for bath spells. You can add essential oils and herbs to make custom bath salts — just be sure to research oils and herbs ahead of time, as some can cause skin irritation. [Note: Epsom salt is not actually salt, and cannot be substituted for salt in spells.]
- Notebooks. Writing things down is an important part of witchcraft. Keeping a record of your spells, divination, and magical experiences makes it easier to keep track of everything.
Again, I want to stress that you don’t need a specific set of tools to be a witch. In fact, you can do highly effective magic without ever working with herbs at all. But if you want to gather some items to add power to your spells or help you feel more witchy (after all, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to set the mood!), you can get everything you need for a few bucks at the local supermarket or dollar store. Remember, our ancestors worked magic with what they had — not with expensive crystal collections or exotic herbs.
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