When I became a Witch, one of the first things I did was amass a magickal apothecary of herbs. Why? A lot of great magick happens by using herbs, oils, roots and berries. Also, it’s nice to create a separate space to store what one needs for spellcraft and other workings. And it’s easy to do if you start with the basics and build from there. My first apothecary was a single kitchen cabinet with herbs gleaned from what I already had on hand.
Over the years, I’ve expanded the magickal apothecary to a re-purposed armoire filled with herbs, oils, roots and resins. I also have a separate cabinet set aside as an herbalist’s apothecary and use my traditional spice cupboard for kitchen witchery.
So, if you want to build a magickal apothecary, pick a place which is cool and dry (anything from a shoebox to a pantry will do) and move a few herbs into it. While traditional apothecary jars are beautiful, plastic zip-lock bags work well and I’ve found cleaning and re-purposing jars I’ve already used fulfills the need for herb storage and lowers waste in the environment. Re-purpose, re-cycle, or re-use whenever possible.
Make sure jars or bags are labeled and always keep herbs meant to be imbibed or eaten away from anything which could be unsafe for consumption. In other words, make sure baneful herbs are kept separate or marked in a way which clearly identifies them. It’s also wise to do the same thing with any herbs used to alter perception (some of which may be included among the banefuls). Better to be safe and not “cross the streams.”
Building A Magickal Apothecary
The herbs in your spice-rack are a great place from which to start building your magickal apothecary. Most of the herbs listed below have an essential oil as well (but that’s a future article). All of these herbs can be grown in a pot or garden if you’re so inclined. However, if you don’t have a green thumb, purchase dried bottled herbs and then shake a portion into a snack-sized ziplock bag to store in your magickal apothecary, buy duplicates, or buy in bulk and divide into separate bags/containers.
Basil – Very good for drawing money, love, purification, cleansing, banishing negative energy, etc.
Black Pepper – Banishing, protection, warding. Also useful for anxiety, depression, clarity, etc.
Culinary Sage – Purification or removing negative energy, drawing abundance and prosperity, luck, home blessing, longevity, etc.
Garlic – Long held as a protective herb, this one is good for banishing (unwanted spirits in a home, unwanted people in your life, negative energy, etc.), purification, healing.
Lavender – You may or may not have this in your cupboard but it’s great for baking when used correctly. Excellent as a tea. Magickal uses include love, relieving insomnia, peace and calm, dream work, vitality and longevity, healing, beauty, etc.
Mint – Great as an infusion/potion or in sachets/witches bags. Use for luck, love, strength, harmony, communication, etc.
Oregano – Love, friendship, courage, happiness, release, luck, protection, psychic dreams, peacefulness.
Paprika – Power boost for spellwork. Also good for energy, faithfulness, hex breaking, love.
Parsley – Use in a ritual bath or in an incense for working with the dead. It can be worn in a witches bag to increase strength, vitality and passion.
Rosemary – Protection, healing, purification, enhance memory, faithfulness, blessing. I love to grow rosemary then pick the longest stems, bundle and dry. You can use the bundle to create a cleansing smoke.
Salt (Regular Table or Sea)- Absorbs and/or repels negative energy. Protection, purification, healing.
Thyme – Strength, courage, positive attitude, achieving a goal, prevention of nightmares, communication with fairies.
Magickal Apothecary — Additional Resources
Over time, as your knowledge of spellcraft and witchery grows, you will want to include damiana, rose, yarrow, mugwort, black salt, blood root, and many others (as well as essential oils) to your apothecary. You may want such things as Florida Water, Rose water, War Water, etc. And we cannot forget the resins such as Frankincense, Copal, Benzoin, Amber, et al. There are lots of places to buy what you need in bulk (even a few of those baneful herbs are available). Here are my favorites.