Heathens, Pagans, and Witches; we’ll make magic out of just about anything. Especially when it comes to the natural world. I’ve read blog posts on sun magic, moon magic, bone magic. I own an entire book on Water Witchcraft. But I haven’t heard much about my favorite autumn practice, leaf magic.
I am a collector of spell ingredients. I have jars of rainwater from particularly powerful thunderstorms, and snow sitting in my freezer from last year’s first snow. I keep ashes from the fires of festivals I’ve been to, and dried flower petals from bouquets I’m given. You never know when you might need something to be just the right ingredient.
So last year, I began collecting leaves. As they turned colors and began to fall from their branches, I’d gather a few and take them home to dry. Some are pressed between the pages of books, others have been crushed and kept in jars (far away from the spice cabinet to prevent any confusion)!
I gathered maples, ash, oaks, birches, and a few other varieties thrown in for good measure. Reds, yellows, greens, and deep browns, these colorful bits of life have many uses. As with all magic, it’s my personal belief that the ingredients you use should be taken thoughtfully. Ask the tree you would like to collect from if you can gather a few leaves, and thank it with an offering of clear water.
Leaf Magic: Waning or Banishing
Yes, it’s super handy when you need to perform a spell to draw something out of your life and it’s already fall or the waning moon. You can perform this type of magic in the evening to give it an extra boost as well. But if you can’t time it perfectly (and when does it ever happen that way?) saving some ingredients from the waning year will help you out.
Write whatever you’d like to banish from your life on a leaf and burn it (many people do this with bay leaves already)! Do the same and crush the leaf, letting it blow away on the wind. There are a million ways to perform banishing magic, and autumn leaves will give almost all of them a little extra oomf.
Leaf Magic: Colors
Bright, vibrant autumn leaves are some of the most colorful creations of the plant kingdom. Moreover, they are way more ethical to harvest than flowers; simply pick some up off the ground this autumn! As with any color magic, the associations will largely be personal to you, but there are some that work well for almost everyone.
Green can be used for money or prosperity magic, and beautiful golden leaves could be used as well. The deep red tones of sugar maples recall passion or sacrifice, useful in any spells involving those elements. The rich brown leaves can be a useful grounding tool. A mix of colors will likely recall autumn very strongly, and could be used in season-associated spells or spells to cool the weather.
Leaf Magic: Tree Species
As an animist, I believe that each tree has its own individual spirit and personality. That said, I also believe that species generally have some characteristics in common. I probably wouldn’t use oak leaves in a spell that required quick results, and I wouldn’t use willow leaves in a spell to dry something out.
I find that many modern books on plant magic make liberal use of herbs and oftentimes flowers, but trees can be left behind. My personal favorite is The Magic of Trees by Tess Whitehurst. It’s a bit fluffy, but it is a super helpful alphabetical encyclopedia of more than 100 trees and their uses in magic. I have yet to find an easier to use reference.
One of my favorite trees, the maple, is strongly associated with syrup and sweetness. I have used it in spells to help improve my own attitude towards life. It could also be used in spells to increase bonding and kindness in a couple (where both consent to the spell).