“There is no life without water.”
Water magick is very versatile; it incorporates techniques that bring about changes both within and without. For water magick to occur within, one must consume the water or call upon that aspect of the self. For it to occur without, one must bathe in it, swim in it, cleanse with it, etc.
Water is a universal symbol of the unconscious mind and is linked to the moon, femininity, and irrationality. Oceans are equated with chaos as they are boundless and ungovernable. The conscious mind is more closely linked to the lake or pond. The ancient belief that the earth was created from primordial waters is a psychological metaphor for the birth of ideas in the unconscious mind.
Water is the primordial substance of Goddess Mother; one of the four elements; in Sanskrit “Va” is one of the primary mantras the brought the universe into being; the glyph for water is a circle with a horizontal line, like the sea horizon, called a diameter, which literally means “Goddess Mother”; the primordial Ocean of Blood, the Generative Womb of All, the Deep.
Water Associations and Symbols
Water is sometimes represented by undulating lines, or a triangle pointing down. Colors commonly associated with water are blue and green.
Differing Types of Water
The magickal properties of particular types of water can be used for the following purposes:
- Creeks and streams: Purification, harmony, cleansing
- Dew: General health, eyesight, beauty. Dew is said to be especially powerful if gathered at dawn on Beltane.
- Fog and mists: Creativity, balance, partnerships.
- Ice: Transformations, balance, creativity.
- Pond or lake water: Peace, contentment, relaxation, self-reflection.
- Rain water: Energy, protection, cleansing. The first rain that falls in the month of May is considered sacred.
- River water: Cleansing, moving forward, protection.
- Seawater: Health, magickal power, manifestation of goals. An old Welsh belief states that a spoonful of seawater a day will ensure a long and healthy life.
- Snow: Transformations, balance.
- Spring water: Growth, holy water, cleansing, protection, prosperity.
- Swamp and waste water: Banishing, binding.
- Waterfalls: Power, energy, success.
- Well water: Healing, wishes, intuition.
The Environment of Water
The areas surrounding the water can be used for the following magickal purposes:
- Beaches: Rituals, spells, fascinations, meditation.
- Harbors: To promote abundance and prosperity; to serve as an aid in banishing things.
- Riverbanks: To increase personal power.
One method of water magick is to draw symbols on a sandy beach and wait for the waves to erase them and bring your spell to completion. You can use magickal symbols or simple stick figures. You can also draw with soapstone or natural chalk and allow the rain to wash it away. Releasing things into a running stream is yet another method.
The element of water is associated with the western quadrant and represents dreams and feelings. More ways to work with this element are magickal baths for cleansing, love, healing, protection, and prosperity.
Water drowns and erodes, wearing away even the densest of stones given enough time. Water is also one of the four elements essential to life in traditional western philosophy. Its qualities are fluidity and cohesiveness. Flowing water usually represents change and the passage of time.
Cup: medieval universal symbol of water, the mother element; represents the water of the sea womb which gave birth to the earth and all that lived on it.
Fountain: the fons vitae, or fount of life, was the source of the life force, the primordial “nether upsurge” of blood/water from the womb of Mother Earth.
Lapis Lazuli: traditionally symbolized water as the primordial element of creation.
Lotus: Hindu womb of nature; symbol of the four elements, water being the surrounding support for the stalk of the lotus blossom.
Ocean: equated with the Tao as the primordial and the inexhaustible.
Pearl: created from the union of male (fire) and female (water); the merging of water and moonlight.
River: symbol of purification, death and rebirth; dwelling place of gods, goddesses, water-spirits, nymphs, and naiads (in Greek mythology a type of female spirit).
Sea: the eternal deep; Egyptian name for the sea is Temu; symbol of birth and rebirth; holy baptismal waters; in Scandinavia called “the Mother’s Womb”; associated with ancient goddesses the world over; global universality of the sea goddess.
Streams: sacred, life-giving water; curative; restorative.
Well: the feminine principle; womb of the Great Mother; sacred portal to the “other world.”
If you are ever out walking or driving and feel danger or ‘evil’ nearby, try to cross over water. This can mean driving over a bridge or stepping over the water running down a gutter or stream. Evil and danger cannot cross over water, for it purifies and neutralizes it, thus rendering you safe.
This is an ancient custom, but can still be used today with good effect.
The symbolism of water has a universal undertone of purity and fertility. Symbolically, it is often viewed as the source of life itself as we see evidence in countless creation myths in which life emerges from primordial waters.
Interestingly, we are all made of water, and so we can liken many of these myths and allegories to our own existence (the macrocosm mirroring the microcosm and vice versa). Further, we can incorporate symbolism of circulation, life, cohesion and birth by associating the creative waters of the earth with the fluids found in our own body (i.e., blood).
In Taoist tradition, water is considered an aspect of wisdom. The concept here is that water takes on the form in which it is held and moves in the path of least resistance. Here the symbolic meaning of water speaks of a higher wisdom we may all aspire to mimic.
The ever-observant ancient Greeks understood the power of transition water holds. From liquid, to solid, to vapor – water is the epitome of metamorphosis and philosophical recycling.
Among the first peoples of North America, water was considered a valuable commodity (particularly in the more arid plains and western regions) and the Native Americans considered water to be a symbol of life (further solidifying the symbol affixed in many creation myths).
So it is also with the ancient Egyptians as we learn their beloved (and heavily relied upon) Nile river is akin to the birth canal of their existence.
- Unseen influences.
For many reasons, water meaning deals with intuition, psychic perception and dreams. What happens under the surface of water is a mystery to the unaided eye. It’s much the same with human emotions. Water reminds us to dive beneath the surface of our feelings and use intuition for better understanding.
- Healing effects.
For centuries, cultures around the world have viewed water as a sacred symbol of healing, cleansing and renewal. It’s a no-brainer, really. Water washes off the grime…not just mud, but also the crummy stuff that clutters in our hearts. Water can energetically cleanse us inside and out!
- Get flexible.
One of the most beautiful lessons water can teach us his how to be flexible and embrace change. Consider: Water always takes on the form in which it is held. It can also carve out mountains to make its way forward. Water reminds us to go with the flow no matter what the situation.
Water In Astrology
In western astrology, the following signs are Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are considered to be “water” signs.
- Cancer – The Crab
Cancer is a cardinal water sign and it represents clarity, purity, trust, refreshment, and regeneration. The crab’s shedding of its shell for a new one represents the rebirth or renewal aspect of water. Its contentment to flow with the natural cadence of water represents motion and trust.
- Scorpio – The Scorpion
Scorpio is a fixed water sign. Water deals with the subconscious and holds endless mysteries like the obscure world thriving inside vast murky oceans. The sign Scorpio associates with water to symbolize stillness, reflection, and mystery.
- Pisces – The Fish
Pisces is a mutable water sign and representative of life, motion, depth, and understanding. Water is believed to contain knowledge of the infinite unknown and is known to be the source of life. As a water symbol, the fish represents wisdom, creativity, and fertility.
Water In The Tarot
In the Tarot we find water is symbolized by the entire suit of cups. As water symbols, Tarot cups represent intuition, emotion and inter-connected energy flow between all living things. Just like water is formless and takes the form of the vessel it is put in, Tarot cups are elusive, seductive and difficult to interpret. Their meaning depends on the person viewing them. Tarot cups deals with complex issues related to the heart, psyche, and emotions that can be fluid as water.
Besides the suit of cups, water is also symbolized by some other Tarot cards, including the Moon, Star, and Temperance.
The Moon Tarot card represents the subconscious, emotion, reflection and clarity. The Star Tarot card symbolizes intuition, guidance, motion, fluidity, cleansing, and rejuvenation. Meanings of The Temperance Tarot card deal with maintaining fluidity, keeping in motion, going with the flow, creating harmony, and striking a healthy balance between the conscious and the subconscious.
Water In the Celtic Ogham
The Celtic Ogham denotes the system of wisdom followed by the ancient Celtic people. It consists of twenty sacred tree symbols that convey unique cosmic expressions and each tree symbolizes a specific attribute, essence of feeling. Trees of the Celtic Ogham that are associated with the element of water are:
With its affinity to watery areas, the willow has been closely connected with the psychic realm and used in ritual and metaphysical practices. It symbolizes inspired imagination, clarity, growth, and adaptability.
Growing in swampy areas, the reed was used by the Celts in many ways – making roofs, cleansing homes, making candles & flutes, etc. Reed’s water symbolism includes purification, protection, and clarification.
The Alder is primarily a swamp or wetlands tree. Often, its roots are submerged in a watery area and provide shelter to fish. Its leaves decompose in water and provide nutrients for water creatures. Alder associates with water by symbolizing life, nurturing and revitalization.
The Christian Context
In a Christian context, water has many correlations. Christ walked on water, and transmuted it into wine, thus these acts can be seen as a transcendence of the earthly condition. Christians are baptized with or in water, symbolizing a purification of the soul, and an admission into the faith. Biblical associations with water can also be destructive as in the great flood which only Noah and his family escaped.
Water Superstitions and Lore
According to folk belief, spilling water behind the person who goes on a journey, or to do a job, will bring good luck, and is done so that the travel or the job will end happily. It is also practiced when going to school, on an exam, for a job interview, going into the army and the like.
Many years ago in Wales, it was believed that splashing water around when washing clothes would cause a wife to be cursed with a drunken husband.
It is bad luck to boil water without purpose. If you let the kettle boil over or fill the teapot too much, a thunderstorm will surely follow.
Leaving water on a table top will dispel bad spirits and attract ants. However, you can leave a full glass of water out on a counter top or on top of the refrigerator to ward off negative energy or bad spirits at night.
If someone sneezes once (more than once is okay) as you are leaving the house, it’s bad luck, so you have to go back in, sit down for a while, drink some water and then attempt to leave again.
An English superstition hinged on the belief that water would protect your house from night-time nasties like ghouls and demons. If you threw water out of your home during the night, so said the old wives’ tale, you weakened this protective force and left yourself open to a run of bad luck.
You’d also be in for some less-than-good luck, if you spilt water when you were carrying it back home from the brook or spring – though it’s unclear if this was founded on the same belief in malevolent spirits.
Bulgarians have superstitions around water and travel. When someone leaves the house for travel, or for important days, such as weddings, the first day of a new job or the last day at school, people throw some water, for instance a cup of water, and say, “everything goes like on water”. This means good luck, or in the case of a travel that all the things in the person’s absence will run smoothly like water flows.
A Yorkshire tradition involved pouring hot water on the doorstep of a church after a newlywed bride and groom left. This would ‘keep the threshold warm’ for another wedding – the idea being that before the water evaporated, the seeds would be planted for the next village wedding.
It was believed that those who suffered from sore hands in winter could solve the problem by going out and grabbing a bowl of the first snow to fall. Letting this melt and then bathing your hands in it would stop the soreness for the entirety of the colder months, or so the suspicion said.
Similarly, water collected from the first rainfall in June was said to cure skin complaints and to get rid of freckles.
In Germany, it is strongly forbidden to say ‘cheers’, or ‘Prost’ with water. Even for a joke. Because it is said you are literally wishing death to all your drinking buddies.
Dreaming About Water
Water dreams are common, and they carry deep, primal significance. Of all the dream symbols, water seems to be the universal sign of subconscious thoughts and emotions. Jonah was swallowed by a fish in the water. Noah built an ark to survive the flood of the earth.
Water plays an integral role in numerous pieces of literature, art and mythology. Drowning in the water is one of the most common ways people fear dying, but consuming water is also necessary for life and health. Is there any wonder we have nightmares and dreams about water?
Whether the dreamer is in the water, near the water or far from the water, the key is to uncover what a dream about water reveals during waking hours.
In the language of dreams, water often represents our emotional life, the feelings we have under the surface, while the solid ground represents what we knowingly communicate to others.
Depending on the amount of water, the behavior of the water and the dreamer’s distance from the water, it is possible for the dreamer to piece together the meaning and learn what his dream is telling him.
A large body of water could symbolize deep emotions, while walking in the rain could suggest cleansing. Turbulent water can suggest turbulent emotions. Water that is muddy or murky could symbolize confused or unclear feelings. If you were lost or drowning in an ocean, you could feel overwhelmed by your emotions. Keeping a safe distance from choppy waves could symbolize emotions that are not being dealt with.
When you have a dream about water, try to recall answers to the following questions. They may help you discover the lesson your psyche is emphasizing.
- What type of water did you dream about?
- What was the behavior of the water in your dream?
- What was your distance or reaction to the water?
- What is your present emotional state?
- What new thoughts have been on your mind?
- What does a dream about water symbolize to you?
There are many ways to dream about water. Sometimes dreamers are fearful of it, resulting in nightmares, but other times it is a pleasurable experience, resulting in dreams of freedom and exploration.
The following two dream examples may provide help for your own interpretations.
- Swallowed by the Sea
You are out at sea, floating on a small wooden raft alone. The waves have been rougher than usual, and you fear the raft will tip. Suddenly, a tremendous tidal wave forms and threatens to overwhelm you. Terrified of being swallowed by the sea, you wake with a start.
The vast ocean – with its deep waters, rising and falling tides, and mysterious sea creatures – can be a foreboding place to hang out alone. Floating on the surface of all this, on a flimsy raft, it is no wonder the dreamer fears she could “tip” at any moment. Matters take a turn for the worse when a tremendous tidal wave forms and draws near, threatening her life.
The phrase “swallowed by the sea” conjures an image of being consumed or overwhelmed by a large body of water. When people find themselves in a “sea of trouble,” they usually feel helpless to the situation that threatens to drown them.
In its simplest form, this dream could be a metaphor for emotions that threaten to overwhelm the dreamer in her waking state – especially since she only has a small raft to carry her. Since a tidal wave would likely symbolize an emotional upheaval, the dreamer is probably experiencing some big emotions.
If the dreamer swam through the wave, or saw herself in a sturdy boat, this may provide a clue as to how she is dealing with her emotions. In this case, however, the waves are “rougher than usual” and she is scared of the tidal wave drawing near. Sometimes, our fears feel larger than reality; the dreamer may do well to avoid letting a present situation of concern consume her thoughts and feelings.
- Underwater and Breathing
You are in the middle of swimming through an underwater tunnel and holding your breath is becoming more difficult. Just when you think you can’t last another second longer, you take a deep breath. You can breathe under water! When you emerge from the tunnel, you decide to swim free in the ocean and explore it for fun.
This is a delightful dream, and it carries rich symbolism. The dreamer starts out holding his breath because he doesn’t think he can breathe in the water. This may be the same way many people feel when they are about to approach a confrontation, unexpected meeting or difficult situation. Not knowing what will happen, emotions tense, they move forward, “holding their breath.”
The dreamer decides to go for it – he takes a breath because there is no other choice. To his surprise, he can breathe. And the feeling of freedom this provides sends him off on an underwater adventure, free to swim, play and explore.
“These underwater dreams suggest that the dreamer is immersed in emotion,” writes Richmond. “Since he can breathe under water, he is comfortable with his emotional life and feelings.”
- Growth Opportunities
Whether it’s a dream or nightmare, the presence of water in any form can indicate how we are handling our unconscious (or conscious) feelings. By tuning into our deepest reservoirs of emotion, we can learn new ways of dealing, which can lead to growth and freedom.
A dreamer who avoids going near the water may feel intimidated by deep emotions and avoid close relationships in her waking hours. The key here is to go near the water – if not directly in it. Whether awake or asleep, allowing uncomfortable emotions to exist while wading into a situation “a little deeper” will yield a new experience. There is the chance of being hurt, but there is also the possible reward that comes with authentic closeness.
Dreams of water that cleanses, quenches or provides adventure can feel liberating. Most of the human body is made of water and, without it, humans couldn’t survive. When dreamers experience fun in the water, they are likely connecting in a healthy way with their spirit and psyche.
Dreams about water remind us that our emotions are a force to be reckoned with. They can open our lives to a deeper, more natural experience, or they can threaten to overwhelm us if left unattended. The good news is, as alarming as water dreams can be, they alert us to parts of ourselves that are open to exploration and growth.
The next time you have a dream about water, jump in! When you wake, analyze the language of your dreams and discover what new challenges await you.
Going With The Flow
“Water does not resist.
When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress.
Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you.
But water always goes where it wants to go,
and nothing, in the end, can stand against it.
Water is patient.
Dripping water wears away a stone.
Remember that, my child.
Remember you are half water.
If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it.
~ Margaret Atwood
Deep Thoughts About Water
The nature of water is that it is defined by the shapes of the of the solid objects that surround it, but that it has no shape of its own. Even when frozen into ice, this “solid” water depends on its environment for the form it takes, even down to the gravity that dictates the shape of icicles.
In The Sacred and the Profane, Mircea Eliade observes that form “manifests itself above the waters, by detaching itself from the waters.”
Water symbolizes a mass of possibilities, and it’s not surprising that most creation stories share a common theme of the earth arising from a primordial, whirling, watery ocean from which all other life was created. Part of the story of our own evolution was when amphibious creatures came out of this water and spent their whole lives on dry land.
Similarly, the story of a great deluge is universal, whether as an accident of nature or as an act of God. For many religions, this flood constituted a symbolic “washing away of sins” on a grand scale.
Recent images from flooded cities, such as New Orleans, are a sober reminder of the devastation that can be wreaked by water’s huge, formless mass.
The movements of the Moon and the planets dictate the rising and falling of our earthly tides, further underpinning the connection between all the elements.
Individual life gestates in the watery environment of the womb. Here we start to make the connection between water and the feminine element, as the continually changing form of the Moon whose visible shape, like water, is also defined by something else; the light of the constant Sun.
Baptism, a religious ceremony sometimes involving a complete immersion in water, symbolizes a rebirth and regeneration, underlining the idea that water gave birth to all life.
Another vital aspect of water is its ability to reflect; Native American people call a still pool of water, aptly and lyrically, a “sky mirror.” Water therefore gave man the first means of seeing himself as others saw him, and reinforced the reflective links to the Moon.
Like everything else in the world, water is affected by gravity. Water flows downwards, from the highest place until it meets the sea, and the river itself is a symbol of the linear aspect of time. This flowing water carries with it the spirit of the mountains from which it springs, providing an essential resource.
Most of the world’s major cities have developed along courses of rivers, and we find time and time again that both the rivers and the cities are held to be sacred in some way.
The oceans are so deep that, despite all of our exploration, there are still life forms that remain undetected. The oceans also contain surprising aspects, like the deep hot water vents whose apparently poisonous environment can support all sorts of creatures, be they animal or vegetable.
Because the deep waters of the sea and lakes symbolize unknown realms, we often find that fairy tales and myths use these watery depths as places where otherworldly spirits dwell.
- Basic Powers: To manifest psychic powers.
- Pronunciation: “law-gooze”
Useful as a symbol of water, of transitions between states, e.g., birth, life, growth and death. It is a perfect means for building an oath.
Laguz is a rune of intuition and imagination. It is also a feminine rune, but unlike Beorc it represents a strong and assertive female type. Use to contact your intuitive faculties. Increase in vitality and the life force (especially in women). Helps to gather in energies for use by the will.
Guidance through difficult initiatory tests. Increase in vitality and life force. Gathering of amorphous magical power for formation and structuring by the will. Increase in “magnetism”. Development of “second sight”.
laguz laguz laguz
l l l l l l l l l
lu la li ke lo
(lug lag lig leg log)
ul al il el ol
lo le li la lu
l l l a a a g g g u u u
l l l l l l l l l
It can be used in conjunction with the symbol, or chanted while visualizing the symbol. The symbol can be etched into a candle while intoning the chant, and then, as the candle burns, the spell is released and sent.
The Statement of Intent
The sea is the cauldron of chaos;
playground of Ran,
from which human beings came.
This is a modern version of the “Rune Poem” that defines this particular rune. It can be used in combination with the chant, and while creating a talisman or spell that uses the power of this rune.
Rune Yoga, or Runic postures are used to anchor the energy of the Rune in your physical body. More about them can be found here: Runic Postures.
Assume the recommended runic posture and sing the name of the rune in a non-exhaustive way that you can feel your body vibrating – in magic literature it is called vibrating. It could be that you can hear overtones clearer as usual during vibrating. Take this as a good sign. You are visualizing the rune with your inner eye, as its form is being represented by your body and the energies are flowing through your body.
Stand up with your left arm down at your side. Your right arm is brought up above the shoulder. Bend the elbow as shown in the image above. Hold the palm of the hand flat and level with the ground.
Stand up, with your arms extended forward and down. The palms of the hands point towards the ground. Practice also with the palms facing up.
Before practicing a rune it is recommended to know everything on the powers of the rune you want to practice. The flow of energy is different for each rune, a field of research for your sensitivity.
The hand positions, or mudras are effective only after you have anchored the runes in your own aura and body. They can be made silent and unobtrusive.
Floorwashes are an integral component of the Hoodoo and Conjure magical traditions. They combine actual physical house cleaning with spiritual and magical work, effectively killing two birds with one stone. They are potent yet discreet and perhaps the single most effective use of multi-tasking within magic.
Although the liquid is called floorwash, technically it refers to the final rinse used to clean a floor or other interior surfaces. It should not be removed but allowed to air-dry, so that its power radiates into the surrounding atmosphere. In other words, the floor should be clean before applying the floor wash.
The radiant power of the botanicals is what is crucial: floorwashes are a component of many spells for a variety of purposes, including protection and romance, in addition to their obvious value as a space cleansing device.
A floor wash is made by adding specifically chosen herbs, oils, crystals, and other ingredients to water and then using the solution to wash a surface. The reasoning behind this practice is to infuse the surface with the vibrations of the wash, so that it will then attract or dispel the corresponding energies. For example, if you were owed payment for services and the check was late, you might want to wash your mail box with a money-drawing wash.
There are two standard methods of making a floorwash. Choose which suits you:
- Fill a bucket with warm water. Add the magical infusion together with some white vinegar.
- Create the infusion and pour it into an empty bucket. Pour enough boiling salted water over it to fill the bucket. Add some white vinegar.
More recipes for magickal waters and washes can be found at the Magickal Apothecary.
Traditional methods call for you to scrub the floor on your hands and knees. The repetitive motion and low concentration level needed allow for a shift in consciousness to take place. Incorporating a chant as you wash will boost the powers of the wash and help your goal to manifest even faster. Remember to be as specific as possible in the wording of your chant.
Each part of the body is under the dominion of an astrological sign, from the head (Aries) to the feet (Pisces). The sign influences that part of that anatomy. In days long gone by, medical physicians were expected to have strong working knowledge of astrology.
Astrological Healing Waters consist of lunar-charged healing water, corresponding to the astrological signs. You can find that chart here: Astrological Bodily Correspondences.
Here’s how to make them:
Each month, on the night of the full moon, expose a glass bottle filled with pure spring water to the moonbeams. In the morning, label the bottle with the appropriate astrological sign. (or place in smaller bottles, then label.).
A solar water could also be made in much the same way. Expose a glass bottle filled with pure spring water to the sun’s rays beginning at sunrise and ending at sunset. Label the bottle (or bottles) appropriately and save for later use. Solar water will have a livening brightening effect, being energizing rather than healing.
Apply these waters to the parts of the body ruled by that astrological sign for healing purposes.
For the lunar charged water, you will be noting the astrological sign the moon is in rather than the astrological sign the sun is in. If the sun and moon happen to be in the same astrological sign, the effectiveness of the water would be enhanced. To calculate what sign the moon is in on any given day, you can use this nifty Moon Sign Calculator.
The Poplar or Aspen is the sacred Tree of the Fall Equinox – (Aprox. September 22).
There is a bit of confusion about poplar, aspen, and cottonwood trees. The tree referred to here is the genus “populus” which includes true poplars, as well as related trees such as cottonwood and aspen).
Here’s a quick list:
- Balsam Poplar (Populus balsamifera)
- Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)
- Bigtooth Aspen (Populus grandidentata)
- Black Poplar (Populus nigra)
- European Aspen (Populus tremula)
- Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
- Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa)
As far as I could discover, the Aspen and Poplar tree magickal lore overlap, and can be used interchangeably, unless otherwise indicated. The lore does not refer to the Yellow Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), or Balm of Gilead (Populus candicans) which have different attributes and magickal qualities
- Celtic name: Eadha (pronounced: “Eh’ uh”).
- Folk or Common names: All Poplar – Popple, Alamo, Aspen; Trembling Poplar – American Aspen, White Poplar, or Quaking Aspen; Balm of Gilead – bombagillia.
- Ruler: Saturn
- Type: Plant
- Magickal form: Buds
Carry poplar buds with you when seeking employment. Crush and add them to traditional money incense when you work on commission and need to attract more funds. The poplar buds may also be added to divination blends and make a great ingredient for psychics wishing to attract more business, as well as improving their powers.
The Poplar’s ability to resist and to shield, its association with speech, language and the Winds indicates an ability to endure and conquer. The Poplar is known as the “Tree that Transcends Fear”. Poplars symbolize the magick of joy, the aging of the year, resurrection and hope – and are connected to the Otherworld. Poplar can be used in magick done for success, passage and transformation, Hope, rebirth, divinations, shielding, endurance, agility in speech and language, protection, and love – and as an aid in astral projection.
Poplar can be used in protection charms of all kinds. Poplar is a good wood to burn in balefires and ritual fires since it offers protection. Shields can be made of Poplar since the wood is thought to offer protection from injury or death. Carrying Poplar helps to overcome the urge to give way under the burden of worldly pressures, and aids in determination. Poplar buds can also be carried to attract money and can be burned as an incense to create financial security.
Siberian reindeer-hunting cultures carved small goddess statues of Poplar (Aspen) wood. Groats and fat were then offered to the figures with this prayer:
“Help us to keep healthy!
Help us to hunt much game!”
Poplar buds are also sometimes added to flying ointments and was also used in astral travel. A medieval recipe for a flying ointment called for Cinquefoil, Poplar leaves, soot and bat’s blood obtained at the wake of the new moon.
The trembling leaves of the Poplar tree can be ‘read’ to divine messages from the God and Goddess, and also from spirits that drift into woods. The Poplar is the sacred World Tree of the Lakota nation. For the sun dance ceremony, a Poplar is carefully cut and lowered, then is re-erected in the center of the dance circle. While being carried the Poplar must never touch the ground. Green branches, a buffalo skull and eagle feathers were used to decorate the Poplar for this ceremony.
A country name for the aspen is the Shivver-tree, a name which in some districts is also given to the poplar. The leaves of both trees tremble at the slightest stirring of air, so that they seem to move without ceasing when all around is still. Because of this, both trees were formerly credited with the power to cure agues and fevers.
A very old magical tradition held that ailments could most efficaciously be treated by something that resembled their effects; and since ague causes the patient to shake and tremble, he was likely to be healed by the shaking tree.
In his Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties, William Henderson relates the story of a Lincolnshire girl who was thus cured of ague. She was advised to pin a lock of her hair to an aspen, saying as she did so:
“Aspen tree, aspen tree,
I prithee to shake and shiver
Instead of me.”
As was usual in such charms, her journey home had then to be made in complete silence, otherwise the magic would not work. She followed the advice given, and many years later, when she was an old woman, she told Henderson’s informant that she had never been troubled with ague again.
Another method was to bore a small hole in the tree trunk, insert the patient’s nail parings, and close the hole securely. As the bark grew once more over the opening, so the disease would disappear.
Two widespread legends are told to account for the aspen’s trembling. One is that it was condemned to shiver thus for evermore because it was the only tree that would not bow down to Our Lord when He passed through the forest. The other is that it shudders perpetually with horror because its wood was used to make the Cross on Calvary.
The poplar shares with the aspen the country name of Shivver-tree because like those of the latter, its leaves tremble. It also shares, and for the same reason, the aspen’s power to cure agues and fevers. R.M. Heanley records a Lincolnshire charm in which the patient cut off a lock of his hair and wrapped round a black poplar branch, saying as he did so:
When Christ our Lord was on the Cross,
Then didst thou sadly shivver and toss.
My aches and pains thou now must take,
Instead of me I bid thee shake.
He then had to go straight home, speaking to no one on the way, after which he would be free from ague forever. Heanley adds that some people considered it necessary to fast for twelve hours before attempting this charm.
The constant shaking of the poplar is often accounted for by the legend that its wood was used in the construction of the Cross. Medieval Legends of Christ (1934), mentions two explanatory legends. One is that it was under a poplar that Our Lord prayed during His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, and that the tree has trembled in sympathy ever since. The other is that it was cursed because, alone among the trees, it refused to mourn at the Crucifixion, saying that Christ died for sinners, “but I am innocent, and His suffering is no concern of mine.”
Poplar leaves were supposed to be one of the ingredients of the witches’ flying ointments.
Magical History and Associations:
In Gaelic tongue the tree was called Peble and Pophuil in the celtic way. Poplar is generally a plant of Jupiter, Saturn and the Sun and is associated with the element of water. Its color is rufous (red) and the bird associated with Poplar is the Whistling Swan. The stones associated with Poplar are Amber, Citrine Quartz, Sapphire and Swan Fluorite. The Anglo-Saxon rune poem seems to refer to the Poplar as being associated with the rune “berkano”.
Heracles wore a crown of Poplar leaves in triumph after killing the giant Cacus (the evil one) and retrieving Cerberus from Hades. The upper surface of the Poplar leaves was thus darkened from Hades’ smokey fumes. Poplar trees are sacred to the Mesopotamian goddess Ua-Ildak. The Grass King of Grossvargula, who was seen as having fertilizing powers, went on horseback wearing a pyramid of Poplar branches and a crown. He led a procession of young men about the town and was then stripped of his branches beneath the Silver Lindens of Sommerberg.
Poplar (Aspen) is said to be the tree of the Autumn Equinox and of old age, and is known as the shield makers’ tree. The Black Poplar was a funeral tree sacred to Hecate as death goddess, to Egeria, and to Mother Earth. Plato makes a reference to the use of Black Poplar and Silver Fir as an aid in divination. The Silver Fir standing for hope assured and the Black Poplar for loss of hope. The Grove of Persephone in the Far West contained Black Poplars and old Willows.
In ancient Ireland, the coffin makers measuring rod was made of Aspen, apparently to remind the dead that this was not the end. In Christian lore, the quaking Poplar (Aspen) was used to construct Christ’s cross, and the leaves of the tree quiver when they remember this fact.
Poplar can be used as a tonic, chiefly used in treating fevers. The infusion has been found helpful in treating chronic diarrhea. The sap collected from the buds can be used to make a healing ointment and can be used as an external application in bruises, swellings, and some skin diseases. Teas can be made from the Poplar buds and are useful in helping treat arthritis and rheumatism.
- Common names: Thoroughfwort, White Snake Root, Agueweed, Indian Sage
- Scientific name: Eupatorium perfoliatum
- Element: Water
- Planet: Saturn:
- Parts Used: Leaf
Boneset guides ghosts elsewhere, attracting protective, benevolent spirits instead. Boneset may also be used to protect people and animals from “ghost sickness,” the illness that some believe may emerge after extended contact with the dead.
The most potent boneset is found growing on or near graves. Supplement it with white pine for added enhancement.
Hang fresh boneset branches over doorways, or burn young boneset branches and twigs within a cauldron to drive away existing ghosts.
In addition to it’s ghost busting power, boneset opposes unnatural illness and snakes.
To counteract occult poisons they have been fed, folks rub dry boneset leaves all over their body, then take the leaves outdoors and burn them with a holy or purifying incense.
Brew boneset leaf tea and bathe in it to get rid of enemy tricks that have affected your health. Boneset can also be used to purify a sickroom by sprinkling it onto the floor and then sweeping it out the front door.
Burn boneset in an Incense to balance the energies of a space or to ground and focus your energy. Added to an Elixir or Philtre, boneset promotes health. Mixed with angelica and added to the bath, boneset is excellent for ritual cleansings.
From: The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells
And: Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic and other sources
- Ruler: Moon, Jupiter
- Type: Water
- Magickal Form: Rain falling during a storm, or collected and saved.
Collect the first spring rainwater and add it to love baths to attract a new partner. It is a great way to cleanse and renew yourself before opening your heart to love again. Use summer rainwater for lust spells, fall rainwater for charisma, and winter rainwater for courage, power, and endurance. Stand in the rain to wash away bad vibes and negativity, and to heal feelings of loss.
Many assume that the term “Holy Water” indicates church-based water only. This is an oversimplification of a complex concept. The Roman Catholic Church did not invent the concept of Holy Water but adopted it from earlier Pagan use. Various Pagan shrines possessed virtually identical Holy Water fonts. Holy Water is a crucial component of many magical, religious and spiritual traditions, although what constitutes Holy Water and how it’s made varies greatly.
Water collected from the Jordan River, and water blessed by the church is considered Holy.
According to British folk tradition, rain falling on Holy Thursday – Ascension Day – may be gathered and used as Holy Water. Any other day held sacred to the spell caster may be substituted: Summer Solstice, May Eve, New Year’s, Samhain, your birthday, a saint’s day, etc.
Holy Water may also be made via astrological correspondences. Some believe that waters synchronized with a lunar eclipse or a Full Moon are holy and charged with extra magickal power.
Balinese tradition uses a variety of Holy Waters. These may include the water found within unripe coconuts or young bamboo. Ocean water is sometimes used as well.
Modern Wicca has evolved the notion of Holy Water. Various formulas exist. At it’s simplest, Witch’s Holy water is spring water with salt added. Different covens may have personal recipes, including infused herbs (rosemary, thyme, and vervain are particularly popular), or crystals.
Pow-Wow also features various recipes but the mainstay is water with salt and vervain added. Christian Pow-Wow may choose church-blessed waters instead.
Balinese Holy Water, Church-blessed Holy Water and Wiccan Holy Water (among others) are consecrated via sacred ritual: the ritual activates the water. Other magical traditions consider that the sacred, magical power of Holy Water is such that no further ritual or consecration is needed and may in fact be interference. Obtaining Holy Water may thus be as simple a gathering rainwater or adding sea salt to spring water. Complex rituals may also be designed.
Holy Water is most commonly used for:
- Cleansing and purification, both for individual bathing and for space-cleansing (sprinkle in corners).
- Altar cleansing and blessing.
- Healing spells.
- Holy Water is also believed capable of magically transmitting physical relief especially for headaches and tension. Use in compresses and massage.
- Cleansing and empowering materials and tools by either anointing them, or soaking them in the Holy Water.
- Exorcism and banishing spells.
A variety of recipes and rituals for making Holy Water can be found here:
When creating spells for a specific purpose you may want to use herbs or flowers that resonate to a specific elemental power, for example – when igniting the “flames” of passion – you might want to saturate the space with “fire” herbs, when doing a moon spell you might want to use water herbs. Alternatively, for balance you might want a little of each.
With that in mind, here is a comprehensive listing of the four elements and their respective herbal correspondences. There are many different lists of elemental herbs – this was the most extensive one I found. Not every one agrees as to the elemental properties of some of the herbs listed. When in doubt, go with what seems right to you.
Alfalfa, Barley, Beet, Buckwheat, Corn, Cotton, Cypress, Fern, Honesty, Honeysuckle, Horehound, Horsetail, Knotweed, Loose strife, Mugwort, Oats, Patchouli, Potato, Primrose, Quince, Rhubarb, Rye, Sage, Tulip, Turnip, Vervain, Vetivert, Wheat, Wood sorrel
Aloe, Apple, Apricot, Aster, Bachelor buttons, Banana, Blackberry, Bladder wrack, Bleeding heart, Burdock, Camellia, Cardamom, Catnip, Chickweed, Coconut, Comfrey, Daffodil, Daisy, Elder, Elm, Eucalyptus, Feverfew, Foxglove, Gardenia, Grape, Heather, Hibiscus, Hyacinth, Iris, Jasmine, Lady’s mantle, Lady’s slipper, Larkspur, Lemon, Lilac, Lily, Lotus, Lucky hand, Mesquite, Mimosa, Morning Glory, Myrrh, Myrtle, Orchid, Orris root, Pansy, Passion flower, Pear, Periwinkle, Plum, Plumeria, Poppy, Rose, Spearmint, Spikenard, Strawberry, Sugar cane, Sweet pea, Tansy, Thyme, Valerian, Violet, Willow, Wintergreen, Yarrow
Agrimony, Almond, Anise, Bean, Benzoin, Bergamot, Bittersweet, Borage, Broom, Caraway, Chicory, Dandelion, Endive, Eyebright, Goldenrod, Gourd, Hazel, Lavender, Lemongrass, Lemon verbena, Lily of the valley, Mace, Marjoram, Meadowsweet, Mint, Mistletoe, Mulberry, Parsley, Pine, Pistachio, Rice, Sage, Senna, Slippery elm, Star anise
Allspice, Angelica, Asafaetida, Basil, Bay, Black pepper, Cactus, Carnation, Chili pepper, Chrysanthemum, Cinnamon, Cinquefoil, Clove, Copal, Coriander, Cumin, Curry, Damiana, Dill, Dragon’s blood, Fennel, Flax, Frankincense, Galangal, Garlic, Ginger, Ginseng, Goldenseal, Hawthorn, Heliotrope, High John the Conqueror, Holly, Hyssop, Lovage, Mandrake, Marigold, Masterwort, May apple, Mullein, Mustard, Nutmeg, Onion, Orange, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Pomegranate, Rosemary, Rue, Saffron, St John’s Wort, Sassafras, Sesame, Snapdragon, Sunflower, Thistle, Ti, Tobacco, Venus flytrap, Witch hazel, Woodruff, Wormwood, Yucca
From: Elemental Witch
- Ruler: Aphrodite / Venus / Mars
- Element: Water
- Planet: Venus
- Type: Spice
- Magickal Form: Ground or whole leaves, Essential Oil
- Magickal Uses: Grieving, Happiness, Love, Money, Protection, Psychic Development, Psychic Protection, Tranquility, Weddings
From the Greek word Eros (mountain) and ganos (joy) it was given the name “joy of the mountain.” The Greeks believed when Marjoram sprung from graves, their loved ones were happy in the after life. In Greek weddings couples wore the herb to symbolize the joyful event.
Perfect as an addition to any herbal love combination, marjoram is sacred to the Goddess Aphrodite. An herb that blends the potent energies of Venus and Mars, marjoram brings strength to the union of marriage. Add marjoram to food to promote love and happiness between family members, and strengthen relationships.
Legend has it that if you anoint yourself with Marjoram before bed, you will dream of your future spouse.
It is a great herb to burn before saying “I love you” to a partner for the first time because it guarantees that these words will be mirrored back.. It is woven into bridal wreaths to bring joy to the marriage. Marjoram should be added to all love charms and sachets.
Burned as an offertory, it promotes spiritual bliss and connection to the Divine. As a symbol of familial love, marjoram sprinkled around the perimeter of the home or grown by the front door protects the inhabitants. Grown in the garden, placed around the house or carried, it shields from evil energies.
When placed inside a coffin with the deceased or grown on top of a grave, this herb is said to deliver the soul safely to the next world. Marjoram brings happiness. When carried by living persons, it cures depression. In case you’re confused about the use for both grieving and happiness, it is meant to restore happiness to the grief-stricken.
Put Marjoram around every room of your house for protection from negativity and evil intent. A bit in each room will aid in protection of the home. Mix it with violets when doing this to protect the family from colds and flu. During the winter make an amulet of marjoram and violets to guard against colds.
More Magickal uses for Marjoram:
- Use it in a bath by placing a mesh bag under the tap water for love and peace.
- Add to money sachets and mixtures.
- Burn it over a burner for help in accepting life changes and for anti-sorcery spells.
- When combined with thyme becomes a powerful spring cleanser.
- Given to a depressed person, marjoram brings happiness.
- Carry it in a sachet to protect against evil.
- Grown in the garden it offers shielding powers against evil.
Information gathered from a variety of sources.