Plant Profiles: Lavender

lavender herbalism the house of twigs thot witchcraft obeah woman wispers emma kathrym

It’s warm even as evening descends, the sun sinking ever lower, the sky shades of pale pinks, blues and purples. A breeze caresses my warm skin and carries on it the woody yet sweet scent of lavender, thick and heady. Even now the last of the bees drone amongst the purple spikes, perhaps the last stop on their way home. I close my eyes and breathe it all in, for this is surely the essence of summer.

This is the first in a series of articles where we will consider a range of well-known plants associated with witchcraft. I’ve chosen lavender to begin with, not only because it is my favourite flower, but also because it represents midsummer perfectly. More than that though, lavender has so many uses, both magically and mundane that it might be considered as perhaps one of the most useful plants to have in the garden.

Food & Drink

Lavender flowers are edible and are perfect to use in baking. Add the dried or fresh flowers to any basic sponge cake recipe or to biscuit mixes. Make lavender sugar by grinding the fresh flowers together with caster sugar and sprinkle lightly over fruit or use in recipes for cakes and biscuits in place or plain sugar. Add to pancake mix and serve with ice cream.

I love to make lavender honey it’s absolutely divine drizzled over ice cream, pancakes or cereal. Simply place the dried flowers into a jar and cover with honey. You can use fresh flowers if you are making a small batch that will be used up quickly. Leave for at least a full day, though longer if using dried flowers, then strain into a clean jar.

Lavender tea is simple to make and you can use flowers fresh from the garden. Simply pour boiling water over the flowers, let steep for five minutes then strain, adding honey to taste. Or for a really luxurious drink, take 200 ml of milk,  50 ml of cream and pour into a pan, adding two tablespoons of dried lavender flowers. Bring to a gentle simmer for around five minutes. Strain into a mug, adding a teaspoon of honey and a splash of cream to serve.

Health & Home

It strengthens the stomach, and frees the liver and spleen from obstructions.”

~ Nicholas Culpepper

Lavender is a particularly useful herb when it comes to the medicine cabinet. The tea can be taken to ease headaches and migraines as lavender has analgesic (pain relief) qualities and can help to reduce stress and ease tension. It’s also microbial and antibacterial making it good to use as a cleansing agent. Make lavender water by steeping the flowers in water for a week or so, or by adding drops of essential oil to water and using as a wash for scrapes and scratches. Lavender is particularly well-known to help with insomnia and other sleep disorders and so make the milky drink mentioned above and drink to aid a good nights rest. The milky drink also helps aid digestion and settle the stomach.

The herb can also be taken as a tincture to help general wellness or any of the conditions mentioned above. To make a tincture, place dried flowers into a jar and cover with a good quality spirit like vodka, rum or brandy. Leave for at least a week though a full lunar cycle is preferable, then strain into a clean bottle. Add a teaspoon to a glass of water and take as a tonic. Alternatively, dilute one part tincture to five parts water and use as a wash to cleanse the skin, helping combat spots, pimples and acne.

The most notable and recognisable feature of lavender is its scent, and so it makes sense to use the herb around the home in cleaning. Make an air freshener by adding 20 drops of lavender essential oil to 200ml of water and pour into a spray bottle (feel free to adjust to your own personal preferences). You can also use this to clean glass and wooden furniture.

Witchcraft

Magically, lavender is associated with the element of air and with the planet Mercury. With these in mind, then, lavender can be used in workings that call on the energy of air, such as cleansing magick and magicks concerning intuition.

Lavender is also good to use in magic concerning dreams as it can help bring on a relaxed sleep. You can add drops of oil to some tissue and place inside your pillow and use the room spray above and use in your room before bed. If you’re the crafty type, then why not make a sleep pillow stuffed with lavender.

Because of its relaxing effect, lavender can also be used to help bring about a meditative state. Burn as a loose incense or use the oil on your pulse points before meditation.

Because of its strong scent and it’s cleansing properties. lavender is also a favourite ingredient in magickal washes and vinegars including Florida water and four thieves vinegar. Use these for spiritually cleansing your home and working areas including altars and shrines. You can even add a cap full to bath water for spiritual and cleansing baths before rituals or workings.

To make your own four thieves vinegar, take four different herbs (I always include lavender here, usually along with sage, rosemary and mint)and steep in vinegar for a full lunar month. Strain the liquid, adding drops of any essential oil you like, though I usually use lavender and peppermint. Add water so that the volume of liquid is doubled and then bottle up, ready to use as needed!

Growing Lavender

Lavender is such a beautifully charming plant, with so many uses that it really must be included in any witches garden. If you live somewhere with warm summers then lavender should thrive, provided the necessary precautions and measures are taken in the winter months.

Seeds should be sown in the autumn months or if you have access to an established plant, then greenwood cuttings may be taken in the spring and hardwood cuttings in the summer and winter. Lavender loves well drained, alkaline soil and will thrive in the full sun. If you don’t have a garden, then lavender will be quite happy in a pot on a warm and sunny windowsill, though you will need to think about when the plant becomes larger. Window boxes are another good idea.

Cut back after the flowering season and again the following spring if needed.

And so there we have it, the beautiful yet humble lavender!

It always seems to me as if the lavender was a little woman in a green dress, with a lavender bonnet and a white kerchief. She’s one of those strong, sweet, wholesome people, who always rest you, and her sweetness lingers long after she goes away.

~ Myrtle Reed

 

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My name is Emma Kathryn, my path a mixture of non-Wiccan Traditional British Witchcraft and Obeah, a blend that represents my heritage. A Devotee of Hekate, my witchcraft is what is needed when needed. I live in the middle of England with my partner, two teenage sons and two crazy dogs.
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My name is Emma Kathryn, my path a mixture of non-Wiccan Traditional British Witchcraft and Obeah, a blend that represents my heritage. A Devotee of Hekate, my witchcraft is what is needed when needed. I live in the middle of England with my partner, two teenage sons and two crazy dogs.
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