As a professional witch, I often get questions from women about how best to protect themselves magically. Most often they are dealing with unhealthy relationships, but sometimes they are concerned about travel, protecting their homes, or being safe while practicing magic or journeying. The good news is you don’t need anything exotic to keep you safe. Here are four easy to find herbs and weeds for magical protection.
Wild Roses for Wise Women
Forget flower shop or grocery store roses, all ruffles and no scent, their thorns cut off to make them acceptable.
Wander abandoned homesteads, the edges of fallow fields, old train tracks, the sides of back roads. Find the five-flowered beauties, the intoxicating antique roses gone feral and bristling with prickles. Exclaim at their beauty, read them poems, leave strands of your hair for birds to nest in, pour clean water over their roots.
Ask their permission, and wait for the flowers to nod, the scent on the air to deepen, the whisper of acquiescence. Then carefully, carefully cut what you need, thorns and all. Steep them in alcohol for an entire moon cycle, then decant and take a few drops when you feel vulnerable but still want to have an open heart–the thorns will protect you even as the flowers and leaves teach you to open. To boost the energy of the brew, place rose quartz on or around the jar during steeping.
Blackberry Isn’t Just for Jam
Blackberries are well known for their sweetness, and cursed for their thorns.
But those thorns remind us not to allow anyone to take our gifts, our sweetness, without respect and careful handling. The thorns are available almost any time of year, unless you live where they are buried under the snow.
Ask blackberry to help you protect yourself. Cut two equal-length sections of blackberry cane, with thorns intact–very carefully. Leave an offering. Say thank you. Let the blackberry canes dry thoroughly. Then tie them together in an equal armed cross with black thread, wrapping it around and around until the cross feels stable. Hang it over your door or over your bed. Decorate with stones if you like–especially hagstones, obsidian, black tourmaline, and hematite.
Mugwort for Safe Travel
Mugwort is my go-to witch’s herb–easy to grow, plentiful, and intensely magical.
You can use it for dream pillows and psychic tea, but it is also used for protection during travel. Put a leaf in your shoe if you are walking alone in the woods, or carry some leaves and flowers in your pockets. Fill a tiny jar with dried mugwort leaves and flowers, seal with a cork and beeswax, and hang it in your car or hide it in your glove compartment to protect your vehicle–and yourself when you drive it. You can also hang bouquets or wreaths of dried mugwort in your house–over doors or windows to protect you from intruders.
Of course mugwort protects us in astral travel, dreams, and visions as well. The fragrance of mugwort steam or smoke can take us deep into our own shadow selves, which is why sometimes people have nightmares when they sleep with mugwort near the bed. If you are ready to face your fears and work through your shadows, call on mugwort both to carry you deeper into visions and to keep you safe while you are there. Know that what you face might be unsettling or even frightening, but the experience will be valuable and transformative.
Comfrey the Re-weaver
Trauma and toxic situations have a way of making us feel raw and ragged, like our emotional selves have been repeatedly dragged over a rusty cheese grater.
Sometimes it can become so intense that ANY interaction–even an essentially positive one–is painful. When we get to this point, it might be time to seek help from a therapist or even, if appropriate, see a doctor about medication. But there are ALSO things we can do to help repair ourselves energetically, and protect ourselves from continuing damage to our spirits.
When I feel this ragged exposed feeling, I reach for comfrey. The lovely thing about working with comfrey is it’s easy to find even if you can’t grow herbs yourself–most herb shops and herbal websites offer both comfrey leaf and root for sale.
Brew a big, strong jar of comfrey infusion: Place a cup of dried comfrey leaf in a quart jar, or fill the jar with loosely packed fresh comfrey leaves and flowers. Bring a kettle of water to a boil, and pour water over the comfrey until the jar is full. Allow your brew to steep for 4-10 hours, then strain. If the strained infusion is very cold, warm it gently on the stove until it feels like a nice warm bath when you dip your fingers in it. (And be careful not to get it TOO hot.)
Take this infusion into the shower. As the shower water runs over you, visualize it washing away the bad energy left by the ones who have hurt you. Scrub thoroughly with your favorite soap, and really work on seeing the negativity being washed away and going down the drain along with soap suds and water and dirt. When you are thoroughy clean, pour the comfrey infusion over yourself, and visualize green and purple light pouring over you, sealing up the holes in your etheric self, soothing your emotions. Repeat this as often as you like to let comfrey continue to work its magic.
If a bath is more your style, use a purifying smudge stick to clear away the negative energy. Then when you feel clear, run a bath, add the comfrey infusion to the tub, and soak for twenty minutes. For an added boost, place protective stones around the bathtub like obsidian, black tourmaline, and hematite.
Of course magic is a complement to real-life action, not a substitute for it: so lock your doors and windows, avoid dangerous situations if you possibly can, drive with caution and lock your car when you park it. If you are in an abusive relationship, get help–call a hotline, find someone to take you to a shelter, something. If you are dealing with emotional trauma, in addition to using magic, find a therapist or a supportive friend to help you work through the pain. As you make your best effort, magic will boost your effectiveness, strengthen your personal power, facilitate personal transformation, and bring you insight and inspiration. Ultimately, however, you still have to act on the gifts magic gives you.