cinnamon

ThriftCrafting: Witching on a budget

March, 2016

Cinnamon

Cinnamonum verum

Merry meet.

Some items used in magic can be expensive, but there are plenty of other ingredients and objects that require little money. Cinnamon is one of those magical ingredients that is cheap, versatile and common enough to be sitting in your spice rack.

You can burn cinnamon either in stick form, or powdered and added to a mix thats burned on a piece of charcoal. Use it to purify individuals, objects or spaces. You can also roll a candle in cinnamon and then burn it.

Steeping it into tea results in an infusion that can heighten psychic awareness and clairvoyance, making it good to drink before divination. Burning some while doing a reading or a meditation has also been suggested.

Sprinkling cinnamon around a space will protect it. So will placing cinnamon sticks on windows and above doors. Another option for protecting a doorway is to make a sachet or mojo bag with cinnamon to hang over the entryway.

Cinnamon is also used to attract good luck, love, money, passion, prosperity and success. It can bring wisdom, tranquility and healing.

Keep cinnamon sticks in with your tarot cards and runes, as well as with your other divination tools.

Burn cinnamon oil in a diffuser to attract prosperity, clients and business.

Bless it and add it to the batter when baking desserts to inspire romance.

Ive also heard that it will bring spice to the bedroom when attached to the bottom of the bed or, I would think, put between the mattress and the boxspring. Kama Sutra oils are made with cinnamon.

Cinnamon sticks can also be used for wands, as is or embellished.

With so many possible magical uses, please tell us some of yours.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

Thriftcrafting: Witching on a Budget

December, 2015

Stars

Merry meet.

My Yule tree is decorated largely with natural objects such as shells and pinecones, and replicas of such things as moons, suns and stars.

Some of my favorite stars are rustic made from twigs or, in this case, cinnamon sticks.

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Find five cinnamon sticks that are approximately the same length and thickness. Twigs or wooden chopsticks would also work. While I used threads separated from burlap twine to bind them, yarn, ribbon, wire and hot glue will also work.

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Place the pieces in the shape of a star so you can see the angle formed by each point. Begin tying the sticks together until youve worked your way around the star. If it is unstable, tie off where pieces cross one another.

Leaving extra string to form a loop will make it easy to hang not just on a tree, but anywhere you want a bit of nature any time of year.

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They can be painted, decorated with flowers or feathers, or wrapped with yarn.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

Notes from the Apothecary

October, 2015

Notes from the Apothecary: Cinnamon

Cinnamon-Sticks

The smell of cinnamon conjures up memories of warm, spicy food such as fresh apple pie, or mulled wine; anything to keep you cosy as the cold nights draw in. As Fall (autumn) approaches, I thought it would be nice to examine one of the spices that is truly part of the magic of the cold season.

The Kitchen Garden

Much of the cinnamon you will find in your kitchen is actually Cassia bark; a very similar substance that makes up the majority of cinnamon sticks we buy. The best cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka and is generally somewhat paler in colour and slightly thinner than the average ‘sticks’ we see. These sticks are actually rolls of bark from the cinnamon or cassia tree. They are peeled and dried, and as they dry form naturally into ‘quills’ or rolls that are then cut to size.

For culinary use, I have never found the cassia bark to be inferior. Both Cassia and True Cinnamon are members of the cinnamomum family and both have the wonderful, pungent, homely aroma we all associate with yule, winter and warm nights by the fireside.

I use whole sticks in slow cooked curried or tagines to bind sharp, spicy flavours together or to lend an exotic kick. Ground cinnamon makes its way into all manner of jams, jellies, preserves, pies, crumbles and even smoothies. Just don’t get the ground stuff in your eyes or try to eat it raw; anyone remember the infamous cinnamon challenge? Not nice.

Unfortunately, unlike most of our other herbs in the apothecary, it’s not really practical to cultivate your own cinnamon. However, you can find it in most supermarkets although it’s much cheaper to go to an Asian wholesaler or similar, as you can get a higher volume of product for a lower price. Just keep it sealed, as the oil evaporates leaving you with nothing but sticks otherwise!

The Apothecary

The Rosa Anglica tells us cinnamon is good for promoting sleep, particularly in the elderly. Apparently it could be combined with other herbs such as mustard and anise to protect against cold (presumably the ailment, rather than the temperature) and flatulence. Cinnamon is also indicated for ‘relieving the heart’, which I interpret as either soothing palpitations or reducing blood pressure, but I would be happy to hear an alternative theory.

Due to its intense aroma, cinnamon was one of the herbs used during outbreaks of the bubonic plague to ward off the dreaded virus. This speaks to us of antibacterial properties, and indeed it has been used throughout history as an additive to food to stop it spoiling.

Current studies of cinnamon contradict each other somewhat. Some have found that cassia lowers blood sugar, particularly useful for diabetics. Yet other studies have not been able to corroborate these results. Studies in lab conditions prove that, as suggested by our ancient anecdotes, cinnamon does indeed fight bacteria. However it’s not clear how we can use that to our benefit.

Cinnamon is one of those wonder spices with a dual, self-contradictory action: it has anti-inflammatory properties, whilst at the same time being a warming stimulant. A cinnamon and ginger tea will help ward off a cold and clear the sinuses. Cinnamon in a curry will help prevent gut ache later down the line!

The Lab

The unmistakeable aroma of cinnamon is due to a chemical called cinnamaldehyde which is in the oil of the bark. If you ever get hold of cinnamon essential oil it’s about 90% this stuff. This chemical is very versatile and is currently in use as a fungicide, a pesticide, an animal repellent and is even used in the gemstone industry.

The fungicidal properties are widely applied in agriculture, because the chemical has a very low toxicity, although it can irritate the skin.

The Witch’s Kitchen

I use cinnamon in incense, although never too much as it is very pungent. It adds a kick to evocation incense, protection incense and I nearly always add some to my autumn equinox and winter solstice blends.

It’s no surprise that cinnamon is a fire spice, associated with the sun. At this time of year, as the cold nights draw in and we start to prepare for winter, you can use cinnamon as offerings to your sun deities, or simply as a reminder of the warm times we have enjoyed and the promise of the returning sun.

During ritual, crack a cinnamon stick towards the south, releasing the oil into the ether. Alternatively, place several cinnamon sticks around the candles to reinforce the element of fire, if appropriate.

Cinnamon is also associated with money magic, but I have not tried this for myself. I tend to find that the universe, spirit or deities don’t really understand money. I find it much easier to work towards goals rather than funds if that makes sense. With this in mind, use cinnamon to boost your ambitions, and to pull the things towards you that you really want. This leads us onto desire, and indeed, as well as the desire for material things, cinnamon is an aphrodisiac particularly for the male libido.

Home and Hearth

A Samhain brew can be made with cider warmed gently with cinnamon sticks in. Put one stick in for each of your guests and another for the ancestors; if you have many guests make it a big pot of cider or this will be an overpowering amount of cinnamon! Warm gently and stir deosil; you are stirring in the memory of the sun and the promise of a warm home and hearth.

You can use the sticks to create sigils or perhaps a pentagram to use at your door; it will protect, discourage negative people/energies from entering and will increase the mood of those who do enter. If you’re not up for the arts and crafts session, simply sprinkle some ground cinnamon at the boundary for the same effect. You can even combine this with a house protection ritual, which I perform by walking the boundary of my house, inside and out, sprinkling salt and water and vocalising my intention to protect my space. Add the cinnamon in to this for an extra bit of positivity, and to add the fire of element in with the earthy salt, the water, and the air surrounding your home.

I Never Knew…

Apparently cinnamon can be used to boost your brain power for short spurts, so carry a stick around and sniff it when you start getting tired!

WiseWoman Traditions

December, 2009

Cinnamon, Cardamom & Nutmeg


The aroma of winter is wood smoke and evergreen. But winter holidays smell spicy. Herbs that grow only in the tropics – such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, allspice, and vanilla – are called spices. Their aromatic oils and volatile esters entice us with delicious smells and mouth-watering tastes. And spices warm us from the inside, as if we had ingested the tropical sun on a cold day. Spices help preserve food and counter a variety of illnesses, too. Come, sit and warm your feet by the fire. Close your eyes and imagine the dense green forests where aromatic spices grow.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) made me an outlaw. A toothpick soaked in cinnamon oil was the “drug” of choice in my grade school. No matter how much the adults attempted to dissuade us, no matter how they threatened, we found a way to get our cinnamon “fix”. As an adult, I prefer my cinnamon in sticks or finely ground, though I can still vividly recall the hot rush of a fresh cinnamon oil toothpick. Any food can be enhanced with cinnamon, from apple pie to baked beans, from meat marinades to salad dressings. The scent of cinnamon heralds holiday cheer.

Medicinally, cinnamon is a warming tonic. It chases chills, prevents colds, and warms the hands and feet of those who feel cold all the time. Cinnamon has been used for over 2500 years as an appetite enhancer, a stomachic, a carminative, an antimicrobial, an antispasmodic, an anti-rheumatic, and an anti-fungal. A cup of cinnamon tea – made by steeping a cinnamon stick or a scant teaspoonful of powdered cinnamon in a cup of boiling water for no more than ten minutes – is a good way to cheer up and prevent the flu on frosty winter nights.

A cup of cinnamon tea also eases menstrual cramps, soothes sore joints, relieves gas pain, and allays that feeling of fullness after a big meal. A sip or two of cinnamon tea before meals improves digestion and prevents acid reflux. Those who drink cinnamon tea regularly will have less cavities, stronger gums, and fewer insect bites.

Cinnamon made the news recently for its ability to counter diabetes. Modern herbalists are intrigued by its mildly estrogenic and strongly antioxidant effects.

Folk medicine reminds us that cinnamon tea is a gentle but effective remedy for both childhood diarrhea and infestations of worms. In India, cinnamon tea is regarded as a remedy against halitosis, nausea, and vomiting. Cinnamon is frequently used by herbalists everywhere to improve the taste of strong, rooty brews.

The essential oil of cinnamon is a good substitute for clove oil in treating toothache. It is particularly effective in killing the organisms that cause periodontal disease.

Those who are pregnant and those with stomach or intestinal ulcers are advised to avoid cinnamon. It can poison. A little of the essential oil of cinnamon (of course the parents were right!) and very large amounts of powdered cinnamon can cause symptoms. Poisoning begins with central nervous system sedation – characterized by sleepiness and depression. This is followed by tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) and stimulation of the vasomotor center, which causes increases in intestinal peristalsis (diarrhea), respiration (panting), and diuresis (perspiration).

Cinnamon has been used for centuries as a perfume and a preservative. It was considered more precious than gold in ancient Egypt where it was valued as essential in embalming. Both Christians and witches are said to have known of the spiritual energy of cinnamon and so included it in their rituals. Why not make cinnamon part of your holiday rituals?

Cardamom (Eelettaria cardamomum) is an exotic spice that is not used much in American cuisine. Perhaps because the powder loses its taste almost immediately. Buy cardamom seeds still sealed in their pods for best flavor and effect.

Chewing cardamom seeds freshens the breath and improves digestion. ists consider cardamom effective for helping the liver, the appetite, the stomach, and the intestines.

In Germany, cardamom is approved for use against the common cold, to relieve coughs, to counter bronchitis, to lower fevers, to ease inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, to resolve liver and gallbladder complaints, to counter loss of appetite, and to improve the ability of the immune system to counter infection.

In folk medicine, cardamom is used, like cinnamon, as a general remedy for all digestive complaints, especially gas. Unlike cinnamon, it is safe for use during pregnancy and a nice way to calm morning sickness. In India, cardamom is considered a remedy against urinary tract problems. Modern medicine is investigating the antiviral properties of cardamom.

For a special winter treat, try freshly-ground cardamom sugar instead of cinnamon sugar on your holiday toast.

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) is another seed valued for its aroma and healing powers. Everyone who’s had eggnog has tasted nutmeg. The tight outer covering of nutmeg is the spice called mace.

Modern medicine validates nutmeg’s ability to inhibit diarrhea and slow down the action of the gastrointestinal tract. Folk medicine agrees, using nutmeg against diarrhea, dysentery, inflammation of the mucus membranes, flatulence, and vomiting. Nutmeg has also been shown to affect prostaglandin synthesis and to be a particularly potent antimicrobial. It may also be anti-rheumatic.

Chinese herbalists use nutmeg against diarrhea, worms, and all digestive upsets. In India, herbalists choose nutmeg to relieve headaches, to improve poor vision, to bring sleep to those with insomnia, to lower fever, to ease malaria, to counter impotence, and as an aid when there is general debility. American herbalists view nutmeg as an aromatic, carminative, digestive stimulant, and a hallucinogenic poison.

The oil of nutmeg, applied cautiously and externally, can relieve the pain of rheumatism, sciatica, and neuralgia. When inhaled, it counters respiratory tract infections.

As few as two nutmegs can poison. Overdose symptoms – which can last for up to three days – include stomach pain, nausea, intense thirst, double vision, reddening and swelling of the face, anxiety, lethargy, delirium, and hallucinations. Death from kidney failure may occur.

For best effect, and safety too, heat one whole nutmeg in a cup of full-fat milk for 5-10 minutes, add honey and enjoy. The nutmeg can be rinsed and reused many times.

Like cinnamon, nutmeg carries a powerful spiritual/magical energy. Carrying one in your pocket or suitcase is said to insure safe travels.

Green blessing are everywhere, especially in your spice chest.

The Witch’s Cupboard

August, 2009

Cinnamon
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum, C. verum) also known as Sweet Wood and Ceylon cinnamon.   Its origin is Sri Lanka.   Cinnamon is pretty common in foods these days such as cinnamon rolls and cinnamon tea.  It is a bark that is ground into powder form that can be added to food and burned as incense.

In ancient times, Cinnamon was used as a religious herb, created to purify temples.   It also helped with mummification to create a sweet smell.  Throughout history, its leaves have been used in medicine.
Cinnamon can be used and substituted for Sun Magickal work such as healing, illumination, magickal power, physical energy, protection, success, and putting an end to legal matters.  Cinnamon is very powerful in Satchels and Amulets.   Mix cinnamon with frankincense, myrrh and sandalwood for a strong protection incense.   Use it to draw love to you by dressing a red candle or add it to a red mojo bag.  You can also use it for money drawing by burning it on a charcoal and casting a spell on a bill you want paid.
Cinnamon can be help as an astringent, carminative and stomachic.  It helps with flatulence, internal hemorrhaging, as a stimulant and with vomiting.  It is known to help with stomach and digestion issues.  Many times a tea is made to help with digestion issues by putting a teaspoon of Cinnamon into boiling water and drink as a tea.  (However, you may find the tea to be very strong so you may want to use less based on what you prefer for taste.)
Remember, this is not a substitution for medical advice so always check with a medical professional to make sure working with herbs are safe for you.
Keywords for Cinnamon


Magickal Uses/Spells:  Love/sex magick, health, fertility, lust, passion, protection, prosperity/money, deep healing, spirituality, scrying, power, strength and success.
Deities:  Venus, Aphrodite, Apollo
Planet:  Sun, Uranus
Gender:  Masculine

Element:  Fire
Tarot Correspondence:  The Lovers, The Sun