We come to that time of year when many lonely souls come to us and ask us to do our magik and a spell to bring love into their lives. Most only need a ‘charm’ or ‘crutch’ in order to help their own self esteems and to bring them out of their shells. There have been times I have been so caught up with helping others bring love into their lives that I have forgotten and neglected my own. Forgotten to even do the little things for those I love.
This month in The Witch’s Cupboard, I want to explore a few of the herbs that have historically been used for love. I want to share ideas to help, enhance, and nurture the loves in our lives, not help others to find it. This column is geared to make our Valentine’s and February a little more special for the ones we love.
There are many, many herbs that have been used throughout time to bring love, enhance sexuality, and woo others. I could write a book on the oddities and spells alone. We are going to go to the cupboard and pull out just a few that are common which can strengthen your love and also bring lasting health benefits. So come into the kitchen, open your cupboard, turn on the stove, and bake some magik with love.
We begin with a very common yet under rated herb, Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, synonym C. zeylanicum). In Chinese Herbology, it is said Cinnamon are twigs and bark from large tropical trees that warm the body, invigorate the circulation, goes to all 12 channels (meridians) of the body, and harmonizes the energy of the upper and lower body. Cinnamon also reduces allergy reactions. The herb is usually cooked together with other herbs to make tea that regulates the circulation of blood. Cinnamon has also been used for appetite loss, bronchitis, colds, cough, fever, indigestion and other digestive problems, sore throat, diarrhea, and some cancerous tumors. Eastern herbal remedies suggest Cinnamon for heart problems, dental pain, and urinary problems. For those you who use and enjoy medical and therapeutic grade essential oils, cinnamon oil can be used as a sexual stimulate, beneficial for colds, coughs, flu, rheumatism, and circulation. I have also heard it can aid in controlling sugar and certain types of diabetes. But in our magical world, Cinnamon is highly recommended as purification incense prior to sacred work, and increases focus and concentration, while enabling a peaceful mindset for ritual work or divination. With our theme for Valentine’s, Cinnamon is known as an aphrodisiac. When used in spells of sexuality and passion it deepens any meditations on love.
Another common herb in our cupboards is Ginger. Since ancient times, Ginger has been used to help treat arthritis, colic, diarrhea, and heart conditions. Ginger may decrease joint pain from arthritis, and may have blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties that may make it useful for treating heart disease. Ginger is mostly known for its properties to help treat upset stomach and nausea. It is also believed to help the common cold, flu-like symptoms, headaches, and even painful menstrual periods. Magically Ginger is known as a powerful herb/spice. Ginger essential oil is useful in sexuality; love; courage; and money. Eating Ginger before performing spells will lend them power, since you have been “heated up” by the Ginger; this is especially true of love spells.
Since we are in our kitchens and at our cupboards, Something simple that can be done using the herbs/spices above to bring a smile to your loved ones faces is to bake cookies. You can make these simple recipes by adding your own special magical spells that are dear to you while you prepare the dough.
Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
• 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well blended. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer, and stir in remaining flour. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Combine the 4 tablespoons sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Place balls of dough 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes or until edges are beautifully golden. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Soft Ginger Cookies
* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup margarine, softened
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 tablespoon water
* 1/4 cup molasses
* 2 tablespoons white sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, and then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Next month’s edition of the Witch’s Cupboard will fall upon the Ostara/Spring Equinox rituals and will introduce you to preparing growing your own herbs for the coming Spring/Summer seasons. One I would like to follow along with is lavender because of the many health benefits of its oil. Until next time, happy baking to a healthier you.
Please note that we are not advocating that people stop using their normal medication, but would like to make people aware that some alternative therapies can be very effective to help treat problems and create a healthier, younger and more vital you. Also, it is not recommended to use most herbal supplements during pregnancy, or during breast feeding, or for small children. But then again, although these warnings must be provided, we must ask if the warnings come from experiences using herbs or from a medical community which is afraid we will cure ourselves.