One of the botanicals I collect every year are the seed pods from the sweet gum tree, known as witch balls, witch burrs and gum ball.
The tree has a unique star shaped leaf. Its sweet resin and inner bark that has been used medicinally for treating ailments such as coughs, inflammation, skin problems and diarrhea. It’s also used in perfume.
Its spiny seed pods are typically an inch to an inch and a half in diameter, changing from green in late summer to brown in the fall before dropping to the ground. Their structure is credited with adding the strength of sacred geometry to charms and other workings.
Magickally they are used in protection and banishing spells. Witch balls also increase the potency of magickal energy in any spell and can be used along with crystals.
Pam Jones drills a hole through them and strings them along with wooden beads and bells, hanging them beside and above doors. They can also be used as a garland to hang over a window, incorporated into grapevine wreaths alongside crystals and other natural materials such as cattails, dried ornamental corn and feathered ornamental grasses. The garlands can decorate Yule trees.
The beads she uses are elm, chestnut and ash – all known for their protective properties. Bells add additional protection.
“The bell drives away negativity and keeps evil spirits at bay,” said Jones, who buys them by the dozen.
“Witch ball garlands not only look great around the house, they serve an important purpose. They also make great gifts for friends and loved ones,” she said.
If you come across these gifts in nature, you can now appreciate them.
And merry meet again.
About the Author:
All my life I have known magic was real. As a child, I played with the fae, established relationships with trees and “just knew things.” In my maiden years I discovered witchcraft and dabbled in the black-candles-cemeteries-at-midnight-on-a-fullmoon magick just enough to realize I did not understand its power. I went on to explore many practices including Zen, astrology, color therapy, native traditions, tarot, herbs, gems, and as I moved into my mother years, Buddhism, the Kabbalah and Reiki. The first man I dated after my divorce was a witch who reintroduced me to the Craft, this time by way of the Goddess. For 11 years I was in a coven, but with retirement, I have returned to an eclectic solitary practice. I am transitioning to the life of a crone on the road, living chunks of time in a 30-year-old school bus converted into a living space that is also sacred space. Follow me as I share the journey that is just beginning. thewitchonwheels