Cypress is sometimes known as the Tree of Death. That sounds creepy, but actually the name refers to an old custom of placing a cypress branch into graves to bless the deceased in the afterlife.
Keeping cypress branches in your house, or planting the trees on your property is thought to protect and bless a home.
Adding cypress boughs to bouquets at funerals is believed to ease grief and bring peace to loved ones.
Serpentine is also known as New Jade.
This stone helps to balance emotions and smooth turmoil. It’s thought to assist meditation, especially when meditating on finding inner peace.
Serpentine is also a protective stone. It’s supposed to ward against disease and poisonous creatures.
Plus, holding Serpentine against your skin is thought to help with stomach pain, cramps, and indigestion.
Cloves are great to have around the house. Not only do they smell amazing, but they can help out in times of trouble.
The smell of cloves (hung up or burned as incense) is supposed to drive away hostile energy, purify a room, and attract riches.
Carrying cloves is thought to bring comfort to the bereaved.
Garlic can be used for so much more than just chasing away vampires.
This stinky herb is great for protection. Hanging dried Garlic over your door is thought to protect the home from negative energy, robbers, and illness. Biting a Garlic clove is supposed to chase away demons, and wearing a necklace of cloves is thought to protect against physical injury.
Rubbing a clove of Garlic over an injury, and then throwing the clove into a river, supposedly brings speedy healing. If you’re worried about contracting Hepatitis, wearing thirteen cloves for thirteen days is supposed to protect you from this disease (though, nowadays, it’s easier just to get the shot).
Tucking a clove under a child’s pillow is thought to keep them safe from night terrors, while rubbing a little Garlic on the inside of a cooking pot blesses and protects the food (and adds a little flavor).
Eating lots of Garlic is also rumored to be good for your love life. Apparently, it triggers lust, not only in the eater-of-the-Garlic, but also in their date.
On top of all of this, Garlic is super easy to grow. Just buy a head at the store and leave it in a cool, not-too-sunny place for a couple of weeks. Suddenly you’ll have these little green shoots (called Garlic Sprouts). Break apart the head and toss any cloves that are funny colors or squishy. Set the rest of the cloves in a shallow container (flat ends down), add just a little water, and leave them in a sunny place. Soon they’ll grow roots and produce more shoots.
You can trim these sprouts and use them like you would chives. They have that awesome Garlic flavor, but they don’t make your breath stink.
Make sure you change the water every few days and toss any cloves that start to look icky. The cloves will produce sprouts for about 3 months. Once the shoots brown and dry up, toss the cloves and get some more.
Sage is used for all kinds of awesome things.
It’s a protective herb. Burning Sage in a home will cleanse and bless the space.
Carrying Sage is thought to promote wisdom. Carrying the leaves in a sachet or in your pocket is supposedly the best way to bring a little wisdom to your life.
Writing a wish or intention on a Sage leaf and sleeping on it is thought to make the wish real. If, however, you haven’t dreamed of your desire within three days, you’re supposed to bury the leaves and try again.
Apparently, there are a few rules when it comes to gardening Sage. Filling an entire garden plot with this herb is considered bad luck. It’s best to plant Sage beside another magickal herb.
Evidently, it’s also bad luck to plant your own Sage. I’ve read that you’re supposed to have a friend or family member plant it for you, but to me that sounds kind of hard to accomplish… Maybe if you offer to do the dishes or something?
Rosemary is basically awesome.
Firstly, it’s a powerful protective herb. Hanging dried Rosemary over your threshold is thought to discourage thieves, while tucking some under a mattress is supposed to shield the sleeper from all harm.
Rosemary is also a well-known healing herb. Tying a sachet of Rosemary to your arm is thought to dispel depression, while adding a little essential oil to a bath retains youthfulness. Ancient healers often washed their hands in a Rosemary infusion, and burned Rosemary and Juniper leaves in sickrooms to promote healing.
On top of all this, Rosemary has recently been scientifically studied for its ability to slow Alzheimer’s. One study recently found that smelling Rosemary every day can significantly delay the effects of the disease.
Plus, Rosemary is awesome in scrambled eggs (with a little feta cheese and spinach, especially).
Aventurine is a great stone to wear everyday.
Not only does it attract luck, but it improves motivation and increases opportunity.
This stone is also an emotional healer. It soothes and balances, while protecting against physical injury.
It is associated with the heart Chakra, which makes it great for meditating on emotional issues. It also helps the person who carries it to have an open and loving heart.
Aventurine is also thought to help improve eyesight – which is always awesome, especially when you spend half of your day squinting at a computer screen.
Carnelian is a great stone to have in your collection. It’s used for protection, healing, courage, and peace.
Keeping Carnelian with your other stones helps to cleanse them of negative energy.
Wearing this stone apparently does wonders. It helps to dispel anger and envy, while encouraging strength and eloquence.
Carnelian is also thought to help with back pain, arthritis, and impotence…so there’s that, too.
A pentacle is a pentagram (a five pointed star) set inside a circle. They are an ancient symbol of protection and good energy, used by modern Wiccans as a symbol of their faith.
Pentacles represent the five elements : Spirit, Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. Each point on the star represents one of the elements, which is why it’s not uncommon to see pentacles with differently colored points. The star is drawn with a single line, representing the connection between all things.
Occasionally, you might find a branch of Wicca who switches around which points represent which elements. That’s cool – everyone does Wicca a little differently. But the top point, representing Spirit, never changes.
At this point, some of you might be thinking to yourselves “what is Spirit?” That’s a great question! But I can’t really give you an answer.
Spirit kind of the catchall word used to describe each individual’s perception of a higher power, and their relationship with that power.
Some people see Spirit as the all encompassing energy which flows through every living thing, including deities. The idea of something that huge freaks some people right out, so they choose to see Spirit as the relationship they have with the God and Goddess. Other people view Spirit as nature and their connection to it.
No two people are going to view Spirit exactly the same, and that’s awesome.
Now, if you ever see someone wearing an inverted pentagram, it means one of two things : 1. They’re twelve years old and enjoy trying to freak out their parents or 2. They’re involved with the less-than-warm-and-cuddly side of witchcraft.
Notice I said witchcraft not Wicca. Not all witches are Wiccan, and some of them are kind of creepy.
These groups often use an inverted pentacle to suggest the insignificance of Spirit in their lives. Their pentacle points down because, to them, everything physical is more important than their relationship to Spirit.
Pentacles are the ultimate Wiccan fashion accessory – they can be worn as earrings, necklaces, bracelets, or belly button rings. They decorate incense burners, alter cloths, and brooms.
Sometimes, it seems like overkill.
In reality, pentacles are used to bless and protect, well, everything. Wiccans are really into blessing stuff, so I guess it makes sense that everything we own would have a star drawn on it.
These days, anyone can pick up a piece of inexpensive pentacle jewelry almost anywhere. And that’s awesome! Just remember that this is a sacred religious symbol, and don’t just wear it because it matches your shoes. No good Wiccan will scold you for wearing a pentacle if you’re not Wiccan, but it’s generally considered good manners to wait until you commit to the religion (usually via ceremony) before openly wearing a pentacle.