I get asked a lot about what goes into the “Casting of a Spell” and that is such a complex question. A lot goes into what I’m feeling and going through and what works for you is very personal, it's not always the same. What calls to you is unique to your practice and relationship with the craft. There are a few things that are important to include no matter your style such as opening the circle by calling on protective entities, calling the corners, saying a prayer, chanting or doing some sort of breath-work. All of these can help open you up to receive or release.
Closing down the circle with something is also suggested when working with magic and energy. I love herbs for this.
A consecration herb is any herb you will use to impart a blessing. It should be cleansed of all negative energy and hold a significance for the type of conjuring you are aiming to perform.
It if it holds strength and power for you, then it has the capability to yield results.
The basic definition of “consecrate” means to make or declare something. It will have a religious connotation, be held in a sacred manner and be devoted to a religious or Devine purpose. The most recognized form of this is the turning of bread + wine into “the body and blood of Christ.”
When a ritual, rite of passage or spiritual healing or cleansing is performed, it is important to close these circles and rites with something. Not every witch does the same thing. I prefer to close rituals with herbs. My preferred method is a Decoction.
A decoction is the boiling of herbs to remove their medicinal or magical qualities so it can be drunk or used topically to promote healing or even used to put out a ceremonial fire. It is more potent than a tea and less time consuming than making a tincture. A decoction can be ready in as little as 15 minutes, cooled and then sipped to close the circle or ritual you were just activating.
The elements are of vital importance when practicing magic. You want to incorporate them in balance. A decoction combines each of the elements. Fire is added to a combination of water and earth (herbs) and the heat burns off the the water (creating air) to concentrate and increase potency.
The result is a magical elixir that can be used to effectively close yourself down from any movement of energy that you were just performing. It’s never wise to skip this step, especially when doing shadow work.
(A decoction taken internally should be done so only with herbs you are positive can be safely ingested internally. Consult a local apothecary if you are unsure and do your research.)
Many different herbs can help to consecrate. I choose based on a variety of factors like availability, expense, taste, actions, folklore or association with a specific planet or goddess. I suggest starting with 2 or 3 herbs in the beginning, using them, practicing with them. Journal the process and take notes on what you experience. You will begin to gain a level of connection and understanding with the plant and what it can help you achieve magically and medicinally.
Rose: deals with all matters of the heart, associated with self-love and the essential herb associated with “The Goddess.” It’s considered a nervine, to help calm the nervous system.
Calendula: A traditionally common herb for consecration and decorating altars. An astringent herb good to cleanse by tightening, creating a closing action.
Self- heal: a true HEAL ALL herb that can be used at the first sign of fatigue or sickness, emotional or physical to help clear out your lymph system and promote healing. Not as readily available as something like Rose or Calendula, so I use very sparingly and only when I’m really battling something.
Other popular herbs for consecration: Caraway, Chickory, Hyssop, Frankincense
Basic Recipe for Decoction:
- use about 30g or roughly 1oz of herbs (if you are using multiple herbs as I did in the photo you can do about 10g of each)
- place dried herb in a pot with about 3 cups of water (use clean filtered water, not tap.)
- Simmer no less than 15 minutes but up to one hour.
- Water should start cold and be simmered, not a heavy boil.
- The longer the simmer, the more potent the decoction.
- Strain the herbs from the liquid and press all the liquid you can from the herb
- The liquid is your decoction.
- The herbal remnants can be tossed, composted or buried in the earth ( I recommend this if you are working on banishing, cutting ties or working on removing vices)
This recipe will yield about 2 cups depending on the amount of time you left it to simmer.
Yields about 3 servings. Decoctions should be made fresh everyday, do not save and use the next day.
Note: herbal magic is a gorgeous art but be aware that some of these cute little flowers don't always taste super great. These remedies can sometimes be bitter, they are ceremonial and medicinal in nature. If you are a beginner and bitter tastes are not something you are into, a basic infusion or tea can be supplemented instead for a more mellow flavor or you can add honey.
I encourage you to see what local apothecaries exist in your area, if any. Reliable online sources are available as well such as Dandelion Botanicals or Mountain Rose Herbs.
Happy Healing Goddesses!