Protecting and Shielding With Herbs
Article ID: 10887
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,712
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Author: Rain Dove
Posted: July 9th. 2006
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There are many different ways of protecting and shielding, but I am not sure that everyone will wish to discuss or open up about how they shield or protect themselves. Personally , I don't wish to tell anyone everything about how I accomplish this. I hope that no one takes offense; it's just a personal decision. If I tell everyone how I shield, I am opening myself up for any person to figure out how to "attack" or "break through" my shields if they so chose. While it's not likely that anyone would want to, let's face it, this is a public domain, and breaking through shields can be done. Rather than discussing some of my most private and personal ways of doing this, then, I choose to share my knowledge and experience of a particular form of Earth Magic. And that form is how to protect oneself or shield oneself with herbs.
Herbs , as most of us already know , have different spiritual, medicinal and magical properties. Spiritually, they can aid healing and cleansing of thespirit/soul , mind and/or heart (and chakras.) Medicinally, they can assist in the healing of physical ailments and/or illnesses , and magically, they can aid in the casting and/or production of spells and/or bending of the will toward the acquisition of personal desires. If we study herbology long and hard enough, we can learn how to use herbs to our benefit in each of these ways.
There are many hundreds of thousands of herbs that our lovely Mother has provided us., and there is no way to learn them all in a lifetime. Even the most knowledgeable herbalists realize that learning about herbs is a continual study, practice and process. The study of herbs , depending on how far one wishes to take it , can become complex and difficult. It's almost as hard as going to pharmacology school! In fact , in my opinion, the study of herbs and all of their properties can be much harder than pharmacology school. Unlike standard western medicines and synthetics, herbs are not federally regulated; they encompass a broad spectrum of uses, ultimately leaving it up to the individual to learn about them, whereas in pharmacology a person only learns what the federal government "allows" and what the school teaches. Moreover, there are many, many more herbs than there are federally recognized and standardized drugs! But as most of us already know, 90% of the drugs we do have are extracted from herbs; medicines have been coming from our Mother Earth since the beginning of humankind and the emergence of our innate desire to help those in need.
Studying herbs can also become confusing because one herb can be applied for so many different things , and another herb (that also does many things) can be used in combination with it to achieve yet something else. So believe me when I tell you that it can give you headaches while trying to remember it all. By the same token, though, we cannot allow this to deter us or discourage us; because herbs are so multifaceted, we should try and learn as much as possible about them. The best advice I can give anyone about learning herbs and their properties is to do what I did.
When I first started learning about herbs , I took it slow and easy and read the most simple things I could find. Of course, as time went on, I studied in more depth. I bought one book at a time, the first relating to physical healing (again, the simplest one I could find) then went on to books about magical properties. As time went on, I continually added to my library of herbal books until I started reading about the spiritual properties as well. What I found is the magical and the spiritual properties can go hand in hand. Nonetheless, I took on one subject at a time. For me , it was just easier learning about all of the different herbs and their different properties one at a time. But this doesn't mean that someone else would always find my way the best way, and there certainly isn't anything wrong with that ! Learn in whichever way is easiest for you.
So, as I mentioned at the beginning, one way of protecting myself , my home and my surroundings is with herbs--even down to my vehicles! For instance, I think most of us already know that we can use sage for protection (and cleansing as well.) But sweetgrass also holds protective properties. It was (and still is) burned by Native Americans for protection and cleansing and has been for hundreds of years. While earthy, sweetgrass has a sweet vanilla smell while sage has a very warm smell. Because negative spirits and/or entities do not like the smell of either, they both work wonders for protection. You can burn both sweetgrass and sage; many Native Americans believe that smoke from the burning herb carries their prayers and communications to their Creator. But you can also carry them on your person, or hang them around your home or in your vehicles. One way that I have protected myself in my vehicle is by keeping a braid of sweetgrass on my dashboard. My city is one of the worst places in the world to be drive; traffic here is not only ridiculous, it is dangerous. Since I have been back here, I have been hit four times in my car--four!--and not once has it been my fault. Most importantly, though, at none of these times have I been hurt. Not at all, not even a scratch. Nor has my husband or anyone else been hurt, not even the people who hit us.
In addition to the sweetgrass , I keep cat whiskers in my glove box (which of course is *not* an herb but can be used for travel protection.) But , please ... this doesn't mean you can go and pluck one of your cat's whiskers out; this would definitely hurt your animal. Whiskers naturally fall out. If you have a cat and you happen to find a whisker, place it on your altar and empower it during a Waxing Moon. Then place it in a plastic bag and put it in your glove box. The sweetgrass and the cat whiskers together have helped to protect me and mine from getting hurt.
Mind you, this is by no means the only way I protect myself. But herbs have proven to be a very productive and successful means of protection for me. So far, I've had no problems with using herbs for this purpose and every measure I have ever taken has seemed to work just fine. Using sweetgrass in my vehicle is just one example out of many.
We can place herbs in amulets, wear them around our neck in fancy little bottles or in a charm, or wear them in a "poison ring;" we can place herbs in small muslin bags or sachets and hang them in our windows of our homes or in our cars or anywhere we might be. We can scatter them around our houses in corners, outside our doors , over our doors, around the window sills; we can burn them in a cauldron. No matter what purpose , we can easily carry herbs with us where ever we go. Simply put , there are many ways to use herbs for every type of protection.
We can also ingest some of them. Cooking and/or eating some of the herbs can be used in this manner for health, magic, and transformation. However, it is imperative that we be very sure the herbs we cook and eat are edible and safe.
CAUTIONARY NOTE! Allergic reactions can definitely occur. It might be wise to use one herb at a time to ensure your own personal safety before ever using them in combinations. When I was treating myself for Lupus and RA, I ended up in the hospital with hives from an allergic reaction. However, because I had been using several (approximately seven) herbs at the same time, I did not know which one caused the outbreak. It is possible that it could have just been the combination. Nonetheless , this caused me to stop using all of the herbs with which I had been experimenting.
Herbs have vibrations just like every other living thing, and most of them carry a "positive" vibration. Because of this , they are commonly used for protection against "negative" vibrations. For this reason, most herbs are used to protect one against anything or anyone that is ill-willed or negative. The herbs set up a barrier and when something negative hits it , it bounces off of the herb and goes back from where it came. Herbs also carry male and female properties as well as elemental and astronomical properties. I have found that if you are going to be working with herbs for protection, it's best to empower them during a Waxing Moon. Now sometimes , this is not always possible. But if you can, it would probably enhance the power of your intent.
We must also try to remember that because herbs are alive and breathing, once an herb is picked or cut, it can only live for so long. After a while, an herb starts to lose its potency. This means we must use our herbs quickly if we are to use them for any of the applications stated. Most herbs carry what is called a "shelf life" for approximately 1 year. However, some herbs can lose their potency as soon as a few weeks. It is best to have some working knowledge of the herb before using it or at least some kind of guide to help determine how long any particular herb will carry its potency once it has been picked and/or cut. Moreover, freeze-dried herbs are less potent than organic or naturally dried herbs. If you want more of a punch when using herbs, be sure and use organic or naturally grown and picked/cut herbs.
Herbs can be used for two different types of protection. The first is for purification , which is necessary if we feel that we may have something negative attached to us personally, whether that be psychically or physically. Even if you don't feel you have anything ill willed or negative *attached* , you may still wish to do a purification for a preventive measure. Purifications can be done on a regular basis. Purification rituals are simple and most relaxing if done in a bath. We can use different types of protecting herbs in our bath tubs and not have any problems with the plumbing because of it , either. For a purification bath , we can use sea salts and essential oils mixed with herbs or just the herbs alone. Salts are not only protective but can be good for our circulation, while the essential oils are great for aromatherapies. I have used them in combination with different herbs and this seems to be something that works well for me, as well as something I truly enjoy.
The other protection is for our personal surroundings , (which can again , include ourselves) , our home, car or any other form of residence or travel that we might use on a regular basis. There are many ways and many herbs we can use for protection and shielding. It's best to just experiment with different herbs and find which ones you like best or which work best for you. As most of us know, everything in the Witch's path is personal and based on personal experience, so it is totally up to you to decide which ones to use.
In case you've never worked with herbs before or in case you don't know which ones to begin with, below is a beginner's list for those who wish to start. These are used for protecting oneself and one's surroundings. They can be used in the many forms that have been previously mentioned: amulets, charms, sachets, baths, burning, and so on.
The following herbs are easily found or may be in your home already: rue , sweetgrass , sage , mistletoe , hyssop , basil , garlic , onion , mullein , angelica , rosemary , sea salts. (CAUTIONARY NOTE: Some people experience a violent allergic reaction when handling rue, particularly if it is fresh. Please treat this herb with great care.)
Herbs can be bought in bulk and in capsules, or you can grow your own. If you have a very busy lifestyle , it might be a good idea (and could save you time) to go to your local herbalist or herb store and purchase your herbs. Herbs vary in price from very reasonable to very expensive. I have also found that when one is new to the market , purchasing herbs can be expensive at first. If you find this to be true , you can substitute with something similar that carry the same properties and have the same purpose ... until the price comes down a bit. Growing herbs can be fun, but very time consuming. So if you plan to grow your own, it might be wise to make sure you are going to be committed to it. If you do decide to grow your own, there are particular ways to prepare the soil and sometimes specific Moon times for planting , picking and using herbs. You can purchase a guide to help you along.
No matter what you decide to do in how you protect or shield yourself, remember that herbs are a great resource for healing physical ailments for all who come into contact with us. Herbs are mysterious, wondrous, interesting, beneficial, and powerful; in my opinion, every Witch should have an herb cabinet. One of my favorite sayings is, "Never turn down a cup of tea from a Witch!"
With Warm Regards,
Copyright: Rain Dove
© Copyright June , 2006
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
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