Rosemary: Magickal Uses
Rosemary is a member of the mint family, but the familiar kitchen herb with needle-like leaves actually grows as an evergreen shrub in its native, Mediterranean habitat. It can sometimes reach a height of five feet! But the adaptable plant will thrive as a garden annual in any region with warm summers. Just plant it in a sunny spot with well draining soil—or try it in a container garden with companion herbs sage, thyme, and lavender.
The scientific name, Rosmarinus officinalis, translates as “ros” meaning dew and “marinus” meaning sea — “dew of the sea”.
Rosemary has been used in culinary applications since around 500 B.C. It’s strong flavor makes excellent seasoning for lamb, fish and wild game, but it’s equally as good on poultry and beef. It makes a flavorful addition to grains and potatoes as well.
Medicinal Uses of Rosemary
Medicinally, rosemary has proven antimicrobial benefits. Oil of rosemary shows marked antibacterial, anti fungal and antiviral properties. Reports indicate antioxidant action as well, though less than that provided by green tea, yet more than vitamin E. Rosemary and juniper were often burned together as a fumigant after illness.
Rosemary has been used as a tea and in aromatherapy to relieve headaches, reduce stress and as a treatment for mild respiratory ailments. It may also provide some digestive benefits. The aromatic herb is believed to enhance brain function in both clarity and memory.
Rosemary Magickal Uses
As a magickal herb, there is much folklore surrounding the plant. It is said that the Virgin Mary rested her blue mantle on the bush to dry, and the flowers turned from white to blue. Thus the name “Rose of Mary”. It’s also told that Venus rose from the sea with a garland of rosemary.
If you didn’t know it before, the book and movie Practical Magic made it clear to plant rosemary by your door for protection—it has long been thought to ward evil spirits. However, rosemary was also said to grow only in the gardens of homes where the woman wore the pants, making many husbands diligent in removing any rosemary from the property.
With springs tucked in bridal bouquets, worn on the groom’s lapel and carried by guests to invoke love, and loyalty,Rosemary is a popular choice for hand fasting ceremonies.
Make a smudge or incense of rosemary and sage to cleanse sacred spaces for ritual. To be remembered, add rosemary to your bath for a purifying ritual, and wear oil of rosemary. Use a sprig of rosemary as a bookmark when studying for a test to stimulate brain function and aid in memory—science now suggests this is more than just folklore as rosemary does, in fact, stimulate memory areas of the brain.
Use rosemary, orange peel, and vinegar in cleaning water for both mundane and magical use, to disinfect surfaces and clear away stagnant energy.
Rosemary was often given as a gift at the new year for its association with clearing out old energy and making way for new beginnings and fresh starts.
A New Year Ritual to Cleanse and Purify Your Home
The beginning of a new year is traditionally a time for clearing out the old and making fresh starts. Do this any time in January, or ideally under the first new moon of the year—new moon energy is perfect for setting intentions.
This potion and ritual will help you get rid of the mental cobwebs and chase stagnant energy from your home. Maybe not as catchy as parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, but this blend of rosemary, salt, pepper, and citrus is powerfully magick.
You will need:
- Rosemary for cleansing and clearing the way for a fresh start
- Sea Salt for purifying
- Peppercorns for protection
- Citrus Peel for uplifting and positive energy
- Filtered or Spring Water
- Gin for the properties of juniper berries
- Optional Selenite or quartz crystal
Preparing the Potion
Pour two cups of spring water into a pan, and bring to simmer over low heat. Add several sprigs of rosemary (fresh or dried), three tablespoons sea salt, one tablespoon whole peppercorns, and citrus peel. Orange works well, but I like to use grapefruit for its similar antimicrobial and antibacterial properties to rosemary. The tart scent can help lift depression and balance mood. Use a vegetable peeler to remove thin strips.
I also like to add pink Himalayan salt to the sea salt for its gentle properties of love and peace.
Take a moment to hold and connect with each ingredient, calling for the energy you wish to incorporate into your spell, before adding it to the water. Stir widdershins (clockwise) three times after adding each ingredient. Remove from heat and let cool.
When completely cooled, add a tablespoon or more of any clear alcohol to help preserve your elixir, but not so much to overpower the scent. I like to use gin for this potion, because it’s distilled from juniper berries – another powerful botanical in magical cleansing. Pour the elixir into a spray bottle and label.
Rosemary Cleansing Ritual
Clean your home and set the stage for the energy you wish to carry through the coming year. Clear the clutter, bring in fresh flowers, fill a bowl with fresh fruit, create a home altar in a central location that incorporates elements of harmony and comfort. Light candles and play your favorite music. Place a piece of selenite or quartz crystal in a window where it catches and amplifies the sunlight (even on an overcast day).
Starting at your front door, moving widdershins, spray your elixir in the same way you would smoke smudge your home, going into in every room. It’s good practice to open closet doors, dresser drawers, and other closed spaces. If you have more than one floor, start and the top and work your way down. If you also have a basement, clear that level before the main floor. Recite an incantation as you clear each room. Something like, “With sacred mist I clear this space, all negative energies are gone, with health, prosperity, and peace replaced, now and as time goes on.”
When you come back around to the front door, open it wide. Then open your back door to let the wind blow through. Say, “Wind blows, sun glows, water flows, earth grows, and spirit knows—by the power of the elements this space is renewed. Out with the old year and in with the new! So it is said, so it is done, so it shall be from now until this year is done.”
Let’s Make A Salty Dog
NO SENSE WASTING ANY EXTRA INGREDIENTS—LET’S MAKE A SALTY DOG
After cleaning and enchanting the house, a rest is well deserved. Sit back put your tired dogs (feet) up and enjoy this classic cocktail—or leave out the gin and add tonic instead, to make it a mocktail.
Cut one small wedge from the grapefruit, then juice the rest, rim a cocktail glass with the salt. Pink salt kicks it up a notch! Put ice in the glass, strain the grapefruit juice over the ice, add a splash (or two) of gin. Garnish with the grapefruit wedge and a sprig of rosemary. Cheers to the new year!
Join the Conversation on The Way of Witch Facebook Group
The Way of Witch Facebook Group is a different kind of witch group. Join us for more conversation about witchery as well as live events and group magick.