Our kitchen witch Silja shows you how to tap into the magical properties of your favourite herbs, looking at the magical sage this month
The ancient Romans used sage to help digestion, and burned dried sage in sick rooms as it was believed to aid healing magically and bring forth healing spirits. Charlemagne so strongly believed in this healing herb that in 812 CE, he decreed that every farm must grow some sage. He said: “Any healer with sage growing in his or her garden has an elixir of good health right outside the door.”
In the Middle Ages, three sage leaves eaten at dawn were said to keep evil spirits away, and for a long time, travellers carried the herb to attract good luck and dispel the bad or negative. There is an old Arab saying to the effect of ‘if your sage grows well, you will live a long time’. Both the Aztecs and Native Americans called it the running herb, and ate some before going hunting for good luck and to ask the spirits not to get injured. Sage is a hardy herb that will survive the winter in your garden or even a sheltered pot outside. If the winter is mild, you can even harvest through the year, or use it as a border for a beautiful garden path!
Useful spells and magic with sage
1 Gargle with sage tea or add a handful of dried sage to a bath to promote wellbeing during the coming cold season. As you drink the tea, or submerge yourself in the water, chant: “Well-being and happiness bring me, sage! No injury or dis-ease shall rage!”
2 Smudge your home by lighting a tight bundle of dried sage, then put out the flames and let it smoulder, creating a fragrant smoke. Walk around your home counter-clockwise, letting the smoke waft everywhere and paying particular attention to corners and windows. As you do so, visualise any negativity, bad spirits and gossip being caught up in the smoke and disappearing.
3 Before you are travelling, hold a sprig of sage (dried is fine), and hold it up to the sky. Affirm the following: “Moon Goddess, keep me safe through trusting my instincts. Sun God, give me strength and perseverance for this journey.” Then hold the sage over your heart and say: “As above, so below – as I will it, so mote it be!” and carry a sprig of sage in your luggage or in your clothes for good luck.
4 If you have elderly relatives or neighbours, honour them by making a dish with sage in it and invite them to dinner. They may share nuggets of wisdom to share that may help you in life!
Sage is a potent healing herb. Its name comes from the Latin “salvere”, meaning “to be saved” – and for good reason! It can help not only magically, but also medicinally in tea, tinctures or baths to ease sore throats, inflammation, for use as an anti-antiperspirant, and helps with menopausal symptoms, too. Washing grey hair with sage can make the hair darker and more vibrant!
Did you know?
Sage is unusual in that the larger, older leaves are more flavourful than the young ones. This not only makes harvesting easier, but in witchcraft, is also a symbol of wisdom and strength.