This post was originally published on the Seagrape Apothecary Blog.
When I think about all the magical tools that support me through the dark season, the most potent ally I can think of is chamomile. A common herb often found in calming tea blends, chamomile is an ideal herb for witches because it is gentle yet powerful. Yes, the tea can certainly be very helpful for anxiety and insomnia, but on a magical level, there is so much more to it.
Chamomile is an herb of the sun. It’s gentle warmth is akin to the sunlight at dawn, or a gentle flame, rather than a raging fire. Magically speaking, chamomile is a guiding light. It has been a popular ingredient in folk magic and spells for centuries, because it nurtures and protects, while also amplifying magical energy and psychic abilities. Paradoxically, because of its association with the sun, it increases vital energy, but because it is also associated with the element of water, it can aid in dreamwork and other intuitive practices.
Chamomile is, according to herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, “a healing wonder” (A Beginner’s Guide To Medicinal Herbs ). Used as a treatment for a variety of health issues since ancient times, it also has strong healing associations, which is yet another reason to work with it during cold and flu season (not to mention during the Covid-19 pandemic). That’s not to say that it can necessarily cure or heal any of these things, but when it is incorporated into a spiritual practice, it has the powerful ability to support us on the physical, mental, and spiritual level.
Paul Beyerl writes about Chamomile in The Master Book of Herbalism: “It is found throughout ancient Egyptian medicine where it was dedicated to the Sun god for its curing powers. Much of its lore comes from the position it holds in the garden, for it brings health to the other plants in the gardens and is said to cure nearly any plant that it grows next to” (80).
I started working closely with chamomile when I realized that on a spirit level, it is deeply nurturing and supportive. It was literally begging me to work with it, and once I made conscious efforts to bring it into my daily life, I realized just how powerful it can be. I always keep some close to me, whether it be in a sachet in my pocket, in a dish by my bedside, or in an essential oil blend I apply to my throat before a long day at work.
So, what is the best way to start working with chamomile? When you first decide to form a relationship with any herb, it’s a good idea to do a meditation with it. Chamomile is ideal for tea meditation. Here’s how to do it: As you sip, breathe, and close your eyes. Say hello, either silently or aloud. Then, imagine if the chamomile started talking to you, drifting up through the steam to whisper messages in your ear, what would it say? Do you notice any phrases, images, colors, or feelings coming to you? These things will tell you a lot about the spirit of the plant. Write down any observations in a journal, and do your best not to edit. Just write down anything that comes into your mind.
After you’ve done your meditation, here are some other ways to develop a relationship with chamomile:
- Grow it. One of the best ways to form a relationship with a plant is to care for it and literally help it to exist in the world.
- Place it around your house in sachets, bowls, or jars. I keep a little dish of chamomile next to my bed, and I run my fingers through it every night, waking it up between my fingers and asking it to protect me during sleep.
- Bake with it. Chamomile adds a lovely aromatic quality to cookies, cakes, and breads.
- Take baths with it. Sprinkle some loose flowers in the water, or steep a tea bag in the hot water.
- Carry it around with you in a sachet.
- Burn a little as incense. Scott Cunningham says in his book Magical Herbalism that it “induces sleep if burned” (147).
- Use the oil or tea to anoint ritual objects like scrying mirrors.
- Wear the essential oil. Try dabbing a little on your solar plexus to increase your sense of personal power, on your third eye to increase psychic awareness, or any other part of your body that feels right.
- Wash thresholds and windows with chamomile tea to add magical protection to your home.
- Draw chamomile flowers in your journal or sketchbook.
Want to try some of Little Witchery’c chamomile-infused products? Head to our Etsy Shop to check out our:
- Sunshine In Winter Bath
- Little Witch’s Bedtime Blend
- Soothe Yourself Blend & Bath
- Inner Child Bath
- Dream Oracle Blend