BY TRISTA EDWARDS
Lavender has always been my favorite herb. The serene, fresh, earthy smell calms me and the aroma aids in alleviating mental and emotional stress. It is the herb that is used in the celebration of summer and I sometimes think that having been born on the summer solstice that my connection with this particular plant runs deeper.
It is said to signify peace, healing, and sleep. It is ritualistically throw onto Midsummer bonfires in honor of the love goddesses. Some claim it invokes Hecate and Saturn. Lavender is thrown into fires on St. John’s Day to gain protection from ill-intended energy roving the land. It’s burning scent and smoke purifies the air and welcomes new life into the world. For this reason, it has been used as incense in birthing rooms throughout the ages. I seek to carry this internal harmony with me and within me throughout the year.
I have always been an intuitive, empathetic soul enamored by mystery, poetry, and symbolism but lately I have turned even more of my life over to esoteric pursuits—one of those being constructing herbal sachets meant to calm or protect or stimulate positivity.
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I do not make or carry these sachets to do the work for me nor do I believe they are the cure for negativity, violence, or illness of any kind. For me they serve as symbols to mediate on, reminders to focus and breathe so that I may carry out action. Especially now, in the country’s current political climate, real, constructive, and physical action is essential to combating hatred and fighting for civil rights. I do not intend or expect the herbs to carry the work that I must do. In many ways, constructing the sachets serve me in the same way tarot does—as a tool to gain perspective, a new way to see my story, and how situations in my life are operating.
If I am wanting to make a sachet filled with herbs that are meant to protect, I must ask myself what I am seeking protection from and why? If I want a sachet to stimulate positivity, what in my life is negative and how can that be changed? If I am seeking awareness, what is it that I feel like I am blind to and how can I see the situation more clearly? I mediate on these questions as I gather the herbs to make my sachet. As I carry the sachet with me or sleep with it under my pillow, I am reminded of these questions and the actions I must take.
The herbs and their pleasant aromas calm me and provide pleasure. The very presence of the fragrance grounds me. The existence of the scent reminds me of what I must tackle. Magick happens in the awareness of the problem, the focus, the performance of assembling the bag, the personal intent to change and subsequent action. Many misinterpret the idea of magick as relying on some supernatural object to provide power but that power is only your own willed action and intended change. The sachets, like any other tool, are only an aid in reaching a final product, of gaining perspective, a method in understanding and achieving. Plus…they smell divine.
Once I feel like I have made sufficient change and deem whatever issue I was dealing with as resolved, I empty the contents of the sachet out in nature. This ceremonious act signifies the absolution of the problem and I continue on my path. It is always my action, the action prompted by the herbs that gives me power. To me that will always be magick.
How to make your own sachets:
For each bag, (which can be found online or your local craft store) I add ½ tablespoon of each herb plus ½ tablespoon of sea salt and one small cinnamon stick for purification. If you are not lucky enough to grow or pick your own plants naturally, most herbs can been found in your local natural grocer or at online retailers like Mountain Rose Herbs. I also could not recommend more The Master Book of Herbalism by Paul Beyerl to learn more about the lore, remedial properties, and uses of herbs in conjunction with ritual, celebration, astrology, and tarot.
The herbs listed with each sachet all are associated with lore that signifies protection, positivity, and serenity. You may find other herbs that work for you. There is no way one to construct your sachet. You will know what’s right for you intended purpose.
Saint John’s Wort
Trista Edwards is poet, land mermaid, light witch, horror enthusiast, creatrix, traveler, feminist, and dog lover. She is also the curator and editor of the anthology, Till The Tide: An Anthology of Mermaid Poetry (Sundress Publications, 2015). She is currently working on her first full-length poetry collection but until then you can read her poems at The Journal, Mid-American Review, 32 Poems, Birmingham Poetry Review,The Boiler Journal, Sou’wester, Queen Mob's Tea House, and more. She writes about travel, ghosts, and poetry on her blog, Marvel + Moon (marvelandmoon.com).