Halloween’s origin comes from an ancient belief that this time of year the barrier between the living and the dead is blurred. Between Oct 31st and Nov 1st, historically people would turn to herbs and charms to protect themselves and their loved ones.
From its roots in Samhaim, celebrated by the Celts in 2,000 BC, all the way to today, the lore of a spooky night when witches, goblins, demons and the dead roam has been passed through the centuries. As has the tradition of protective herbs.
This Halloween, observe ancient rituals, and place some elder branches at your front door - or alternately, simply, brew yourself some chamomile tea in honor of the holiday. Read on to learn why!
Artemesia/Mugwort: Hung in doorways and from rafters to protect inhabitants from devils and witches. Also widely used by travelers to protect against evil spirits. Mugwort is also associated with divination and dreaming.
Sage: A key ingredient in healing amulets, and long associated with wisdom, purification, and protection. This herb appears in many spells as a purifying ingredient.
Garlic: Used as a protection against evil spirits, most famously vampires.
Elder: Witches were thought to ride elder branches as magic horses, and if someone wanted to see witches and fairies, they simply needed to bathe their eyes with green elder juice. Hanging elder branches outside the front door will keep evil spirits from entering (it’s considered unlucky to have them inside your home).
Mistletoe: Mistletoe guaranteed protection against witches. When placed in a baby’s cradle, it would protect them from being stole by fairies.
Rosemary – Used for blessings and purification, as well as a charm against witchcraft.
It is said that burning rosemary while meditating helps one remember past lives.
Chamomile – Sprinkling around the home to help prevent magical attacks. Also considered a ‘Lucky Flower’.
St. John’s Wort – Used to banish evil spirits and bad luck, and worn for protection around the neck. St. John’s Wort was often added to travelers’ amulets.
Rue - Associated with cleaning to make one holy, and untouchable by evil spirits.