The Spirit of Lavender




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Lavender has been used since antiquity for its aromatic and magical properties. Lavandula angustifolia (formerly Lavandula officinalis) is native to the Old World, growing in a wide belt from the Mediterranean lands to India. It has been used as a perfume, as a culinary herb, and as a medicinal plant. In fact, it was the effectiveness of lavender oil in treating inflammation from cuts and burns that helped spark the modern practices of aromatherapy and the therapeutic use of essential oils.

For magical purposes, I encourage you grow your own lavender. The plants are easy to grow in a wide range of conditions, preferring lots of sun and soil that is slightly on the dry side and well drained. Purchase young plants at your local nursery in the spring. (Lavender is difficult to grow from seed.) Although lavender is a perennial, the varieties from warmer areas (such as France and Spain) do not overwinter reliably in many areas. English lavender, especially large, established plants, can be expected to survive winters in New Mexico without special fuss. The plants make a beautiful addition to the garden, with their silvery leaves and purple flower spikes. Some nurseries have a range of different varieties for sale, which vary in plant habit, flower color, height, and other qualities.

Magically, lavender is associated strongly with love and healing energies. It is ruled by Mercury, and its associated element is air. I use lavender to promote harmony, friendship, and light, easy, happy feelings between people, animals, and spirits. The sense of lightness and easy conversation also makes lavender useful for enhancing clarity of thinking.

Lavender features prominently in my favorite house blessing ritual. I use dragonsblood around the walls, doors, and windows for protection, but then burn lavender in the center of each room to fill each space with loving, happy energy.

We made lavender bread for our wedding, not realizing that this is actually a tradition in some localities.

You can visualize the spirit of lavender as a beautiful fairy or sprite, playing a harp or lute, dispelling troubles and worries and providing gentle music to sweeten the conversations between lovers or friends.

The essence of lavender is strongest in the flower buds, although the leaves carry it too. The most direct way to use the buds is to dry them and burn them as incense while you cast a spell or perform a ritual. You can also make an infusion by letting the buds soak in a neutral oil for a few days. To make the infusion stronger, keep the oil and replace the used buds with fresh ones. You can also buy lavender essential oil, and use it straight or mixed with a carrier oil for dressing candles, blessing magical tools, or anointing yourself for purification, healing, or to bring more harmony into your relationships.

Lavender also bestows its magical properties when used in food or drink. Lavender sugar is quite nice, and can be made simply by keeping some sprigs of lavender in the sugar bowl for a few days. The flower buds can be used whole in breads or cakes, or added to sauces.

The spirit of lavender has many blessings to share with us. No home or garden should be without her.

Earth Powers is a regular feature of Starweaver's Gems from Earth and Sky

Copyright © 2007 Tom Waters