Once again it's that time of year when it's impossible to go anywhere and not see an enormous display of this year's seeds: colorful packets upon packets of flowers, veggies and herbs. While I grow a few herbs out in my gardens with my flowers, it's been a few years since I've had an indoor windowsill herb garden of my very own. This is because I have a cat who is incapable of leaving well enough alone and while I love my cat, I miss having within my kitchen the scent of fresh herbs and clean soil.
Here is a list (and it's by no means comprehensive) of some of the more commonly used herbs. I've chosen only those herbs that grow well in small pots, are safe for children or pets who are curious, hungry or destructive just for the sake of being destructive, are used for magickal purposes and also can double for cooking (or brewed as teas) as well. While there are others that top most folks' lists, they're roots, flowers, or poisonous if ingested. Some are simply far too large for a little indoor garden.
Rosemary. If you grow nothing else, grow rosemary for it's the Queen Mother of magickal herbs and is very powerful. It cleanses and purifies, works well in healing and love spells, increases mental and psychic powers and tastes delicious in dishes. Dried, crushed rosemary is the perfect simple incense for burning in ritual and is a perfect substitute for frankincense, an ingredient used in a lot of spells.
Basil. Basil is great for love divinations, wealth spells, exorcising evils spirits and negative energies, purification spells and luck.
Catnip. Catnip is a powerful component in love and beauty spells and when hung in your home attracts good luck as well as positive energy and gentle spirits. Grow as an offering to your familiar or family pet and maybe kitty will stay away from all your other herbs! It's believed that when you give your cat catnip you will forge a psychic bond between the two of you that can't be broken.
Dill. A protective herb that is also powerful in money spells, as well as love and lust divination.
Fennel. Fennel confers protection, purification and works well in healing spells.
Lavender. Lavender is an incredibly versatile herb used in protection and purification spells, longevity work, healing spells, and brings peace, calm and happiness to the home it's grown in and all the inhabitants within. If you wish, lavender will help you to see ghosts. It can be used in more mundane ways as well, such as in sachets, pillows and poppets.
Mints. Mint is used in protection spells, for travel safety, to exorcise evil spirits, in money spells and to heal. Peppermint heals headaches and encourages sleep. Spearmint is best for upper respiratory ailments and to sharpen mental powers. Wintergreen removes hexes and curses and when placed on your altar will aid your magick.
Thyme. Burn thyme as a simple ground incense to attract good health. Use it for healing spells, sound sleep, to increase psychic powers, and to give you courage and energy. The ancient Greeks burned thyme in their temples to purify both the building and its occupants prior to ritual and you can do the same. Thyme is a wonderful cleansing herb.
You might have noticed that sage is not on this list. That's because it is unlucky to plant your own sage. If you can't get someone else to plant and tend it for you, leave it be and buy what you need as you need it or else you risk very bad luck befalling you and your loved ones. If you do choose to grow sage yourself, be sure to grow another plant in the pot or plot with it as a full bed of sage also brings ill luck. When handled properly, sage can be used in spells to make your wishes come true, for wisdom, longevity and immortality.
Photo courtesy of dogeared on flickr.