Fully immersed in magick.
Often witches are defined by the type of magick they prefer or use most often. When considering the many possibilities related to magick and the many kinds of witchcraft out there, we quickly discover a vast-wondering labyrinth of opportunity. Herbal Magick is a great example. As a witch, herbs are my thing! I am not complete if I am not touching, smelling, or using them every day.
Herb Magick is one facet within the whole that is overflowing with potential. Which explains why the use of plants seems so deeply rooted in most forms of witchcraft. The art, craft, and spiritual practice of using herbs provides the magickal practitioner with diversity and functionality. Herbal Magick can stand alone or can be combined with many other types of magick; creating uniquely powerful spells tailored to the individual practitioner. The use of herbs has stood the test of time!
Since herbs and witchcraft go hand in hand, it is highly likely that you might find yourself drawn to the study and application of herbs. For me, it started with intense curiosity. I began reading about the various medicinal uses for herbs; then I discovered their energetic or magickal properties. At some point, this curiosity turned into a feverish passion! A passion I have made the center of my tradition. I and members of my coven discover how to grow, harvest, and use plants to help create powerful magick and effective medicine. At some point, I decided to earn two diplomas as a Master Herbalist. Even now, I continue to seek herbal knowledge and wisdom from a variety of sources. This is a life-long pursuit I am excited to undertake.
My path of discovery first started with the practical exploration of herbs. This is how I discovered the flexibility tea can have as medicine and in magick. Not only can you drink tea, but you can also use teas as a base in elixirs, compresses, salves, lotions, in divination, and MUCH MORE. When used in its most apparent form (as a beverage), Tea Magick can be anonymous. You can create magick with tea almost anywhere, and none would be the wiser. Think of it as your own little secret weapon that is not only portable, but discrete.
When you seek out the type of magick you plan to use most often, you will also find it critical that this magick must harmonize with your soul and energy. Perhaps Tea Magick is just what you need? If so, you are in the right place. Maybe you are not sure. Of course, you will never know if you don’t have some sort of perspective. This is where learning and sampling come into play. Let’s discover a little about what it means to be a Tea Witch and use Tea Magick.
Tea is one of the first medicines our ancestors devised. It was (and still is) soothing and straightforward. We have all heard the phrase, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Tea is no exception. Our ancestors needed relief. Relief from bites, stings, coughs, colds, pain… you name it. They also required medicines year-round. To serve their needs (and ours), they devised a method of gaining relief that is easy and effective. What better solution than TEA!
The process might be a little different for us than it was for our ancestors, but tea as a form of medicine has stood the test of time. Many of us get our tea from pre-packaged bags, instead of the whole herb form as nature intended. But the sensation of tea has not changed. There is something inherent within us when it comes to sipping tea. It seems to start from within as we take our first sip. There is an awareness that radiates outward as we drink for our health and wellness.
Ancient people would forage for the herbs and plants they needed to help them make teas. This usually meant they would use what was readily available near where they lived. Through the task of creating remedies, our ancestors took the time to understand each plant. They learned when and where it grew, what parts to use, how to preserve the plant, when it was ready for harvest, and how to keep it coming back each season. Through this practice, our ancestors had relief for what afflicted them, any time of the year.
I imagine a few wise folks began to commune with spirits that inhabit and guard the plants they wanted to use. Maybe they were lucky enough to ask the right questions or still enough to hear the spirit speak. However it panned out, these spirits chose to guide our ancestors and help them realize the potential of each seed, root, leaf, branch, flower, and stem. I also imagine this is where the magick of plants unfolded. The benefits were (and still are) deeply spiritual; helping the witch reach the root of afflictions. Our ancestors passed this information on to their sons, daughters, and grandchildren. It all began with the Old Wise-Women and Men practicing, testing, and implementing what they learned. From their curiosity, we are given a legacy of knowledge steeped in magick.
As I explored Herbal Magick and Tea Magick, the process of gathering herbs, connecting with the spirit of each plant, and brewing teas became my ritual. A sacred practice began to unfold filled with honor, dignity, and beauty. I began to appreciate Tea Magick as it moves beyond a few well-placed herbs steeped in hot water. The witch who takes on the skill of creating magick with plants must know the plants he or she will use. Often plants have more than one use. Knowing when and how to extract the right aspect for the job is critical for success. To do this, the witch must recognize the energy of each plant on an intimate level. With this knowledge the witch can then blend effective teas; effective well beyond any physical application. From the beginning, Tea Magick is a mindful process that immerses the user fully into the experience of magick.
For those of you who might be new at this, magick is meant to be experienced. For us old-timers, this is a nice reminder. Magick is interactive and requires our full attention. You can’t dabble in magick with the expectation of manifesting great results that last. This is true for all forms of magick, and in my experience, it is incredibly relevant in Herbal Magick. Tea Magick is no exception. When we create magick using plants and tea, we must learn to entirely and un-apologetically plunge ourselves into the essence of nature.
With our eyes, we take in the colors and textures of each plant. With our nose, we take in the fragrance. With our ears, we listen to the water boiling and tea pouring. With our spirit, we read the energy of each stem, root, bark, seed, and leaf. With our hands, we feel the texture of each ingredient. With our mouth, we take in the flavor as we fully embody the essence of the brew. Through mind, body & spirit a Tea Witch will understand the magick he or she creates. The entire process is a magickal and spiritual experience. Tea Magick begins before the tea is ever brewed and continues well after the tea is consumed. Even when it might seem all too casual to an unaware on-looker, we transcend from the physical to the ethereal with each sip.
The magick of tea is about slowing down. It is about taking time to experience and fully connect to the energy you summon to your aid. Tea Magick, like most magickal styles, is about becoming the master of your mind and the commander of your energy. The beautiful thing about Tea Magick is that you get to embody your work, making you an articulated vessel for change and manifestation. You also get to choose the flavor or temperament of this energy. Will it be fruity, floral, or earthy? Will it be sweet or tart? You decide because you have dominion. To get here you must go deeper. You must get to the core of your practice to understand and connect with the often-subtle essences of each ingredient.
Naturally, Tea Magick begins with the plants you choose and the relationships or bonds you create with each of your ingredients. This is why many witches prefer to grow their own plants. Making a genuine connection with your ingredients is part of what makes your brews influential and your spells successful. However, growing your components is not always practical, and it certainly is not necessary. Once a witch understands how to make a connection with his or her ingredients, he or she can easily establish this connection with just about any plant from most reputable sources. Through generating deep connections with your ingredients, you will create brews where each sip resonates with your intention. Check out this other article for a little more on Magickal Herbalism.
Additionally, the Tea Witch must pay close attention to the blending process. Blending the right tea for magick (and even enjoyment) requires you to apply the knowledge you gain through experimenting and connecting with your ingredients. In my studies to become a Master Herbalist, I was taught a formula for blending herbs. This formula is approximately 75-80% of the primary or base ingredient and 20-25% of the sustaining, complementary, and supporting plants/herbs. After some time and practice, I discovered that this formula became un-necessary. The more I worked with my ingredients; I found an intuition began to develop. Eventually, I developed the ability to read or sense the energy of my ingredients, allowing me to use them more effectively. I no longer had the need to measure and calculate ratios meticulously. The plants guided me. It was at this point that I realize I was a Tea Witch.
When you can blend and brew teas that are effective and flavorful without spending too much time fussing, researching, and calculating you have hit a milestone. When you have learned to read each ingredient and apply it successfully, you have suddenly walked over the threshold from student to master. Effective effortlessness is how we know when we are adept in our skill. Magick and potency come from the heart. It does not come from a predefined plan, formula, blog, book, workshop, or lecture. Yes. Through the implementation of knowledge, we gain expertise, but it is only when the spirit is allowed to lead that we gain true mastery. I can teach you how to act like a Tea Witch, but I cannot teach you to embody the true essence, which makes you a Tea Witch. It is already within you; you only need to find the right trigger that will allow your mastery to bubble to the surface.
Once you blend your herbs, you then need to brew them. This is where ritual plays a wonderful role. The process of harvesting, drying, blending your herbs is already a sacred ceremony, but that doesn’t have to be the end of it. If you ask me, there is always room for more sacred expression and even a little whimsy.
Creating meaningful ceremonies around brewing your tea is an invigorating and joyful act. Imagination is a critical element when it comes to magick. Our imagination (not to be confused with fantasy) helps us perceive the energies of our conjuring without the confines of modern cultural ideals and imposed inhibitions. Within a sacred circle, we are free to observe and dream without fear of judgment or condemnation. To me, this is why it is crucial to make the ritual environment pleasing to the eye and joyful to the soul. This is when the act of blending, brewing, and sipping your magickal tea can become a meaningful ceremony.
Aesthetics in ritual helps us transition from the mundane into a spiritual mindset. This trigger helps the subconscious know the time and place, is here and now. As you prepare your space for magick with tea, take time to decorate it. Layer some cloth over the table, place a few flowers, statues, and stones around at your pleasure. Light a candle (or several). Hang lanterns and garland if you like. Make yourself comfortable with pillows and cushions. This is your time. It is about you taking it all in as you conjure the energies necessary to manifest your needs and desires. As you boil the water and brew your tea, take time to enjoy the atmosphere you create. Take time to marvel in the magickal act of science and the wonder of metaphysics as they meld and become one. Take time to enjoy how the water changes color as it is transformed into something beneficial to your whole self; mind, body, and spirit.
This is tea magick. This is how we transmute the intangible into reality. Tea magick teaches us to take our time and to make the experience meaningful. It beckons us to dig deeper as we learn to trust our higher self and the energy we employ for our work.
Leandra is a Usui Reiki Master and Master Herbalist. She spends time educating Witches & Pagans through her blog, books, lectures, and workshops. She focuses on the use of herbs for a variety of magickal and spiritual purposes. This shows up in her use of herbs in tea rituals, and in the structure of her coven, the Indigo Hearth. Click HERE to learn more about the Indigo Hearth Coven.
Leandra owns The Witchwood Teahouse where she blends and sells some of her unique organic loose-leaf teas.