In 2016, archeologists in southern Virginia unearthed a strange glass bottle full of railroad spikes, buried on the outskirts of what used to be a grand family home. While some looked at it as a strange storage option for giant nails, others knew it to be a protection spell cast around the time of the Civil War in the United States.
Witch’s bottles like these, along with other protective tools and talismans were common in early America, making their way to the States via folk magic traditions across Africa, Latin America, and Europe.
Since ancient times, people in different cultures around the world have created spells, practices, and energetic safeguards for themselves, loved ones, pets, and property. In fact, protection spells are probably some of the earliest and most-used around the globe.
But is protection magic necessary, or just a superstitious pastime that we can let go? And what exactly are we protecting ourselves from?
Personally, I believe we can still benefit from protection magic, especially when making strong energetic and emotional boundaries. And using specific herbs are an easy and accessible way to get started.
But before we dive into the energetics of each herb, their magical correspondences, and how to use them, let’s dig into the matter at hand: What exactly is protection magic?Life will always contain a duality of things: good and evil, hard and soft, cold and hot, death and rebirth. Protection magic isn’t about keeping bad things from happening to you for the rest of your life, or assuming that a pile of salt outside your door will keep illness or hardship away.
However, I have found that protection magic can help you surf the vibrations that life throws your way a little more easily. And, in some cases, guide the right energies toward you and unnecessary energies away from you, helping you to work more in tandem with exactly what’s meant for you at this time.
Protection magic may not keep all “bad” things from happening, but I found that it can do a lot of things:
- Energetically protect a space or container, concentrating only the necessary energy inside.
- Energetically protect you as you venture into charged or chaotic spaces or situations (even remotely, like on Zoom or over social media).
- Lighten anxiety or obsession with a potential future outcome, or create mental, emotional protection.
- Heal and strengthen relationships by giving you the boundaries you need to feel safe.
And what about physical protection? Can a medicine bag or consecrated stone ward off car accidents, disease, or injury?
Of course, there are thousands of spells for actual physical protection, whether for travel, for your car or home, or for a pet or another loved one. This one is up to you. I do spells like this all the time, but I can’t guarantee that they work for everyone because that’s just not how magic works. If you feel called to do a physical protection spell, I say go for it.
But if you find yourself obsessing over protection magic, or getting scared or superstitious, it may be time to step away for a bit.
Magic is never supposed to make you feel scared or in scarcity. This could look like making a protection talisman and freaking out when you leave it at home because you’re suddenly “unprotected.” A few more signs you might want to skip protection magic are:
- Finding yourself casting protection spells for loved ones all day instead of taking care of yourself.
- Constantly thinking that you’re cursed or constantly under psychic attack.
- Panicking if a spell didn’t go perfectly.
In the early days of the pandemic, I strategically placed piles of protective salt around my home, only to have the gardeners come the next day and blow it all away. This wasn’t a “sign” of any kind, it was just a silly mistake.
Magic, after all, should be fun.
When it comes to protection magic and the corresponding herbs, there are a few different categories to choose from. I suggest reading through each and exploring each herb before choosing which plant ally to work with.You’re exchanging energy with the people around you all the time. It’s natural and expected. But excess energy or unhealthy connections can make you feel confused, tired, angry, and just “off.
Personally, I think being energetically sensitive is a gift, and you shouldn’t have to sequester yourself from other people or large groups in order to stay centered and grounded. Instead, you can prepare yourself with some energetic protection.
These herbs can help foster strong energetic boundaries before or after you’re exposed to crowded spaces, before or after your work day, or when you know you’re about to be around an energetically challenging person. Remember — energetic connections don’t just form in person — it’s possible to create connections via Zoom, phone calls, and even social media.
Not to be confused with the sacred white sage of southwestern California and northern Baja California, common garden sage is an often-overlooked and highly accessible cleansing and protective herb.
Sage is traditionally used in cleansing ceremonies and is associated with good luck, wisdom, and a long life. Sage also helps to build emotional strength and can help to process grief and “stuck” emotions.
Garden sage is a simple, easy herb to grow or grab at your nearest grocery store. It’s rich in essential vitamins and minerals and makes a lovely, healing tea. You can, of course, always add to it soups, stews, salad dressings, and other dishes as well. Another option is to dry and burn it in a bundle or throw it on an open fire to cleanse and protect your space.
Another delicious culinary herb, rosemary is an amazing addition to any protection spell or ritual. It’s said to help remove feelings of anxiety and is great for cleansing or purifying the auric field after you’re exposed to dense or chaotic energy.
Rosemary bundles or bags under your pillow can help ward off unwanted energy and nightmares, or you can rub a bit of rosemary essential oil between your hands and place it on the back of the neck, wrists, and temples to keep your energy clear before bed (or before a big meeting!).
Rosemary oil is also said to help increase circulation and relieve aches and pains, and its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties makes it a great addition to teas, tinctures, and savory meals.
Rosemary grows prolifically and can usually be found in giant bushes in gardens or even in parks and medians around town. You can easily dry bundles of rosemary to hang around the house or burn in ritual. It also makes a lovely, aromatic tea or bath infusion.
Rose is best known as a heart-opening and healing plant, but it’s also great for energetic protection and boundary making. What better way to protect yourself than by nourishing your heart space? Rose has an incredibly high vibration, which can also help draw you out of a funk after being exposed to particularly dense or challenging energies.
Use rose petals in a healing, protective bath, infuse into massage oils, or simply add rose powder to filtered water to sip throughout the day.
Rose petals are high in certain polyphenols, antioxidants that work to protect your body from cell damage and inflammation.
Simple, sweet chamomile is one of the most potent herbs for relaxation, peace, and protection. Often seen in spells for abundance and luck, it’s also amazing for general energetic protection.
Plant chamomile around your home to ward off unwanted psychic energy, or use the dried herb in teas, ritual baths, and incense to prepare for a deeper meditation, You can also use it as a hand wash before ritual or even before diving into writing your memoir or knitting a sweater (anything where you’ll be using your hands).
Medicinally, chamomile is often used to relax and wind down at the end of the day. I also love it in ritual baths that can double as auric protection and luck-drawing.
MINT & PEPPERMINT
Another prolific herb, mint and peppermint have many uses in magic and healing. When it comes to protection, use it to protect a sacred space or circle, keeping out any unwanted energies. Mint repels and protects, so you can use it in dream pillows to protect against nightmares and envision the future. I also like to use it in protective charms and witch bottles as it can draw wealth and love as well as keeping out nasty vibes.
Medicinally, mint helps support digestion and can soothe migraines and headaches. As a bath or topical application, it’s great for relieving tension and sore muscles.
The most popular and accessible way to use mint is in tea, but you can also add to food, dry in bunches to keep around the home, or in a ritual bath.You don’t need protection from your emotions. Emotions, after all, are a guidepost — a series of energetic sensations that can offer you guidance and information. Once you’re willing to work with them, I believe your emotions can become your superpower.
So, these herbs won’t protect you from feeling things, but instead can help you process emotions to their core and integrate all of the lessons coming in. That can be especially helpful when dealing with trauma and anxious thought loops.
Eleuthero is an adaptogenic herb, helping to promote emotional and physical resilience, all while supporting a healthy stress response. In other words, this powerful herb can help with nervous system regulation and mind-body connection, even when you’re feeling your worst.
Calming and centering your mind and getting your system in balance is a magical practice in and of itself, helping you to focus and get into a vibration of creation, as opposed to constant reaction.
You can use Eleuthero as a tea, in tinctures, or as a powder to add to smoothies, or mixed into healthy snack recipes or chocolates.
Another herb that helps to rest and restore the nervous system, passionflower has a long history of promoting healthy sleep and general relaxation.
Magically speaking, it’s associated with sensual Venus, helping to bring a relaxed, harmonious energy to anyone who interacts with it.
Passionflower has a known sedative effect, but if you’re particularly anxious, I’ve noticed it can help relax and release tension or racing thoughts as opposed to putting you to sleep. So, feel free to try it throughout the day.
This nourishing nervine is energetically and physically associated with relaxation and peace, making it the perfect herb for processing big emotions. Historically, it’s been used in ritual baths to cleanse and calm the aura and protect from tension and stress.
Ancestors also burned the herb in ceremony to relieve any conflict between family, friends, or community members.
This is another beautiful herbal ally for restoring and nourishing the nervous system, and it pairs wonderfully with passionflower as an evening infusion. Skullcap can relax your entire system, reduce muscle spasms, and release mental, emotional, and physical tension.
Use as a tea or tincture, or add to a ritual protection bath.Making strong boundaries is a huge component of protection magic. Boundaries are also a huge challenge, especially for those of us with a history of trauma, codependency, or if you’re highly sensitive.
An important note: boundaries aren’t just for relationships that feel unhealthy. Even already wonderful relationships require boundaries, so all parties can feel like independent, whole versions of themselves.
This is a huge, nuanced topic, but boundaries always begin with doing inner worth on self-love, compassion, and worthiness. The more you get to know and love yourself, the more boundaries come naturally.
These herbs can help with all of that. And you can also call on Saturn, the ruler of all things boundaries and protection, for assistance and support.
This ancient herb is said to have originated more than a hundred million years before dinosaurs walked the earth! It thrives in wet, shady conditions, and will usually spread quickly.
It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties and contains more than 35% silica — an essential compound that strengthens connective tissue and is especially good for teeth, bones, hair, and skin.
Magically, it’s a wonderful herb for making and strengthening boundaries, protecting yourself and your home, and to use in protection bags and herbal bundles. You can also use it as a grounding energy or in spells or petitions to Saturn.
Comfrey is a highly magical and healing herb used historically to bind wounds, stop bleeding, and heal broken bones. Best for topical use, comfrey is incredibly soothing for the skin.
It’s also been used as a protective herb for centuries, mainly from theft, for safe travels, or to safeguard the home. You can also use comfrey in spellbags or when creating a sacred circle for spell or ritual work as it’s incredible for solidifying strong boundaries.
Another Saturnian herb for protection and boundary-setting, nettle is good for a number of medicinal and energetic applications.
Known best for its stinging leaves, nettle is a powerful herb for moving stagnation in the body, stimulating circulation, and providing a laundry list of essential nutrients. It’s perfect for anyone feeling particularly sluggish, depleted, or like they just need a boost of nutrients.
Magically, nettles help you to set boundaries from the inside-out (where arguably all boundaries should start.) Think of nettles as your ally in building an inner sanctuary that no one can penetrate unless you offer permission. Get your energy back and embrace your worthiness with a strong nettle tea infusion, tincture, or add some dried or fresh herbs to soups and stews.
- When to Invoke Protection Spells -
There are no real rules when it comes to spell timing. Some people like to use electional astrology to find the best days and time for magic, others will simply time their spells with the moon cycle, or perform a spell whenever they feel like it.
If you’re unsure when to use protection magic, here are a few options:
- Invoke protection after you’ve cleansed and cleared the energy of a space. You’ve gone to all the trouble of cleansing or purifying a space, now some protective measures are in order.
- At the beginning and, or ending of every day.
- Before or after a big social event or before being in a crowded space.
- Before travel.
- Before dropping your pet or children off at the sitter’s.
- Before a big meeting or family gathering.
- Before opening any social media app.
- Other Ways to Invoke Protection -
- Place a protective stone or crystal in or around the space
- Lay dried or fresh herbs, flowers, leaves, or bark on your altar or in a protective circle around your ritual space.
- Position or draw a pentagram or other protective symbol in or around the space.
- Sprinkle salt in a circle or place a bowl of salt at the four corners of your room.
- Place bowls of salt water in the four corners of the room, or sprinkle salt water in a circle around you
- String garlic cloves on top of doorways.
- Create a protection amulet or witch’s bottle with some crystals, spices, and some of the herbs from the list above.
This Article Was Written by,
Mallory Leone is a witch, healer, and mover of energy. She owns and operates Four Corners Studio, an online offering of magical education, apothecary tools, and unique 1:1 energy healings rooted in lineage techniques. She's also the host of The Real Magic Podcast and the creator of Magic Lab, a pathway to creating your own magical practice that works.