Oct 13, 2009

Herbs of Samhain, a Brief List

As Samhain is the last of our harvest festivals herbs play an important role.

Here is a brief look at just a few of the sacred herbs of Halloween.

Acorns and the Oak Tree.

Acorns often adorn the sacred altar and are worn by the pagan males. They represent fertility in potential, a sleeping promise of fulfillment. The acorn is the male version of the female egg.

The oak tree itself has long been associated with the Druids; they held the oak sacred and held their meetings in blessed oak groves. Oak is the symbol of sacred kingship and the cycle of the Oak King and Holly King in Wiccan rituals represents the death and rebirth of the sacred king. Magic and ritual honoring the divine masculine is especially powerful when aided by the oak.


Apples represent healing, love and, most importantly at Samhain, immortality. This fruit also has a strong association with the underworld which one again brings us back to the cycle of the Oak King and Holly King. The name "Avalon" is believed to be derived from the old Irish word meaning "the place of apples." Apple, as a fruit of the underworld, sustain one when questing into the dark, secret places, including the realms of death.

Dittany of Crete

Dittany is used during Samhain to invoke those that have gone before to seek their comfort and wisdom. It is also used to connect with loved ones living a distance away. When tossed into a sacred fire dittany of crete will manifest these special people into our hearts to celebrate as if they were by our side.


Rosemary is worn in remembrance of those that have already passed through the Veil, letting the spirits know they live on inside our hearts. Rosemary also protected the wearer from malevolent spirits. The smoke from burning rosemary as incense will purify the sacred feast area. Old customs also tell of maidens sleeping with rosemary and a sixpence under their pillow to dream of their future husband on Samhain when the magical world is closest to our own.


The ancient Celtic peoples used rue as a defense against evil magic and negative spirits. This was especially important as the veil between the spirit and living world is so fine on Samhain. Bathing in the herb removes any hexes sent toward the bather. Burning rue opens up blocked energy and exorcises negative influences.


Mullein leaves are often carried for protection from angry spirits and to aid courage in the face of adversity. Small bunches of mullein can be placed in small sacks and hung over entryways of the home for the same purposes. Powdered mullein can be used as a substitute for graveyard dust. Sleeping with mullein under the pillow will help stave off nightmares. For Samhain, the use of mullein is often as spiritual candles. As the leaf of the mullein plant resembles a candle flame and the plant itself is fuzzy like cotton wick these make wonderful lights on such a feast day. One stalk of mullein is burned for each soul the caster wishes to remember and honor. They may be soaked in melted wax first or burned dried.

Samhain has a long a rich tradition in many areas of the Uk and Ireland. There are many more herbs and their lore to explore. I hope this short piece can inspire you to do just that


  1. WOW- I instinctively 'used' Mullein way back when. We had so much growing on the land that I took some and hung it up over the door (for 'decoration' in my mind). I was in a bad way with my partner at the time and just living seemed like it took everything I had. Shortly after hanging the Mullein, I was packing up and leaving that chapter of my life in the dust.

  2. A good post herbs.I found this website useful for Herb Gardening tips http://www.herbgardeningtoday.com. I think you guys will find it interesting too.

    Kim - Herb garden plants


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