Warm and uplift your spirit this Winter Solstice season with these fragrant magical botanicals.
At Yule, we celebrate both darkness and light. Just as we experience the longest (and possibly coldest) night of the year, the sun is reborn.
Yule season is a sacred time when we honor both the quiet, fertile womb of creation and the bright, hopeful spark of expansion and light.
Here are some aromatic herbs to inspire, relax, and renew during this uniquely magical time of year, along with ideas for how you can employ them for enjoyment, healing, and magic.
WARNING: be very careful with essential oils. Be sure you are aware of all safety information for any oil you use.
A single herb that somehow smells like a combination of wintery dessert spices, allspice is used in aromatherapy to mitigate depression and lift the spirits. Instead of diffusing the essential oil (which can be irritating), simply visit your spice cabinet, open your allspice, and take a whiff.
In Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham writes, “Allspice is burned as incense to attract money or luck, and is also added to such mixtures. Allspice is also used to promote healing.”
Try adding a pinch to this apple pie martini for a delicious attraction potion to enjoy with your partner.
In aromatherapy, cardamom helps with burnout. In Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, Gabriel Mojay writes that cardamom is a helpful remedy “for poor concentration, overthinking, and worry – especially where there is a degree of nervous exhaustion. When burdened and weight-down by worries, [or] by responsibilities that test our endurance, the oil relaxes us, yet firms our resolve…Whenever we feel deprived of opportunity or generosity, and fear that we may be denied fulfillment, cardamom oil reminds us of life’s true abundance, and restores our desire for contentment.”
Make cinnamon rolls or add a pinch of cinnamon to your coffee on Winter Solstice to celebrate the rebirth of the sun and to align with its positive, prosperous, activating energy.
Like cinnamon incense, clove incense raises vibrations and purifies the space. Clove incense possesses the additional benefits of protection, banishing gossip, and exorcism (i.e. getting rid of stuck or unhappy ghosts).
In Aromatherapy for Everyone, authors PJ Pierson and Mary Shipley recommend adding 2-3 drops of clove essential oil to a diffuser to fight against airborne bacteria. They recommend doing the same to help with “asthma, bronchitis, chest infections, and other respiratory problems.”
Carry whole cloves to promote courage and confidence and to help speed the healing of a grieving or broken heart. Or gently roll one around in your mouth for a minute to sweeten your breath.
In Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, Gabriel Mojay states that frankincense has been “Dedicated through the ages to a variety of solar deities – the Babylonian sun god Bael, the Egyptian god Ra and the Greek Apollo.” He goes on to say that “frankincense contains the power to focus our spiritual consciousness, and imbue a potential of spiritual awareness.”
Similarly, in Magical Aromatherapy, Scott Cunningham writes, “Frankincense has 3,000 years of continuous magical and religious usage. To produce a heightened awareness of the spiritual realms [that] lie hidden within the physical, or to deepen any religious experience, inhale the odor of this essential oil.” For the same purpose, try burning frankincense incense. (I highly recommend this one.)
Nutmeg is a health, wealth, and luck drawing botanical. A single nutmeg can be carried as an all-purpose good luck charm. Sprinkle a tiny pinch of ground nutmeg under a red, green, or gold votive candle and light it to draw wealth. Or you can add a pinch to some vegan egg nog for a delicious abundance and luck potion.
Inhaling the scent of nutmeg can support any magical work because it brightens your aura, strengthens your personal energy, and boosts your intuition. You can also diffuse the essential oil to support digestion.
I went for a hike in the snow the other day and I actually felt like I was inside a peppermint. Peppermint’s cool and refreshing flavor is strangely similar to the exhilaration of a snowy day. The peppermint/winter association is further strengthened by sense memories of the countless candy canes of Christmas past.
According to Magical Aromatherapy, “As long ago as the time of the Roman writer Pliny, the scent of peppermint was used to rouse the conscious mind…The aroma of peppermint is also useful for self-purification rituals. Inhale with visualization. To purify a room or an entire building, gather fresh bunches of herbs and place in jars of water at various intervals.”
Traditionally, the scent of peppermint has been used to bring joy and to stimulate prophetic dreams.
You might also try simply eating a peppermint or candy cane with the intention to clear your aura and energize your mind.
The sweetly resinous scent of pine, so aligned with Yule season, helps open the heart and revitalize the spirit. Its evergreen nature helps us feel awake, inspired, and alive even during the coldest days and darkest nights. As author Gabriel Mojay puts it, the scent of pine “disperses melancholy and counteracts pessimism, working to reawaken our instinctive connection to life.”
Decorating with pine during Yule season promotes joy and helps prevent negativity from entering or dwelling within a space. Pine incense can be employed to purify spaces, objects, and people. And, you can add pine needles to your bath for spiritual purification. Pine also promotes health and magnetizes wealth.
Additionally, you can diffuse or inhale the scent of pine essential oil for any of these spiritual and magical purposes.
Does anyone else smell rosemary and think magic? You can actually feel it focusing your mind and boosting your energy field. That’s why inhaling the scent of rosemary before a spell or ritual will help increase your magic’s effectiveness.
Rosemary is used in magic for love, protection, purification, memory, and mental focus. It’s said that placing a sprig in your bedroom can help prevent nightmares. Inhale the scent of rosemary (by lightly crushing a leaf between your fingers or diffusing the essential oil) to disperse depression, boost your confidence, and lift your mood. Diffusing the essential oil is also said to help strengthen physical immunity.
Tie fresh rosemary into a small bundle and hang it on or above your door to call health, wealth, and happiness into your home.
Sage is an herb of wisdom, prosperity, purification, protection, longevity, and healing. As pretty much everyone knows by now, it can be tied into a bundle, dried, and burned like incense to purify people, places, and things. (Be sure to carry a dish or plate beneath it to catch any burning embers.)
Authors Mary Shipley and PJ Pierson using sage to promote “a sense of balance and calmness after trauma,” by using “2-3 drops [of the essential oil] nightly until a sense of balance is restored.” They also recommend diffusing the oil to strengthen memory, alleviate menopausal discomfort, and aid respiratory problems.
There’s something about the impossible brightness of a tangerine that always makes my heart smile.
While oranges are more of a traditional citrus stocking stuffer, I always got a good number of tangerines in my stocking as a child. (Was it just me?) At any rate, both oranges and tangerines are winter fruits that are aligned with solar energy, making them ideal botanicals for the Winter Solstice.
Try empowering a tangerine in sunlight for a minute or two and eat it to internalize happiness, energy, prosperity, and joy.
Did this post give you any magical ideas for Yule? Or do you have any of your own wintery aromatherapy practices to share? Please speak up in the comments below!