A guest post shared by Magda.
From stew to sip, build magical energy with a steaming cup.
Tea is, in itself, a ritual. The choosing of the herbs. The preparation. The waiting. The culmination of taste as you feel warmth spread through your body on taking a sip. There is magic in a cup of tea, and it’s begging to have further magic worked into it.
Choosing a flavour
So many herbs have meanings. I wouldn’t want to limit you to any personal meanings you may already ascribe to herbs, particularly the way any herbs commonly brewed in tea might make you feel. Here are just a few suggestions.
Caffeine-based herbs and beans
Caffeine already has its own magic which I associate with action and focus, like the Tarot’s wands and swords combined. Drink deep, tired one, and become!
Mint has long been held in regard as a healing herb, so unless it’s unsafe for you to do so (or, you know, you just really hate the taste) you can generally associate it with healing. Then again, in Greek mythology, Hades made a wood nymph called Minthe smell so good that she would never be overlooked. With this in mind, you may want to use mint to work magic for increased social confidence.
Commonly viewed to have herbal properties aiding sleep and tranquillity, chamomile can be used to help soothe troubled waters of an internal or external nature. However, tea magic may work best for internal witchcraft centred on yourself, since you will take the tea into your body. Chamomile is also used as a skin cleanser, so you can sprinkle it into a spiritual bath or use its herbs to perform cleansing tea rituals, especially around the time of menstruation to work magic on those period cramps.
Like I said, these are just a few ideas. As a kitchen witch, you’ll build your own herbal collection and ascribe your own meanings to the herbs you work with.
Tea cup or sacred chalice?
What feels good to hold as you curl your hands around in anticipation of that first sacred sip? Do you prefer a mug or cup? What about the colour, for magical purposes?
When it comes to colour-work in rituals we can’t all afford a rainbow collection of mugs, but so many of us are drawn to particular vessels for our own individual reasons. Choosing your vessel becomes a magical act. A tea cup is like a weapon, but not a weapon. Rather, it’s a tool.
If you do choose to work with colour, consider acquiring a collection of coloured ribbons you can tie around any object you work with, from candles to stones (and, yes, tea cups). That way, it doesn’t matter what colour the cup or mug is. What matters is the colour you’ve infused it with through the application of your ribbon. If you use your ribbons regularly for different spells and items, you may wish to regularly perform cleansing rituals for them. Or not. You may instead prefer to let all that magic worked over time steep into their threads.
Alternatively, you may want to adorn your mug or cup with symbols using water-soluble pens. The symbols marked on your cup for ritual purposes can then be washed off to leave no trace. The ritual is a secret pact between you, the universe, and the cup.
Heating water takes time. Good! Sometimes the slow way is the best way. That time can be used to your advantage. Whether you use a kettle or the microwave, you have the time to recite an incantation demonstrating your magical purpose, thanking the herbs or inviting your pantheon to come and drink with you.
If you wish, you may – on this occasion – prefer to use a saucepan to heat your tea. This allows for stirring and a physical connection with the tea as it’s prepared. You can also consider whether you wish to stir deosil or widdershins. I will not tell you whether to work dark or light magic. But stirring will help to stir in your intent, whatever it might be.
Where will you drink this tea? Kneeling by your altar? In a magical circle with its quarters drawn? Outside with the wind on your face? It is up to you.
When you blow on the tea to cool it, you’re adding air to its water, even as it was heated by fire. You may wish to place a biscuit by its side to represent earth – there are so many ways to combine the elements into a witchwise tea ritual.
You may wish to allow the tea to cool sufficiently to kiss its surface, forming that first sacred connection with the magic you’ve brewed into these herbs.
As the warmth of the tea spreads through you, think on how beneficial your spellwork will be to the issue you have at hand, and how the magical energy of the tea is doing its work.
How much of this tea will you drink? I see 23 as a magical number, thanks to Robert Anton Wilson’s writings on how we apply patterns to seeming white noise and thus shape reality with our perceptions. I also see number 4 as a door. Numbers may hold meanings that are generally accepted by given systems or personal to you alone. You can choose to take as many sips of the tea as seems magically fitting, and leave the rest.
Closing the ritual
If you’ve left some of your tea, you can pour it on the soil as a libation or as a gift of thanks to the hidden world. This works especially well with herbal tea that is milk-free. Any coffee grounds used can be similarly offered to the soil (the plants will thank you for it).
You can also, if you wish, ground yourself with an earthy biscuit or oatcake or a dip of salt upon your tongue.
Curious for more on brewcrafting? Be sure to explore Alexis J Cunningfolk’s Tarot Herbology series.
About the author
Magda Knight is the founding editor of Mookychick.co.uk, an alternative lifestyle website with inclusive feminism and witchery at its core. Aside from an evergreen interest in sigil magic and psychogeography, she writes fiction for adults, young adults and changelings. Her work has appeared in the comic 2000AD and in anthologies including Derby Shorts, The End Was Not The End, and What Would Bill Hicks Say?.