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What plants and herbs are attributed to Fire?

Michelle Gruben elements herbs

Herbs, spices and incenses with the energy of Fire are a powerful addition to your magick. Fire helps to cleanse and consecrate, banish and protect. Fire is also the element of confidence and fast action--a crucial ingredient in a lot of spellwork.

In writing about the elemental rulership of herbs, I've tried not just to make a list. I couldn't possibly list all the herbs on the planet, anyway.  Instead, I wanted to consider what traits cause a plant to belong to one category or another. (This article is the third in a four-part series: Also read about the herbal correspondences for Earth, Air, and Water.)

Correspondences are always up for debate, and many plants have more than one elemental influence. Still, understanding them can help you choose the right herb for a particular working. Here are some common attributes of Fiery herbs and incenses:

Corresponds to Mars or the Sun.

Two astrological powerhouses are ruled by Fire: The planet Mars embodies the pugnacious, invigorating aspects of Fire, while the Sun expresses its life-giving heat and light. Martial and Solar herbs will generally also be attributed to the Fire element.

Thrives in summertime or full sunlight. (Rosemary, Copal, Palm, Sunflower)

Sun-loving, tropical, and desert plants often get lumped into the Fire category. If a plant can stand scorching sunlight and drought, the thinking goes, it must be akin to fire. (But water-rich succulents, such as Cactus, can be attributed to Water as well.)

Spicy and/or strong-smelling. (Cinnamon, Chili, Pepper, Cloves, Ginger, Wormwood, Asfoetida)

Fiery herbs often have assertive odors. They can range from the pleasantly piquant to the downright noxious. Fiery spices are often used in spells for banishing, protection, and exorcism. (Oil of Abramelin and Hot Foot powder are two well-known concoctions that use spicy ingredients to keep nasties under control.) Spicy plants and herbs are also used to "heat up" or hasten the results of a spell.

Resembles fire or the sun. (Marigold, Amaranth, Snapdragon, Dragon's Blood, Calendula, Sagebrush)

Plants that are red, gold, or orange--or that bear a physical resemblance to flame—are often Fiery. So are plants associated with the lord of Fire, the Dragon. Carrots and Oranges are sometimes placed here, too—although I consider them more Earthy and Watery, respectively.

Stings or irritates the skin. (Stinging Nettle, Holly, Cedar, Mace)

Yes, the "get back" energy of Fire is present in plants that poke, burn or sting. Plants with spines and needles are considered Fiery, as are plants with acids or essential oils that irritate the skin. (Some folks include Citrus in this latter category.)  Like the old custom of planting brambles around the home to keep away trouble, stinging and burning plants are an age-old addition to warding spells.

Protective and holy herbs in general. (Angelica, Blessed Thistle, Basil, Cinquefoil, Wood Betony)

Some herbs without explicitly Fiery qualities are still attributed to Fire. These are herbs that are said in folklore to be especially favored by God, and to possess the fire of the Spirit. (Angelica is particularly associated with Fire through its link to the Archangel Michael.) Fiery herbs of this type are popular in amulets and protective charms. They are used to cleanse negative influences, convey blessings, and create a barrier against evil.

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