Bayberry is a shrub in the Myrtle family, also known as Wax Myrtle. It is native to North America and was harvested by Choctaws, Mohegans, and also by white settlers as early as the 1600s. Every part of the Bayberry plant serves some medicinal, magickal, or household purpose. Wax extracted from the berries was used to make soap and candles in place of animal tallow. The leaves are aromatic (similar to the unrelated kitchen herb Bay), and the roots can be harvested and dried for use as a natural antibiotic. It is also unrelated to Chinese Bayberry, an Asian species that bears red, lychee-like fruit.
As a New World herb, Bayberry doesn’t appear in magick spells based on medieval grimoires or traditional British Witchcraft. Rather, the plant’s benefits are expressed in American folk magick and Hoodoo.
Bayberry grows wild in marshes and thickets on the Atlantic Coast, and is sometimes cultivated as a hardy ornamental. In stores, you’re most likely to find Bayberry in dried or oil form. Chopped and powdered Bayberry root is available from herbal suppliers. The spicy, fir-like aroma of Bayberry oil makes it a popular choice for holiday soaps and candles.
Bayberry wax (or Myrtle wax) is harder to find, but is sometimes marketed as a vegan substitute for beeswax. It has an earthy, resinous fragrance and a dull green color. If you can find (or make!) Bayberry wax, it makes excellent candles for spellwork. A green or white candle anointed with Bayberry oil is a suitable substitute for a Bayberry wax candle.
Magickal Uses of Bayberry
Bayberry is associated with house blessing, good fortune, wishes, luck and money-drawing spells. Bayberry gained its reputation as a household helper in colonial times, and there is still a strong domestic flavor to Bayberry magick. While other money herbs may target the realm of business, Bayberry is all about bringing cash into the home coffers. It is most effective when harnessing money you are owed/expecting: Reaping an investment, expediting a raise or bonus, or encouraging the repayment of a loan. Bayberry is also a “shopper’s charm”—that is, it can help you bounce back from the pain of overspending. (Especially around the holidays, or when your spending is motivated by generosity.)
Bayberry oil and Bayberry-scented candles are the go-to tools for money-drawing magick. If you prefer to work with the dried root, it can be carried, scattered, burned in incense, or infused in baths and floor washes.
Correspondences of Bayberry
Bayberry’s association with good fortune and prosperity place it firmly under the dominion of Jupiter. Like many other Jupiter herbs, Bayberry proliferates in the wild and can grow to enormous proportions if not pruned back.
Bayberry has a woodsy, balsamic aroma, a plain appearance, and it brings material comfort to hearth and home. The elemental correspondence is Earth.
Spells and Formulas with Bayberry
A New England tradition involves burning a Bayberry candle on dark winter nights to bring prosperity at New Year’s. The old saying goes, “A bayberry candle burned to the socket brings joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.” Give Bayberry candles as Yule gifts to pass the blessings on to friends.
If you have access to fresh boughs, bring them indoors at Yuletide for extra luck. (The leaves release their fragrance when rubbed.)
Sprinkle Bayberry root around a burning candle to enhance money-drawing magick. Carry a piece of the root in your wallet next to your cash to ensure that your money will return to you.
When moving into a new home, dress a white candle with Bayberry oil and burn it on your hearth. The ritual is said to keep evil away and invite good fortune.
A few drops of Bayberry oil added to a floor wash will keep prosperity flowing through the house.
Men can wear Bayberry oil to attract a partner and boost their powers of persuasion.
There are no known hazards from Bayberry if not taken internally. The bark can cause gastrointestinal problems if ingested in large quantities.
Scent Profile: Woodsy, Spicy, Sweet
Correspondences: Earth, Jupiter
Occult properties of herbs are provided for historical interest only, and no outcome is guaranteed. Nothing on this website should be taken as medical or legal advice. Please use herbs responsibly.