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Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Folk Names: Albahaca, American Dittany, “Our Herb,” St. Joseph’s Wort, Sweet Basil, Witches Herb, Njilika, Balanoi, Feslien

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Mars

Element: Fire

Deities: Vishnu, Erzulie

Powers: Love, Exorcism, Wealth, Flying, Protection

Magical Uses: The scent of fresh basil causes sympathy between two people, and this is why it is used to sooth tempers between lovers. It is added to love incenses and sachets, and the fresh leaves are rubbed agains the skin as a kind of natural love perfume. In Eastern Europe it was once thought that a young man would love any woman from whose hand he accepted a sprig of basil. 

Basil is also used in love divinations. Place two fresh basil leaves upon a live coal. If they lie where you put them and burn quickly to ashes, the marriage (or relationship) will be harmonious. If there is a certain amount of crackling the life of the pair will be disturbed by quarrels. If the leaves fly apart with fierce crackling the projected relationship is undesirable. 

Do you want to know if someone is chaste or promiscuous? Simply lay a sprig of fresh basil on their hand. It will immediately wither if that person is “light of love.”

Basil brings wealth to those who carry it in their pockets, and is used to attract customers to a place of business by placing some in the cash register or on the doorsill. 

Basil is strewn onto floors, because where it is, no evil can live. It is also used in exorcism incenses and in purification baths. Small amounts are sometimes placed in each room of the house to bring protection.

Witches were said to drink about ½ cup of basil juice before flying off into the air.

Basil given as a gift brings good luck to a new home.