I only pick leaves from plants if they are herbs or the plant is in my garden and needs trimming or cutting back other than that I only collect leaves if they have fallen from the plant. If you are stuck then you could pick a leaf from the plant or tree but please ask permission first.
We probably all used dried leaves from herbs in our cooking but I use all sorts of leaves in my magical workings. I use leaves from all sorts of plants and trees but as an example the blackberry is packed full of magical properties but it is a bit squishy to use in spell work, unless you want the juice for a witches bottle of course because it does make a good ‘blood’ substitute. So, I collect and dry leaves from plants such as raspberries, blackberries and strawberries because they are easier to use in incense blends and magic pouches than the fruit.
If a leaf is big enough it can be used to write wishes and petitions on that can be sent away on the winds, buried in the earth, dropped into running water or burnt in the fire.
If you don’t want to write on a leaf or you are out and about and don’t have a pen with you, select a leaf and hold it in both hands then lift it up to your face and whisper your wish into it, fold it over and then allow the wind to take it away.
Bigger leaves make excellent wrappings for charms or spells that need to be buried or burnt adding in the magical properties of the tree or plant to your spell work.
Leaves can also be melted onto candles not only to make them look pretty but also to bring their magic.
Look at a leaf, each one has a map, the thread of veins reaching out from the stem to the ends of the leaf and these pathways can be used as a guide for meditation, taking you on a journey.
And each leaf carries the magic of the tree and each tree has specific properties, either ask the tree what energy it can lend to you or look up tree correspondences.
There is plenty of folklore, myths and magic linked to trees and some that are ‘leaf specific’ such as:
Make a circlet from fresh hazel leaves and wear to bring good luck, protection and to grant wishes.
On a Friday after midnight in complete silence gather together nine holly leaves. Wrap the leaves up on a piece of white cloth using nine knots and tie the ends together. Place this under your pillow and your dreams will come true.
The oracle at Delphi were said to chew on bay (laurel) leaves and inhale the smoke to help them receive visions.
Laurel wreaths were worn for protection against the sky gods, doctors also wore laurel leaves to protect against illness.
Ancient kings wore crowns made from oak leaves as a symbol of the god they represented on earth.
Rowan leaves and berries were carried to protect against witchcraft…and to keep the cows from being enchanted.
Holly has a Christian connection in that it was said the leaves represented the thorns from Jesus’ crown and the berries his drops of blood however it seems that this goes further back in time when a boy was selected from the village to wear a suit of holly leaves and a girl who wore a suit of ivy, they were then paraded around the village to bring nature and fertility to the dark part of the year.
Holly leaves were also brought into the house to protect against evil spirits and mischievous faeries.
Hawthorn branches were cut for May Day but only to decorate the outside of the house, to bring them inside was thought to bring illness and bad luck.
Hawthorn leaves can be eaten and are often referred to as ‘bread and cheese’.
A sprig cut from the Hawthorn that grows outside the St Johns Church in Glastonbury is sent each year to the Queen.
Burn hazel leaves for love and prosperity.
Put ash leaves under your pillow to bring psychic dreams and visions.
Put a bowl of water next to your bed and float some ash leaves in it to prevent illness.
Place blackberry leaves around your home to return evil and bad luck to the person that sent it to you, it will also remove any unwanted spirits.
Image – Daniel Frank/Unsplash