From your bong to your broomstick.
Cannabis has been included in magical, religious, and spiritual rites for millennia, from Hindu sadhus who use marijuana as a prayer to Lord Shiva to Coptic Christians who burned it on altars as a holy offering. Witches and warlocks, too, have had a long history with this helper, utilizing it for everything from medical remedies to summoning spirits. Cannabis and hemp were both staples in folk traditions. In his 1653 Complete Herbal, author Nicholas Culpeper wrote of the plant: “This is so well known to every good housewife in the country, that I shall not need to write any description of it.”
Some classic uses for cannabis were in spells and rites dedicated to healing, love, money drawing, visions, and meditation. Lovestruck witches would wander out under the midsummer full moon to sprinkle hemp seeds while circling a church nine times in hopes of seeing their true love(s). Witches attempting to look into the future would burn incense made of cannabis, mugwort, coltsfoot, and angelica in front of a magic mirror, watching for signs in the reflection of the glass.
Perhaps the most infamous usage of cannabis in magic is its inclusion in the famed Witch’s Flying Ointment. Blended with other mind-altering substances like opium poppies, morning glories, datura, belladonna, and nightshade and mixed with butter or lard, witches would smear it on their broomsticks and “ride” them, flying off in ecstatic, orgasmic bliss. Modern witches can replicate this by blending cannabis with small amounts of other entheogens like ayahuasca, cyanescens (magic mushrooms), and of course poppies. For an entirely legal version, cunning folks can create a weed blend with blue lotus, wild asparagus root, and mugwort. Make a tincture or decoction from your herbal blend and mix it with coconut oil for a bewitching lube to help you open up and push into the Universe with lust and love.
But you can also turn your cannabis use into a magical act. Do you like to work with crystals? The next time you’re having a puff while studying sacred texts or reading tarot, try smoking a sativa that enhances concentration through a pipe made of lapis lazuli, a stone known for facilitating intellectual activity, augmenting learning, and improving memory. You can also keep crystals with your weed, or use fruit or vegetables with magical connotations as pipes: apples for love spells, cucumbers before attempting dream or astral work, and potatoes and other root veggies for grounding energy after a ritual.
For an abundance spell, mix a little ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, or thyme, basil, and mint, into fresh water and carefully paint sigils, a wish, or words of power onto
Last but not least, smoking from a bong or bubbler is a unique way for weed witches to commune with all the elements: Earth is represented by cannabis, fire is the fire you light your bowl with, air is your breath, and water is in the bottom of the bong. Make sure you charge your bong water, too, by thinking some good vibes at it.
Portions of this were originally published in Seattle Weekly.