Kitchen Witchery - Clove
An often forgotten about spice, Cloves are a beautifully sweet and pungent spice that adds not only a kick to your food but also to your magic. Those of you who are familiar with Cloves, it is a beautifully delicious and versatile herb with a rich and interesting history behind its usage. Even today, some of its traditional uses exist up to today. For those of you who are not familiar with Clove, this special little herb is a spice that is shaped similarly to a nail and its name even comes from the French word for nail. Unlike many spices, this herb is actually not a berry of the tree but rather the flower of the Clove tree. The flower buds are harvested prior to blooming and then dried, which allows it to be utilized in a variety of ways.
Besides cooking, some traditions have used cloves for medicinal purposes and other recreational uses. Many of you may have tried this to avoid going to the dentist but some people in the olden days used the oil of this spice to help with dental pain. That being said, we are not advocating that you avoid your dentist, but it was something that people who did not have access to the proper health care did. Straying not too far from the mouth, old anecdotes about Han Dynasty China spoke about traders from Indonesia giving these Cloves to the Chinese Imperial Court. Some advisors and people within the court began the trend of chewing these Clove buds to freshen their breaths especially when speaking with the Emperors and those in high standing.
In terms of fragrance, Cloves holds a strong and prominent place in regards to fragrance and perfumery. Cloves were often used in old aspects of perfumery to lend a sweet and pungent kick to incense or perfume. An old practice of creating a pomander, which was essentially a ball of solid perfume, would use herbs to augment the scent of the carrier and one of those herbs was Clove. A common technique of taking an Orange and studding it with Cloves would be used as a form of potpourri and pomander that is even used up to modern day. In addition to fragrance, Cloves were also used in cooking by people to preserve foods and add a sweet and mild spicy note to foods and beverages. In certain Southeast Asian dishes, Cloves also play an important flavoring agent and in other parts of Southeast Asian and the Pacific Islands, Cloves are also traditionally incorporated into certain cigarettes to add a Clove flavor.
Magically, Clove is a pretty unique herb in my personal experience. Like many other spices, like Cinnamon, Ginger, Allspice, etc, Clove falls into the field of sweet spices which tend to rule over aspects of money and abundance. They would make a great addition to any money rituals especially for charm bags as they add a lovely fragrance.
Like some of the sweet spices, Clove can also be utilized for love magic as well. Some would wear or carry these in charm bags to attract potential lovers or add them into candles to help spice love up. Alternatively, rather than sexual love, some people would also use this to help enhance friendship. There are some traditions that would place Cloves into a small bag and exchange it with their friend to help their friendship last and be sweet. Some traditions would take a Cotton flower, place a few Peppers and Cloves in there, sew it up, and carry that as a charm for friendship and love.
Cloves can also be burned as an incense to help cleanse a space. More popularly known, Clove is also a great herb to protect individuals from gossip and enemies. It is a common tradition in American folk magic to use Cloves for this purpose as they look like nails are thought to shut people up. You could deploy this magic by taking a red candle, studding it with Cloves, and setting the intention for those who would speak ill of you to be silent. You can also utilize Alum and Slippery Elm as those are also used to silence gossipers. Other traditions that would utilize freezer spells could also use Cloves to enhance their working. If you are doing a freezer spell and instead of using a jar, you opt for a beef tongue, you could stud the tongue with cloves as a representation of stopping the tongue in place.
We hope this will illuminate your understanding of the sweet Clove in your magical workings. Hopefully you won’t need to use it to ward off gossipers, but if you do, you’re welcome.