As the cold settles in (it was 14 degrees Fahrenheit when I took my daughter to school at 8:45 this morning) I turn to the warm fragrances and tastes of what is generally referred to in European influenced societies as “Holiday food”. The spices used in things like pumpkin pie, turkey stuffing/dressing, gingerbread and so many other end of the year celebratory foods are also quite magickal in their own right. But that, of course, comes as no surprise.
Cloves have been used extensively as a winter spice for hundreds of years. They have a warm aroma that calms but with just enough bite to give one the energy they need to face cold, dark days. In hoodoo, both whole cloves and clove oil are used for gambling luck, money and friendship-drawing and to stop malicious gossip.
Gambling halls in southeastern Louisiana were “smudged” with an incense made of cloves, wintergreen, cinnamon and camphor to bring in good trade. Whole cloves were carried by gamblers to bring luck. Cloves burned as an incense by themselves are said to draw in wealth, purify the air and drive off crossed conditions. Scott Cunningham says the scent can also comfort the bereaved.
Pushing whole, dried cloves into a red candle while concentrating on stopping malicious gossip against you, then burning the candle until it goes out is said to be a fool-proof charm against other people’s lies. Some workers even say that doing this ritual will bring your enemies closer to your circle of friends.
Bringing in and keeping friendships is another use for cloves. To keep a friend for life, make two necklaces with small flannel bags filled with cloves and tied to strings. You and your friend should each wear a necklace until the strings break. You will always be good friends.
To make an attractive pomander ball which can be given as a gift and will encourage ongoing friendship, select an unusually beautiful orange and then wrap a lovely ribbon around it twice, like a gift box. Tie that in a knotted bow with long tails for carrying or even hanging. Now stud the orange with dried cloves all around in as even and pretty a pattern as possible. Give the pomander as a present and as the fruit begins to desiccate (a good number of cloves will keep it from actually rotting) it will release the scent of orange and cloves while cementing your friendship with the lucky recipient. It’s a perfect project for the Holidays (and, as an aside, an inexpensive and inconspicuous way for the kids to get in good with their teachers).
Prior to the dawn of antibiotics, clove oil was used as an antiseptic with surprisingly favorable results. Clove oil was also used as an anesthetic; dropped onto a decaying tooth, it would ease the pain for a time. My great grandmother, who never lived in town but always “out on the farm”, would drop clove oil on a rotten tooth in preparation to kill the root, which she did with carbolic acid. I am not making that up. Just so you know, this last paragraph is chock full of uses for clove oil (and carbolic acid for that matter) that I do not recommend. See a dentist s’il vous plait. Bon chance et subsistence chaude ~
Header: Landscape with Ice by Hendrik Avercamp c 17th century