Substituting Herbs for Spells

Hello hello!
I’m sorry if this was asked or answered anywhere but I would like to make prosperity oil but I don’t have sandlewood, dragons blood or patchouli so can I substitute or it will still work without them? Thank you in advance.

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Good morning

Raven & Crone Herb Substitutes there is also a link for old-world names for modern herbs.

Universal Herbs/Flowers

  • Rosemary can be substituted for any other herb
  • Rose can be substituted for any other flower
  • Frankincense can be substituted for any gum resin
  • Copal can be substituted for any gum resin

Source: Raven & Crone Herb Substitutes - linked above
*Tobacco can be substituted for any poisonous herb

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Greetings @EternalIndigo,

I’m firmly in the school of thought that the caster can adjust spells to better work for them and their situation- including what ingredients they have/don’t have available!

When it comes to making spell substitutions, there’s a great discussion here about Substitutions in Spellwork and lots of helpful advice in the Magical Substitutions Guide on Spells8.

As a very quick summary of substituting, the goal is to find the purpose of the ingredient as it is being used in the spell (whether it’s for its magickal properties, fragrance, texture, medicinal properties, etc.) and then substitute it with something that corresponds with that same property.


Spells8 has several printable pages for substitutes (herbs, oils, and fragrances- all of which can be found on the Magical Substitutions Guide Page) that supply the following:

  • Sandalwood → (fragrance) Cedarwood or Patchouli, (herbal) Frankincense
  • Dragons Blood → (fragrance) Balsam Fir with Cinnamon
  • Patchouli → (fragrance) Vetiver with Rose or Jasmine, (herbal) Oak Moss

Additionally, Siofra kindly gave some great universal substitutes, and you could also check with a Book of Correspondences for more ingredient-specific switches :open_book:


You can also attempt the oil without these ingredients or substitute with other things that correspond with prosperity for you. I personally believe that anything you craft with the intention of being prosperous will carry that magickal intent :sparkles:

Good luck, happy crafting, and blessed be!

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You can substitute any herbs or flowers that mean prosperity to you for those things. I mean, I would use mint, because it’s green and you make money at a mint. But that’s just me.

If you’re going to be making a lot of oils and things like that, I’d recommend two books by Scott Cunningham. First is the Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs and the second is his book on Incence, Oils, and Brews.

Great information there! You’ll use them a lot!

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Good morning, there is a few other herbs or plants you could use for a prosperity oil Basil, Juniper and Lavender. Pine is one of my favs because I love the smell of it. Any part of the tree can be used for prosperity and protection. I hope you fine what you need. BB

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I second Cunningham’s books. They are full of lists of substitutions! You can buy them kn Amazon, or if you have Scribd they are available there, too.

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I also have Scott Cunningham’s book, in the drawer to my altar space. I do use it when I am foraging around & for incense substitutions. I use the Raven & Crone mostly when I am using my diffusers or for spells that are also on my computer. Great addition @Amethyst & @Undomeher.

Side Note:

  • Llewellyn’s Spell A Day Almanacs are pretty good too. I like how nature-based some of the spells are depending on the time of year based on the Wheel of the Year & your area.
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You guys are awesome. Thank you so much for all the suggestions :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart:

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Thank you for the suggestions on the books @Undomeher and @Siofra_Strega .

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There’s some great information here, thank you all for sharing!

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I love both these books but I also enjoy S. Cunningham other book on herbs. “Magical Herbalism”

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I just saw that book today! It looked really interesting, I may have to put it on my wish list.

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I definitely second what @TheTravelWitch_Bry has said! As for me personally, I use patchouli, mint, gold or pyrite, and even salt can be used in prosperity.

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I don’t have anything to add that hasn’t already been said but want to thank @Siofra_Strega for the Raven & Crone link. I haven’t seen that source before and am adding it to my witchcraft bookmarks!

Otherwise I agree with what others have said about making the spell your own. I always modify any written spell (publication, online) to make it my own, especially protection spells, so they can’t be undone by someone that has the same book or website reference. I might make a substitution based on what I’m drawn to or change the wording of the spell.

I also have Cunningham’s herb encyclopedia and reference often. I need to check out the other one mentioned. I love his work.

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Hi, I found a site that may be helpful in substitutions.

Garnet

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Thank you for this. I never knew rosemary could be a substitute for any herb.

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I do have Rosemary & have used it as a substitute when I had to, but usually, I like to substitute with another herb with similar correspondences for what I am working on. If all else fails, universal substitute. :joy:

I like Rosemary though, so I do use it a lot in my diffuser, fire pit, cooking, jar spells, incense. It’s own properties are pretty useful also.

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This post inspired me to go by Scott Cunningham’s encyclopedia last night and it’s probably the best I have bought so far when it comes to helping me find herbs for my magical purposes. Thank you so much for the suggestion.

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Thanks for those suggestions. I’m a baby witch and decided to complete a banishing spell tonight under the waning moon. It calls for either ginger, cinnamon or black pepper incense and I have neither. Can I use a smudge stick instead?

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I don’t see why not. :grin: It’s all about intention anyways.

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