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This month, we don’t have to search very hard in the kitchen to find the next ingredient for medicine and magic. Most of us keep a shaker of black pepper right next to our salt shaker, and when we study herbal magic, we find that it has almost as many uses.
First, we must discern the difference between black pepper and red pepper. Wile Red Pepper is created from the dried seeds and the flesh of the red chili pepper, Black Pepper is grown on an evergreen bush, and the fruit of that bush is a hard black “berry,” known as a peppercorn. These peppercorns can be used in cooking, whole, or more popularly, ground to season everything from steak to eggs.
Black pepper was first grown in India thousands of years ago and like many spices, it was used for trade with oriental spice merchants. As Europeans worked their way east, it became a valuable commodity for them as well.
Eventually, however, pepper became a popular spice in kitchens around the world. Besides helping to add a spicy flavor to foods, pepper is also rich in vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K. It contains significant amounts of riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, and potassium, to name a few. Now, I don’t imagine anyone will ever eat enough pepper in a serving to influence their nutrition, but it is nice to know that all these things are contained in on little peppercorn.
As time went on, the women of the kitchen used this seasoning, in combination with other herbs for its medicinal purposes as well. Black pepper mixed with honey has proven to be an effective remedy for a dry cough. Pepper, mixed with ginger, or turmeric can be either consumed dry or added to milk to treat respiratory problems as well as problems with digestion.
While black pepper can boast all these nutritional and medicinal qualities, it is the magical properties that my study leads us to.
Black pepper is used in charms and spells that banish negativity and provide protection. Its elemental identification and burning pepper before smudging with sage will further rid your home of negative energy. Carrying peppercorns in your pocket, or in a magic bag, will free your mind of the harmful effects of jealousy and ward off any jealous energy directed toward you.
Mixed with salt and spread out on a property line, black pepper will help protect that property from hostile energy, and if a person with negative energy does enter your home, you can cast a mixture of salt and pepper after them, and they will be banished from your home.
As my study went further into the beliefs of HooDoo (Southern Voodoo), and the Root Doctors of the American South, I found that their use of pepper leaned toward “black magic,” so I will not elaborate here. That sort of magic is extremely dangerous for the amateur practitioner. There are mixtures you can use to inflict ill on others, but remember, Karma is a bitch, so be very careful.
There you have it, this months exploration of witchery in the kitchen. I hope I have given you a starting point and encourage you to do your own research to learn more about these elements of kitchen witchcraft.
Until next time –