A Guide to Burning Bay Leaves
There are many ways to clear negative energy. Some people meditate, others walk through nature, and some make use of crystals. Another common method is to use bay leaves. The bay leaf holds a range of properties and uses, many of which have been passed down to us by the ancients. We’re going to explore the history of this leaf, while also looking at the different ways you can use it, from burning bay leaves to eating them. Along the way, we’ll discuss some precautions you should take when attempting this practice.
What are Bay Leaves?
The bay leaf can come from a variety of different plants: bay laurel, California bay leaf, Indian bay leaf, Indonesian bay leaf, West Indian bay leaf, and Mexican bay leaf. The most commonly used type is the bay laurel as it is used across the US, Europe, around the Mediterranean, and throughout Latin America.
The leaf is aromatic in nature, meaning that it possesses a strong and pleasant smell. As such, it is commonly used in food preparation as it adds flavor to dishes. The taste is described as being bitter when the lead as a whole is consumed, buts it’s the smell that is most noticeable with the leaf. As such, it’s also used in perfumes and essential oils through extracting certain compounds.
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Burning these leaves has become an increasingly common practice as well. Many people wish to learn how to burn bay leaves in order to cleanse the air through the smoke produced. There are even people who believe that burning bay leaves for money will make them rich, but we’ll cover that topic in a moment. First, let’s consider where this knowledge originates.
Burning bay leaves and its Ancient Uses
Many ancient cultures believed that burning these leaves could ward off negative spirits and would release negative energy from the individual. We find this across the world, from India to the Amazon. However, there is one culture that stands out the most in relation to the uses of bay leaves, and that’s Ancient Greece.
In the Ancient Greek world, the bay leaf was associated with Apollo. The mythology surrounding this concept relates to Apollo’s desire to court the nymph, Daphne. He made regular advances and tried to demonstrate his love for her, but she turned him down every single time. Daphne was part of the natural world and did not wish to belong to any man.
One day, Daphne tried to escape Apollo and he began chasing her. As they ran into a nearby wood, she called out for the power of her father, a God of the rivers. He transformed Daphne into a bay laurel tree, and as such, she was able to return to nature and escape the negative energies given off by the world of men.
Apollo, who left the woods with nothing but shame and regret, began to wear a crown made of bay leaves in order to honor Daphne, as well as ward off stupidity and negative thoughts. As such, this story represents the power of the bay leaf and its why people burn bay leaves today.
Practical Applications of the Bay Leaf
Before we look at how to burn bay leaves, we’ll be going to quickly discuss some of the other users of this mystical and ancient plant.
As we already looked at, using the leaf in cooking or extracting chemicals from it are common uses of the bay leaf, but what properties does it actually offer?
What are the benefits of bay leaves?
For starters, the bay leaf is an anti-inflammatory. This means that any part of your body that is inflamed, such as your joints, bowel, muscles, or anywhere else, will be reduced back to a more normal state. This helps reduce pain and discomfort and also returns your body to a healthier state.
The smoke from the bay leaf is also believed to work as a light sedative, and so it can help you drift off at night. On top of that, it’s said to help reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression through its natural mood-enhancing properties.
It does this by calming the mind and returning your spirit to a natural or positive space. Of course, burning bay leaves in this manner is only part of the reason why people do it, so in what other ways can you burn bay leaves?
How to Burn Bay Leaves
When it comes to burning bay leaves, you can burn them for the smoke (as mentioned above), or you can burn them for the purely spiritual benefits. This practice is incredibly ritualistic, and so in order to attempt it, you must have a few items. You’ll need some bay leaves, a pen (ideally a soft-tipped pen or marker), and a candle.
For safety reasons, you’ll need to have either a fireproof bowl or be somewhere that won’t be at risk of catching fire e.g. an empty fireplace or stone patio. You’re always safer to do this practice outside, but just make sure that you take precautions. Have some water nearby, make sure all flammable items are moved away and don’t do anything that puts you at risk.
Begin the Ritual of Burning Bay Leaves
Take one of your bay leaves and place it in front of you. Next, light the candle and place it to the right of your bay leaf. Burning bay leaves isn’t something you should rush through, so treat it as being almost meditative in nature.
Think about some things that you wish to cleanse or release. Perhaps you want to push out negative thoughts or emotions, perhaps you want to get rid of fear, or perhaps you just want to cleanse any negative energy that may be within you or your home. If you’re thinking about burning bay leaves for money, I’m afraid to tell you that it won’t work.
With the pen, write these things down on the leaf. Take your time and make sure that your writing is neat. You can write everything on one leaf, or you can divide them across multiple leaves. The latter allows you to truly focus on the act of releasing these negative concepts from your mind, body, and soul.
Lift the leaf to the candle’s flame and hold it there until it catches fire. Place the burning leaf into your fireproof bowl or into a stone surface and feel the flames releasing the negativity, much in the same way as it releases smoke.