What's the first thing you think of when you see a cactus?
Don't touch it!
So what a great plant to use for protection.
Put cactus plants under your windows and around your doors for protection.
Use the needles in witch bottles or protective mojos.
For me, cactus can represent the fire element. They are forceful and unwielding.
Varieties of cactus have different associations:
Prickly pear and edible, and are very hard to kill. These spines would be good in spells you want to remain active for a good length of time.
Cholla: Cholla pods are are statically charged, and if you happen to be near them- they will jump up and stick to you. You can use them to draw things or to repel things.
Barrel Cactus: These are short, fat, round, and hold water. If you can manage to find one of the seed-filled pods that fall off the top, the seeds can be used in spells for growth, potential, abundance, and prosperity.
Its Latin name is larrea tridentata. It’s also known as chaparral, greasewood and hediondilla, which in Spanish means “stinky one.” When you crush the leaves of this plant, it reminds you of a fire you've just put out. Creosote are are strong plants, and can live years without water. Creosote has medicinal uses. The Tohono O’odham have long relied on creosote to heal wounds and in purification ceremonies. It can be made into a salve and used to represent the element air or water, as it carries the unique scent of the desert after a rain.
The Creosote bush serves many medicinal purposes: cure of fever, influenza, colds, upset stomach, gas gout, arthritis, sinusitis, anemia, and fungus infections. Creosote also has antimicrobial properties. It is beneficial in the treatment of allergies, autoimmunity diseases, and Premenstrual Syndrome. Creosote serves as an analgesic, antidiarrheal , diuretic, and emetic. When used as a tea, the leaves and small twigs must be gathered, washed, and dried in the sun. The useable parts must then be ground into a powder and stored in a glass container because of the oils produced. Creosote can be used on the skin as a tincture or salve, and can be taken internally as a tea or capsule. Although there are such a variety of medicinal purposes the Creosote serves, use of this plant is controversial to some. According to research chemical constituents in Creosote bush may inhibit the growth of cancerous cells, but other studies have shown exactly the opposite. Another reason for the controversial use of Creosote bush is because of its potential toxic effect on the liver. You should do quite a bit of research on this plant before using it as a medicine.
Acacia (Mesquite) trees have very long and sharp needles. These needles are very useful in witch bottles and/or curses.
Planetary Association: Saturn and/or Earth
Healing. Used for protection, dreams, love, purification This wood is used for nurturing and providing. Excellent for protection spells.
Use in healing incenses and mixtures. The powers of all healing incenses are greatly increased when mesquite is added. Use to fuel ritual fires or burn as an incense for cleansing & purification. Use an infusion of mesquite in the bath for purification. Black Mesquite Wand - Smooth, sturdy wood so named for its unique black on dark brown grain. It is associated with abundance, the feast and healing. Wands of this wood help with strengthening the homestead.
Below is an article by Cheryl Joseph with a lot of great information on Mesquite:
The Magic of Mesquite
by Cheryl Joseph
The Tree of Life: The mesquite is a tree or bush that grows in desert regions throughout the world, areas not suitable for most agriculture. On 25% of our planet species of mesquite can be found growing without any assistance from fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation or capitalization. This is not surprising since the mesquite tree's root system can grow more than 100 feet down in search of water, making it a hardy survivor in harsh climates. Like many members of the legume family, mesquite restores nitrogen to the soil.
Mesquite forms fruit of bean-like pods in the fall that have long been a nutritious food source to humans, wildlife & livestock. Mesquite pods do not open when ripe. The pods of all 3 common species of mesquite - Honey Mesquite, Screwbean Mesquite & Velvet Mesquite - are edible, although the Screwbean is less flavorful than the more widespread Honey Mesquite. A favorite of bees and other insects, mesquite flowers produce a fragrant honey.
The mesquite is known as the tree of life because of its many uses - the Native Americans of the desert regions in Arizona & California utilized all parts of the tree. Its bark was used for basketry, pottery, fabrics, rope & medicine. The trunk & branches were used in the manufacture of bows, arrows, mortars & furniture; because it burns slowly and smokeless, mesquite is a good firewood. Thorns were used for tattooing and to make sewing needles. Leaves were used for making tea, as an eyewash and for head & stomach aches. The gum was used as a sweet gum, glue for mending pottery, face paint, pottery paint & hair dye.
But it was the mesquite pod, with its nutritious, bittersweet pulp, that provided the greatest benefit to the desert peoples. Pods were collected in the fall, when they were yellowish-brown in color and still hanging from the tree. They were dried in the sun, then stored in large baskets for future use. Beans (both pods & seeds) were ground into a coarse meal, then by adding water, were transformed into a cake without cooking. Some cultures removed the seeds from the pods & ground them into a flour called pinole, from which a bread was baked.
Mesquite as Food: Mesquite meal has a sweet nutty flavor. This fragrant flour can be used in baking or as a seasoning on food & in drinks.
When used in baking, it is used in combination with other flours - the ratio is generally 1 part of mesquite flour for 2 to 3 of cup grain or rice flour. Since the mesquite is sweet, you might want to decrease the sugar in the recipe. Try mesquite in your pancakes, muffins, cakes, corn bread or cookies.
As a spice, mesquite meal is great for flavoring steaks, chicken, pork & fish. Sprinkle mesquite on meats & vegetables before grilling; add it your breading for meat & fish. It can be added to vegetable stir-fries, scrambled eggs, biscuits, breads, soups, even ice cream.
For anyone that drinks a morning smoothie or uses a meal replacement drink, try adding one tablespoon of mesquite meal. Hunger won't return for 4 to 6 hours. Or use mesquite to make a cool summer drink or tea!
Summer Mesquite Drink: Add 2 Tbsp finely ground mesquite flour to 1 cup cold water. Stir & let sit for a couple of minutes, then strain, add honey to taste & serve.
Mesquite Tea: Place 1 lb. of mesquite pods in 1 gallon of water. Boil pods, at a rolling boil, for 30 minutes. Remove pods & strain. Cool broth & serve over ice.
Mesquite meal is low in both carbohydrates and fat, low-glycemic, high in dietary fiber, and naturally sweet. The amount of nutrition supplied by mesquite meal is astounding - it is rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, protein & lysine.
According to medical studies, mesquite "is extremely effective in controlling blood sugar levels" in diabetics. The natural sweetness in the pods comes from fructose, which the body can process without insulin. In addition, soluble fibers, such as galactomannin gum, in the seeds and pods slow absorption of nutrients, which results in a flattened blood sugar curve. The gel-forming fiber allows foods to be slowly digested and absorbed over a 4-to-6 hour period, rather than a 1-or-2 hour period (which produces a rapid rise in blood sugar).
Mesquite as Medicine: The medicinal properties of mesquite have long been utilized by many native tribes throughout the southwest United States and northern Mexico. It is most commonly used to treat eye conditions, open wounds and dermatological ailments. Acting as an antacid it can also treat digestive problems. It is used as an antibiotic and has soothing, astringent, and antiseptic properties.
The roots, bark & leaves are cold and dry. They are antifungal, antimicrobial, astringent, antiseptic & antispasmodic. A powder or tea can be made from any of the above materials for athlete's foot & general fungal infections. This disinfecting wash or powder can be used for mild infections, stings, bites, sores & scrapes.
Leaves & pods can be made into an eye wash for inflammations of all kinds including pink eye. Diarrhea, dysentery, stomach ulcers, dyspepsia & most gastrointestinal inflammations are soothed by the leaves, roots & bark. Poulticed, the leaves were used topically for headaches or even for red ant stings! The young shoots, ground & toasted, were used to dissolve kidney stones.
The white inner bark is used as an intestinal antispasmodic. The bark is also helpful in stopping excessive menstrual bleeding & reducing fevers.
The mesquite gum or resin is the most used element of the mesquite. It is used as an eyewash to treat infection and irritation. It has several dermatological uses, including treatment for sores, wounds, burns, chapped & raw skin, and sunburn. It is used as a restorative after bouts of dysentery, diarrhea, stomach/intestinal distress, and food poisoning. It is used as a soother for stomach/intestinal pain, ulcers, colitis and hemorrhoids. Mesquite gum is also used as a treatment for lice, cough, sore throat, mouth sores, laryngitis, fever reduction, painful teeth & gums.
(Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2213205)
Gender Association: Feminine
Planetary Association: Venus, Mercury, Moon
Elemental Association: Spirit, Water, Some Earth Magical properties:
Desert Ironwood is not the hardest wood in the world, but it is the hardest wood that does not contain a large amount of gum or resin content, meaning that it is bone dry. And as the name implies, it is extremely hard and heavy, maybe the third hardest wood on the planet. This makes it the most stable wood in the world, never cracking or warping and very resistant to climactic change. The energy of this wood is simply amazing. The image that comes to mind is that of an elderly tribal wise woman. She is never afraid, because she knows that life is a cycle ending in death. The mysteries and wonders of life are at her fingertips, because she is experienced enough to know a great deal, and wise enough to accept that which cannot be known. This wood has a very dark, feminine energy. It brings a feeling of protection, steadfast knowledge that the darkness is no more threatening than the light. It brings the ability to explore the mysteries of life unafraid and to gain the knowledge there-in. Only then can one truly know all of the beauty of life. This wood will enhance artistic expression, bringing a fresh look to life. It will change one's mode of thinking, and allow one to accept life changes gracefully and with a calm wisdom.
(from The Magical Properties of Wood by Goldentree Wands)
Gender Association: Masculine
Planetary Association: Jupiter, Sun
Elemental Association: Water
Magical properties: The most remarkable thing about this wood is that its primary property is that of magic. The wood is naturally aligned with magic, and enhances magical energy. Obviously this is a good choice as a material for sacred objects. This wood is strongly aligned to water energy. It rejects all fire-related energies, and it would also not be useful for healing. It brings about positive changes, creates opportunities, and opens spiritual pathways. Good words to associate with this wood are: feeling, changing, growing, love, and art. This wood is excellent for gaining power and knowledge from nature (which is what magic is).
(from The Magical Properties of Wood by Goldentree Wands)
Palo Verde– I consider Palo Verde to be the Sakura of the desert world. These plants have a very bright and short-lived flowering season in the early spring. If you can collect up any of the flowers that are shed during this season, you could utilize them in magix for enjoying things while they last, accepting transience of a situation, or perhaps utilizing notions of frail beauty. Additionally, this tree is almost always green, so you could collect branches or leaves to attract some “green” into your life, or to represent resilience and steadfastness. Also, sometimes the leaves form on long, thin flexible … branches? leaves? I don’t know what to call them. But these pieces can be used in knot magix as well.
Shrubs and Bushes:
Brittlebush: This bush can be used in the same way you use sage Sage. You can dry and use the leaves in a cleansing incense or leave twigs around the house.