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Absinthe: Folklore, Spiritual, Magickal Properties & Uses

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Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Absinthe is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from wormwood, anise, fennel, and other herbs. Absinthe is a very strong alcoholic beverage that is usually diluted with ice water and melted sugar before drinking.

In good quality absinthe, with actual plant oils, ice water makes the absinthe turn from green (or sometimes dark brown) to milky white. The oils are fats that solidify when exposed to cold temperatures.


Absinthe, a green-hued alcoholic beverage, has a rich and controversial history, dating back to the late 18th century in Switzerland.

Its reputation as a mind-altering and dangerous drink was largely due to the presence of wormwood, which contains thujone, a compound believed to be psychoactive.

The “Green Fairy” gained popularity among artists and writers in the 19th century, including famous figures like Vincent van Gogh and Oscar Wilde, who were known to consume it.

Absinthe was banned in several countries, including the United States and many European nations.

History of Absinthe

The absinthe drinking craze in the mid-1800s caused the quality of the drink to decline. When it was first produced it was a holy bitter aperitif (like to vermouth and chartreuse) related to good health. It was supposed to stimulate the imaginative faculties as well as the spiritual faculties and to facilitate one’s power of transformation.

18th CenturyEarly development of absinthe as a medicinal elixir
19th CenturyRise in popularity in France and Europe
1915Ban on absinthe in several countries
1990sReintroduction and revival of absinthe
PresentCurrent legal status and global popularity
Table 1: Key Historical Events of Absinthe

Many artists, poets, and visionaries of the time were absinthe-drinkers; one of the most famous is Aleister Crowley.

Unfortunately, the sheer number of herbs in absinthe and the public’s demand that the drink be green when food coloring was entering its early stages of development caused a steady decline in quality. It soon became difficult to find true absinthe and some of the fakes were near toxic.

The naturalization of North American herbs in Europe (especially France) that were most probably mistaken for other herbs that were supposed to be included in the recipe, and the addition of poisonous copper sulfate to lend the drink a bright green hue turned the green fairy into the green devil for many people. The sugar cubes fashionably placed on top of the absinthe at the time might have been cut with liquid opium or cocaine as well.

Prohibition in the western world existed in the United States and some parts of Europe as a largely Christian movement to purify the body and protect virtue. Prohibitionists wanted to do away with alcohol, cocaine, white sugar, coffee, opium, and prostitution.

That list is in no particular order except that the first three are associated with absinthe, which was a favorite of the prohibitionists. It was thought to be a substance that could destroy the mind, making the virtuous into sinners, making the sane become mad.

Folklore AspectDescription
Bohemian CultureAbsinthe has long been associated with the Bohemian culture of the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was popular among artists, writers, and intellectuals who frequented Parisian cafes, earning the nickname “The Green Fairy” for its purported hallucinogenic effects.
Prohibition EraAbsinthe became notorious during the Prohibition era due to its reputation as a dangerous and mind-altering substance. Despite being banned in many countries, its allure persisted, and it continued to be consumed clandestinely in underground bars and speakeasies.
Romanticized MythosThe mythology surrounding Absinthe includes tales of artistic inspiration, heightened creativity, and altered states of consciousness. It has been romanticized in literature, art, and film, with legends of artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec indulging in its intoxicating effects.
Table 1: Folklore and Historical Significance

Absinthe in Modern Days

Absinthe is purported to be highly addictive and to have psychoactive properties, commonly believed to be caused by the thujone content, from the wormwood, although it only contains trace amounts.

Absinthe was banned in the US and parts of Europe due to its reputation but has enjoyed a revival since the 1990s when the European Union adopted new food and beverage laws.

While it is illegal to import any alcoholic beverage containing wormwood or thujone into the United States and the FDA does not allow wormwood in any product to be sold for human consumption, absinthe has returned to the liquor store and bar shelves, it simply lacks its signature thujone.

WormwoodContains the chemical compound thujone
AniseContributes to the distinct licorice flavor
FennelAdds a subtle herbal and sweet taste
Other HerbsMay include hyssop, lemon balm, or angelica root
AlcoholHigh-proof base spirit typically made from grapes
Table 2: Ingredients of Traditional Absinthe

The Spiritual Properties of Absinthe

Absinthe is known for its spiritual properties, including its ability to increase clairvoyance and facilitate communications with spirits. The plant is often used in divination practices, magic and witchcraft to aid concentration and promote visionary experiences.

Absinthe is also considered a protective herb in some spiritual traditions, and is said to help dispel negative energies and purify the mind.

Absinthe Magickal Properties

In esoterism, drinking absinthe is considered a potential help to embark on spiritual journeys like astral travel, trances and other similar practices.

But there is more. Actually you can use absinthe enjoying its amazing properties in a safer way, as a herb for you to add to your magick.

  • Its powers would have been discovered by the goddess herself (Diana for the Romans), the Mother Goddess, the Moon, she who presides over life and death, the Lady of the Woods, protector of wild animals, guardian of springs and streams and protector of women, who ensured painless births thanks to the use of this plant, which was called “Artemisia”, i.e. “dedicated to Artemis“, in honor of the Mother Goddess.
  • Its magic is able to ward off everything evil: evil spirits, epidemics and adversities. But its fumes, if breathed, favor dreams and visions. The Celts seized it at daybreak, walking backwards to confuse the traces of the evil forces; then they used it to wrap the heads of virgins and regulate their menstruation. According to some beliefs, under its roots grows a coal capable of protecting against lightning, plague and demons… Even Saint John the Baptist used to wear Artemisia belts to keep the devil away. In the Middle Ages it was believed that soaked in wine it became a useful antidote against excess opium, while Saint Hildegard extolled its digestive properties.
  • According to a Christian legend, the plant sprouted in the earthly Paradise, along the path that the serpent had to travel, in order to impede its progress and preserve man from sin. From here Artemisia became the pilgrim’s herb par excellence: a few leaves in the shoes were enough to prevent tiredness and chase away evil spirits or dangerous animals. His bond with the traveler was so deep-rooted that a small Artemisia plant was painted on the doors of carriages and early cars to protect against accidents.

How to use it in magick?

Absinthe is an aromatic and medicinal plant that has been used for its stimulating and medicinal properties since ancient times. It is a bitter plant that is often associated with spiritual visions and experiences.

When burned, it produces an aromatic smoke that can be used to aid in divination, increasing clairvoyance and communication with spirits.

Magickal AspectDescription
Ritual ElixirAbsinthe is used as a ritual elixir in magickal practices to enhance spellwork, ritual ceremonies, and energy work. Its herbal infusion is thought to amplify the practitioner’s intentions, energize sacred space, and attune the senses to subtle energies.
Divinatory AidAbsinthe is employed as a divinatory aid in tarot readings, scrying, and other forms of divination. Its intoxicating properties are believed to heighten psychic sensitivity, induce prophetic visions, and facilitate communication with the spirit world, making it a valuable tool for seekers of esoteric knowledge.
Protective CharmAbsinthe is sometimes used as a protective charm or talisman to ward off negative energies, banish malevolent spirits, and create a shield of spiritual protection. When imbued with intention and consecrated in ritual, Absinthe is believed to form a potent barrier against psychic attacks and unwanted influences.
Table 3: Magickal Properties and Uses

What is fumigation?

Fumigation is a technique using burned plants to create smoke, which is then released into the air for its purifying or spiritual properties.

The practice is common in many spiritual traditions, notably in Latin America, in indigenous cultures around the world, and in witchcraft and magic traditions.

Plants can be burned in a bowl, censer or abalone shell.

How to prepare Absinthe for fumigation?

There are several ways to prepare Absinthe for fumigation, and it will depend on your preferences and the tools you have at your disposal.

You can burn dried Absinthe leaves in a bowl or abalone shell.

It is important to be careful when burning absinthe, as the smoke can be irritating to the lungs and throat. Make sure you work in a well-ventilated space and take proper safety precautions.

Tips and tricks for using Absinthe safely

When using Absinthe fumigation for divination, it is essential to work with respect and be aware of its powerful properties.

Be sure to work in a quiet, private space and create a ritual around your practice. If you are a beginner, start with small amounts of absinthe and gradually increase.

Also be sure to take proper safety precautions, such as working in a well-ventilated space and turning off your heat sources when you’re finished.

Use of Absinthe in fumigation for purification and protection

Absinthe can also be used for purification and protection. To do this, you can burn a few Absinthe leaves in a bowl and pass the smoke over yourself or in a room.

You can also add Absinthe to a purifying bath or ritual bath to help dispel negative energies and protect against bad influences.

Use of Absinthe in fumigation for divination and visions

When using Absinthe for divination, you can burn a small amount of leaves in a bowl or abalone shell and diffuse it around the room.

Focus on your intention to receive messages or visions, and let the smoke of Absinthe help you connect with spirits and strengthen your clairvoyance.


Absinthe is a fascinating plant that offers many spiritual benefits, including the ability to enhance clairvoyance and facilitate communications with spirits. However, it is important to use this plant with respect and take proper safety precautions.

By following the tips presented in this article, you can easily incorporate Absinthe into your divination practices for a deeper, more meaningful experience.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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