Bay laurel, also known as ‘bay leaf’, comes from the Latin ‘Laurus’ meaning “verdant” and ‘nobilis’ meaning noble, or of high rank. Its importance goes back to ancient Greece and, till this very day, Bay Laurel in Greek is known as ‘Daphni’, named after a nymph who was turned into a Bay Laurel tree as a protection measure to avoid the persistent advances of the God Apollo. For this reason the tree was, and still is sacred to Apollo and the Oracles at his temples, such as Delphi, chewed on its leaves and inhaled its smoke to see visions and deliver their messages. Because the nymph was transformed into a Bay Laurel tree in order to protect herself, the plant has been considered and used as a form of protection. Wearing a laurel wreath, placing one at the entrance of one’s homes, or planting two trees (left and right on the entrance of their homes) was believed to protect against the anger of sky Gods. For this reason, burning bay leaves during meditation or any spiritual work, will provide protection against negative energy and promote the enhancement of psychic abilities.
- If you are seeking divination and guidance, place laurel leaves under your pillow to promote psychic dreams.
- If you are doing manifestation work, write a wish on the pack of a bay leaf and then burn it for it to come true (preferably on the New Moon). Also, call upon Archangel Haniel, to receive and manifest the message for your highest good, while it burns.
Even today, bay laurel leaves and branches are considered as powerful protection amulets. The Greek Orthodox Church values its significance and, in absence of palm leaves, it offers Bay Laurel branches to those who attend the liturgy on Palm Sunday. The faithful then return home and place it on their home alters and carry bay leaves on them as a powerful protection amulet against ‘the evil eye’ and a number of misfortunes. The reason behind this lies deeply rooted in the bible, where according to Christian tradition, it symbolizes the resurrection of Christ. In fact, during all major liturgies, the priest will throw flower petals mixed with bay leaves towards the faithful attending liturgy (mass). Other beliefs consider bay leaves being exceptionally useful as a smudge during banishing and exorcism rites, especially those involving poltergeists. Mixed with sandalwood, it considered useful for breaking curses.
Doctors in antiquity also wore bay laurel, as it was considered helpful in curing nearly everything. In fact, today, laurel wreaths can be worn by energy healers to protect them against negative energy that may linger on after a treatment in their healing spaces. After the treatment has been completed, bay laurel leaves can be burnt as a means of purification of the healing area, as it will drive out any residual sickness vibes. When smudging with Bay Laurel, you can also call upon Archangel Michael and Raphael to assist with protection and healing of the energy in your healing space by purifying it.
Today, scientists have found that Bay Laurel leaves have verified antiibacterial and fungicidal properties. As such, the essential oil can be added to massage oils for arthritis and muscle aches and pains. It can also be added to salves for bruises, itching and other mild skin irritations. Pregnant women, however, should refrain from using this essential oil. A little bit of bay leaf may be used in cooking, but expectant mothers should not go beyond this, avoiding bay leaf essential oil altogether. It is, however, particularly helpful to women who are having trouble urinating after childbirth. Adding bay laurel to your bath tea aids with vaginal infections, perineal healing after childbirth and urinary tract infections. Last but not least, its antibacterial action also makes Bay Laurel a useful addition to shampoos and is recommended for the treatments of hair loss, dandruff and greasy hair.
Bay Laurel can additionally be used in the home. It can be added to sachets to keep moths out of your closets. A bay leaf dropped in a bag of flour may also help keep bugs out of that. Bay leaves are very aromatic and hold their shape and fragrance well when dried. For this reason that make an excellent addition to many potpourris, wreaths and other herbal crafts. In cooking, it is mostly used in red meat dishes, meat & fish stocks and sauces. When using fresh Bay leaves, the taste is sweeter and less tart. Not more than 1 dried bay leaf should be used in a recipe, and it should be removed after 30 minutes maximum, for the flavor to reach the same intensity as a fresh bay leaf. More than this, will lead to the bay leaf taking over all of the flavors of the dish being prepared.
The most famous symbolism and use of Bay Laurel leaves, however, is associated with ‘honor’ ‘glory’ and ‘triumph’. Kings, heroes and great athletes were crowned with laurel wreaths both in Ancient Greece and in the Roman Empire. Bay Laurel symbolizes ‘victory and accomplishment’ before the use of olive leaves and branches were adopted. This is why using Bay Laurel leaves in manifestation work symbolizes the victory of achieving one’s goals and manifesting your desires, while being protected by the Highest Authorities and in accordance to your highest good.
Today, grand prix winners are given wreathes of laurel. The world ‘laureate’ as in poet laureate and ‘baccalaureate’ (“laurel berry”) and the term “to rest on one’s laurels” are additional reminders of the high status of this tree. Although millennia have gone by, the practical, spiritual, medical and other uses have literally remained the same. Bay Leaf Laurel remains an effective reminder proving, that although times & beliefs may change, ancient wisdom for the highest good does not and will forever be.
Wishing you all Many Protective and Victorious Blessings in Love and Light!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Always check the Latin name when buying plants, especially this one, as there are many “bays” and “laurels” out there, some that aren’t remotely related to this one. For example, Mountain Laurel Kalmia latifolia is poisonous while Bayberry Myrica pensylvanica has been used as a substitute for Bay laurel in cooking and has its own magical uses as well.