Basil (Bush) Ocymum Minimum, Mars, Scorpio, Funereal Herb, Green Herb, Herb of Love, also called devil plant
Bush basil is associated with death in cultures as diverse as Iran and the Phillipines and is often planted at grave sites. In Egypt the flowers are gathered and strewn upon the grave site.
Grieve writes about a very different perspective among the ancient Greeks who believed that it represented hate and misfortune. They painted poverty as a ragged woman with basil at her side, and thought the plant would not grow uless railing and abuse were poured forth at the time of sowing. The Romans, in like manner, believed that the more it was abused, the better it would prosper.
Beliefs about basil can be passionate. At the other end of the emotional spectrum, we can consider the Moldavian custom Mrs. Grieve has recorded in her herbal. In this culture, a fresh cutting of basil is associated with betrothal. It is, similarly, associated with love and romance in some parts of rural Italy, where it is considered an emblem of love and romance. The inhabitants of Crete combined the beliefs both of romance and misfortune. Grieve writes that they call it “love washed with tears.”
A custom which once existed would be a modern blessing to many if it resurrected: that of giving one’s guests a small pot of basil.
Bush basil is an outstanding herb for rituals of death and dying. This pungent herb may be added to the incense or infused to provide the holy water for aspurging. This variety of basil is used in correspondence with the Death card.
The romantic history of bush basil readily lends itself to modern magick. The oil would be a fine ingredient in blended mixtures to enhance one’s romance. The gift of a live basil would add magick to the endurance of one’s relationship or a fine pesto sauce might be the featured item on the menu for a romantic evening. There is no finer herb to use when incorporating ritual with your betrothal or engagement. Not only will it help a young man be strong of heart so that he can pursue his dreams, but bush basil can be used to bring blessings to the engagement ring as well.