Ritual Uses: The ancient priestesses of Apollo chewed bay leaves to induce a prophetic state, and also inhaled their fumes. Bay leaves are used as decorations at Yule.
Magical Uses: Bay is used in clairvoyance and wisdom brews, although its taste is strong. Bay leaves are placed beneath the pillow to induce prophetic dreams, and are also burned to cause visions. It is a protection and purification herb par excellence and is worn as an amulet to ward off negativity and evil, burned or scattered during exorcism rituals, placed in the windows to protect against lightning, and hung up to prevent poltergeists from working any mischief in the house. A sprig of bay is used to sprinkle water during purification ceremonies, and the tree planted near the home protects its inhabitants against sickness. Bay leaves mixed with sandalwood can be burned to remove curses and evil spells. To ensure that a love will stay, the couple should break off a twig from the tree, then break this in two, each keeping a half. Bay leaves give strength to those engaged in wrestling and athletic sports if worn at the time of competition. Wishes are written on bay leaves which are then burned to make them come true, and a bay leaf held in the mouth wards off bad luck.