Pepper Magick: 8 Types of Pepper, Witchy Uses & Properties
As a kitchen witch, my magick is stoked by the hearth fire. I find beauty and power in the seemingly mundane ingredients in my pantry, refrigerator, and herb cabinet. What one witch might pass off as simply a food staple, I see as a mighty ignitor to a potent spell and key to the Otherworld. One of our most popular articles here at Otherworldly Oracle is all about Salt Magick, the types of salt and how to use them in your witchcraft. In THIS post, we explore the often-underrated but formidable power of the different types of pepper, pepper magical properties and their many witchy applications.
- First, What is Pepper, Truly? (TIP: Don’t Skip This Section)
- Mystical Pepper Origins: Ransom Payments, Guardian Snakes, and Black Gold
- 8 Types of Pepper and Their CULINARY Uses
- Basic Pepper Magic Properties (By Type)
- 8 Types of Pepper, Their Magical Properties & Witchy Uses
- Pepper in Other Forms and Ideas on Magical Applications
First, What is Pepper, Truly? (TIP: Don’t Skip This Section)
First of all, I’ll be speaking specifically to the herb or spice known as peppercorn that we refer to as “pepper”. I will not be going into the magical properties or applications of hot peppers like cayenne, chilis, etc (but maybe in a future article).
Pepper. It’s one of those pantry staples in the United States (and elsewhere) that I believe we take for granted. Black pepper is on nearly every restaurant table in a glass or cheap shaker, sometimes in such a condensed, expired form that it’s lost its actual flavor. It’s thrown unceremoniously onto a table as a prop. A requirement. When I see such a magical substance like pepper abused in this way, I shudder. Yes, I’m serious. Here’s why.
Sure, witches are all about that salt life, but we tend to forget pepper is just as useful an ingredient. It flavors food, but do we really know what pepper truly is and where it hails from? As a long-time kitchen witch, I typically start at the beginning when I’m learning to use ingredients of any kind in a magical way. And in pepper’s origins, we find it’s true magical strengths.
Mystical Pepper Origins: Ransom Payments, Guardian Snakes, and Black Gold
Pepper is part of the Piperaceae family of perennial climbing plants, hailing from its native Southern Asia. We know that it’s been used as a medicine and as a spice for at least four thousand years, with our earliest documentation circa 2000 BCE near the city of Kerala, India. Two types of pepper were commonly used in ancient times – Piper longum (long pepper) and Piper nigrum (black pepper). The pepper plant itself is a perennial climbing vine with a stonefruit referred to as a drupe. Each fruit ripens to a dark red color with the stone inside and a single pepper seed inside of that. So, scientifically speaking, pepper is a fruit.
Pepper Magick in the Ancient World
Ancient cultures like the Romans, Egyptians and Mesopotamians engaged in pepper trade with the people of South India. In fact, the history of the spice trade including black pepper is a lengthy but fascinating read. We will keep it brief here. Pepper became so popular throughout the ancient world, that eventually people began using it as currency or as collateral. For example, according to World Food History, the fierce Visigoth King Alaric sacked Rome in 410 CE. Only when the emperor gave in to his demands did he leave, which included a pay out of fleece, silk, silver, gold and 3000 pounds of pepper. Only three decades later, Attila the Hun demanded 1.5 tons of black pepper on his siege of Rome (BG Daily News).
Pepper was in such high demand in the Medieval Ages, people began calling it “black gold”. If you had even an ounce of pepper in your household, you were likely a wealthy individual. Pepper was used to freshen your breath, since toothbrushes and toothpaste weren’t invented until the eighteenth century. And rumors spread that black pepper was extremely difficult to harvest because the plant itself was guarded by poisonous snakes. Then, in the 1600s, trade of pepper increased with the Dutch and it became more accessible than ever before. Eventually decreasing it’s monetary value. But, as I said, it’s magical and culinary value hasn’t been lost on this witch.
Pepper Typically Comes in the Following Forms:
- Whole peppercorns
- Ground, coarse pepper
- Finely ground (powdered) pepper
- Pepper essential oil
- Black pepper extract
8 Types of Pepper and Their CULINARY Uses
To learn of the types of pepper and their magical uses, scroll to the next section. But here I feel it’s important to give you all a brief overview of the different types of pepper and their culinary uses (since many of us do enjoy making magick with our edible creations).
- Black pepper: roasted vegetables, chicken dishes, steak, Italian, savory breads, and bloody marys
- White pepper: Chinese cuisine – soups, sauces, stir-fries and more
- Pink pepper: fish, meat, vinegar, risotto, wine and bakery sweets
- Rainbow pepper: cheese, seafood, meats, desserts and as decoration
- Green pepper: French, Creole and Thai cuisines utilize this type of pepper
- Long pepper: fried rice, masala, vindaloo, and other Asian cuisines
- Red pepper: South American cuisines i.e. Brazilian
- Szechuan pepper: Sichuan Chinese cuisine wontons, hot and sour soup, chicken, etc.
Basic Pepper Magic Properties (By Type)
|Warding||Youth||Purification||Ancestral Protection||Self Love||Purification||Shielding||Warding|
|Prosperity||Growth||Clarity||Passion||Self Preservation||ALL Intentions||Warding||Passion|
8 Types of Pepper, Their Magical Properties & Witchy Uses
What you decide to do with your herbs and spices is entirely up to you. Some kitchen witches only ever use pepper in their food preparations. I enjoy coming up with new and exciting ways to put pepper magical properties to use in my practice. More on those with the types of pepper and their magical uses below.
1. Black Pepper Magic Properties & Uses
Black pepper is the most common type of pepper in the Western world and found in nearly every grocery store. According to the late Wiccan author Scott Cunningham, black pepper can be worn in “amulets to protect against the evil eye. Wear it to squash envy in others. And mix black pepper with salt and sprinkle over thresholds for protection.” I’ve found black pepper is also useful in money and prosperity spells, since it was once considered “black gold”.
2. White Pepper Magick
White pepper comes from the same pepper plant as the black, it’s just a different part. This type of pepper is the ripe fruit seeds ONLY. So the process of extracting the white pepper is different from harvesting the black. And in this lies much of its power. White pepper seeds are exposed after the pepper fruit has been left to decompose. For me, white pepper carries all the properties of black pepper with an oomph of potency in the domain of purification. It’s also powerful in banishing and exposing the truth spells (think decomposition – wilting and dying to expose the core).
3. Pink Pepper Magical Properties (NOTE: CASHEW FAMILY = TREE NUT ALLERGEN)
Because I’m such a proponent for Himalayan pink salt, I nearly freaked when I discovered there’s such thing as pink pepper. Of course I ran out and purchased some. But then realized pink pepper actually isn’t even from the same family as the other peppers listed here. It’s from the Peruvian pepper tree or Brazilian pepper tree, totally different from black pepper plants. In addition, it is in the cashew family so those with a tree nut allergy should avoid use. Pink pepper holds all the magick of black pepper with the added properties of the protection of self love, femininity, and friendship.
4. Rainbow Pepper: Magical CREOLE Pepper
Rainbow peppercorns are simply a combination of white, green, pink and black peppercorns. Remember, pink peppercorns aren’t made from the Piper nigrum plant and can cause a person with tree nut allergies medical problems. With rainbow peppercorns, you get the power of all four colors of pepper in one batch. Think protection, purification, vitality and self preservation spells. I have a friend of the LGBTQ+ community who also uses rainbow pepper as a method of representation on her dining room table!
5. Green Pepper
Green pepper is simply unripe black pepper drupes that have been treated to preserve their original green color. Typically, vinegar or some other pickling medium is used to preserve green pepper. If they’re not preserved in a pickled substance, they decay quickly. I think of green peppercorns as the “youthful” version of the black peppercorn. Maiden to Crone. Add to spells to preserve beauty, promote vitality, and love.
6. Long Pepper
Long pepper (Piper longum) isn’t a common pepper used in Western cuisine but is a popular spice in Asian cuisines. It’s history dates as far back as black peppercorn, at least 4000 years ago. It has a particularly long history being used as a medicine more so than a spice. Utilize long pepper in protection spells that need to last a long time.
7. Red Pepper
We said green pepper are the unripe drupes that have been pickled, so guess what the red pepper is? The ripe drupes that have been pickled to preserve the color. Vinegar is most commonly used in this process. Again, as with the green pepper magical properties, we are thinking all the black pepper properties PLUS preservation. And we add properties of love, passion, and drive to the list. Personally, I also associate the color red with ancestors (bloodline) and use red peppercorns in ancestral protection magick.
8. Szechuan Pepper Magick
Another type of peppercorn not from the black peppercorn plant is Szechuan pepper. This peppercorn is actually from a tree in the mountainous region of China. I’m told it’s flavor is spicy and pungent and different from your typical black pepper. As it comes from a bush with spikes, it’s protective properties are palpable. Sprinkle some szechuan pepper over any meal that needs a spicy kick AND when you or your family needs some extra kick-ass shielding.
Pepper in Other Forms and Ideas on Magical Applications
Of course every kitchen witch will know how to use and experiment with different pepper magick at the hearth. But are there other ways to use pepper in your spells and workings? ABSOLUTELY. As we’ve said before, your spell-work is only limited by your own intuition and imagination.
Even if you’re not a cook or baker, pepper magick is still worth a try. If only for the accessibility and affordability. Literally black pepper can be found at nearly any grocery or convenience store in the Western hemisphere for under five bucks. The other artisanal peppers might be more pricey, but if you like to experiment with different types and colors…go for it. Or try pepper in one or more of these magical ingredients:
- Pepper essential oil: can be mixed with other essential oils and carrier oils for various magical purposes
- Pepper Infused oils: make your own magical oils by infusing oil with herbs and spices of your choice including pepper. Then anoint candles, tools, power points, etc.
- Pepper Infused vinegars: four thieves’ vinegar is powerful in fighting off flu and colds. Add black peppercorns to it and amplify the effects (remember, everything in moderation, and contact a healthcare professional before partaking in any herbal regimen)
- Other magical applications: burning pepper as a loose incense or in a bonfire, encircling candles in candle spells, sprinkled across thresholds and added to protection powders, or add pepper magick to spell bags, bottles, jars, amulets, talismans, etc.
- Pepper also makes a powerful offering to gods, ancestors, and various spirits