I would venture to say that pumpkins have grown in popularity, particularly within the past few years. Each year, when September rolls around, it seems nearly every witch goes crazy for pumpkins. Pumpkin spice coffees, pumpkin decorations, pumpkin everything. With the pumpkin being such a favored symbol of Fall AND a food, why not use it in your magical practice? Here’s the pumpkin’s magic properties and 12 ways to use it in your witchcraft.
The pumpkin, Cucurbita pepo, is a type of Winter Squash that is typically large, round and ribbed and of a distinctive orange color. However, they can also be white, green, yellow and other shades depending on the cultivar, as there are 3 or 4 different kinds. Did you know the pumpkin itself is actually considered a pepo or basically a type of berry? That’s a big berry, y’all.
My favorite pumpkins I’ve seen this year are a deep blood orange shade with large pimple-like bumps all over their skin or what I like to call witch’s boils. I just think they’re super witchy. I’m also a fan of white pumpkins or what I call ghost gourds. The pumpkin, though popular in many places throughout the world today, is native to North America and has been cultivated since at least 7000 BCE.
According to Scott Cunningham, the pumpkin is ruled by the water element and by the moon. As we already know, it is an ever-present symbol of Autumn, particularly in North America and has been for decades. The pumpkin has a number of magical properties including: prosperity, growth, fertility, creativity, vitality, divination, shapeshifting, transformation, death and the dead and all things harvest related.
The act of carving faces into a vegetable originates with the Scots and Irish but they didn’t carve pumpkins in the old land, they carved root vegetables like turnips (which I hear is MUCH harder than carving pumpkins and by the way if you have time, google turnip jack o’ lantern and have a change of pants at the ready, this is the stuff of nightmares.) Later on, after the Scotts-Irish migrated to the New World, they brought their Samhain traditions with them, including carving turnips but eventually someone figured out the native pumpkin was larger and easier to carve. So we’ve been doing that ever since.
That explains the act of carving but what about the name jack o’ lantern? According to Occult World, the term actually originated in England and is linked to a supernatural phenomenon called Ignis Fatuus or “foolish fire”. This is an eerie, spectral light that sort of bobbs and dances. It seduces people off the beaten path and often to their death. In addition to the jack o’ lantern being a spook light, the name also has a couple legends behind it and refers to a character or man named jack who made a deal with the devil. Because of this deal with the devil, he is not permitted to go to Heaven or Hell and is doomed to wander the earth forever. And apparently he amuses himself by leading people to their doom. Iron is said to ward him off during the Halloween season.
“In this town we call home
Everyone hail to the pumpkin song
In this town, don’t we love it now?
Everybody’s waiting for the next surprise“
~ This is Halloween (The Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack)
Pumpkins are versatile: they can be used in magic in many ways. They are decorative AND they are a food source. What you do with pumpkin in your practice is entirely up to you. Your imagination is your only limitation. But if you’d like a few ideas, here’s our favorite ways to make pumpkin magic!
This is the most obvious way to make pumpkin magic. Carving jack-o-lanterns isn’t just a silly Halloween tradition, it dates back centuries and originates in Scotland/Ireland. Except they didn’t use pumpkins, they used turnips. The turnip was replaced with the pumpkin in the U.S. in more recent times. Carving a jack-o-lantern and lighting it on Halloween night keeps evil spirits from entering your home and lights the way for your ancestors to visit.
For my kitchen witches – now’s the time to make pumpkin pie AND use it as a spell for prosperity or fertility. The entire process of making and baking the pie becomes a magical ritual. The spices used also have their own magic properties. Cinnamon = power and prosperity. Nutmeg = good luck. Ginger = protection. And so on. Draw sigils or symbols in the pie crust before baking.
When you carve your pumpkin this year, save the seeds. Clean, dry, and preserve them to use in spells throughout the year. Add pumpkin seeds to spell bags, bottles, jars, and other witchy charms for prosperity, fertility, luck, divination, etc. They make cool rattling noises when added to shaker spell jars.
I got this idea last Halloween – in addition to carving a jack-o-lantern, you can paint symbols and spells directly onto the pumpkin. Paint an Algiz, Uruz, or Tyr rune on a pumpkin and place by the front door for protection during the Samhain season. Or paint sigils, Ogham symbols, heiroglyphics and other witchy symbols as a means of spell work. Then when the Samhain season is over or when your spell has manifested, you can bury the pumpkin in the West of your house and baby pumpkins might spring up from it!
Pumpkins are a great offering for ancestors during the Samhain season. The veil is thin and the ancestors pay a visit to us during this time, so why not use pumpkins as an offering to them? Harvest gods also enjoy pumpkin offerings.
“Then on the night when Death comes for his victim, the witch takes a pumpkin and makes in it eyes and nose, and two holes, and puts in them two pods of beans, with the beans in them, to seem like horns.” ~ Etruscan Roman Remains in Popular Tradition by Charles Godfrey Leland
You can ask my husband, as soon as Mabon rolls around, I’m cooking pumpkin into every meal in the house. Pumpkin is versatile in food – it’s not just meant for desserts. Try this delicious recipe for savory pumpkin soup and mix your intentions in while cooking:
Did you know you can use vegetables and fruits as candle holders? No? Well, now you do. And a small pumpkin is a perfect candle holder for spells. Prosperity, fertility, and increasing intuition spells benefit greatly from the presence of pumpkin. Carve the seeds and pulp from a small pumpkin and then add a chime, tealight or votive candle. The pumpkin will lend it’s energy to your candle spell.
Didn’t I say pumpkin is versatile in the kitchen? If you’ve never made pumpkin bread, now’s your chance. There’s something inherently magical about making your own bread, and when you combine that magic with pumpkins? Fall Witchy Heaven. The process of making bread, the smell of it in the oven, and the taste is pure alchemy.
Don’t throw away your pumpkin seeds when carving your jack-o-lanterns. Save them, clean them, and roast them in the oven. Before roasting, sprinkle salt, pepper, and a little chili powder on them. Then eat them to invoke the power of the harvest gods, prosperity, and to connect with the moon and water element.
If you have a large piece of land where you can mound soil, you can grow pumpkins. Imagine having your own harvest of pumpkins next Fall season – you’ll have food, decorations, and a powerful magical tool right in your garden! Watching a plant go from seed, to seedling, to full grown and then fruit is a green witch’s sacred ritual. Give it a try!
There’s something about visiting a pumpkin patch that evokes strong feelings of joy. As a kid, our school always took us on field trips to the pumpkin patch in October. There was always a magic, innate and unique only to the pumpkin patch, that called to children. It’s the same reason it calls to witches. If you have a local pumpkin patch, visit it and take your friends or family along for the fun!
In addition to being delicious, the ingredients in my pumpkin spice coffee recipe are incredibly magical and are typically already in a person’s kitchen pantry! Here are the ingredients and their magical properties.
Fall season is the season of the harvest which means it’s time to harvest the plants we’ve been growing all Spring and Summer. This is also a symbolic time to reap what we’ve sown in life, whether that be in our jobs, homes, friendships, etc. The Harvest season represents abundance and prosperity. If we think back to when our ancestors grew their own food in fields and garden, an abundant crop yield meant everyone stayed fed and healthy through the cold, winter months ahead. Take stock of the seeds you’ve sown throughout the year and bring about greater prosperity with this simple pumpkin spice coffee prosperity spell.
While combining the spices, be sure to stir in a clockwise-direction 3, 7, 9, or 13 times. Think of your intention while doing this – I mean really visualize yourself being prosperous in whatever area of life you seek to improve. Sprinkle the pumpkin spice over your coffee and visualize being rained down upon with blessings. Then sip and enjoy while continuing to imagine your prosperous year ahead!
There’s something about the Autumn season that makes everyone feel cozy and magical…including the wildlife! …September 18, 2023