Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Deities: Babalu-aye, Oshun
Calendula is a beautiful annual that has been used medicinally throughout Europe and Asia for centuries. Like its cousin the sunflower, it is a very happy plant.
Medicinal Uses: Calendula is famous for its ability to heal skin conditions like acne, eczema, irritations, wounds and bites. It is also antibacterial and antifungal. I personally have used calendula in the past to heal conjunctivitis and boils. It can be used internally to heal ulcers and hemorrhoids.
Spiritual Uses: Many times, skin break outs are a physical manifestation of internal anger, especially anger at ourselves. There is also a stress component. Speaking for myself, I tend to break out with a cold sore whenever I am angry and stressed. “Why did I let myself get so far behind,” “I’m such an idiot” and “I hate myself” type thoughts will almost always lead to some sort of skin outbreak. Calendula will help heal this kind of negativity and soothe the hurt so you can let happiness back into your life. Include calendula in spells for happiness and healing. Oshun also likes calendula, also so feel free to add some petals to any workings or offerings for her. Calendula is excellent for a bath or poultice and I have found that this flower works extremely well when partnered up with Oatmeal. In fact, I have my own recipe for an Oatmeal/Calendula soup. You can find Calendula essential oil but use the petals if you can find them. I do use the oil when I make my own message oil.
Easy to grow in the garden, calendula prefers sunny, well drained soils. The flower heads, which can range from 1-3 inches across, are a deep yellow-orange in color and the long, simple leaves are slightly hairy.
Because of its use to heal the skin, it is natural to associate this herb with Babalu-aye. Babalu-aye suffered from small pox when he was young and now rules over all skin afflictions (including small pox, excema, herpes simplex I & II, shingles and HIV). In fact, I would go so far as to say that calendula maybe Babalu-aye’s favorite plants. While many people fear him, he’s actually a very happy being with a personality not unlike calendula. He doesn’t let the scars of his illness hold him back. Working with him and calendula together can really help you heal your internal and external wounds.