The Novice’s Grimoire

The Novice’s Grimoire: Bergamot Oil

By Z. Smith

Hello Novices! I’ve been absent for a long time, and I hope you have been keeping up with your studies! No, I haven’t been on vacation for this long. Instead, I’ve been working behind the scenes, with the many smiling CATALYST faces, doing my part—small as it may be—to make CATALYST’s new website the beautiful thing it is today! I mean, wow, CATALYST, looking good!

And with a new website, NG has risen from the proverbial grave, with a new look and a new format. Now, each Novice’s Grimoire post is being generously sponsored by Crone’s Hollow, the local haven for all who wander the paths less traveled, and the Original Oil Shop, the one-stop-shop for local, alternative wellness. Truly, NG is better and stronger than it was before. Thank you to our new sponsors, and welcome to our Novice world.

In this post we will be exploring the wonders of bergamot oil. Bergamot (Citrus bergamia ~ not that pretty thing growing in your garden aka bee balm, Monarda fistulosa), perhaps best known as the leading flavor in Earl Grey tea, is said to have originated from ancient Asia or ancient Greece. The plant, according to either account, migrated to the Calabria region of Italy, where it took its name from city of Bergamot in Lombardy. Once in Italy, the plant and oil reached the perfect peak of supply and demand, setting the trajectory for its current popularity. It has an unmistakable citrus smell, due to the plant supposedly being a hybrid between the citron and sour orange.

Medicinally, bergamot oil can be used in aromatherapy to help with a wide variety of respiratory issues, skin diseases, and some mouth and urinary tract infections. With direct application to the stomach area—using a carrier oil, of course—bergamot oil is said to be effective against digestive difficulties. If applied before a hike or during a camping trip, the oil is effective in repelling bugs of all kinds, due to its pungent citrus scent. If plagued by an infectious wound, application of this oil—which has a high content of naturally occurring esters and alcohols, providing some antibiotic and antiseptic effects—may help the wound clear up and heal. Yet, these same compounds may, when the oil is applied to the skin and exposed to direct sunlight, cause a slight irritation. If you find yourself suffering from a bout of the blues, bergamot may be able to help. Apply a couple drops to a handkerchief or shirt sleeve and the scent will act as a powerful pick-me-up.

Spiritually, bergamot holds the energy of joy, balance and strength. In magic, it can be used, either through ritual or meditation, to bring about financial abundance and professional success. In connection, the oil seems to clear up the shadows of the mind, bringing a warmth and lightness to the heart, paving the way for the aforementioned success. I suggest writing down a list of goals and what it would take to achieve them, add a couple drops to bergamot to the list, envision that success being a reality, and begin to feel it unfold.  A drop or two may also be placed in a purse or wallet to attract money. Perhaps most intriguing, it is said to enliven and brighten one’s physical and emotional energies, while coaxing out one’s more sexual and intimate side, to bring about one’s strongest and most commanding self. Bergamot, all aspects considered, is a positive force that can easily be introduced into one’s life.

Novices, thank you for coming back, it’s a pleasure to meet here again. And if you are just joining us, may I invite you to read our previous NG posts. Please, as always, feel free to suggest a topic you might like to see covered, by commenting below. Until next week, stay studious Novices.

Smith is a cookie connoisseur, moonlight meanderer, and aesthete at large. His work has appeared in 13 Experiments, Folio, Stone Soup Review, SLUG Magazine, Salt Lake City Weekly, and CATALYST Magazine. He earned his BA in English from The University of Utah and currently writes from a room with many plants.

This post made possible by a generous contribution from:


The Original Oil Shop, 150 S. State St. SLC, UT



The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews by Scott Cunningham

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Herbs and Things by Jeanne Rose

Magical Aromatherapy by Scott Cunningham


This article was originally published on July 21, 2016.