Pagan Bookshelf: Magickal Herbalism

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Witches are known for their use of plants for working magick. Incenses, brews and potions, oils, powders, washes, even magically charged foods are all ways of employing Green Magick.

One of the most popular books on herbs, their properties and uses was published back in the 1600s. The book proved useful to magickal practitioners as well thanks to listing the astrological associations of each herb (as astrology was the basis of a lot of medical theory at that time). It’s still in print today and copies can be easily purchased in most bookstores and borrowed from most public libraries. “The Complete Herbal” by Nicholas Culpeper is also available here as a free EPUB format ebook. [Important note: before you accept ANY of the medical advice in Culpeper’s herbal, be sure to check with a reputable modern herbalist or at least a medical doctor FIRST. Some of the medical advice in Culpeper’s can make things much worse!]

In Wicca, the most popular books on the topic are probably Scott Cunningham’s “Magickal Herbalism,” “Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs,” “The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews” and “Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca In the Kitchen”. Another popular Wicca-based series of books are Ann Moura’s “Green Witchcraft” handbooks. These are just the start, though! Here are a few more, most not specifically Wiccan:

“Under the Witching Tree” and “Under the Bramble Arch” by Corinne Boyer. Traditional (non-Wiccan) “green Witchcraft” written by a knowledgeable practitioner.

“Pharmako Gnosis,” “Pharmako Dynamis,” and “Pharmako Poeia” by Dale Pendell. Explores the impact of plants and their products on the human body, mind, and spirit. Highly recommended.

“Verdant Gnosis: Cultivating the Green Path” (currently 5 volumes published!) edited by Catamara Rosarium et al. (Visit Catamara’s website store at https://rosariumblends.com to keep up on what she’s got available.)

“The Plant Spirit Familiar: Green Totems, Teachers & Healers on the Path of the Witch” and “The Green Lovers: A Compilation of Plant Spirit Magic” by Christopher Penczak.

“Mastering Herbalism: A Practical Guide” by Paul Huson. This is the same author who wrote the classic handbook, “Mastering Witchcraft.” Highly recommended.

“The Witching Herbs: 13 Essential Plants and Herbs for Your Magical Garden” by Harold Roth. An excellent handbook on how to raise thirteen traditional witchy plants and herbs, and what to do with them once you’ve got them. If you plan to grow witching herbs then this book is a must-have.

“Magical Gardens: Cultivating Soil & Spirit” by Patricia Monaghan. Great ideas for making gardening and plants the centre of one’s spiritual and magickal practice.

“Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers” by Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hofmann & Christian Ratsch, and “Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants” by Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Christian Ratsch, and Wolf-Dieter Storl. Two solidly-researched clearly written and beautifully illustrated reference guides to the spiritual impact of herbs around the world.

“A Modern Herbal” (in two volumes) by Mrs. M. Grieve. Subtitled “The Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folk-Lore of Herbs, Grasses, Fungi, Shrubs & Trees with Their Modern Scientific Uses.” An indispensable modern version of Culpeper’s Herbal.

“Ars Philtron,” “Viridarium Umbris,” and the forthcoming “The Green Mysteries” by Daniel A. Schulke. An intense and deeply spiritual system of green magick and potion-making based on Andrew Chumbley’s Sabbatic Witchcraft tradition.

“Spellbound’s Vade Mecum: Magickal Potions from A-Z: The Complete Spellbound Formulary” by Kelli Klymenko. An excellent collection of recipes and how-to explanations for making magickal oils, incenses, and assorted concoctions.

“Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure” by Catherine Yronwode. Subtitled “Traditional Formulary Giving the Spiritual Uses of Natural Herbs, Roots, Minerals, and Zoological Curios.” A practical encyclopedia of how to use all sorts of herbs (and more) for magickal purposes.

“The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual” by James Green. An excellent how-to manual explaining exactly what to do to make a wide variety of herbal products. The main focus is on making herbal products to use for medical purposes, but the techniques easily apply as well to magickal products.