Oh! Isn’t that a fun rhyme?
Doesn’t it just make your little heart beat with Joy?
..........No? okay maybe it’s just me….
When I first started dabbling in spell work and charms, I just loved the idea of dusty little jars filled with herbs and roots and labeled with creepy old English names.
I imagined myself working spells by candlelight; grinding seeds with a mortar and pestle while chanting Latin words. I saw myself stirring a cauldron, adding ingredients, spouting rhymes, feeling the tingle of magic in my bones, divining the outcome through the wafting steam.
Yeah, it doesn’t happen that way ......and rarely does it happen with such drama.
Just the same, I love my jars of herbs. I still get a kick out grinding things with the mortar and pestle, sorting seed from casings and filling up my jars for a raining day…
These days my jars are bigger and I still can’t rhyme.
After learning what different herbs are good for and testing out a spell or two, I started my collection just to have the collection. I didn’t use half of what I collected and discovered that some of my herbs lost their potency over the years. (I’ll get to that in a second)
So now, part of my spring cleaning routine is to sort through my magical cabinet. I dust the jars, organize them, take inventory and sort through viable plants and roots. I can offer these in the Apothecary because I usually have more than I need
Witches have always worked with plants.
They were the healers, the shamans, the medicine women. In contrast to what Hollywood and bedtime tales have portrayed, Witches were the old wise women living on the edge of the village; keepers of the knowledge of the plants.
They were the ones that knew which would heal and which would poison. Which plants would ease pain and which would facilitate labor.
Long before men and science took over the medical field, it was witches who people turned to even if they weren’t always called witches.
So, What did I mean by ‘potency’?
Plants have energetic properties. Edible plants have vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. Non-edibles have their own energy that aids our intentions during spell work. It’s the energy of these plants that determine their potency.
We have been gifted with this knowledge; It has been passed down from our ancestors, confirmed by herbalist and in some cases scientists.
Often times Witches come by their knowledge from their Spirit Guides or memories of past lives or just intuitively by spending time with a plant.
There are plenty of books and websites that give a general description of what ailments or uses each plant is good for. Read, learn and trust your gut.
In my experience, living plants have the strongest energy – whether it’s breathing in the negative ions produced by the trees in a forest or eating a salad out of the garden.
If it’s possible to use a live or freshly harvested plant, then that’s my first choice. However, it’s not always possible. And that’s where my happy little jars of dried goods come in!
For example, you can’t really stuff a charm bag or poppet with fresh leaves and flowers. It’ll mold. (Of course if that’s your intention then go for it)
Then there’s the fact that I can’t seem to keep basil alive on my kitchen window sill and daffodils only grow for about a month in the early spring.
Fortunately, dried leaves and flowers retain a lot of energy allowing us to do happiness rituals in October and money spells in January. Drying is easy and doesn’t take a whole lot of special equipment.
As far as potency goes; Roots and seeds would come in second to live plants on the energy scale of my mind. They have concentrated amounts of all the good stuff that make the plants grow. (Like my technical terms?)
Dried leaves and flowers are just as good and in some cases more appropriate. The down side is they’re more fragile and can break down quicker and easier.