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Welcome to the Witches' Apothecary! This narrative is meant to provide basic guidance and to help the wanderer or seeker gain traction onto an amazing Path of Spiritual Exploration & Growth.
It matters little how you prefer to identify yourself as...Pagan, Wiccan, Witch, Nature Lover, or any other Spiritual path; having a love and connection to Nature, the Seasons, and recognizing the Spirit within all is a promising first step.
So why is this called a Witch's Apothecary? Very simply, because I am a Witch & it is my Apothecary. And it is my wish to share this collection of herbs & its magical practice with you. Please know that these are my own experiences and teachings and I encourage all of you to more fully explore, experiment & enjoy.
What do we feel when we approach a cabinet filled with beautiful herbs & aromatic resins? Intrigue? Fear? Mystery? A sense of knowing but not quite sure why? Curiously most of us feel very differently when opening a pantry and reaching in for our culinary herbs. Certainly, there is a sense of pleasure and anticipation of how herbs and spices enhance our foods, however unlike herbs used for magical purposes, their end results are immediately quite tangible. We can taste them, or we feel a sense of wellness and improved health when used in teas, tinctures and salves or other medicinal remedies.
For magical endeavors we need to dig a little deeper. To quiet our minds & immerse ourselves into Nature and Her hidden secrets. Let us take a walk together into the Greenwood and discover those mysteries. This can be a walk into the woods, a meadow, a park or garden or even your back yard. For me personally, the wilder or untouched a space is, the better as are the liminal times of Dawn or Twilight. However, in doing so, please take steps to assure your safety. Once you have chosen a place, stand or sit quietly and observe your surroundings, breathe in deeply and close your eyes. Feel the breeze caress your skin, the sun should it be shining, warm your face, and listen to the sounds of the creatures who live in this special place as they flit and scamper about. You may also hear tree branches swaying or the wind whistling in the higher branches. What does it smell like? Is it a damp aroma, sweet, fresh or do you detect the scent of the local fauna? Now after you've had a chance to observe the wildness of this place with all your senses, allow the sounds and smells to lull you a little deeper into trance. What do you feel now? With eyes still closed and using your third eye, can you see anything? Can you detect the energy of this place? Is it welcoming? Passive or perhaps foreboding? Or perhaps you feel a presence? If you feel unwelcome, offer thanks, leave a small natural offering such as a pretty stone, crystal, flower, etc., and take your leave. If you feel welcome, dwell a bit more but then also verbally give thanks for allowing your visit and leave a small gift behind. What you just experienced during your visit to the Greenwood is the Spirit of the Land. A primitive and ancient but distinct Spiritual essence that permeates the land, the trees, plants, flowers, waters, air, both animate and inanimate objects and is also known as Animism. With each future venture into the Greenwood, upon entering first ask permission of Spirit and depending on the response, either enter or respectfully leave. Offering a natural gift with each visit is helpful in building a relationship with the land and Spirits within. At some point during a visit, you'll feel compelled to ask for help. Perhaps guidance with a troubling issue or perhaps you need comfort for a loss. Speak your intent or request aloud, dwell in place for a moment, give thanks & an offering and respectfully leave.
And so it is with all the herbs, resins, oils and magical creations used to aid us in manifesting our needs and desires or helping us to rid ourselves of negative or harmful influences. Each herb, resin, plant essence, crystal or other materia has within it, unique virtues and Spirit that has agency over these powers. Our task is to know these herbs, their virtues and reach through to their Spirit before and instead of randomly tossing them to the Pyre.
So how is this done? How do we get to know our herbs and the Spirit within? My suggestion is to work with one or two herbs at a time. When possible, grow your own herbs from seed. Care for them & then respectfully honor them & show gratitude prior to their harvest & drying. If growing herbs is not feasible, try to purchase organic dried herbs. Spend time smelling them, touching them and if they are safe culinary herbs, tasting them. What do they feel like or how do they sound when you crush them between your hands? Is the scent more intense? Study what the magical virtues are hidden within your herb. And finally charm the Spirit within and speak aloud your intent into a pinch of crushed herbs and sprinkle it onto a hot ashy charcoal tablet. Notice the aroma and the way it burns. How do you feel afterwards? Was this experience enlightening? Was a connection made or would you do something differently? Take note of your experience and try again or start working with another herb or resin. With time, experience and consistently honoring the Spirit within, you'll soon be combining herbs & resins into loose incense blends or other magical Materia.
And so, we go back to the beginning...
When was the last time you ventured into the verdant green, sat quietly and allowed the Spirit of Place wash over you? ~ Betula
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