POTIONS + POISONS: Kitchen Witchery

 

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The Path of the Green Witch

'Kitchen witchery' is the path of the herbalist, naturalist, spiritual ecologist, medicine woman, curandera, healer. It is an ancient practice that we all contain stored within our DNA, and it essentially speaks to the spiritual connection between us humans and to the soul of nature. Tapping into our inner “green witchery” is a free-form, poetic and creative practice for anyone that seeks to explore a spiritual conversation with nature.

For those of you that don’t relate to the word ‘witch’ as it might have a negative connotation due to the his-story around witches, I understand, and I actually used to think that way. Yet, I’ve learned to embrace it in its own way and connote to it in a more playful way. Although, I do agree that the word "witch" itself doesn't vibrationally capture this ancient practice. Two other words that I very much relate to on a deeper level, and grew up with is curandera (healer), or hierbera, (herbal healer). 

I don’t like to associate ‘witchery’ or curanderismo to any religion. It is the simple and highly specialized art of the healer that we all have within, and it’s unconditional connection to nature’s essence. This practice is one of celebration of life (Happy Beltane!), and it's a deep and mystical dialogue between you as the seer, and the seen, Nature. And it is through this ancestral dialogue that we get to heal the Earth, and ultimately heal ourselves. 

Being a garden kitchen means to work and practicing with the cycles of nature. A curandera is dictated by the rhythms of nature, which is the same eternal rhythm practiced by our ancestors. A witch’s craft involves that of sowing seeds, tending to the soil, listening to the voice of nature and being a steward of the earth. A garden witch, or a true hierbera, has a strong spiritual connection to nature, yet a practical one as well that naturally abides by the laws of sustainability. Being a seer of nature means that through the direct art of subtle perception, you listen to the plants. And thus, the plants disclose their secrets - many of which are far more subtle than a chemical analysis could uncover. To be a true green witch / herbalist / hierbera / curandera means to become a Seer. To cultivate the innate sensitivity that we have to commune in direct awareness with the spirit of nature and universal consciousness. It means to listen to when plants speak to you, and to look upon them with the humblest of hearts as one’s teacher.

MAGICAL HERBS

If you’re already a kitchen witch, you might have the whole list already! I focused on classic herbs that most of us might already have, and although the list could be eternal, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you don’t have many of these, I invite you to write down the spices and herbs you have and those you wish to incorporate in your practice to concoct magic within your sacred kitchen.  

  
ALOE — 
said to be ruled by the moon, aloe has been used for thousands of years as a good and medicine. Alove is said to guard against evil influences, and dark energy. It was often planted outside of the home to prevent bad energy, theft and accidents.

ALLSPICE –  Her name is “allspice” as the complexity of her flavor includes clove, cinnamon, and pepper. Used magically to call in money, prosperity, good luck and abundance.

BASIL - It’s an extremely versatile family of plants which also hints its all-purpose magical abilities. Basil is usually associated to Jupiter as it encompasses prosperity, success, peace, protection, happiness, purification, tranquility, and love. In Mediterranean magic it was used to call in abundance and to arouse more love between partners.

BAY LEAVES  – Bay leaves have long been used by Mediterranean priests and priestesses for visions and ritual. Bay is associated with divination, intuition and success. Often used in dream sachets for intuitive guidance, and gently burned as a smudge during ceremony.

CALENDULA – Golden flower ruled by the Sun, calendula is a masterful plant for the skin, and studied for its potent antiviral nature. Magically it has been used for happiness, love, protection and harmony.

CAYENNE or CHILI POWDER – Magically, it can be used to give spells a little kick, or boost an intention or dream. It’s known as a powerful catalyzer that can propel transformation in motion. Said to be ruled by Mars, and Pluto. 

CARAWAY – Often used as a protective spice that prevents theft and protects from energy vamps. A great one to add into magical concoctions when wanting to call in trust and fidelity.

CHIVE – An classic culinary herb that can be used in healing spells and to rid one’s home and environment of negative spirits.

CINNAMON – Another great all-purpose spice used for luck, money, protection, and love magick. Used as an energizer to power up intention setting. It is excellent for spells involving abundance, love, healing the heart and monetary success.

CILANTRO/CORIANDER– Known to be a protective herb in the garden. Traditionally a bunch was hung within the home as an herb of protection. It is associated with peace, and may be used in rituals performed for that effect. In Egypt it was used in love spells to enhance the love between two, and also coined as an ‘herb for immortality.’

CLOVE – A powerful spice used to draw in money and prosperity. Clove is associated with purification, expansion of mental abilities, and renewal. Often used around doorways, or in protective sachets, to ward off negativity and bad energy.

CHAMOMILE – Also called “manzanilla” in Spanish, chamomile soothes a worried soul, irritability, headaches and nervousness. It is used magically for prosperity, peace, harmony and happiness. Chamomile helps re-kindle us to our childhood, reminding us to stay joyous, calm and wondrous to life. 

COMFREY – An excellent grounding herb, used as a garden and home protector. Comfrey is an excellent herb to use when calling in a solid foundation in one’s life, energetically and physically.

CUMIN – A spice that’s long been used in the Mediterranean as a food and medicine. You can use it in your dishes to invoke love and lust, as well as fidelity. It was classically used by priests in exorcisms and rituals of purification.

DILL  – A magical herb associated to Jupiter, known to help heal grief and deep rooted sadness, it’s also used to draw in luck, prosperity, joy and protection.

FENNEL – Has a long history dating back thousands of years. Often used in “magickal eyewashes” to bring in clarity, clear visions, avoid confusion and help remove fear surrounding transformation.

GARLIC – Garlic is very protective from dark energy, and wards off disease and evil. There’s a reason it’s thought to keep vampires at bay. Hang dried garlic from your ceiling, hear doorways, or on a door handle when you feel the need for protection. Also a classic plant, like calendula, scientifically renowned for its antiviral healing abilities. 

GINGER – Known as a magic booster, like cinnamon, used to energize an intention. It can be planted in one’s yard to energize the landscape with potential energy, while bringing in abundance in the harvest along with calling in monetary abundance.

LAVENDER – This beautiful and fragrant purple flower has been used magically to call in peace, harmony, tranquility and love. It’s often used to reweave love in a marriage.

MINT – Mint can help alleviate many imbalances, from a common headache, to mild depression, to digestive imbalances. Mint is used in purification rituals, also to call in success and clarity.  

MARJORAM – Marjoram was used by ancient greeks to crown newly married couples. The lovely plant is known to bring fidelity, happiness, trust, love and joy in partnerships.

MUGWORT – A well known dream herb, mugwort is classically used as a smudge, herbal smoke and for witchy brews. The Artemisia family is well known for its potent healing abilities, and magically used for divination, dreaming and psychic sight.

OREGANO – Used in love spells to strengthen a bond, worn as wreaths in handfasting rituals, used to bring happiness, and good luck. 

PARSLEY – Known as a purifier, its used to help alleviate worry and fright. It’s also used as a neutralizer of energies, used to “reset” the energy within the space.

POPPY – In ritual poppy is associated with fertility and creativity. It is used to call in visions, ideas and insights to bring in creativity and clarity. Often used to manifest dreams.

ROSE – Many cultures have used this one throughout history to call in love and beauty. Magically it has been used for divination, spiritual protection and to help mend a broken heart. 

ROSEMARY – Traditionally used for purification and cleansing rituals, and to help improve one’s memory. Rosemary is used as an “energetic heal-all” used for love, success, protection, clarity, prosperity and more.

THYME – Ancient Greeks considered thyme as a powerful plant endowed with magic. For them, this was an herb born directly from the tears of Helen of Troy. Thyme is known as a master attractor. It is also used to relieve emotional trauma and to let go of the past.

SAGE – Whether using common sage or white sage, they both have strong purification properties. They are used in smudging ceremonies to call in the light, and remove lingering negativity from the space. It absorbs negativity and misfortune, bringing in wisdom and wealth. It drives away disturbances and tensions, and lifts the spirits above the mundane cares of life. Carry it as an herb for protection and wisdom.

SNAPDRAGON – The vibrational medicine of snapdragons was often used to protect innocence, and trauma around sexuality. It is also used to remove illusion or deception, reflecting negative energy back to its source.

YARROW – Yarrow is another of those potent medicines known to heal a wide variety of ills. Magically, it’s known to bring in courage, strength and empowerment.

TREES

MAPLE – The maple tree has been used for cabinetry, and to make delightful maple syrup. Magically maple is used to bring in love, prosperity and abundance.

PINE – Pine has been used for cleansing, purification, and clarity. Amber resin has been used as an all purpose resin to call in longevity, protection, love and good health. 

CEDAR – Another precious tree recognized by many cultures as a mythical and powerful ally. Cedar has been known through the ages as a protective ally, assisting in repelling bad energy.

APPLE – Found all over the Northern Hemisphere, its widespread availability symbolizes its avundant and fertile energy. Apple is associated with harmony, synergy, fertility and longevity.

ELDER – Often associated as the ‘tree of the faeries’. It is said that bad luck will fall upon anyone who doesn’ task the tree’s permission three times before harvesting any part of it. Elder is associated with divination, protection, and dreamwork.

 

@whisper_in_the_wood

CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICAN PLANTS USED IN RITUAL

The story of magic within indigenous peoples all over Central and South America is strong and deep. Well, like all native traditions around the world. I will write an in-depth post soon on mystical plants of the rainforest that I grew very close with, often used in dietas, and ceremonies for spirit work. 

BOBINSANA – A powerful dream herb used for dream divination, clarity and for spiritual sight. It is often used during ‘dietas’ special spirit cleanses to ignite vision, and clarity of sight. Bobinsana can be used in dream work sachets, or even have the flower, branch or bark, near your pillow to induce prophetic dreams. 

COCA – Honored by indigenous peoples for thousands of years as a master plant. Analysis of mummified human remains in Chile indicate the use of coca as early as 1,000BC. Due to the isolation of its main ingredients to make cocaine occurred on the more modern side of history, the use as a whole plant slowly declined and its export was nearly prohibited. Coca is an energizer and powerful booster. Shamans fast using coca leaves using it to stay up during long nights of ceremony and vision quest for patients needing healing, and more. Coca leaves are used as an ofrenda (divine offering) during celebration ceremonies, funerals, practices, among other occasions.   

CACAO –The Mayas used cacao beans in ceremonial beverages during spiritual rituals   honoring the Mayan gods. The liquid liquid chocolate often combined with other medicines, was served and drank as a symbol for blood, and used to access the land of the ancestors. Although cacao is often found in every corner of the world now a days, its vital to use the right kind during ritual. Raw cacao beans or powder can be used to ignite spiritual sight and to enhance meditation. 

DAMIANA – A popular herb often thought of as an aphrodisiac, was used by Mexican indigenous peoples for a wide variety of things. It’s thought to be a rejuvnative and longevity plant, and regarded much like an adaptogen. Although this hasn’t been proven in the medical community, the plant has a powerful ability to ward off the body from damaging effects of stress. Magically this herb can be used to call in love, creativity, fertility and prosperity.

CALEA SACATECHICHI – Another essential used in Dreamword. Calea’s use is more oriented within Central America, where shamans have used it for psychic sight, interdimensional travel within dreams, visitation to the ancestral lands, and lucid dreaming. The plant is classically used in dreamwork, and used as a clarity booster to interpret the complex world of dreams. 

JUANILAMA – A classic garden plant in Central America used as a digestive aid and to lower high cholesterol. Often used as a smudging plant in ritual to clear the air from negativity and as a purifier. It’s often used energetically to help women heal from sexual trauma, or imbalances in the uterus.

RUDA – A master protector. Used to ward off evil spirits, bad energy and energetic intruders. Ruda is suggested to plant at the entrance of the home to prevent any unwanted energies.

HIERBA DE SAN JUAN (St. Johns Wort) – Used in ritual in many parts of the world, this masterful plant is thought to be a great protector. St Johns Wort is thought to bring in the light, and purify stagnation. It’s a heal-all in the literal and metaphorical sense and can be used for a wide variety of reasons.      

ROSE DE JAMAICA (Hibiscuis) – A classic found in many gardens in Central and South America, used to purify old love bonds that might have been damaging. This is a master healer to the second chakra, helping boost confidence, sensuality, fertility and love. Also used in love charms to call in soulmates. 

PALO SANTO - A tree bark often used to cleanse and dispel dark energies from the body, and space. Also used literally as an air purifier in ritual and when cleansing physical spaces. I've written a lot about Palo Santo, and can't stress enough how vital it is to carefully source it, not just for ethical reasons, but as it determines the potency and efficiency of its power. Palo Santo must die naturally, and lay in the ground for years to develop its mysterious oils. It's potent oils are what makes it an essential tree for deep purification. 

OTHER SPIRIT TOOLS

SALT – While not an herb, salt is used to purify and withdraw negativity. Used in purification rituals and often placed in areas of the house that needs cleansing. 

SUGAR – Also not an herb per-se, but used for centuries to sweeten, metaphorically and literally. In Caribbean rituals, like hoodoo magick, it is used to sweeten one’s disposition; Used in love spells to sweeten a person’s heart.

CHARCOAL - Ayurvedic, Chinese medicine have used activated charcoal for thousands of years and its first recorded use dates back to 1550BC. Charcoal was used as the hearth to burn resins, herbs and magical blends, and catalyze the intention into action.

COMMUNING WITH THE PLANT WORLD

Keep in mind this is just the tip of the iceberg of a very deep and mystical subject that has been a point of study for medicine peoples for thousands of years. Communing with plants is just one of the many avenues to discover and learn from the mystical workings of the Universe.

Plants are like radio receivers, inhaling and exhaling stellar influences that alchemize and create life. These forces are invisible to the human eye and include a wide array of subtle energies of a spiritual nature. Plants then alchemize light through photosynthesis, creating the finest medicine on a primal level that encompasses all the elementals expressed within cosmic law. Within the microcosm of plants, we can learn key aspects to our own nature, and by communing in receptive awareness with them, we are inviting the inner Seer to experience the inner workings of nature as a map to the cosmos.

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Please do share any useful tools you use, or questions you might have. Lots of love to you all my fellow green witches and wizards!

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