The Witch’s Favourite Green Reads

First, I sincerely apologize for this post’s possible damage to your wallet. It covers my all-time favourite recommended reads when it comes to magical herbalism, green witchery, genius loci, and working with plant spirit allies. I’ve listed them in order of favourtism not alphabet. If you love a certain book click on its image to purchase or follow the links to the authors’ names to find more excellent titles by them.

Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants

by Claudia Müller-Ebeling, Christian Rätsch & Wolf-Dieter Storl

I picked up this book on a whim at a local bookstore and couldn’t put it down as soon as I opened the front cover. This book is a witch’s dream, especially those who practice ancient Greek magic as the authors give full correspondences from the ancient Greeks for their deities along with traditional salves and incenses used in ritual to invoke and give offerings to gods. Witchcraft Medicine doesn’t just focus on the Greek however – it also focuses on Celtic and Germanic plant medicine – on the whole, the book covers animism, shamanism, and witchcraft and how they are all synonymous – still rare and new in modern witchcraft publishing despite it’s 2003 publication date. The reason – it was originally a European publication written in German – and European scholars are ahead of everyone else when it comes to evidence and research comparing shamanism and witchcraft. All of the authors have Ph.D’s in their respective fields making this book as accurate and informative as it is beautifully filled with illustrations of ritual and plants. I LOVE this book! ♥

Pharmako Series — Pharmako/Gnosis: Plant Teachers and the Poison Path; Pharmako/Dynamis: Stimulating Plants, Potions, and Herbcraft; Pharmako/Poeia: Plant Powers, Poisons, and Herbcraft

by Dale Pendell

Pharmako is the root of pharmacist from the ancient Greek – the Greeks used it to mean herbalist or witch. I describe Dale Pendell’s Pharmako trilogy as an alchemical poetic treatise on the psychoactive properties of plants. In Pendell’s world plants are living breathing sentient beings much wiser and older than ourselves who should be treated with respect and honoured as elders.  This trilogy is about Pendell’s own trip down the rabbit hole speaking from the point of views of the shaman, apprentice, and plant spirit. These books themselves are mind-altering — you must change your perception of a book to read them — and you do not come away from reading them unchanged. I consider this series essential to those who would be green or hedge witches within traditional witchcraft as they will make you question if you truly wish to be. As Victor Anderson said “everything worthwhile is dangerous.”

Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure

by Catherine Yronwode

This is an essential reference book for any witch, conjurer, shaman, rootworker, or any other folk magic practitioner’s bookshelf – especially if that practitioner happens to reside in North America. Many of the magical attributes and uses of the plants are very similar in their European uses as well making this book useful for practitioners of all backgrounds. It is purely a reference encyclopedia – and a very valuable one at that. As a green witch or rootworker this one will never be on the bookshelf because you’ll use it so much! ♥

Earth Wisdom: A Heart-warming Mixture of the Spiritual, the Practical and the Proactive

by Glennie Kindred

Glennie Kindred is a UK author, teacher, and environmental activist who has published many titles that are green in the sense of their content and also their recycled paper content. Earth Wisdom, Kindred’s pièce de résistance, follows the changing seasons of the earth along with the Pagan festivals focusing on the trees that are most important to each season and festival. Earth Wisdom is a beautiful and passionately written book about the genius loci of the UK – the plants, trees, stones, waters, mounds and more from the traditional landscape of the ancient Celts. As the subtitle suggests Earth Wisdom is heartwarming read perfect for curling up in a comfy chair with a hot chocolate in the winter or under your favourite tree on a sunny summer day. The best thing about this title is that it will get you outside in nature, your hands covered in earth and your hair full of leaves.

Tree Wisdom: The Definitive Guidebook to the Myth, Folklore, and Healing Power of Trees

by Jacqueline Memory Paterson

This work is just as the title describes, it is THE definitive guidebook on the myth and magic of trees. It is unfortunately out of print, but as it is a fairly recent title it can still be easily found second-hand. When she was alive Paterson was a Druid, but the lore in this book covers not just the Celtic lore, but also the Germanic and Greek, as well as older traditions of shamanism. I recommend this title to practitioners within any culture who want to learn more about trees and how to work with them in your healing and magic. For more information on Tree Wisdom you can find a review of it on Pagan Bookworm.

The Folk-lore of Plants

by T.F. Thiselton-Dyer, 1898

This is an oldie but a favourite, the table of contents alone is enough to make any witch drool – green witch or no! This book is purely folklore with common superstitions surrounding plants and trees. You can purchase the 2008 reprint or download the entire book for free from Project Gutenberg. ♥

Plant Spirit Healing

by Pam Montgomery

This title covers the practices and beliefs of indigenous healers and shamans surrounding plants and their healing powers. Montgomery is an experienced herbalist, healer, and teacher  living in Vermont.  Plant Spirit Healing covers both the modern scientific findings of medicinal plants and their correspondence to the shaman’s traditional uses for them – more often than not they match perfectly. I recommend both Montgomery and Stephen H. Buhner’s books to those who are not tree huggers or animists but who would like to understand that way of thinking and perhaps even complete the transition from Judeo-Christian Patriarchal way of thinking of nature to the Animistic and Pagan view of nature. The evidence compiled in Plant Spirit Healing alone is enough to convince one of the sentience of plants and therefore of the whole earth.

Sacred Plant Medicine: The Wisdom in Native American Herbalism

by Stephen H. Buhner

Buhner’s title focuses mainly on the uses of plants in healing the body, mind, and soul in the traditional medicine of the indigenous tribes native to North and South America making this a valuable work for researching the properties of plants native to the Americas. If you live in North America and have always wondered about the traditional practices and beliefs surrounding the magic and medicine of the plants under your feet, this is the perfect title for you.

I can keep going as my “green” books make up an entire shelf in my collection, but these are the best of the best that I can recommend with no hesitations, if’s or but’s. Happy reading witchlings!

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Lisa says:

    I can feel my wallet cry out in pain already! I love your work Sarah and I’m very happy for the recommendations. Its a good thing I haven’t finished my wish list for Yule yet…

  • Dessa says:

    These look fantastic! Thank you so much for the recommendations. Oh, my debit card is scared!

  • Amanda S says:

    Wow. Great list. I heartily second the recommendation of Cat Yronwode’s book. It’s a veritable treasure. And now I think I have to hunt down “Tree Wisdom”… Thanks!

  • Sarah says:

    Your welcome! I hope there’s a treasure in there for everyone 😉

  • Anthony says:

    Hi Sarah

    If you enjoyed the book by Ross Haven, he has another called Plant Spirit Shamanism, similar to Plant Spirit healing but foccusing more on actual example of plant use by living shamans, along with the usual excersizes.

    If you can get past the flowerly language and occasional grammer error, and navigate the very esoteric (but very powerful) discussions, Ars Philtron is well worth the price.

    as always, nothing beats down to earth personal experience with the plants themselves.

    Blessings =)

  • maryejoyce says:

    nice site :)
    wonderful books/ recommendations.
    ye have the eyes 2 see and the ears 2 hear.