For those who aren’t animists, this might be a hard thing to wrap your head around, but some plants are witches too. Not all plants, but a select number around the world are. Some plants are just natural sorcerers and magicians just like people with the powers to curse or heal, enchant or uncross. They each have their specialties. It’s not always the traditional poisonous plants associated with witchcraft either like the usual suspects of Aconite, Belladonna, Datura, Henbane, Mandrake, or Nightshades, no, sometimes it’s a completely harmless plant most people wouldn’t even notice like Blackberry, Coltsfoot, Enchanter’s Nightshade, ferns, Mugwort, and Mullein. Trees can be witches too, the most well known witch-trees being Blackthorn, Hawthorn, Elder, and Rowan.
I have always been very drawn to these sorcerous plants. They whisper spells, recipes for potions, and how to make them into talismans. Working with many of these plants is like being in a coven where each individual witch brings their own talents and knowledge to the table. Eventually you learn which pairings can be “covens” that work best together and which don’t get along at all and shouldn’t be put in a herb coven. To keep it simple like seems to like their like. Herbs that “belong” to certain deities are usually well-paired as they serve the same master or mistress. For the most part the Solanaceae get along together and that is why most of them are often found together in old flying ointment recipes. Conjure roots that both like moist wet soil pair well together like Sweetflag and False Solomon’s Seal. Large woody roots with medicinal barks like Oregon Grape and Devil’s Club also pair well together – especially when it comes to protection, healing, and banishing evil spirits.
Alrauns, herbal root fetishes, are little witches and should be treated like a teacher or helper in the craft. They need to be fed, cared for, and talked to like a good friend or they will either curse the owner of the root or rescind all the help they’ve given and abandon the root they housed.
If we sorcerers start treating plants and trees like fellow magicians we’d sure get a lot more from our work with them. Our spells and rites would work so much better with the aid of willing plant spirit allies rather than “herb correspondences”. Let’s make plants willing participants in our magic instead of dried inanimate objects we “hope” will do something to enhance our magic and rites. Let’s start telling the plants what we’re doing with them and why we need their help. Let’s start thanking them in return for that help. Let’s stop taking power from nature and start asking for it. We might just find that the dynamics and efficacy of our magic changes completely for the better.
Give a shit and get involved in the magical lives of plants! Research them, grow them, harvest them, talk to them, and work with them as partners in magic and ritual.