Category Archives: Ethnobotany

Hunting Mycelium in the Wildwood

By | Bioregional Herbalism, Ethnobotany, Herbalism, Wildcrafting | 10 Comments

There is a forager in town who lives a two minute walk from my house. We kept running into each other because small towns are small which led to conversations over local beer about medicinal mushrooms, wild harvesting, and beekeeping which led to me purchasing super fresh chaga and turkey tail mushrooms from him, which then led to me hiring him to help me make and ship products for the shop. As an extra bonus, he was raised by a Wiccan mom so nothing I do or make is weird to him, yay. Everyone give a warm hello to Alex! He could very well be the one who bottled and labelled your elixir or packaged your order to mail out. Witches’ butter – jelly fungi Foragers are always looking for more places to forage, so when I told Alex about my parents’ 83 acre farm, half of which is wild forest, he was intrigued and wanted to see if the land would be good for harvesting wild mushrooms. Last Tuesday we drove out of town to Lawless Lane Farm and off into the woods we went, him with an axe in his pocket and me with my foraging basket, antler…

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Guide to Pacific Northwest Incense

By | Bioregional Herbalism, Ethnobotany, Folk Magic, Herbalism, Recipes, Wildcrafting | 19 Comments

Burning botanicals for pleasure, ceremony, and medicine is something we humans have performed for millennia. We just really like to light things on fire and the act never fails to bring us a child-like awe and some kind of primal pleasure. Imagine our pyromaniac ancestor’s excited delight in discovering that certain plants smell amazing when lit on fire and the smoke inhaled.  I burn incense on an almost daily basis. I started blending my own loose incenses and making my own smudge wands eight years ago and my passion for knowledge on native plants quickly drove me to research which aromatic botanicals from the Pacific Northwest would be best for incense and smudge. This guide is the result of almost a decade worth of research and hands-on experience. This short guide is designed for use by those with some wild harvesting knowledge and experience. Please practice ethical harvesting of any of the botanicals mentioned only taking 10% of a plant or colony of plants and 20% of the aerial parts of a plant (leaves, flowers, seeds). Special care should be taken not to harm trees when harvesting resin which should not be confused with tree sap. Resin flows from wounds and is needed…

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First Forest

By | Ethnobotany, Herbalism, Pacific Northwest Folklore, Wildcrafting | 13 Comments

We packed a lunch, we packed the baby’s things, and we packed the baby into his stroller on a hot summer’s day. Off we went to show our little man his first forest. Until now we had only been able to take him to the city park and, though beautiful and full of trees, it is no wild wood. I told him he would love it. I knew he would from how he can endlessly gaze at the leaves of one tree without getting bored. It was so hot and humid, but the shady vibrant green forest was cool and breezy. A couple minutes down the dirt path and the baby grinned. The further we went and the taller the trees and denser the greenmantle became, the bigger and bigger his toothless grin became until he was laughing too. We three stopped to picnic off the path under a western hemlock tree next to a the massive hollowed out stump of an ancient cedar tree with a fairy tunnel just big enough for the baby to crawl through. I twirled him around under the canopy of evergreen trees and he giggled with glee. I brought him down close to the…

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Forest Spirit Fest

By | Animism, Cooking, Ethnobotany, Events, Festivals & Sabbats, Herbalism | 44 Comments

he Shaman, the Poisoner, and I arrived at Raven’s Nest when the sun was at its height in the blue sky. As we set up our tents and the axe throwing targets, we quickly discovered how the camp site got its name; ravens circled with loud croaks and the flapping of their great black wings. The Poisoner croaked back, having a conversation with a particularly large grandfather raven. It was a pleasant discovery for all in attendance at the festival as Tynehead Park is in the middle of a booming, ever-expanding city.  Unlike crows, ravens do not like cities or people, preferring wild places. The park is likely one of the last hideouts for all the wild creatures that once spilled out over the land where rows of suburban houses and box stores now rule. We also learned many of the park’s serpent names are not coincidence either – there are plenty of snakes to be found! Tynehead is most well known for its Serpentine River full of salmon. The salmon have attracted black bears, coyotes, ravens, eagles, and all manner of smaller creatures creating a wonderful biodiversity which the city folk don’t seem to appreciate as they keep trying…

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Pilgrimage to Uncivilization

By | Bones & Blood, Ecological Consciousness, Ethnobotany, Folk Magic, Folk Medicine, Herbalism, Pacific Northwest Folklore, Storytelling | 18 Comments

Me and Little Red met Jan and Seb at The Gathering this spring and were lucky enough to hang out with them again at Freyfest in August. Much mischief and mead was involved (they seem to follow in my wake…).  Since then Little Red (aka the hot Asian schoolteacher in our local pagan community) got married to her love and Jan and Seb got engaged. Jan is a survival-skill/outdoors type with James Dean’s hair and looks, dressing all in black, and quick with a joke. Seb is part woodsy shaman and part sexy punk, shy but full of mischief. They both work for a wilderness school in Washington and invited us down for the thanksgiving weekend to visit and to hike to the Goldmyer Hot Springs with them.  Of course we said yes and drove across the border last Friday, excited for adventure with a sunny forecast ahead of us. The GPS tried to kill us by leading us into a stone quarry instead of Jan and Seb’s home, but eventually we found it outside a small town in a beautiful cedar and fir forest behind farming country. Little Red and I were a bit early and so we explored the…

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