Category Archives: Herbalism

Six Herbs for Spirit Work

By | Folk Magic, Herbalism, Spirit Work | 13 Comments

These herbs are easy to find for most and can be bought, foraged, or grown. Maybe you are trying to learn ways to work with spirits or maybe you are looking to incorporate plants into the spirit work you’re already a badass at. We all have our own favourite go-to herbs for specific purposes, here is my top six list of botanicals to aid in spirit work– not including ones specifically for working with the ancestors (which would need another list!). There are other herbs that work just as well, but with these lovelies I can just walk outside my front door and harvest, minus the tobacco which I can get from a local farmer or from the nearby Pikwakanagan reserve. 1. Dandelion Taraxacum officinale The forager’s friend, but also the witch’s friend, dandelion is used in folk magic to summon spirits. Although most would use it to summon the spirits of the dead, I believe it can be used to call all number of spirits. Use the root to summon chthonic spirits, the leaves to summon nature spirits and spirits of the middle realm, and the flowers and seeds to summon gods, spirits of the sky, and the heavens. Make a…

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Calendula and the Lily of the Valley

By | Cooking, Folk Medicine, Herbalism | 11 Comments

I’d forgotten about calendula. I used to grow it years ago. I buried grandmother crow under its roots and it flourished into a massive bush of fuzzy green leaves covered in the brightest orange flowers. I put it in my salves and magical oils. The flowers reminded me of gold coins so I used it to draw money in spells of folk magic. But then I lost my garden and I forgot about this plant many herbalists consider an essential medicine. And then, there it was again, growing by the door of my new house. It’s hardiness impresses me. We’ve had many frosts and snow three times now, but it still blooms. I decided to do something with it before the old winter hag finally kills it off with her icy touch. I plucked the flowers along with those of toadflax and evening primrose and combined it with sweet violet leaves in jojoba oil. Like many people, I get itchy dry skin in the winter and the plants who are supposed to help all happened to be growing in my yard. After a couple weeks the flowers and violet leaves are strained out and a little vitamin e oil and a few…

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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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Eating Flower Spirits

By | Artwork, Herbalism, Wildcrafting | 10 Comments

Summer has come and with it the warmth of the sun and the beauty of flowers humming with bees. I have found myself wandering outside more and more through the yard, through gardens and through alleys, smelling flowers, picking flowers, and eating flowers.  I found huge escaped comfrey plants growing in the alley behind the house, purple flowers full of soft fuzzy bumble bees – its thick juicy leaves just asking to be turned into a healing balm. There are many hawthorns in this old city. Some perhaps once hedges of farmers’ fields since built over with houses from the 1920s-40s. Some cultivars were obviously planted for show like this gorgeous Crataegus laevigata ‘Plena‘ with it’s perfect tiny rose-like flowers. I’m rather in love with it. Just imagine those tiny perfect flowers in a salad or as a dessert garnish or decorating an altar for some love or healing work. I brought some tiny sprigs home to lift my own spirits as hawthorn is happiness. I stop to sniff every rose to find which are the most fragrant. The wild ones are always the best for taste and smell and make an ambrosial mead with fireweed honey.  I inhale deeply…

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