Witching Herbs and the Witch’s Sabbath

I’m happy to say I’ve been working steadily on my witching herbs book. I’m halfway through turning all my notes into actual chapters. Right now I am writing about vervain.  I have SO MUCH information about this plant that it has been difficult to sort it all out into something useful. It was like a shattered cup. Now it is more like a mosaic–the pieces are becoming connected. It’s such a great feeling!

I originally considered this book to be merely an introduction to the herbs and how to grow them, sort of an herbal magic 101: “Here’s some folklore, and here’s the lowdown about growing them; have at it.” But all sorts of stuff has been pouring steadily into it–and coming up from my own work with the plants and IMO, from the plants themselves. It is now much more about how to learn from these plant spirits–still practical, but in a way that I feel has been lacking in writings about herbal magic (including my own). Working on this book is enabling me to codify my own experiences with these plants in a way I could not before and found difficult even to express in words. I also feel it is much more worthwhile to do this than another intro to witching herbs. I consider that the deepening of my work on this book is a result of the work I did for the Abramelin operation. Although I did not complete it, the operation worked profound changes in my spirituality and magic.

I had already begun to sketch out a series of related books I was interested in writing next. These too were very practical and entry-level herbal magic. But I have had a lot of inspiration on a completely different topic–the witch’s sabbath–and I am working up an outline for a book on that. It is going to be damned absorbing to research that one, and I feel it will be a much more significant contribution to witchcraft than the books I had planned. Witchcraft has a huge hole in it, IMO (maybe a bunch of holes), with regard to working with other practitioners. The hierarchical setup of a Wiccan coven and its accompanying dualistic approach to spirituality has never appealed to me. I mean no offense to Wicca, which has completely revitalized magic and opened it up. It is just not my thing. I don’t think the Wiccan coven setup is especially historical, either. I am not a reconstructionist, but I do think history is vitally important. We should at least make an attempt to learn from past mistakes–and past exemplars. History can function as a wellspring of inspiration and guidance for the present. I wanted to work towards remedying the absence of a true means for working with other witches and to get back to what I consider (perhaps wrongly, but there ya go) the true anarchical and hierarchy-busting historical foundations of witchcraft. The witch’s sabbath gives a center to my attempt. I expect my research along those lines to be both fun and dangerous. I will keep folks posted here.

6 comments to Witching Herbs and the Witch’s Sabbath

  • Yay! I am very happy that this is coming together, cohesively. And I definitely agree about the holes. It is hard to get around those, IMHO. So much of this is a process, and ongoing project, and I think we are lucky to be practitioners in such an age where there is a greater capacity for open communication between so many different stripes of traditional-flavored, and just plain heathen, and yes, the Wiccan crew as well. This is before we get to all of the reconstructionists, Thelemites, grimoiric magicians, Enochians, Hermeticists, alchemists, neo-shamans, et al. And I know I left out a boatload of practitioners in that abbreviated list. I still don’t know what to call myself, because that has evolved even since May of this year.

    But my point was that this is such a unique situation, where everyone of these differing perspectives and philosophies and overall practices are actually able to interface and converse in a meaningful fashion on so many topics. I see great potential for syncretism and cross-pollination, and much of that beneficial.

    Unfortunately, my vervain got missed this year. Bountiful sent me the wrong species, and then I forgot I had those seeds. Next year, right? I cannot believe this is fall, just about. I am breaking from nipping sucker vines off the horde of tomatoes, and took a huge chance in sowing some last ditch corn which is supposed to mature within 60 days. We’ll see…

    • herba15

      I think we are lucky to be practicing now too. All kinds of communication is possible and all sorts of cross-fertilization occurs. Just the stuff in the past few years with Hoodoo attaining more and more influence is striking.

      Vervain is surprisingly easy to grow from seed. It grew quickly for me. The big problem I’ve had with it is that my three plants have all been attacked massively by either spider mites or aphids. Or maybe it is some disease where the leaves are speckled with yellow and dry. We have had a very dry and hot summer here, and that could have affected the plants badly. I noticed today that new growth was a healthy green. I hope next year these guys will be happier. People have mentioned a scent with the leaves, but I could not notice any even when I shredded a leaf.

  • Can’t wait for the book (how many years has it been now? lol!)

  • petoskystone

    everyone needs a hobby…;) very pleased to see your book is on track.

  • I’m so excited you’re working on a book! There’s nothing better than a practical book written by someone who actually did everything they talk about for other people who actually want to get their hands dirty. I believe if you don’t see the book you wish existed – write it! A real publisher can also give you an advance if they like your sample chapters so you actually get paid while still in the writing process. My publisher is pretty awesome if you want me to put in a good word for you. Check them out: Acorn Guild Press

  • Oh, this is something I look forward to! I’ve had a book on the back-burners for some time, and a few in-progress that will one day see (at the very least) the hands of a few folks I know won’t go pilfering. – I know how hard it can be when the information is there and just won’t come out.

    I think there needs – NEEDS – to be a book on the Sabbat as a practical aspect of magick. There needs to be someone discussing protocol for wiccans meeting with asatru and sabbatic crafters when (and if) a common goal arises. There also needs to be something about solitary practitioners uniting without the need (nor want) of an organized hierarchy.

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