The Witching Herbs: 13 Essential Plants and Herbs for your Magical Garden

Harold Roth. Weiser, $18.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-57863-599-3
Connecting with plant spirits by growing magical plants yourself is the ultimate in herbal magic, according to this debut. Roth leans heavily on a modernized version of the ancient Doctrine of Signatures that teaches practitioners to look to a plant’s morphology to understand its use, adding clues from growth patterns, traditional medicine, and chemistry as well as from traditional lore and personal gnosis. Though there are extended planting and care notes for every plant, Roth makes his picks according to their reputation in traditional European witchcraft rather than ease of cultivation. He includes several of the baneful herbs he calls the “Weird Sisters”—datura, mandrake, belladonna, and henbane—but, although some traditional recipes are included in the practice section, Roth never recommends consumption, stating that practitioners should pursue them “through direct spiritual contact” rather than by stepping onto the rickety bridge of alkaloid consumption. Sections on “practice” included in each entry add up to a primer in herbal magic methods, so readers learn how to make tinctures with clary sage, dry and powder herbs with yarrow, and unguents with vervain. Roth views the herb magician as spiritual seeker rather than rules-bound potion maker, an attitude that can be unfortunately rare in more encyclopedic botanical magic guidebooks. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/09/2017
Release date: 03/01/2017
Genre: Religion
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-63341-034-3
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