As some one who walks the path of witch and herbalist, two natures inexplicably entwined, the actions of herbs of both healing and baneful fascinate me. The herbalist in me heals and focuses her attention on herbs for that purpose, but the witch in me giggles in delight at the idea of the “darker” herbs, the banes. During the time I took a break from this blog, I decided to explore parts of my path I hadn’t fully committed to. I claimed to be a hedge witch but didn’t really practice it. I feared what I might see or experience so I claimed the title in earnest, journeyed some without any sort of accompaniment, and generally skimmed along the surface of Otherworld without any real commitment or truth. I felt that had to change. I felt if I was to be true to who I was, I had to really walk the path I claimed.
So I did, using my flying ointment made of mugwort, wormwood and mandrake. It was an interesting and eye opening experience and it changed me. It also called me to explore the ‘Poison Path’ more deeply. So I took the plunge and decided to create my first truly baneful ointment consisting of belladonna, datura, henbane and mandrake. Perhaps one day I will share with you the impact of that journey but for now it remains with me, offering a guiding light as I begin to explore new avenues and new paths.
I have to say from the outset, I won’t be sharing the recipe or measurements. These herbs are not ones you can follow a recipe to and expect it to work, you have to learn the nature of the herbs, respect them and understand them. Each plant has a unique spirit, a message to share. I would encourage you, if the Solanaceae family attracts you, to begin researching and learning about it before plunging headlong into using the herbs of this family.
I’ve yet to use the ointment; it is happily brewing in the sun on the kitchen windowsill. With the heat we’ve been having here, the oils are getting very heated during the day, absorbing the components and magic of the herbs. I have to say I love looking into herbs and oils through the sunlight; it almost appears as another world. But then again, using the ointments takes you to another place, another world, sometimes even just another feeling so perhaps the truth of it is that herbs are the gateway to another realm.
I think I am going to leave it brewing until the weather begins to cool down, until autumn is upon us. It is my favourite season, it sets my witchy senses tingling. It is called the season of the witch and I truly feel it, the crisper air, the shorter days, it inspires action in me in a way that other parts of the year don’t. And more so than any other year, I can’t wait for the season to begin, I am so over the heat we’re experiencing. As I sit and write this, I think it is hitting upwards of 43C here today.