The image of the witch stirring her bubbling cauldron resonates through the ages.
When I first began on the pagan path I gathered bundles of herbs and hung them round my room to dry. I collected jars which filled with deliciously scented green leaves and brightly coloured petals. I occasionally took these jars out, inhaled the contents and then placed them back in their basket.
Once or twice I made up a flying incense, which, strangely, I never thought to burn but instead would breathe in the scent of woodland before meditative journeys. It worked. I wish I could remember the recipe, but I believe the main ingrediants were pine-needles and optimism.
I relocated to Wales, five years ago now, and last summer I threw out the jars of old, dusty herbs that had resided in my Mother’s attic for the time I had been away thus far.
And then, this spring, I began to feel the urge, again, to understand plants. Having passed the initiatory challenge of keeping a houseplant alive for a year this Imbolc, two miniature rose plants no less, I began to feel hopeful that perhaps my history of killing spider plants would no longer count against me. I bought live herbs from the supermarket, the basil thrived for a while, but eventually joined the other two in brown, shrivelled death.*
And still I have the nagging feeling that I really should be learning about plants, learning from plants, learning to use plants. And graduating from ready-mixed dried herbs and black pepper in the kitchen would not be unwelcome either!
Perhaps something to do with the Fey-Queen’s prescence in my life, or perhaps because Idunna finally revealed herself to be one member of my childhood ‘invented’ pantheon (You only had to ask, she reminds me gently, I’d have told you sooner if you’d asked.) Perhaps its the green of Wales finally sinking into my bones, or the garden planted in my heart by elemental guardians. Whichever perhaps, I’ve begun to explore.
The Herbology category will track my posts as I collect information, both book-based and experiential, slowly about the plants I encounter. As a devotional act I am exploring this world of green green things. In gratitude for the information I’ve found online – and to keep myself both active and accountable – I intend to post my findings here.
*I also have packets of seeds waiting for when I settle somewhere a little more permanent than 3 months… I will grow a garden one day soon.