Thursday, 5 November 2009

Review: The Green Wiccan Herbal

Natural magic using herbs and plants we can grow in our gardens or gather from the wild seems increasingly popular. Perhaps this is because we want to do things that are good for the environment and good for ourselves - or perhaps it is just that freshly-picked herbs and flowers look, smell and taste wonderful.

But you do need to know what you are doing when you pick and use plants - or you need to have a good book to guide you.

One of the best books I've recently found on the subject is The Green Wiccan Herbal by witch and herbalist Silja, who previously wrote The Green Wiccan Year.

The core of Silja's Herbal focuses on 52 major magical herbs that can be used for healing, spellcasting, rituals, cooking and making teas, salves and potions. For each herb there are details of the element, planet and deities associated with it, its magical and medicinal uses, an appropriate spell you can try out and a picture to help you identify it.

Most of the herbs are ones you can find easily - such as wild garlic, sage, lavender, nettle and lemon balm. A few are rare but extremely magical, such as mandrake. Then there's a chapter on magical plants that aren't strictly herbs, but which have a valuable place in our kitchens and cauldrons - including blackberries, ginger and poppy seeds.

This kind of information can of course be found in many books - and on the internet - but what I particularly like about The Green Wiccan Herbal is that it is also an all round guide to herbal magic.

It begins with a simple explanation of the theory of how magic works and some basic types of spells, summing it up succinctly:

"Magic essentially works with the energy of the universe to change probability: the herbs, colors and crystals, for example, help with that as they have their own magical energies, but you are the main element."
However, if you are more interested in practical magic, there are also pages and pages of spells using herbs for such things as prosperity, love, friendship, luck, your home, work, study, health, wisdom and personal development.

The book covers how to grow, gather and preserve herbs.

Although it might seem unnecessary bother to gather parsley at dawn on the day of a full moon if all you are doing is making sauce, for ritual work or for brewing potions it is best to pick your spell ingredients at the right time, from the right place and in the right way.

If you do prefer cooking to conjuring, the book also includes chapters on how the power of herbs can be harnessed in the kitchen to prepare food with added potency.

The Green Wiccan Herbal would go very well alongside Silja's Green Wiccan Year book, which is a mixture of diary and spell book. You could use the Year book to keep notes of plants you have seen, recipes and spells - and even press seasonal flowers between the pages.

The Green Wiccan Herbal has an RRP of £14.99 and is published by Cico Books

Links
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2008/11/book-of-shadows-for-wiccan-year.html
The Green Wiccan Herbal
http://www.cicobooks.co.uk/

6 comments:

Juhani said...

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http://koti.phnet.fi/petripaavola/wiccan.html

Michael A Hill Illustration said...

Hi, Just wanted to say that I enjoyed your review of the Green Wiccan Herbal' as the illustrator of the book and having worked closely on the project it is always great to get positive feed back, thanks
Michael Hill www.michaelahill.com

badwitch said...

Thank you!

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Bu zhong Yi qi wan said...

In the northern hemisphere June 21 is generally considered the longest day of the year, and traditionally it's the first day of summer - Summer Solstice. This is a bit of a contradiction, given that another of the day's names is Midsummer - an ancient reference to the fact that this day is in the middle of Europe's agricultural season. And there's yet another contradiction - the longest day on the annual calendar can sometimes fall a day or two later, depending on the year in question!

Bu zhong Yi qi wan said...

In the northern hemisphere June 21 is generally considered the longest day of the year, and traditionally it's the first day of summer - Summer Solstice. This is a bit of a contradiction, given that another of the day's names is Midsummer - an ancient reference to the fact that this day is in the middle of Europe's agricultural season. And there's yet another contradiction - the longest day on the annual calendar can sometimes fall a day or two later, depending on the year in question!