Saturday 13 September 2014

Review: A Kitchen Witch's Magical Herbs and Plants

An extremely useful reference book has come my way that I would recommend for any witch who uses herbs in their spellwork. It is called A Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Herbs and Plantsand is by Rachel Patterson, also the author of Grimoire of a Kitchen Witch, Moon Magic and Hoodoo Folk Magic.

Publisher Moon Books describes the book on its website as: "A journey into the magical world of herbs and plants, filled with magical uses, folklore, history and practical magic."

It goes on to say: "Every plant, every flower, every herb and every tree has energy, and that energy has magical properties. This book is a go-to guide on how to work with these magical herbs and plants, how to use them and what to do with them."

Of course I already have a few books on my shelves about magical plants, including Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs,which I use quite a lot. However, Cunningham's book is American and I often find some English plants aren't in it because they don't grow commonly across the pond. A Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Herbs and Plants, on the other hand, is not only written by a witch very familiar with English plants, it is also much more comprehensive - a whopping 150-plus pages devoted to herbs and plants listed in A-Z order.

Each entry has a description with history, folklore and use in spellwork as well as magical correspondences and properties. The book also includes recipes for things like incense blends, magical powders, washes, teas and various other witchy ways of using plants.

As Rachel says in her introduction, "The herbs, spices and plants I have included in this book are ones that are easily found or accessible whether it is by foraging in local hedgerows, growing in your garden, looking in your own cupboard / spice rack or purchasing from your local supermarket or garden centre."

Before the herb listings, the first chapters in the book give details on how to grow, harvest and store herbs as well as ways of magically connecting with the energy of the plant, or the plant spirit, which is a useful skill for any witch to learn. I should perhaps make it very clear - as Rachel herself does - this book is not about medicinal herb uses, only about magical ones.

My only criticism of the book is that it doesn't contain pictures of the plants - although it does have excellent descriptions of them. However, books of plant identification are much easier to get hold of than books about plants' magical properties and if you are into gathering herbs from the wild you probably already have identification guides on your shelf or computer. If you buy your herbs dried, from a pagan supply store or the supermarket, the name is going to be clearly marked on the packet anyway.

A Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Herbs and Plantshas an official launch date of 31 October - or Halloween - but copies can be ordered already.

Links and previous related posts
A Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Herbs and Plants

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