Herbal Etiquette

When studying herbology within witchcraft, it is important to learn about how plants work and the best ways to gather our stores, whether they come from wild plants or plants in our garden. There is more to herbs and trees than meets the eye.

All things have a soul: rocks, trees, animals and people. The soul is the energy of an object that exists in the same place and time as the physical body. Things that exist on the physical plane can be seen on the astral plane because of their energy. When you remove part of a plant, it is customary and proper to ask before you take any part of it and thank the plant once you have finished.

Plants that you grow and raise in your garden do not need to be asked for their permission to take leaves and flowers. Because they depend on you for protection and sustenance, you can remove what you need when you need it. It is an understood relationship between the grower and the plants. They give their leave and fruit in exchange for protection and care. Prayers and spells should be said over the crop at significant times such as planting, watering, pruning, and harvesting.

Wild plants are a little different. These plants are dependent on themselves for their health and survival. When you remove part of a plant, you must first ask the plant. Do this by closing your eyes and imagine just for a moment what you want from the tree. Normally, you will get no answer in return or a feeling of acceptance, in which case, you may remove what you need. Occasionally, however, you will receive a feeling of mistrust or an uncomfortable feeling telling you that you may not remove any part of the plant, in which case, you must move on.

When gathering wild herbs:

  • Never remove the bark from a tree. Bark covers a tree to keep out disease and fungus just the way our skin does for us. Removing the bark can result in infection and the death of the tree. If you need bark for a recipe, remove twigs instead and strip the bark from the removed twigs with a knife.
  • Try not to remove the entire plant. If possible, take only a few leaves or flowers and move on.
  • Always ask a plant before you remove any part of it.
  • Always thank plants after you have taken from them.

Plants are very sacred to witches. All plants should be given homage when we take something from them. There are many different ways of giving thanks. Any act of devotion is acceptable. Traditionally, gifts of apple cider, milk, honey, tobacco, or prayer are given. You can also give shiny coins or fertilizer as a gift. If you have nothing to give, a prayer for the health and well-being of the plant is more than sufficient. Leaving gifts for the tree spirits is also a good thank-you idea. Fairies enjoy music. Performing a song and dance for them is also a good thing to do if you have not brought any gifts with you.

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