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Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Green Witchcraft

Green Witchcraft Image
A green witch is someone who works closely with nature and her gifts. This witch is usually a wildcrafter, a herbalist, or an amazing gardner. The folklore on the spiritual and medicinal uses of plants is incredibly extensive and global, and it is this along with personal experience from which the green witch draws their knowledge and practices from. If the kitchen witch’s focus is the hearth, then the green witch’s focus is the woods and/or agriculture.

Our ancestors’ agricultural traditions and practices are steeped with folk-magic and pagan belief. Everything from planting seed, to the harvesting of crops in the fall is governed by rituals. Some farmers today still plant and reap by the phases of the moon. At various festivals the fields are sained with fire for protection, or given libations of alcoholic beverages to ensure fertility and a bountiful harvest. To our pagan ancestors, some crops were not just food but gods and were treated with reverence. In Northern Europe at the end of a harvest the last sheaf of wheat or other grain was kept and either named ‘Maiden’ or ‘Old Woman’, after Brighid or the Cailleach, and was placed in a spot of reverence, to observe the festivities after the harvest was complete. In animistic cultures each plant and tree was thought to be alive and have a spirit, and there were specific chants and songs that were sung when taking from the plants – asking their permission and giving thanks. Trees were once worshipped and if certain species were cut down without permission it was considered a crime — the penalty being death. Each tree even had its own specific deity.

Today a green witch may use some of the beliefs of our ancestors in their practices. Perhaps in methods of plant or herb collection, saining (blessing), prayers & chants, as well as the way they celebrate festivals. Most of the magic practiced by a green witch will involve herbs and plants in some way. They may also work with nature itself instead of just parts taken from it. Some green witches become guardians of a piece of land – protecting it, cleaning litter, healing wounds of the past, and working with the spirits and creatures that live on it. This is more likely the practice of a wildcrafter than a gardener. A wildcrafter harvests foods, herbs, and medicines from the wild, while also taking into account ecological ethics and responsibility. A green witch with a focus on herbalism will learn the spiritual, magical, and medicinal uses of various herbs and plants and incorporate them into their magical and healing practices. It is recommended to take a legitimate herbalist’s course if this is your desire – without the correct knowledge about preparation and dosage, one can do more harm than good with herbal medicines.

Also read these ebooks:

George Lyman Kittredge - Notes On Witchcraft
Anonymous - European Witchcraft
Ann Moura - Green Witchcraft

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