This post is part of a sporadic series focused on helping one to Be a Local Witch. With so much emphasis placed upon having all the “right tools” and the “right herbs” in modern witchcraft, it’s easy to forget to actually do the witchcraft. This series aims to show how terribly simple and amazingly rewarding it can be to center your witchcraft practice on the unique location in which you live. By working with what is readily available to you -be it trees, herbs, or spirits- you enable yourself to better connect to the natural energy currents where you live, to better establish yourself as a natural part of that environment, to better employ the aid of the genius loci, to broaden your knowledge of the area where you live as well as the plants and animals that also make it their home, and to align yourself with the spirit of the historical witch who would have used nothing that they did not find or make themselves.
It is with that goal in mind, to strengthen your practice by narrowing focus to the use of local herbs, that this next post is offered.
Later posts in this series will explore the idea of working with plants as magickal allies, a variety of native and naturalized herbs that are likely growing in your own backyard (such as the previous post on the hex breaker Witchgrass,) drying and storing herbs for the highest quality of dried herb matter, as well the subjects of offerings and things to keep in mind to help you to more respectfully interact with the Land and plant spirits when wildcrafting or just enjoying time in wild spaces.
The practice of harvesting herbs from the wild is known as wildcrafting. When one gathers wild herbs with the intent of causing as little environmental impact as possible the process is called ethical wildcrafting. There are basic and straightforward guidelines to ethical wildcrafting that ensure that not only is the natural population of the plants you harvest left healthy and strong, but so, too, are the individual plants that you harvest from (the exception here being when roots are harvested.)
These guidelines are very easy to employ, and the included infographic can be printed off and taken with you on your next wildcrafting trip until these guidelines become second nature.
Throwing the Bones