Venus, Saturn, Sol: Weekend Work

Plant spirits can be difficult to interpret or commune with sometimes.  If tarot or some other oracular tool is your medium, and you practice the green arts, then naturally empowering ones herbs and understanding their virtues and speaking their language by creating a link between you, your medium and the herbarium makes sense.

My cards help me interpret, or, "see", the world around me better.  They guide my thoughts and encourage my imagination and lead me to reflection. Part of their value is that they as the medium of choice help me communicate on a deeper subconscious level with the plants I'm working with.

"The World is associated with the planet Saturn, the astrological taskmaster. Saturn is concerned with objectivity and duty, and working within recognized boundaries.  The World card shows that you have completed you work in a way that others can recognize and reward."- Liz Dean, How To Read Your Tarot Cards
Plants associated with Saturn: poppy seeds, mullein, myrrh, cypress, lily, ivy
Plant's Of The World Tarot: lovage and mandrake
Plants of the Waning Moon: rue, vervain and holly

Saturn's Garden; Paul Huson, speaking on Culpeper described the herbs of Saturn to be "bitter, funereal, melancholic or otherwise Saturnine." Saturn'd day, like the day of Mars, is a good time for hexes and curses. Black pepper, grave dirt, slippery elm, black poppy seed, red pepper seed, volts and blood and bone from the crucible.  This isn't a hex for me, but a gathering of materials for a hex gourd kit requested by witch Fatima of Ballard.

As for me, I've been recovering from the flu and my stomach was aching a bit.  Went for that old-school Southwest herbal tea; corn silk, marigold, licorice, mallow and honey. A tasty rest for the stomach.
Sweet Dreams Powder.

Verbis Viridis

As the old adage goes; to know something's true name is to have power over it.   Determining a things true name is a subject of great debate and controversy, and then, what's in a name?  Plants are more than their names.  Can the taxonomic classification of a plant be interpreted as a true name or a language?  Is communication with plants a matter of U.P.G? Can plants only be communed with in the language of the local ethnic group or is the language of a plant merely a metaphor for scientific and spiritual understanding of an herb?  I'd guess all these options carry weight, maybe they're all true at different times for different practitioners.  

My interest is in communicating with plants on every level.  I want to be able to not just identify their form, but resonate spiritually with the nature of plants.  I want to speak their language, know their many dialects.  Theirs is a language of senses and movement, cycles and ecosystems.  It's complex beyond beauty and knowing all that you can could only ever be a fraction of their vocabulary.  

The green tongue, the voces magicae of the occult herbalist; are they divine words spoken only by plant magicians and the green world?  Are they a manifestation of plant gnosis?  Are they the language of plant lore?  I think they're a combination of all these things; material, spiritual and experiential.

"Plants can be said to have a personality- a certain air about them- and this is often reflected in their names."- Richard Bird, A Gardener's Latin

Speaking the tongue of the plant world can be manifested in a number of ways.  Most people are familiar with the Language of Flowers; which communicates the symbolism of flowers, often based on some valid history regarding its folkloric use, discovery or practical applications.  The Language of Flowers uses the symbolism of a flower to tell a simple or complex fact about its nature.

The wisteria floribunda- meaning "free-flowering", is a vine is known also under the symbolism of "welcome" in Western flower language and its language is that of welcoming to one's property or home, and typically this plant occupies fences and door arches, "inviting" people in with its calm sweet perfume and gentle movements, though in Japanese flower language, wisteria signifies poetry and youth.  

Hedera helix- meaning "twisting"; in the Language of Flowers is symbolic of dependence, fidelity and commitment- though this depends on which culture you are speaking from; the language of gort in the Irish pagan world is of constancy and steadfastness- in the Greek world, its symbolism is associated with Dionysus, concealment and victory.  This is one method of interpreting the message a plant may wish to convey on a symbolic level- as symbolism is part of the language world.  Often times flower language is contradictory, being relative to each culture, so it's important to know where your herbs are coming from in literally every regard.

Another manifestation of the green word is through the act of ritual bonding; where the plant spirit is quite literally consumed by the witch/shaman in varied doses and methods until a sense of unity with the plant has been achieved.  Some green alchemists believe that this road leads to one being able to "communicate" with the spirit of an herb, to speak the sacred words that evoke the spirit of the plant through ritual experience.  

Slowly introducing a specific plant and its matter into your system in ritual and practice is a great way to become acquainted with the personality of an herb, and depending on the herb, can be used to facilitate a flight-of-the-spirit, where perhaps you will learn the true song of the herb.  The idea is that as you absorb the quinta essentia of the plant, it will  reveal hidden wisdom to the one who imbibed the herb.  This is reflected in mythologies across the world from the Celtic hazelnut of wisdom to the Biblical apple of knowledge to the pomegranate seeds of the Greek underworld.

"The spirits of Meadows, abundant with flowers and fragrant herbs, are often best captured in a wine or other nectareous liquor; waste-lands, absent of water and plant life, best offer ocher, sand and their dry and brittle bones to be ground into Dust of Art." -Daniel A. Schulke, Viridarium Umbris: The Pleasure Garden of Shadow
Sic tua Cyrneas fugiant examina Taxos
Of course, this can't be done with every plant or every constitute of a given herb.  I would not recommend, for example, consuming the oxalate-rich  ivy berries as they have been known to upset the skin, stomach and throat; while a tincture of the leaves can be okay in low doses.  

Another herb that makes a great familiar but a bad meal is the witch known as Yew, where no part of the taxane plant should really be consumed except the red, fleshy outside of the poisonous seed.

Some roads are ghost roads and some places can only be reached by the dead.  When we imbibe psychoactive herbs which are poisons to varying degrees of severity, we "die" in a sense.  This death is the mechanism by which the journey is achieved.  When shamans chew peyote buttons, they die.  When seekers drink the crushed wood-rose and undergo the agony to reach that distant euphoria, it is through death.  The death can be a long process, the death can be a period of trance or unconsciousness.  

Poison roads aren't for everybody.  I'm one of those greenwomen whose spirit simply is not ready for the initiation into some of these poison mysteries. I get along well with shamans like kava and divinorum, coffee and cacao, wine, tea and cordials, tobacco and other vaporous herbal shamans; lazy ones, sleepy ones, long pipes and short...

In truth, before you can understand the language of any plant, you should probably be well acquainted with its gifts and maladies, or you'll wind up suffering; trust me- one hot day with digitalis taught me all I needed to know. Never seek oral communion or consumption of any herb without knowing its basic medical chemistry.  

I encourage amateur herbalism seminars, lectures, training or classes, communication with local apothecaries or naturalists, or wildcrafting courses to better understand the nature of herbs and the plant world. I've had good luck getting acquainted with my local horticulture vocational program instructors, urban agriculture gardeners, nursery workers and park volunteers.  These people as well as continuing education by taking courses in chemistry, botany and biology are a great way to stay informed on how to speak to plants in the most basic ways.  You don't need to be a master herbalist or certified botanist to be a good gardener with a green tongue.

The Root...

Start with what you know.  There's this glamorous idea of traditional witchcraft that idealizes these trees and herbs that are famous in the lore of European witchcraft, but that's not the reality for witches around the world.  Henbane is in no way part of the pharmacopoeia of my birth home in the Californian desert or my current homestead of the rainy Northwest.  Atropa belladonna and mandragora are also sparsely ever seen in my region of the world, so how could I ever really come to bond with these spirits or hold them as familiars when they don't even play in my garden?   I stick with who I know, because as romantic as the lore and legend of wolfs-bane and mandrake might be, they are not members of the Riverton herbarium.  

My birthplace was home to datura, peyote and mescal bean, and these plants were cultural acquaintances of ours growing up, along with their companion spirits; rattlesnake, monarch, black widow and coyote.  Medicine bags vary by family, clan, tribe, region- the medicine bags made for my sister and me by the elders at the Indian Center contained the plant spirit medicine of the peoples who dwell there, while the medicine bags received when we moved North to be with our Salish-descended families contained some different matter and the plant spirits within sing different songs.

Aloevera, sagebrush, echeveria, creeping buttercup, eschscholzia californica, eucalyptus, squash flower, bean pods, red bean (mescal), willow, reed; I befriended these plant spirits on an intimate spiritual level before ever leaving California, just from the amount of exposure I had to them in a variety of capacities from the kitchen to the pow-wow grounds, from tia's altar to grandma's garden.  I was nurtured on corn-silk tea and aloe juice, eucalyptus baths and cobwebbed eyes.

These days, I reside a lot further North and the medicine of the indigenous peoples here varies a good deal from Southwest customs, as do the animal and plant spirits of the Northwest.  So I stay culturally and spiritually acquainted with the well-known sacred spirits, medicine of the plant world who dwell here; among them cedar; industrious and nurturing, madrona; a tree of life.  Duwamish river reeds are builders of long-house mats and baskets for offerings.  Even stinging-nettle sings a bitter song at first but sings a different tune when put into the pot to boil and eaten in a meal.

This region has a lot of old gods; they are still kept alive by the medicine of the people who still dwell here. Raven spirit, thunderbird, salmon-people, coyote and red tail hawk are all still prominent figures in local lore and deeply loved spiritual figures in the coastal Northwest.  These aren't just stories of my childhood, these aren't just parables from my region; this medicine is my guiding green key to the doorway of nature here.  Every story reflects the animistic relationship between medicine and nature; which are essentially one and the same.

"Animism, the earliest form of spiritual belief, operated on the principle that each and every object in nature possessed both a tangible and an ethereal dimension and that the one could not be separated from the other, whether the primitive eye was viewing a mammoth, a mountain or a tree."- Michael Jordan, The Green Mantle

 Rabbit and crow spirit thrive by the Duwamish
river in massive warrens and murders.
This place is haunted by a lot of old spirits. Not too unlike the fairy, the spirits of this area dwell in deep tree roots, in pockets of tree rot, in nurse logs and green rivers and occupy both this and and other worlds as liminal beings.  As close companions to the plant spirit world are a variety of living spirits like coyotes, raccoon, blue heron, eagles and plentiful rabbits.  They all speak their own language and sing their songs.

Working with a plant spirit to learn its language is part of my animistic process.  Every plant has its own name, and I swear most plants speak their own very specific language, something that can be communicated to us through different processes.  

Practitioners utilize plant spirit medicine in a number of ways.  In most or all cases, this is done by speaking with the spirit of the plant and coaxing it forth.  They can be sung to, they can be placated with offerings.  Some plants require that the shaman speaking to them be of an altered consciousness, aided by a secondary plant shaman like marijuana, peyote or San Pedro cactus or by ecstatic dancing, or by drumming, clapping, stomping, by disciplines like yoga or dreaming techniques- some method of altering one's state of mind... most easily achieved through a mix of drugs, dance and music.   Some plants will only reveal their spirits when communed with during trance and soul-journeys.

"In their blossoms, seeds, leaves, and roots are locked the secrets of life and death, powers healing or harmful depending on how they are used. Herbs have been used from time immemorial as medicines, tonics, body beautifiers, mind stimulants; as aphrodisiacs, perfumes and smoke makers."- Paul Huson, Mastering Herbalism

Incense, oils, ointments, lotions, food, spices, perfumes, poultices, baths, wraps, muds, clays, cosmetics, unguents, liquors, etc, all of these practical applications of plants will build your understanding of plants, their virtues, limitations and maybe that manner of expression is language enough. 

Plant Spirit Teachers...

There are a plethora of deities in various cultures associated with herbalism.  In addition, many deities are identified with specific herbs and places of dwelling.  In medieval occultism, the plants are ruled by the Seven Planets which are also identified with specific places, colors, numbers, sounds, minerals and animals. This is a staple of Western herbalism and is one of the systems used to decipher the true essence or spirit of an plant.  A few Irish "green witches" I know identify their herbal practice with Airmid, a tuatha healer who is said to have knowledge of all plants and their virtues; something only she knows.  If you want some insight into the Celtic world of herbal charms, look towards Irish poetry and the Scottish charms of the Carmina Gadelica; there are charms for the green tongue within.

This theme of a the Divine Herbalist who alone even among greater gods knows the true nature of all herbs is not exclusive to Irish legend, it is paralleled in some regional indigenous American lore and in West African  and Afro-Caribbean lucumi.

In the lore of santeria, the plant world is an expression of divine wisdom.  They contain souls, holy attributes to be loved and feared.  They are the first teachers of wisdom, and guarded by a wise Orisa who holds dominion over all herbs: Osain, patron spirit of osainistas, some curranderos and yerberas- truly all plant medicine and ewe. The herbs used in ritual have their common lucumi names and then they have their secret names known only to initiates.

In the medicine of my family, tribes and region; many spirits hold wisdom over many plants and there is not a central "teacher" of all herbs in our mythology.  For example; cedar is its own spirit, it must be communicated with directly. This is true of all plants and trees; they are communicated with directly as individuals, not simply extensions of a particular god.


Plants have their own souls, their own songs.  Some weave spells just by swaying in the wind, others must have their powers conjured up from their rhizomes, while others contain all their spirit in their slender stalks.

"Sacred herb, which hast neither been sowed, nor planted, show forth the power God has given thee!"- medieval French charm, Mastering Herbalism by Paul Huson

Learn the pharmacopoeia of YOUR region.  It's romantic and all to imagine yourself as an English witch, dancing through a hillside of henbane and mandragora, but those witches don't play in every garden, nor should they.  Learn the plant-gods and plant spirits who dwell among you and seek out their virtues.

Develop a deep empathy and respect with herbs and trees, treat them as the spirits they are and learn the taboos of their cultivation.

"A magical garden can teach practitioners how to open themselves to the spirit world. As we tend our plants, we learn how to wait and silently listen, to be open to the language of the other, to make space for spirit contact not only in the material world but in our selves."-Harold Roth, Curating the Magical Garden

Create a bond with the land through ritual and daily acts; you could grow a blood garden, where every plant from seed to stem to end is fed on the words and blood of power of the witch who tends the green.  The harvest of these portions when they have completed their life cycles can be used in a number of applications; elixirs, philters, unguents, liquors.  This is doubly powerful when the life-cycle of a plant; its gardening cycle and its sexual reproduction is considered and studied.  

Consuming from the blood-fed garden is a sacred, circular act of bonding and binding the self to the green.  I've heard herbalists refer to this chlorophyll Host as a sacrament, and that it is.  In its own way, we are imbibing the divine blood of our heritage when we consume of plants.

Take up a plot of land and be its tender, its protector, its verderer.  Keep it green, deliver sacred waters to it, nurture and ally yourself with every shrub, bush and tree.  Inside every herb is a universe of chemical and spiritual mystery; for some witches, the green spirit of the plant and the spirit of the witch are cut from the same heritage.  To tend to that divine light and care for it is a great way to honor the green and endear yourself to the plants in your keeping.

Vines are excellent communicators; they speak a slow dialect of the plant languages, though the vocabulary is extensive.  The Creeping Sisters; Solanum D., Ipomoea, and Hedera H., all speak a similar language, one I can sort of hear in the distance across their many tendrils.  Their words are tight, twisted, made up of diversions and allegories.  They sound like serpents, they sing like children, their words are long and low.
Learn the names, taxonomy, general chemistry and medicinal applications of any herb. I like to take the time to commit to memory the specific portions of a plant that is used, the three most useful chemical compounds derived from the plant, the best method of delivery and any known health hazards.  I cover those bases before I work with any plant on a spiritual level these days- my youth of bare-handed root pulling and blind taste-tests are over!

Learn as much traditional or indigenous herbal lore as you can.  Learn every traditional song you can and embrace plants by the names given to them by the first people who communed with them.  I try and make a point of referring to certain plants up here by their local names when I can remember them, something I was lucky enough to learn a scant few basics from while I attended Long House.  

Western witches seem to have a predilection towards Latin, probably because we derive so much from medieval grimoires and pharmacological texts, and so many may find it natural to follow the Latin taxonomic language when communicating with plants, adding a feeling of scientific formality to their green alchemy.  If you come from a culture with an extensive folklore of plants e.g Japanese, Chinese, West African, look towards the language of your ancestors to commune with plants.  Much like with Latin taxonomy, the names of plants in different languages, their symbolism and their folklore can illustrate the virtues and identity of that plant.

Don't just learn their Indigenous names either, learn their innermost truth as well.  Let them speak to you.  Let them infect your imagination and take root in your consciousness, name them as they wish to be called.  Keep a familiar plant if the opportunity presents itself.  In other cases you may simply keep a useful plant as a housemate and care for it through the cycle of its life, forging a mutually beneficial relationship with them.  You may learn secret words and whispered things from the herbs in your keeping.

However you pick up the green tongue, whatever dialect you speak or method you use, the language of the green is the word of life itself.  The words of the gods.

  • Plants of the Gods by Christian Rätsch
  • Ewe Osain: 221 Plants, Herbs and Trees Essential to the Lucumi Tradition by Mr. William J. Irizarry Jr.
  • Curating the Magical Garden by Harold Roth
  • Mastering Herbalism by Paul Huson
  • Folklore and Symbolism of Flowers, Plants and Trees by Ernst and Johanna Lehner
  • The Green Mantle by Michael Jordan
  • A Gardener's Latin: The Language of Plants Explained by Richard Bird
  • The Lost Language of Plants: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicine to Life on Earth by Stephen Harrod Buhner
  • Roots and Branches: The Religious Heritage of Washington State by David M. Buerge
  • Viridarium Umbris: The Pleasure Garden of Shadow by Daniel A. Schulke

Sun's Day

The herb of the Sun Tarot card is the bay leaf; which being under the rulership of the 'solar light'; the spirit of justice, success and plenty, its virtue being both greed and charity, masculinity and fire, femininity and sovereignty.

The bay leaf when powdered and burned produces a piney and tangy smell which is pleasant and dispels feelings of tension and conflict.

The Sun is the star of success, and the luminary of the Solar Mysteries in which those who walk the green path obtain their keys of heliotropic gnosis
.  The grand motif of the witch is as a moon-worshiping night-wanderer, but this was not always the case in history or lore and isn't now.  I'm one of those witches who leans towards that warm golden glow, drawing power from the drowsy daytime dream, the cold morning light.

The Sun is a positive virtue who bonds easily with Venus and Mercury; adoring balance, wealth, glory and justice.  According to medieval grimoire, The Picatrix, the Sun holds rulership over "those who observe the law, and those who keep promises to all people he gives delight in good things, a good reputation in the mouths of the people and high positions and official posts, making all legality and goodness," and also, "among stones, (the sun rules) ruby, and jacinth; among metals, gold; among trees, those that are lofty and beautiful-"
"Among herbs, saffron, roses, wheat, grains and olives,"- The Picatrix. 
In the religion of the Druids, the oak is a tree of the sun.  However, in herbal tarotology, typically the bay laurel leaf and the sunflower (an intrinsic part of the Sun tarot and Lenormand symbolism) is associated with the Sun.  

On the virtues of the gourd, green alchemist Daniel A. Schulke remarks in his work Viridarium Umbris;
"Many gourds shall be required of the Herbarius, in which to house the numerous Powders of Magic.  Diverse kinds of gourds may be so employed, but the best are those which ripen in autumn and whose husks harden, when dry, to the consistency and strength of wood."  
In Cuban Santeria, the gourd is a sacred vessel of Osayin, the lord of all herbs, and the gourd is decorated with a rainbow array pf beads and hung in a high place, fed favored omieros, rum and tobacco to honor the Ewè.

This gourd, as all my gourds, was not only grown by a family member and passed to me for my work, but it was consecrated, soaked, purified, anointed, oiled, polished and suffumigated and beautified by my own hand.  I like to keep only my finished dusts in consecrated gourds.  This one is for the Sun, and it contains the dusts of success and hope.

Night of Venus

Friday. Venus.

Friday candle offering; honey comb and osmanthus flower, honey powder and gold

"Seek from Venus all things that pertain to her such as petitions of women, boys, and girls, daughters and generally everything pertaining to the love of women and carnal copulation with them, art, vocal and instrumental music, telling jokes, and all those who give themselves over to worldly pleasures, those who engage in vices, male and female servants, brides and grooms, mothers, friends, sisters, and all those similar to them, and in these petitions you may also help yourself with Mars."-The Picatrix

"No sooner does she catch sight of some young man of attractive appearance than she is consumed by his charm and immediately directs her eye and her desire at him.  She...attacks his soul an binds him with everlasting shackles of passionate love.. and I advise you to beware of her, for she is always on fire, and you are quite young and handsome enough to suit her."- Metamorphoses 

"Witches are much sought after in affairs of the affections between lovers, and between husbands and wives, and to restore love between parents and children."- Italian and Neapolitan Charms and Witchcraft (folklore history series)

The sigil of erotic philters and those who work the red green arts (green alchemy and magic in Venus' Garden)

"Since ancient times, people have searched for things that can do what otherwise only the goddess of Love herself was capable of doing; beget love where none exists, kindle carnal desires where there is only weariness, provide physical enjoyment instead of  boredom, and initiate erotic adventure where there is otherwise only a lack of fantasy."- Christian Ratsch, Plants of Love

"Often dismissed by the vulgar as a crude or base form of folk magic the love-charm is a complex weaving of powers requiring great care, skill and discernment."- D.A Schulke

"All witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable. See Proverbs XXX: There are three things satisfied, yea, a fourth thing which says not, it is enough; that is the mouth of the womb. Wherefore the sake of fulfilling their lusts they consort even with devils."- Malleus Malificarum


dream stones for use in a type of oneiromancy called lucid dreaming
cleromancy, osteomancy

The Sweet Stuff

With the tide of the full moon came an abundance of new ideas and friends and paths and desires.  I don't know what it was about this last week, but it felt like some huge burden was lifted, like some of the sweetness of life has finally begun to seep back into my life.  I'm aglow with some inner radiance and the full moon's energy on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday opened some doorways. I wasted no time putting together long requested charms for friends, and one for myself.

 I think I'm just riding a wave of positivity that's bringing out every creative fiber of my being.  All around me, I'm surrounded by people who desire, lust, need, want- driven by curiosity and passion; the energy of it crackles along my spine and over my thighs and makes me restless all night, fidgety all day.  When I get to absorbing the warmth around me, I create my favorite work, love, dreams, gain.  I'm all about that Erosian current, the ardent spirits.

Before I enter into this work, I fast, I bathe in baths of milk and honey and salt and rose water and oils.  I dance, I sing, I drink a mixture somewhat similar to  pancha amrita or I take in raw Mexican cacao with powdered vanilla and chili peppers- even just Market Spice Tea if I have to, anything to get me in that mood, to give me that warmth.  I do everything I like, surround myself in the things from which I tend to draw power; beautiful things, plants, artwork, smoke.
Sugarcraft is an old staple of Southern hoodoo, Southwestern Hoodoo and comes to us from the old world.  It's a touch of kindness, remorse, mercy, warmth and general sweetness added to mojo bags, dusts, philters and confections and all magic made with consecrated cane crystals add the essence of success to a charm.  Sugar boxes, honey jars and bottles containing magic confections are popular manifestations of drawing or "attraction" charms.
A Red Sugar Box: Love Draw
Dedicated to the ardent spirits and crafted in the hour of Venus on Friday in the residue of a full moon.
Sweet Dream Sugar Gourd: To Sweeten Dreams
Inside here lies the genius of the rosaceae, turnera diffusa, passiflora, artemisia vulgaris, sambuca, valeriana and the trumpeter- summoned by the sugars which invigorate the spirits and sweeten those spirits who deliver dreams.  The herbs and sugar and crystal are crushed and ground and poured into the gourd with is coated in honey and olibanum and sealed with a cork and beeswax.  
Prosperity Sugar Box: A Dust for Accumulation of Luck
The industrious spirit of a red Cedar, the passionate ecstatic magnetism of the cinnamon spirit, the invigoration allspice's magic procures, sugar to sweeten the lucky spirits who are called here in the name of fortune and fate.  The energy of coin and cash is important to charging the dust inside which can eventually be used to cross doorways or worn in talismanic sachets and amulets before one intends to gamble.
And you know, just some light reading in between bouts of licking honey off the tips of my fingers and shaking sugar from off my apron.

Spiced Dust and Cream Baths

"All flesh and bone of men, when burnt, makes and provokes benevolence."

-The Picatrix

The idea behind magic powders is that they can be used as a base or a charm in and of themselves.  As a base they can be used to base incense, to prepare dried baths, sachets or teas.  As charms, they can be used to draw sigils, cross doorways and entries, or they can be imbibed, sprinkled into drinks or cooked into food, or otherwise interact with our sense of smell, touch, taste which may bewitch these senses.  Snorted, they can effect the mind.  Slipped into food, they are said to ensnare lovers and poison enemies.

"Witches do harm by means of certain very fine powders which they mix in food or drink, or rub on naked body, or scatter over clothes.  The powders which kill are black; those which simply cause illness are ash colored (or sometimes reddish brown) whereas the powder which removes a spell and acts as a medicine is exceptionally white." Martin Del Rio the Inquisitor

Dusts are common magic; in hoodoo and southern american folkloric magic, red brick dust and bone ash is employed in protective charms and sigil writing.  In the old grimoires, like Le Petit Albert, powdered herbs like marjoram, thyme, vervain, myrtle, walnut and fennel are employed in the use of a summer seduction powder that is said to cause girls to dance naked- while recipes from The Picatrix call for pig rennet, pork fat and mouse blood and an ounce of arrahama brains mixed with cinquefoil and St. Johnswort which is to be powdered and used as suffumigation to (unsurprisingly) cause enmity.

Agrippa in the Books of Occult Philosophy spoke of the magic inherent in the powder from the tracks of snakes and hawks in gaining protection or power. An old french manuscript from the 18th century, Secrets pour Se Faire Aimer, recommends grinding periwinkle with ground worms and dusting a savory dish with the concoction to make oneself desirable to a man.

The Dust of sunflower pollen, golden fern powder, slippery elm, crushed rose thorn and solanum dulcamara pollen will hex and torment an enemy when blown deliberately into their clothes or their hair. In my household, the ash left over in the abalone shell of my mother's, my sister's, my auntie's and my altars which contain the remnants of sweetgrass, tobacco and sage offerings to our familial tutelary spirits often contains the ashes of our volts as well, and is disposed of accordingly.  Medicine, magic and hoodoo all have taboos and methods involving the use of powders.

Bottom left to right: powdered rose, powdered cedar, red heartwood/cedar/rose/saffron/cinnamon/clove powder, bee summoning powder, orris powder, ghost sigil powder, crushed bones of familiars.
Some types of magic powder are edible and can be used in confection magic and the creation of honey jar spells.  Other types should be used externally only as baths or ensnarement tools, or for glamour and cosmetic spells. Others should only be used in dire conditions because they would cause terrible skin irritation or allergic fits. Powders can be blended into all manner of your practice and practical life, and you'd probably have a lot of fun with the mess of it all.

Common Ingredients of Dust, Pulvis, Powders:

cascarilla and cornstarach
  • powdered milk
  • powdered honey
  • powdered oils
  • orris powder
  • powdered volts 
  • ground minerals and clays
  • red brick dust
  • pollen
  • ash
  • powdered bone
  • pulvarized seeds
  • talc
  • sand
  • bonetree ash
  • resins
  • powdered herbs, barks, leaves and berries
  • cascarilla
  • cornstarch
  • alum
  • salt
  • camphor
  • baking soda
  • Blood (which has been absorbed by a starchy base powder)

essential oils are a much needed component to the sacred bath
Most of my creations are meant to be used as either bases for incense (my rose and orris based powders tend to be) or for sigil writing (using the cascarilla, cornstarch, powdered bones and herbs), though I enjoy grinding my own hexing and crossing dusts hoodoo style or making ritual baths for friends when they need to feel beautiful.  I like to care for myself plenty, but I like sharing my tricks with others too.

With all the holidays, I've been having a lot of fun customizing baths for friends and family, but when it comes to me, I'm all about the good stuff so all my baths are created on the day and in the hour of Venus when the moon is near full, my cycle is over and I've feasted on only the food of Venus from sunrise to sunset- this means I chow-down on figs, oats, sweet fruits, honeyed drinks and seafood for the day.  All of this isn't necessary but it puts me in the mood, it reflects the love i have for myself, and for the glittering epitome of love, passion.  Creating an aesthetically pleasing, sexually positive, fair environment around me is key to taking care of myself and expressing affection to others.

Self care is important.  Take the time to take good care of yourself spiritually, emotionally, socially and physically.  Being the lovelorn libra that I am, I'm particularly fond of physical beauty and I use cosmetic magic often in terms of stress relief and caring for my very Venusian spirit.  It can be as simple as facials, pore strips, shaving, plucking, moisturizing and other typical techniques of bewitchment, or it can be a tad more geared towards comfort, like baths.  To each their own; I like grooming and soothing the self, I like to care for my caramel skin like the tool of power it is.

The bath is more than soothing; when done right, it's sacred.  When prayers are spoken to the sweet honey goddess as the honey is stirred with the oat and milk; all sacred foods of Aphrodite and Venus, and the salts and oils are blended with aromatic herbs and oils, it creates something intoxicating and lulling; it's slick over the breast and thick in the water.  The froth of the bath is cloudy and smells like baked bread and jasmine, rose water and warm oats.  It's feminine deliciousness and makes me feel like something to eat.

Left: powdered oat, epsom salt, center; powdered honey, powdered whole milk, right; powdered coconut oil
These days, it's more prudent to create dry baths rather than liquid ones, and of course, on the day of Venus, in the hour of Venus, on a waxing moon.  It's said that Cleopatra worked with pharmaka over her two lovers and used baths of milk and honey to give herself allure and a beautiful complexion.  In Southern hoodoo, milk and honey baths are a common remedy for skin ailments and beauty-drawing spells, as well as used commonly in confectionery charms which are fed to lovers and suitors.  Self care baths to remove insecurity and invigorate personal desire typically contain:

  • Epsom salt
  • raw cane sugar
  • pink salt
  • baking soda
  • powdered honey
  • powdered oat
  • powdered coconut oil
  • powdered whole milk
  • crushed roses (or fresh and sprinkled into the bath water), fresh violet, fresh jasmine flower, fresh mock orange flower, fresh hyacinth, fresh lavender or dried red clover
    • In Southwest magic, eucaplytus and cedar are commonly employed in curranderismo and brujeria to cleanse and heal and remove the effects of susto or avert the evil eye, and sprigs are added to bath water, though in santeria, omieros are made involving eucalyptus which are added to bathwater.  
  • essential oils from rose, jasmine, lavender, orange, orris, violet, opium or periwinkle

    *added to the bath can be a liquid blend of rose water, orange blossom water and eucalyptus tincture if necessary. 
Further Reading:
Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy
The Picatrix
Le Petit Albert
The Great Work of the Flesh: Sexual Magic East and Wes
t by Sarane Alexandrian
Los Remedios by Michael Moor
Ancient Greek Love Magic by Christopher A. Faraone
Hoodoo Honey and Sugar Spells by Deacon Millet

Looking Back, Reading Ahead

As the year comes to its end and I take assessment of the world around me, I've come to see how different aspects of ourselves ruin us or embolden us.  Connection is either a gift or a curse.

This year I relearned how to speak up.  I leaned outside of the doorway and lifted my head above the low smoke and bookshelves, the candles and guitars and opened my mouth to speak.  I wanted so badly to be heard.  And I succeeded. And I failed.  And that, I learned, is okay.

Where once there was no pride, I have a measure of strength in finding unity with other people like me.  The place where total terror resides, there blooms something bright and fascinating that has earned me respect among my peers.

I found a new family where I'm at, people I can share some sensitive cultural touchstones and thoughts with, people who value my input as a mixed-raced woman, and as an occult practitioner.  I found acceptance and love for my whole self, even the pagan parts, in a place that is primarily Muslim and Christian.  They know what I am, they don't care, in fact they respect me.

J.E, Dev, Will and Y.D, they taught me that there are going to be people in the world who want nothing from me and yet think everything good about me.  I never would have stood up if John hadn't told me he believed I had something to say.   Now, I don't need anyone to get me up to speak.  I learned to trust in turning to people when I have something to say.  And I think this medicine works better.  I made some nice friends. That's enough.

However, the first rule of the Universe: Nothing is Free.  Everything demands a payment.

I can see the road ahead, behind and under me.
I used to believe that as long as I was a kind and sweet person, I would lead an easier life than a warrior.  I used to believe that validation is something you can only really get from third party perspective.  And I believed, up until a few months ago that if you tried your hardest to love people through their pain, that some day, one day, they will look kindly on you for it.  In the end, what this year of getting out of my comfort zone has taught me is that there are some things about yourself that will never change, and that some people are never worth the best parts of you.

I wanted to heal myself through helping others.  I went out of my way to be helpful, useful, charitable.  I learned that my smile has value to people when they're down, and my bouts of worry and sadness has meaning to people when they know.  This experience taught me that there are still people capable of remarkable openness and warmth all around me.

When you're asocial or shy or have social anxiety from an early age, you don't always know what normal friendships look like, or how to function normally in them.  I wanted to try my hand at a new form of magic; the kind where by some slight of hand, you develop bonds.

We all have character flaws and buddy, the spirits cursed me with this knack giving little of myself to the best kind of people and trying way too hard for the worst kinds of people.  After a year of experimenting and failing, I now understand my modus operandi, and I'm determined to spend 2017 undoing that bullshit backwards curse.

We all choose our battles, we all have those childhood pains or adolescent moments that teach us a the lesson of humility and humbleness.  We are only what the world has made of us.  Every insecurity, every anxiety, every fear was taught to us by life and by experience.  We are, simply put, at the mercy of ourselves.  So what do you do when you realize that not only are you a bad friend to yourself, you're a bad person to yourself in an attempt to please other people?  You sit down, take a deep breath and take a good hard look at yourself.

Today;  I see ME, clearly, without the blinders on.  And I'm in love with her.

rabbit. rabbit.
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