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Herbology: A Multipurpose Wiccan Practice

When it comes to modern witchcraft, one of the areas that stand out, along with crystal work, divination, and spiritism, is herbology. This is a crucial branch of Wicca since most eclectic rituals need different types of spices, herbs, or flowers to function correctly. Regarding this topic, I asked three popular Instagram accounts within the Wiccan community in Buenos Aires to help me elaborate on the subject.

Roxana Bergonzi's Instagram account (@septimanoche) is mainly oriented toward Wiccan themes, although it also touches on other types of paganism, such as eliminating bad energies, information, tips, and meditation guides. She describes her Instagram account as “a space for all magic practitioners, whether pagan or from other beliefs, where they can find tips, information and much more to carry the day-to-day better” but ensures that anyone can find utility in the things that go up. These can be as general as meditation or niche as specific Wiccan herbs. She was introduced to Wicca in 2014.

On the other hand, Astro (real name redacted, @astro.histeria on Instagram) started with a curiosity about astrology. Her interest mutated into a total inquisitiveness for spirituality and an account that also serves as a place to promote her tarot services: “after a while, I started offering spiritual services like tarot and rune reading, which evolved into a spirituality account, dedicated specifically to Paganism.” She has been offering these services for more than five years.

Elizabeth Bruzzo (@laarcana22 on Instagram) bases her account on Norse mythology, oracles, Wicca, and astrology, among other things: “my account is about different cultures’ traditions; I am always looking for a way to give the reader an evolutionary approach.” She started his practice about six years ago.

According to Bergonzi, whose favorite part of witchcraft is working with all four elements, herbology is the art of working with various sacred and magical plants and herbs: “They allow us to achieve the desired purpose by borrowing the energies they provide us.” She mentioned that her favorite ritual herb is rosemary: “it’s the wild card of herbs. It has infinite magical and medicinal properties ”.

Astro describes herbology as synonymous with phytotherapy: “you have to know the properties of plants that can medicinally help you and have sufficient capacity and knowledge to be able to formulate something without having to consult the shadow book.” She maintains that ointments, mother tinctures, oils, and infusions can be made. One of the great examples of this is Bach Flowers, an injection designed to treat different emotional states.

Bruzzo says that the study of plants is the beginning: “Basically, we believe that everything is energy: ourselves, what surrounds us, etc. Plants, in addition to living beings, represent a type of energy that is essential to recognize and know how to manipulate. One must know in which area or at what time they are planted.”

There are many different ways to use herbs in practice. One may already be familiar with some of these: They can be burned in bundles, ingested, applied topically (rub it on the skin with creams or oils), used as offerings on an altar, hung as a seasonal decoration, used as protection signs, and cultivated for environmental purposes. Bergonzi tells us about her method of choice: “the best way to absorb oils and the properties of a plant is to apply them topically. It is the fastest way to absorb it into the bloodstream”.

Bruzzo has a different point of view: “This is relatively controversial, but I prefer to smoke them. Making a lavender cigar with rose petals and raspberry plant leaves is great for relieving headaches, clearing your mind, and encouraging digestion”. Astro supports this but reiterates that the best use for her personally is to add them to tea: “There is nothing more relaxing for some people than going home after a hard day at work and having green tea. I drink lemon balm and linden tea to help me relax.”

Inquiring about their most exciting or valuable herbal knowledge, these three witches had a lot to say: “I am very interested in the culture behind the different herbs and the methods to consume them; for example, burning leaves give off a magical or medicinal purpose that arose from Native American culture, whose members burned Salvia and Okmas. Another similar example arises from the indigenous people of the Amazon, who burned palo santo.” Astro reported.

Bergonzi added: I love herbal jars. They come from African cultures where they filled jars or bags with herbs believed to promote protection. Other uses for these herbs include hanging bundles around the house, allowing positive energies to enter and flow.

¿Why are they so popular? When you work with herbs, you work with an organism that produces food and reproduces. Chlorophyll is almost identical to the blood molecules found in humans; the main difference is that blood has iron, and chlorophyll has magnesium.

It is easy to achieve a connection with plants this way. Scientists say all organisms come from the same cell, meaning we are related to plants. Everything else is a non-living compound. Working with herbs is an elementary experience because they exist on the same earthly level as us.

To start working with these organisms, you must first put the tools together: something to dry the herbs (you can hang it on the wall, a paper plate, a specific drying plate for spices, or in an oven), as this helps to keep the pigment and to concentrate the flavor and power. It would be best if you also had a mortar and filters (can be coffee filters) when one starts the ritual.

Drying them removes other unnecessary compounds and substances the plant produces that one may not have intended to include in the first place. It has to be kept in the dark environment so that it does not lose its color and in a glass container to respect the Wiccan code of not damaging the environment.

Our sources' recommended a new witch. Bergonzi suggested: “basil, lavender, dill, and catnip. These are useful in most practices and are cheap if you want to buy seeds to start your garden. There are different types of gardens that a practitioner can have.”

On the other hand, Bruzzo recommended: “comfrey, sage, chamomile, thyme, and parsley, because they are difficult to kill and grow fast. The key to helping these plants grow is simply letting them do their own thing; they know what to do ”. Astro suggested mint or dandelions: “a beginning witch should use herbs with which she is comfortable first, herbs with which she is already familiar, like dandelions: everyone knows dandelions!”

All three agreed that the availability of the necessary herbs depends entirely on where you live. There are several that are not native to Argentina and are not imported. Astro relates that her favorite plant to use in rituals is lavender. It is used as incense and to create herbal combinations to cleanse energies. Finally, herbs are multipurpose: they can be used as incense, in rituals, as an offer to the Gods, and for spiritual, mental, and physical healing.

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