**ON PLANTS : SOME PIECES OF ADVICE & LORE FROM FRENCH TRADITIONAL WITCHCRAFT**
These ancient superstitions and beliefs prove the deep respect human beings had for their environment, back to an era when we were aware of the unity of this nature.
- Avoid cutting the plant with a vile metal such as iron. The first mythical reason is that spirits (especially faes) abhor iron, known to repel and hurt them. Use a bronze or copper blade, sometimes even a gold or silver coin to dig up the roots. There also lies a logical, scientific explanation of a remarkable empiric coherence : iron salts quickens the action of the tannins contained in certain plants, significantly altering their components.
- Some plant spirits are not cooperative, so you’ll have to foil their harmful influence. Do not talk to anyone about your intention of picking the plant on your way to reach it, so as not to warn the spirit - thus counteracting any intention to flee it may have.
- Pluck the plant backwards to protect yourself from the spirit’s ire (this is particularly true of poisonous beauties such as foxglove, belladonna, etc.).
- Drawing a circle around the plant, using a wand or a knife, or even the finger, isolates the reaper from the wrath of the spirit while preventing it from escaping its plant host .
- It is expected to explain to the plant the intended use for which it is plucked.
- Pay a small tribute to the spirit of the plant as a salary for the effort youasked from it.
PRAYERS, PLEAS & INVOCATIONS
« Je coupe ta verdeur parce que tu purifies toutes les humeurs qui entraînent l’Homme sur des chemins d’erreur et d’injustice ; par le Verbe vivant qui a fait l’Homme sans le regretter. »
“I will cut your greenness, so you could purify all the moods that lead Man on the paths of error and injustice; by the living Word who made Man without any regrets.”
(Supposedly from abbess Hildegarde de Bingen, who also advocates to cut the plant with the left hand)
« Ô toi par qui s’endort la nature, toi qui fais fuir le jour et amène la nuit, toi qui nous cache le soleil, qui engendre toutes les herbes et les donne aux humains pour la guérison… Celle qui vous a créée avec vos propriétés salutaires veut bien que je vous cueille. »
"O thou by whom nature falls asleep, thou who drive away the day and bring about the night, thou who hides the sun, who generates all the herbs and gives them to the humans for healing… She who made thou with all thy salutary properties allows me to pick thou. ”
« Lève-toi, lève-toi, va guérir X… Je sais que tu dors, mais j’ai besoin de toi. »
“Wake up, wake up, and come to heal X… I know you are asleep, but I need you.”
- Drying a plant makes it lose a large part of its properties. Whenever possible, always favor the use of fresh plants.
- The plants are hanging in a bouquet or spread on a flat surface to dry in openair.
- Plants are stored in glass jars or paper bags once fully dried. Iron boxes and containers are of course prohibited.
- Do not keep your plants more than a year: their power slowly fades then disappears, so you will have to renew the stock every year.
(Appreciatively sourced and translated from BERTON H., Sorcellerie en Auvergne, Éditions De Borée, 2003. All rights reserved.)