Botany

Pagan Blog Project 2013 — Week 3

B is for Botany

What comes to mind when you think of a Witch or a Wise One? I’ll bet that one of the images that arises is plants… a woman or man standing in greenery, either in nature or a kitchen or workshop full of herbs. The Medicine Man… the Cunning Woman… an herbalist wildcrafting, or a botanist recording notes on plant names, characteristics, and uses, like Carl Linnaeus, from whom we received our modern classification system using Latin names for plants.

Thinking back to my post on animism, I can imagine that we have so many herbalists among the Pagan community at least partly because we Pagan folk often feel the spirits of plants as much as animals or places, and naturally ally with them and see them as friends. Many of us are drawn to the traditions of healing that work with herbs and plants. Many a mystic has utilized entheogenic plants and fungi to explore the divine. Even those who play with oils and flowers to create potions of perfumery are like modern alchemists. I see strong ties between magic and plants, and strong cunning in people who work with them and know how to make food, medicine, clothing, tools, etc. with them.

I have always had a special place in my heart for plants. Green is my favorite color, and leaves are my personal symbol. I couldn’t really say which flower is my favorite, and I’ve never met one I didn’t like. Druidry’s concept of nine sacred trees is one reason I’m drawn so viscerally to that tradition. I know a lot of people who I’d call members of the Cult of Fauna, but I’m in the Cult of Flora. I’m more of a Crazy Plant Lady. 😀

I once felt the dark weight drop right off me, almost physically, during Winter S.A.D. when I stepped off the snow onto a small patch of still-green grass. It was like stepping into another world, a column or doorway full of vibrant life energy. The difference was dramatic and I took notice, and will always remember that.

I’m currently studying anthropology, but when I get to graduate studies, I’m looking at becoming an ethnobotanist. Not only because of my love for green, growing things, but because I think that kind of knowledge will help in the effort to transition humanity (back) to sustainability, and save a lot of people if Western Civilization happens to suddenly collapse. I want to learn it, help preserve it, and pass it on. And I want to spend all my time in forests, greenhouses, gardens, and kitchens full of pretty drying and fresh herbs and hearty vegetables, fruits, seeds, sprouts… and hopefully a spot by a window or on a porch with a spinning wheel, making yarn with fibers from plants I grew, myself.

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