My husband and I moved to the seaside a few years ago and I've been pleasantly surprised at the abundance and variety of the wildflowers and herbs to be found everywhere. So many new plants to learn...what a wonderful opportunity to expand my knowledge of magical plants and herbs!
Luckily, I brought along my copy of Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. This remarkable resource provides guidance and useful information for both experienced and inexperienced magical practitioners. It's divided into three sections:Part 1
is titled, "The Basics" and includes information on the powers of herbs, magical ways and methods, spells and procedures, and magical intentions. Part II
consists of an entry for each herb, listing the common and scientific name for each plant, as well as folk names. There is a detailed black and white drawing of most of the entries and I find this particularly useful. Also listed is the gender of each plant, any deities with which it is associated, the planets and elements that rule it, the powers of the plant, it's ritual uses and it's magical uses. Part III
is tables and appendices. I absolutely love the way this last section is organized. You can search by type of spell, planetary influences, masculine or feminine, associated colors, scientific, common or folk name for each plant. There is also an extensive list of supplies and suppliers.
One of my very favorite listings in this encyclopedia is that of the cherry tree. I love cherries and been waiting impatiently for the little tree in our back yard to bloom again when spring comes. But I didn't know that the cherry tree is feminine or that it's ruled by the planet Venus. It's powers are love and divination. The author also shares a beautiful and simple love spell from Japan: tie a single strand of your hair to a blossoming cherry tree.
The entry for a plant called Job's Tears (or Tear Grass) is another favorite because it reminds me of happy times growing up in Hawaii where Job's Tears grows in wild abundance. The powers of this plant include healing, wishes and luck. The polished looking seeds grow with holes through the middle and are easily strung into lovely necklaces and bracelets. Children wear necklaces of the seeds to help with teething pain and adults and children alike wear them to ease sore throats and colds. Three seeds can be carried in your pocket for good luck and seven seeds will make your wishes come true!
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves plants and wants to make them part of their magical life.