I have started to become a lot more interested in the study of herbs and flowers recently. As a little girl I spent a lot of time in nature, writing poetry and reading books whilst walking on my own in my local park on a warm summer’s day or my mum would take my sister and I on day trips to the lake district or the Trough of Bowland, regardless of the weather. I’ve been inspired by nature all my life and I’d spend hours drawing flowers, butterfly wings or feathers at home or in art class at school. At University whilst studying my Fine Art degree I seemed more interested in video and installation art but nature was always present in my videos, from close ups of hands or feet sensually caressing the muddy earth, to giant projections of wild flowers and falling rose petals. Now as my art changes, I’m working directly with nature, foraging for natural objects to create my dream catcher totems.
I was initiated as a Pagan Priestess in 2017 immersing myself in that way of life via meditations, rituals and making seasonal altars based on the Pagan wheel of the year and I’m so happy to be living this spiritual path. I’m currently finishing my studies on fitness, yoga and mental health but once again nature isn’t far from my mind. I believe once I’ve achieved all my qualifications in those subjects above, I want to move onto studying plant life, whether I take courses on botany or herbalism or perhaps workshops in foraging or flower arranging, it doesn’t matter to me because whatever I do will inspire my art and my Pagan-Yogic lifestyle. To have knowledge of the earth and such topics like sustainability, being Eco-friendly, growing my own herbs to make herbal teas or creating outdoor classes in which donations give back to an earth based charity would be a dream.
I want more houseplants and I’m passionate about recycling so our next step is creating our own composter in which our natural food waste won’t go to waste but will supply extra sustenance to our garden and help us make ‘compost tea’ for our houseplants.
That being said, here are six books about herbalism and nature magic I highly recommend if you want to follow a similar lifestyle to me.
The Green Witchby Arin Murphy-Hiscock
This book is adorable and is full of great information on tools, herbs, sabbats, and recipes. The way it is written will have you feeling relaxed and ready to attune yourself with nature. The Green Witch is a good introductory text to a particular brand of witchcraft focusing on connections to nature. This is not about being Wicca, but about traditional and often solitary witchcraft. I found the way the author writes is quite comforting and inclusive and I particularly loved the chapters on tree symbolism, how to make balms and perfumes as well as the very informative bibliography at the back to help you further your studies on plant lore, magick and green witchery. I felt that because of the stunning front cover, there might be a continuation of the stunning imagery through out the book and was disappointed to find there was no beautiful illustrations on the pages. But other than that, this is a lovely gem of a book with great resources to utilize.
Buy the book here: The Green Witch
Intuitive Herbalism by Nathaniel Hughes
This is a beautiful introduction to both the practicalities and the mysteries of working with and learning from our native plants. Drawing on wisdom gained both through Nathaniel’s own healing and working alongside other people embarking on their journeys, Intuitive herbalism heralds the close, heart connections to nature that many of us have lost and that we and the earth, need. Fiona’s paintings and illustrations magically evoke the spirit and the richness of the plants. A book to return to again and again, for guidance, inspiration and dreaming. It is the most beautiful herbal book I have ever seen, from the poetic way the author writes to the dream-like illustrations really takes you to another world within our own. A great book introducing the concept of working intuitively with plants. Beautifully written, fabulous images and lots of examples of ways to start ones own journey.
Buy the Book here: Intuitive Herbalism
The Hidden Life of Trees
This has got to be one of the best books I have ever read. I have always loved forests and trees from an early age and this book has allowed me to take a walk in the woods to a whole new level. To be able to have a understanding of the relationships between trees and to see their characters emerging from their actions throughout the seasons is a real gift. It has enriched my life no end! Many of us have an inner feeling and connection with the world of trees and the environment. This fascinating insight in to the underground world of trees comes alive through the author’s knowledge and great understanding brought about by his enthusiasm for the subject that becomes absorbing. This book leads you along the path of an explorer that opens up a whole new hidden world of which we have little knowledge. I highly recommend this book if you care for the environment and are a nature lover as this will change your outlook and you will never look at a tree and plants in the same way as you did before. There is so much we don’t know about trees and this book opens a door to explore a new world that has been going on for centuries upon centuries and continues although with more and more difficulty as man defaces the landscape, this affect changes the pattern of nature and wildlife. It’s a must read!
Buy the Book here: The Hidden Life of Trees
20,000 secrets of Tea by Victoria Zak
This book is a fantastic little book. If you want a quick easy to use reference book for herbal teas, this is it, its not a mighty tome but non the less it gives the basics a quick going over! Its not going to tell you what blends of teas to put together, but it will tell you enough about what the most common herbs/teas are used for their beneficial usage, in order for you to make enough of an informed choice and experiment about with them yourself!
This book can be used both as a quick little reference book for those who are more advanced in their knowledge of teas/herbal infusions, or as a great introduction to teas for those wanting to learn the basics in an easy going format. Some of the herbs/teas are discussed in more detail with their historical background added too which I thought was a lovely touch. The book itself is of a good size to keep in your day bag, the way it reads is delicate, refreshing and straight to the point.
Buy the Book here: 20,000 Secrets of Tea
Scott Cunningham book of magickal herbs
How can I write about herbal or nature magick books and not include the great Scott Cunningham? Scott Cunningham was a world renowned Wiccan and whilst I do not follow the Wiccan path as I feel its too much like a religion and I like to be free (I’m a solitary Pagan/Hedge Witch) Scott Cunningham’s books are simply divine sources of information if you are a practitioner of a nature based or folkloric spirituality. This a well written, easy to understand and well documented reference book. Everything is listed and easy to find, all herbs are divided up into gender, planetary, intentions, deities, powers, ritual use and magical use. This book is absolutely perfect. Pictures are included and they are black and white line drawings helping you to easily identify said herb. Scott Cunningham’s writing style is easy going and friendly, although this is not a ‘how to’ book but more an exploration of the wealth of knowledge Cunningham has accumulated and therefore an excellent resource book to study.
Buy the Book here: Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs
The Herbalist’s Way by Nancy Philips
I really love dipping in and out of this massive tome, this is a huge text book styled book so not something you can carry around with you. It is not so much a herbal remedy book, although sometimes herbal remedies are included, but it is more about the philosophy and qualities required of existing and aspiring herbal healers. This book includes stories from practitioners discussing their daily life and why they live close to nature. My favourite herbal books are inspired by a ‘folk medicine’ approach rather than a ‘clinical medical herbalist’ approach and this is such a book. The author and the herbalists profiled within this book embrace herbalism as a health giving way of life, this is an extremely holistic approach but I also found it quite an inspirational read because it shows individuals actively living this very organic life, they are embracing the old ways of folk medicine and being in tune with the earth.
Buy the Book here: The Herbalist’s Way
In many ways this is a new subject or passion of mine and so its quite difficult learning new things about plants and their properties as well as the practicalities of learning to care for plants, how to grow herbs and make teas or use for spell work, its all new but at the same time it feels very old, I’ve spent many hours of my childhood out in nature, listening to the trees sing in the wind, watching pine cones playfully fall to the ground and gaze up at clouds passing by. I am really glad to be rekindling this passion and I hope to incorporate this new found love into my daily life.
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