There are a lot of infographics on Pinterestlisting the most essential herbs every Witch must have in her kitchen. Many websites and books echo this sentiment, detailing a basic list that a Witch worth any amount of salt must keep stocked. I definitely peruse these posts, and carefully read the herbal sections of the books I’ve been able to afford. But I say a practical Witch uses what she has, and what’s available to her. If she’s drawn to the herbal, culinary, or hedge aspects of her Craft, she makes do with what’s at hand, while cultivating what belongs to the region in which she lives.
I’m a haphazard gardener, frequently out of money, and I don’t live in a forest. This means that if I want to make my own tinctures and teas, mix up an herbal spell, or craft a face wash, shampoo, etc., I’ve got two choices: adapt to what’s available, or just not make it. Even herbalists I love and respect frustrate me sometimes. I’m definitely a beginner, and money is always an issue in this family, and when I see a recipe that calls for skull cap, lady’s mantle, coltsfoot, or even things like calendula or comfrey, I sometimes get a bit irritated. I’ve gotten a few things to grow in the garden, but I’m no whiz, and ordering herbs from reputable, respected, and responsibly cultivated sources gets expensive quickly.
So folks, I’ve stopped holding my Craft hostage to ideals. Basic Crafting ultimately comes down to creating solutions, magical or otherwise, with ingredients either at hand, or readily accessible. If I’m creating something extremely magically powerful, then certain spells might call for something obtained only with difficulty. But I don’t need that kind of intensity in an herbal treatment for a cold, or a face wash that soothes stress induces breakouts.
I’m also encouraging myself to have some dang patience. If you, like me, tend towards herbal, culinary, or hedge Crafting but weren’t born with the garden skills of P. Allen Smith, the culinary skills of Deborah Madison, and you’re also struggling mightily with exercising the parts of the mind that hear the whispered voices of the Other, then you’ll understand what this whole blog post is about. I’ll tell you in my next posting what I do to get around the issues I’ve discussed and how I’m slowly, haltingly moving forward in my Crafting journey. I’d appreciate your comments and suggestions as well. I’m not exactly a fount of creativity at all times, so I love a good tip.