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Where can I find herbs that used in spells?

To: alt.lucky.w,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Where can I find herbs that used in spells?
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2000 07:08:08 GMT

SilverLD42008266 wrote:
> I am just begining to herb spells, and would like to know how do you 
> prepare the herb for spells?  Also, the herb that i purchase from you 
> would be ready to use or I need to prepare them?  thanks.

There are different traditions of thought on these questions. 

In hoodoo -- African-American folk-magic-- and brujeria -- Mexican
folk-magic -- most practitioners use either fresh or dried herbs which
they buy from a spiritual supply store or botanica. There is no special
emphasis placed on how the herbs were gathered (other than that they be
correctly named and clean). However, advanced practitioners who collect
their own herbs or buy them from the person who collected or grew them.,
to avoid too much handling and keep them spiritually "pure" -- and this
goes for some people working in Santeria, Palo, and other
African-diaspora religions as well.  

In wicca and similar new age and European-influenced magical traditions,
many people prefer to use fresh herbs rather than dried, and they often
make very bold statements about the worthlessness of herbs gathered
under the "wroing" moon sign or such. There is a tendency in
Germano-British magic toward what i call "restrictiveness," whereby
there are almost as many prohibitions and bad signs as there are
encouragements and good signs. Thus wicca, which originated in Britain,
carries with it some of the restrictivity found in other Germano-British
folk-beliefs, such as that, for instance, a horseshoe can only be hung
in ONE direction or it is no longer lucky, or that a spell must be
recited a certain way EXACTLY or it won't work. 

When you compare magic to music -- a very useful comparison, and not a
trivial one by any means -- you'll see similar trends. For instance, the
Germano-British insistance on strict tempo is quite at odds with the
flexible tempo of African-American music. Likewise the melismas ("bent
noites") of the African tradition persist in African-American music, but
are considered "bad singing" by European musicologists of the formal
school who insist that each note be hit square-on, without a tonal

So, to get back to your question -- 

In most traditions of folk-magic, the herbs have a virtue that resides
in them and they are fully prepared as you get them, whether dried or
fresh. They may need to be boiled or powdered or such, but that would be
explained in the spell and would not affect their readiness for use in a
spiritual way. 

But in some European-based traditions, any herbs that were commerically
grown or were not "properly" picked according to that traditional's
rules of moon-sign, type of instrument used to gather them, or such,
might need to be "consecrated" or "empowered" by the spell-caster. How
much "preparation" was called for and the nature of that work would be
dependent on how restrictive the tradition was. 

I hope these general guidelines help you. What you asked is not a
question with only one answer, especially when it is asked by a
self-professed newcomer to magic such as yourself who has not yet
fiormly embarked upon a particular tradition and accepted its internal
logic and rules of thought. 

Good luck, 

cat yronwode 

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