Guest Author - Phyllis Doyle Burns
When Scott Cunningham wrote Magical Herbalism, his research and interest in herbs did not stop there. His research into herbs of the ancient world of witchcraft broadened into other cultures around the world. The depth of research and dedication to the accuracy of the powers of herbs gave us the perfect companion book for Magical Herbalism. Cunningham's Encyclopedia Of Magical Herbs is an excellent resource for herbs and their magical, as well as ritual, uses.
Cunningham formatted the encyclopedia in an easy to understand system. He presents, in alphabetical order, the common name of each herb, the scientific name of the genus and species (which greatly helps to prevent mistakes in choosing the right herb), then lists the folk name, gender of the plant (masculine or feminine depending on its vibrational level), planet, element (Earth, Air, Fire, or Water), deities, powers, ritual uses, magical uses. With few exceptions, each herb is illustrated in lovely sketches by its name to further help the reader identify and recognize the herb in plant form.
Cunningham first presents the basics of magic and herbs and how the two combine to create power. It is the power, in the context Cunningham describes it, that is the key to magical herbalism, for power exists in everything -- learning how to apply the power is not as difficult as one might think. Cunningham eloquently and simply explains why this is so.
One of the many reasons I love Cunningham's books is his style of writing. His books are easy for the beginning herbalist to read and comprehend -- his simple yet practical approach to a subject could be very dry and complicated if not done with his unique style and sense of humour. He explains the basic tools, timing and particular ritual steps. Yet he realizes there are times when strict rules are not practical, such as when an answer or outcome is needed immediately.
One cannot always wait till the moon or other planets are in a certain position at a certain time of the month to get good results. Cunningham knows the ancients waited for the perfect times for each needed ritual, yet he does not eliminate the delightful and effective use of spontaneity and magic. He details the importance of timing and also explains the need for instant magical spells. It is like when you need to see your doctor for a mild ailment, you make an appointment for his next opening -- yet, if you have a broken bone, you would not wait for the next available appointment, rather you would get to the closest emergency room as soon as possible to get it taken care of.
Other than the tools needed for magical work, Cunningham gives a list of magical principles that are crucial to learn and remember. These principles are quite simple and very logical -- with love, divinity and faith being the heart of magic.
In the chapter on Spells and Procedures, Cunningham explains how to use enchantment and attunement with herbs to make their powers work for you in a given situation. This encyclopedia is full of helpful information to get one started on working with magic and to keep handy as a valuable guide. You will even find out how to make sachets and poppets filled with the herbs needed for particular purposes.
I purchased my copy of Cunningham's Encyclopedia Of Magical Herbs and its companion book Magical Herbalism from Amazon. I have provided the link below for your convenience. Enjoy your books and your magical world of herbs.
The magical world of herbs from Scott Cunningham: