Originally released as The Way of the Green Witch in 2006.
This has been my most popular book.
It was the third book I wrote, and the first written that really reflected my own approach to practicing everyday nature-based spirituality, a theme I was to continue in The House Witch and later Green Witch titles.
With a new baby who arrived two months ahead of schedule, I discovered that the rhythm of my life changed in such a way that I no longer had the capability of following the energy of the day or my own energy as it needed ritual or spellwork to express or regulate itself. I had to find a way to integrate my spiritual practice into my daily life.
It turned out that this was a spiritually rewarding move for me. There is absolutely a time and place for formal ritual and complex spellwork. I found, however, that folding my magic and spiritual development into the everyday activity of my life provided me with a better understanding of how energy moves and influences us on a subtle level. Nudging or reinforcing the flow of energy as it moves throughout our day allowed me the opportunity to recognize the divine in the mundane much more clearly than I had before.
My affinity with and love for herbs fit into this form of practice very well. Restrained by a budget and limited space in which to store things or work, I started keeping a limited number of herbs that could be used for multiple purposes, and looked for ways to incorporate them into my daily life. Floor washes, strewing herbs, sprinkling powders, and room sprays all became ways to weave magic into my work in the home. Candle magic with stone chips was easy to do at my desk.
Sharing this with other people was important to me. Not everyone is deeply into complex magic with layers and layers of meaning and correspondences. It can be a lot of fun to build complicated spells like that, and it’s very educational; I love to do it when I have plenty of time and am drawn to do a lot of research for the purpose. On an everyday level, however, I know there are people who want to incorporate magic in a simpler way, who are looking for a kind of practice to recognize and honour the Divine in a comforting, casual way.
Writing The Green Witch started me on a path of sharing this kind of practice. It has resonated so strongly with readers all over the world, and has led to further exploring green magic and hearthcraft in other books.
In The Green Witch I approached the whole nature-honouring concept from the point of view of the people over the years who have asked me for techniques they can use to connect with the earth when they live in a city. Neopagan books do have a tendency to rhapsodize about communing with nature, and the reality of it is that most people live in urban areas these days, and don’t necessarily have obvious places to go for that sort of communion. Being a green witch in the contemporary urban world is certainly a part of it. It’s also about how to walk a nature-honoring path outside the standard Wiccan structure. A lot of people default to Wicca instead of resting comfortably in the general Pagan/nature spirituality camp, and that’s not necessary.
The thrust of the book is about how to incorporate a sensitivity or openness to natural energies in the modern world. It bothered me that every book I read about Neo-Pagan practice extolled the delights and value of wilderness aspect of Nature, when most of us don’t live in environments like that. So I set about writing a book that might help people attune to the natural world in an urban setting.
It always amazes me that people say they can’t do something because they don’t have access to an area or supplies they feel necessary. I’m the queen of substitutions and personalizing things, so my books frequently point out that you can use other supplies or images if the ones suggested don’t work for you. Spiritual work is all about finding what works for you within the context of the path. Deciding that you can’t do something because you’re missing a candle or some sage is missing the point. Supplies are aids, not the be-all end-all of a ritual or spell or project. Finding what works for you is paramount.
Natural energies are found everywhere, not just in forests or gardens. Look around you; use the energy that’s within your reach. Be creative. Local parks, trees planted along sidewalks, even a window box can give you the access to the kind of energies you might be looking to connect with. Don’t be afraid of experimenting (within a safe context, of course). Keep detailed records (something else I harp on about in my books!) in order to continually develop your understanding of your interaction with the energies of the natural world. Another important tip is to explore the energies of your geographical location. Don’t rely on what books tell you; go out there and experience them for yourself. And don’t be afraid to come up with a different interpretation for an energy (be it rock, plant, tree, or colour) than reference books provide, either. Your interaction with that energy is more important to you than someone else’s.