An in-depth investigation of traditional European folk medicine and the healing arts of witches
• Explores the outlawed “alternative” medicine of witches suppressed by the state and the Church and how these plants can be used today
• Reveals that female shamanic medicine can be found in cultures all over the world
• Illustrated with color and black-and-white art reproductions dating back to the 16th century
Witch medicine is wild medicine. It does more than make one healthy, it creates lust and knowledge, ecstasy and mythological insight. In Witchcraft Medicine the authors take the reader on a journey that examines the women who mix the potions and become the healers; the legacy of Hecate; the demonization of nature’s healing powers and sensuousness; the sorceress as shaman; and the plants associated with witches and devils. They explore important seasonal festivals and the plants associated with them, such as wolf’s claw and calendula as herbs of the solstice and alder as an herb of the time of the dead--Samhain or Halloween. They also look at the history of forbidden medicine from the Inquisition to current drug laws, with an eye toward how the sacred plants of our forebears can be used once again.
"Witchcraft medicine is more than factual knowledge of medicinal herbs, poisonous plants, psychedelic compounds.... It is the ability to converse with the animal and plant spirits and to forge friendships." So begins this manual on traditional European folk medicine, first published in German in 1998. The work of four writers including fluid translator Lee, this volume is not the pagan whirlwind concoction of recipes and how-to instructions that it might seem at first. It is instead a highly desirable reference work for people of many stripes: cultural anthropologists, gardeners, historians, ethno-botanists, mythologists and those broadly interested in Wicca. Tracing human relations with plants (and animals to a lesser degree) back to the Stone Age, the book is deeply thorough and rests on interesting scholarship. It leaves no myth unexamined. The first six chapters delve into the evolution of the witch, usually a woman, who became familiar with the wild world that lay on the far side of the hedgerow. Chapter Seven examines images of witches, especially in art history, often counterbalanced against images of Mary. The final chapter on "Forbidden Medicine" (coca, poppy, mescaline, etc.) disappoints because its overt, unbalanced polemical tone agitating for legalization veers too much from scholarship toward politics. Copious illustrations, quotations, plant lists and profiles make this work even more interesting. The critical index (not seen by PW) should cap this 90% excellent effort.