Herbalism: Tips For A Greener Practise

Catnip (Nepeta Cataria) - for cat happiness, easing frayed nerves, and Love Magic :).

Catnip (Nepeta Cataria) – for cat happiness, easing frayed nerves, and Love Magic :).

For me, herbalism is not just a hobby – it is a truly spiritual service, and a magical path. It lies deeply in the belief that Nature is our true and only source, that it is Sacred and filled with the presence of Spirits and of the Great Divine Source, and that it must be respected and cared for as much as possible. Being ecologically conscious is the price that I (very willingly) pay for what Nature gives me.

We live in a city – not a very busy one, but a very concrete-filled one. As an urban Bruja, I feel that reducing waste and recycling are incredibly powerful steps into a greener, more conscious living, and they have definitely helped me to empower my spiritual practise; here are some helpful and very cheap (if not free) tips that we use on our daily life.

· Save the water of boiling potatoes and eggs and water your plants with it. Not only this reduces your water waste, that water is full of nutrients for your plants.

· Any herbal debris from pruning and weeding your garden can be saved and used to make compost tea: cut all leaves and stems in small pieces with scissors and place them in a piece of fabric (old cotton pillowcases are perfect). Add a stone or any other heavy object and tie the fabric to make your “tea bag”. Place it on a bucket of water, cover the bucket and leave in a warm place in the sun for a few days. Your herbs will love this water!

· Don’t throw away those nettles after you’ve weeded them! Not only they have wonderful properties for your health and your magic, they also make the best cold infusion to fill your plants with nutrients. If you let them dry first, you can manage them without any danger, and do exactly as with the compost tea method above.

Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare) - for easing upset stomachs and healing Magic.

Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare) – for easing upset stomachs and healing Magic.

· Coffee grounds and powdered eggshell make a wonderful organic fertilizer, as well as kitchen scraps (vegetables and fruits only). Keep a separate bucket in the kitchen to gather them, and mix them with your preferred soil – as the scraps decompose, they will make your plants happy :).

· To keep you plants free from aphids, spray the plants with a solution of water and dish soap, specially on the underside of leaves, once a week until the aphids disappear completely. For slugs, a glass filled with beer and buried at ground level will attract them and make them drown in it.

· Kitchen buckets from the supermarket are much cheaper than planters, and can hold a lot of soil. Just make holes in the bottom for draining, and spend the extra money you saved on more seeds and plants :).

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

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13 thoughts on “Herbalism: Tips For A Greener Practise

  1. I love all of your suggestions!. I throw periodic ‘beer parties’ for the slugs in the garden as their population otherwise becomes overwhelming. At least they go happy. I especially like your ‘tea bag’ method for infusing plant cuttings for compost tea-I will try this.
    My Comfrey grows quite large & requires frequent cutting back to keep it manageable. Any leaves I do not use for medicine I use as mulch around the other plants in the herb garden. The mulch not only keeps down the weeks but also provides wonderful nutrients.
    Thank you for all your wonderful suggestions-be well, dear Carolina…

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  2. I’m curious how much more closely you feel the need to reduce, reuse, and recycle living on an island. I love your idea for making a compost tea out of peelings and clippings. I’ve only seen that done with manure compost.

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    • I don’t think there would be any difference if I lived in the mainland. My desire to reduce waste comes from the responsibility I feel we have to give back to Mother Nature as much as possible, and that it doesn’t matter how small we are – everything we do counts.

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      • I agree with that completely. I think that in the States there is a lot of “out of sight, out of mind” that happens. I didn’t know if there is more awareness, in general, on an island or not.

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      • There isn’t, believe me. Readers can have a romantic idea of what it is to live here, but it really is no different from any other place. People litter everywhere, have no respect for Nature at all, and are completely disconnected from the source of Life and Spirit. Actually, because of that attitude, I am one of the last Canarian Curanderas.

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      • My mother is from Puerto Rico. Small island, no different. And you called it correctly–it truly is a symptom of being completely disconnected. It doesn’t matter where you are.

        There was a lot of Mesa Blanca Espiritismo and Taino folk magic (blended with Catholicism) that flavored things in my family. But i don’t know if those practices are still strong there or not. Are people on Tenerife interested in your work or in learning? As much as we see more interest in these things online, it’s always a stark reminder to go back into our own communities and only have a small handful of likeminded people. I think that this is just how it always is. So I am thankful for these lovely connections through the ether. :D

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      • No. People here are not interested in my work at all, although I have to say that I don’t do anything to promote it locally, and I am not interested in teaching, locally or online. Instead of looking at our own traditions, people here want to be Wiccan, or just a superficial new Age mishmash. Self-racism plays a very important role here, as it happens with colonized people everywhere. People are looking for answers outside them, instead of listening to their own soul, and to their own cultural heritage. They go to yoga and meditation, watch Charmed, have a gemstone collection, but they won’t do a single thing to preserve or even know about their own traditions because it’s not “exotic” or “mystical” enough.

        Recently, during a wildharvesting trip, a very nice man who was walking his dog stopped by and started asking us about the work we were doing. When I explained him, he was interested, but he said something like “well, sadly this knowledge is getting lost nowadays”. I answered “Well, then we all should be doing something to keep it alive”. His answer was “Yeah, but that’s too much work!” There you have a perfect example with the attitupe people have here – and sadly, everywhere.

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