Poisonous Plants

Here are some of the poisonous plant spirits that I have been working with and what themes they have shared with me:

Yew Tree

roots, ancestry, entanglements, protection, family histories, death, cycles of life and death

Amanita Muscaria

maternal lineages, creativity, the queerness of nature, plants as ancestors and teachers

Foxglove

heart-healing, Fae-spirits, altered states by observing nature, tricksters, playful

Datura

expansiveness, celestial, soul-opening, holding space, goddesses, big spacious energy

Belladonna

womb-healing, menstrual cycles, blood, dream magic

Henbane

queerness, sexuality, androgyny, the skeleton, dancing with the dead

Lily of the Valley

astral, weightlessness, sacred spirals, winged-creatures, the blending of water and air

Mandrake

protection, boundaries, magical practices, milk, blood, cows, spinning, circles

Why poisonous plant spirits?

The poisonous plants are an enchanting part of European folk and witch lore. Knowledge of poison has long been associated with witches; the edge-walkers with their kinship to medicinal plants, root cutting, curses, and healing power from the Otherworld

Witches are often seen as beings of otherness, humans that are not quite here or there–while holding the space between worlds and being sought out for their skill to tap the unseen. I experience my witchness as queer and being a witch, for me, is directly related to my queer and genderqueer nature. In much the same way, the poisonous plant spirits have something queer about them; which I predominantly experience through the androgynous spirits of nature, the divine, and the soul.

A substance can be a poison in one potency but medicine in another–which further demonstrates the innate essence that is present when meeting these spirits. Aligning my spirit with these plants has tapped me into a stream that is very ancient and unearths the wisdom of the thoughtful integration of poison’s primordial shadows as power, healing, light, and protection.

In classes with my plant teacher, Kathryn Solie of Persphone’s Path, I have learned how to take shamanic journeys into the underworld/otherworld with the plants. My awareness has expanded around the nuanced aliveness of the spirits of Nature and with that a deepening experience of my own queer witch identity, the beauty of my shadows, and the magical medicine of poisonous plant spirits. These plant beings have become an integral part of my witchcraft and healing journey.

Get a Plant Spirit Art Reading in which I can mediate messages from the plant spirit allies that are around you and give you advice on how to work with these plant spirits directly for your own plant, spiritual, or witchy path.

Plant and Herbalism Book Recs

Pharmako Gnosis: Plant Teachers and the Poison Path by Dale Pendell

The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia by Paul Devereux

Queer Ecologies: Sex, Nature, Politics, Desire – multiple authors

A Weedwife’s Remedy: Folk Herbalism For The Hedgewise by Kiva Rose Hardin

The Witches’ Ointment: The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic by Thomas Hatsis

The Witching Herbs: 13 Essential Plants and Herbs for Your Magical Garden by Harold Roth

Herbal Rituals by Judith Berger

Ashkenazi Herbalism: Rediscovering the Herbal Traditions of Eastern European Jews by Deatra Cohen and Adam Siegel