The historical record of plant folklore includes a persistent group of plants associated with witches, aversion and baneful magic. Reflecting a hidden dimension of the vegetal world, these spells, rituals, and taboos serve as mantles of ominous attribute, warning of these herbs’ sinister qualities, but also suggestive of their hidden powers.
Certain trees were widely considered cursed and thought to harbor afflicted power, often also viewed as the habitations of witches. Particular roots and flowers were used for causing disease, conjuring demons, or bringing nightmares; other plants fell under the governance of Satan, or were used by ill-doers to gain the powers of witchcraft itself. A particularly pernicious reservoir of corrupt power was the graveyard, with a unique retinue of plants all its own.
Not all such herbal lore was malevolent; countless teachings reveal how certain plants — sometimes the very same ones considered cursed — can protect a person from witches, evil spirits or other users of malefic magic. Other plants of dark character, like the Hawthorn, were in perpetual communion with the souls of the dead, and possessed the power to reveal hidden treasure.
As a meditation upon the shrouded dimensions of plant folklore, The Witch’s Cabinet devotes thirteen essays to mysteries of these often-disquieting plants, many of which contain keys of spiritual transformation, healing, and occult power. In addition to the enigmatic original drawings of artist Peter Köhler, the book also contains an introduction by Daniel A. Schulke, author of Thirteen Pathways of Occult Herbalism.
The contents of the book by chapter appear below:
1. Plants and Witches: A Folkloric Apothecary
2. Blood, Shadow and the Rose
3. Funerary Trees, Folklore and Practices in Grief and Mourning
4. Seeds in the Historical Folk Magic of Europe
5. The Flora of Snakes and Dragons
6. The Magic, Medicine and Lore of the Elder
7. Plants and the Second Sight
8. The Use of Dew in Folk Healing and Magic
9. Plants Used Against Nightmares and Haunted Sleep
10. Legends and Lore of Our Lady’s Lily
11. Plants Used in Cursing Magic
12. The Uses of Straw in Magical Procedures
13. Graveyard Plant Magic