Weeds + Witchcraft: Healing + Magickal Practices for Spring
Later this month is the spring equinox which marks the turn of the year from the dark half to the bright half in the northern hemisphere.
Days will grow longer from here until Midsummer and the sight and scent of new growing things abounds. Every turn of the season invites us to shed the old and take up the new so that we may be better able to be present in the moment as well as prepare for what lies ahead. As an herbalist and witch, my seasonal celebrations revolve around weeds and witchcraft, and I’m going to share some of those traditions now with you!
The Spring Equinox marks the transition of the Sun from the last sign of the zodiac (Pisces) to the first (Aries). We leave the dreamy waters of the fish to the fiery-headed realm of the ram. The energy of the earth is stirring after winter's slumber. From the diffusive way of Pisces, energies within and around us begin to move inward and up. Take pleasure in the delirious scents of flowers in the air. Laugh loudly to clear out stagnation in your lungs. Swing your arms up to catch the wind. Light sacred fires and revel in the new promise of spring.
Body System Focus : Lungs + Lymphs
or Breath Deep + Move
Within the four elements system of traditional western herbalism (I write more about TWH energetics over here), the season of spring is the transformation of water into air or cold into heat. Within our bodies the settled cold of water gives way to the energizing energy of air. It is time to move from a place of winter stillness to the awakening dance of spring. We seek out plants and ways of being that clear out the excess of phlegmatic energy of late winter so that we can strengthen the blood-building sanguine season of spring. Our weedy plant allies of early spring are typically mineral and vitamin rich, clearing to the blood and respiratory system, and toning to the lymph nodes. If you find your energy is still cold and damp from the winter, consider Aries herbs and healing ways to help you find your spring fire.
Spring weeds are abundant sources of healing nutrients that our waking winter bodies crave. Walk through a wild place or a city park and you’ll come across at least one healing weed (such as Dandelion Taraxacum officinale) that would do well to be in your spring rotation of plant allies. Enjoying foraged weeds as food and medicine is an amazing way to connect with the season and practice self-care. If you want to learn more about the healing properties of weeds, I highly recommend checking out The Wise Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival by Katrina Blair.
Cleavers (Galium aparine) : My backyard fills up with Cleavers come spring and I couldn’t be happier for it! The naturally sticky herb is a great mover of stuck energy and fluids. From constipation to fibroids, to kidney and gall stones, and old blood, Cleavers moves out congestion. They are mild tasting and an easy addition to tea, but work best when juiced.
Plantain (Plantago major) : A well-known topical remedy for insect stings and rashes, Plantain can also be used internally for digestive complaints such as IBS, excess gas, and stomach ulcers. Like many spring weeds, it is clearing to the respiratory system, helping to clear out old coughs and sinus congestion.
White Clover (Trifolium repens) : White Clover is a nutritious and sweet tasting herb that can be easily incorporated in teas. It has a clearing energy and while Red Clover is especially attuned to the lower half of the body, especially the womb, White Clover has a greater affinity for the upper half of the body. It is great for clearing out old coughs and head colds still lingering from winter. Add it to facial steams and herbal baths to help connect your body to the revitalizingenergy of spring.
Yellow Wood Sorrel (Oxalis stricta) : Also known as Sour Leaf, the leaf is pleasantly flavored and helps to soothe upset stomachs. The flowers are a beautiful edition to salads. The sour taste of the plant lets us know that it is most likely nutritive, cleansing to the liver, and a digestive tonic. Now, a whole salad of only sorrel leaves is not recommended as the high oxalic acid in its leaves can cause nutrient deficiency by preventing calcium absorption, but a few leaves in a tea or salad is perfectly fine.
Wild Mustard Flower Essence : I love walking through the forest of Wild Mustard that pops up on hillsides and empty urban plots throughout my city. It is a resolutely cheerful flower and in addition to adding the spicy leaves to a stir-fry (yum!), you can create a flower essence with its blossoms to help you shake off persistent gloom. It’s a great essence for folks who especially struggle with believing that the sun will ever return during these lingering grey days of early spring.
Spring promises new beginnings, fresh starts, and new dreams to manifest. Spring is a good time for revolutions on personal and cultural levels, and as Witch folk and magick-makers, we can tap into this flow. I think of the spring-related protest slogans I’ve seen over the years from “They tried to bury us but they forgot that we were seeds” or the classic “Sisterhood is Blooming - springtime will never be the same” by the Chicago Women's Graphics Collective. If you were to create an inspiring slogan for your personal spring season what would it be? Below I’ve written about the three paths of spring magick that I practice to connect with the energy of the season and live my magick.
3 Paths of Spring Magick
Waking Up : We wake up to the new season of spring from the restorative slumber of winter. Rituals include waking up the house and garden with pots and pans clanging, spring yipping, and joyful song; greeting the Sacred Youth of Spring who finally reemerges from their winter retreat; banishing unwanted energy; washing your body with spring herbs to awaken your soul shrine to the promise of spring; blessing your apothecary and/or sacred space for the beginning of the new season of growing; dream rituals of Pisces and new beginning rituals of Aries; creating your own herb harvest ritual for the beginning of the spring harvest season.
Waking Up Meditation : Visualize pulling off layers of colorful blankets, emerging from your winter cocoon into your spring state of being.
Making Space : We make space for the new energy of spring to enter our lives and homes by clearing out physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual clutter. Rituals include washing floors and windows; spring cleaning and rearrangement of sacred altars; donating unwanted items (especially those that you keep out of a sense of guilt or obligation); divination to help guide you to what you should be making more space for in your life; self-blessings to make space for all of you to show up in your life; blessing new bottles, jars, and other apothecary equipment for the new season.
Making Space Meditation : Lay flat on your back (or in an alternatively open position that is comfortable for you) and breathe deeply while visualizing a bright light glowing around you, protecting you from that which does not serve you and attracting that which benefits you. Resist visualizing specifics - just allow for the idea good things coming your way to be your focus.
Inviting In : We invite in those things which we hope to grow in the coming season. Rituals include magnet spells to draw towards you your goals and desires; soul-return rituals; choosing to work with a specific deity, ancestor, spirit or guide for the coming season; working with a plant ally; making an enchanted honey pot to attract abundance and love to you; hanging wind chimes and ribbons in windows and from trees to call in helpful spirits and energies; leaving offerings to land spirits.
Inviting In Meditation : Visualizing a goal or energy that you want to call to you, open your arms wide and then pull them towards you, embracing that which you seek. Let your hands and arms brush over your whole body so that which you are calling to you becomes grounded in your being. Repeat nine times to seal the spell.
White Clover Window Wash
After the dark of winter, I love the early light of spring. While every sabbat is an opportunity for a big house clean, I make sure to clean the windows at the spring equinox to let in the happy, healing light of the season. Making an herbal wash to help accomplish this task imbues the act with greater magick. White Clover flowers and leaves are protective and lucky which are two energies that I happily welcome into my home.
To prepare your wash pick nine Clover blossoms and three three-leafed clover leaf clusters. Add to a heatproof container (preferably glass or ceramic) and cover with hot water. Let steep overnight (preferably on the spring equinox itself or the nearest new moon) and strain. Add this water to your window cleaning solution. Whatever of the White Clover water you don’t use, be sure to offer it back to the earth.
I clean my windows first in a widdershins (or counterclockwise) direction and then in a deosil (or clockwise) direction to banish the old and welcome in the new. Often I accompany this with song welcoming in the elements and abundance of love, peace, and joy in the coming season. It's a simple ritual, but my home always feels more magickal and ready for spring when it has been completed.
What are your favorite healing and magickal practices for spring? Let me know in the comments. 💕
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