Pagan Paths

Discover the natural magic of the British countryside and apply its
lessons to your life, wherever you roam.

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​Outside A Beginner’s Comfort Zone


A large number of pagans live in an urban environment and as much as they would love to connect with Nature, it isn’t always possible due to work and/or domestic commitments, or even health problems.  It’s easy to say ‘Get out and about’ but for many pagans, this isn’t an option.  Trying anything new can be scary – or awkward – or even embarrassing.   Putting ourselves out there, however, can also be liberating and exciting and we can take pride from venturing into areas unknown, and even have fun in the process.  Life begins outside our comfort zone ... and at this time of the year with its ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’ is the perfect time to start.

A considerable amount of witch-lore revolves around our native flora and understanding what all manner of plants and herbs are available and what we can use them for.  For many, this knowledge begins and ends with picking blackberries in September and we never get to discover what else is lurking in the hedgerows that we can use for herbal remedies, food or magic.   The next time you are out in the country – or even the local park - ask yourself ‘Do I know what this is?’ or ‘What is it used for?’  Despite the fact that these plants are quite common, many people can often only recognise the flora likely to poison us, probably because we were warned to stay away from them as a child.   Often these excursions can evoke lovely memories of childhood when nettle stings were a daily occurrence and dock leaves cured all ailments.  Trying new things can sometimes take us back to those days – and there’s no harm in that.

These elements of wort-lore, however, go far beyond simply identifying edible plants.  It’s a deep understanding of the countryside and the aspects of Nature we often fail to appreciate. For those beginners who need to be encouraged to take the first step out into the countryside, choose one particular plant and find out all you can about it.  With the help of the internet or the local library discover all you can about its history: Is it indigenous? How did it arrive in your part of the world?  Is it part of your folk-lore?  Does it have medicinal, culinary or magical value?  Remember that every single one of the world’s edible vegetables was once a wild plant.  For starters, discover all you can about wild sloes off the blackthorn that are used to make sloe gin,  Craft’s own ‘rescue remedy’; or how to extract Vitamin C from the hips of the wild rose for a winter tonic.  What magical uses do these plants have?

For emergencies, sphagnum moss has been recognised by generations for its value in dressing wounds. A Gaelic Chronicle of 1014 relates that those wounded in battle 'stuffed their wounds with moss,' and the Highlanders after Flodden stanched their bleeding wounds by filling them with bog moss.   Millions of wound dressings made from sphagnum were used during WWI because dried Sphagnum can absorb up to twenty times its own volume of liquids, such as blood, pus, or antiseptic solution, and promotes antisepsis. Can you recognise it?   For lesser wounds, a common treatment was a spider’s web is taken from the wall and wrapped around the wound to staunch bleeding; some remedies say the blacker and thicker the web, the better it served.  Farmers still use this as an impromptu treatment for injured livestock – so make a point of discovering what’s in a spider’s web that stops the flow of blood.

If you really can’t get out and about, then begin by cultivating a few  pot herbs on your window sill that you can use in cooking, health remedies or magical.  For example: most herbs add flavour to a meal, parsley refreshes the breath, while bay has lots of magical uses.   And there’s nothing more satisfying than handling fresh plants and releasing the fragrance by crushing the leaves between your fingers.  Begin by learning to love your newly discovered plants and a whole new world will open up for you by taking one small step to begin.








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Mélusine Draco originally trained in the magical arts of traditional British Old Craft with Bob and Mériém Clay-Egerton. She has been a magical and spiritual instructor for over 20 years with Arcanum and the Temple of Khem, and writer of numerous popular books on magic and witchcraft. Her highly individualistic teaching methods and writing draws on ancient sources, supported by academic texts and current archaeological findings.


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