magic in the bookstore (where else?)

how I went from curious herbalist to bev-loving plant witch, Part 4

(Read Part 1 ,Part 2, and Part 3)

So there I was, sitting on a park bench outside the movie theater, sobbing inconsolably until I had no more sobbing left.

I was numb. 

John, in a mix of 100% not knowing at all what to do and 100% knowing exactly what to do (and feeling more than a little bad about the whole movie suggestion) suggested that we 

  1. Get a bev, and

  2. Go to our happiest of happy places: the local bookstore.

Cappuccinos in hand, we drove to Farley’s. 

We strolled first to the children’s section where we went through our usual routine of exploring new books and then showing each other our old favorites, subtly vying to convince the other of their superior taste in children’s books.*

Routine complete, I meandered into the occult section.

Two books caught my attention: the first, an instructional guide to celebrating the seasonal holidays with ceremony, and the second, a guide to using herbs ritually in witchcraft. 

I bought both books. 

At home, in my second happiest place (the couch), I dove into the seasonal ceremony book. It provided scripts and guidelines for covens who wanted to honor the seasonal holidays in a formal, traditional way. 

I had known about the seasons, and I knew that these were celebrated in myriad ways by people around the world.

But here was a tradition that was within my own ethnic lineage, laying out elegant and profound guidelines for honoring the seasons and the earth. 

This was divine feminine earth worship. 

Reading these seasonal rituals created a huge shift for me. 

It showed me that there were people among my ancestors who were putting their energy into something other than pillage and destruction. It showed me a set of rituals that I could practice without taking something that wasn’t mine to take. It showed me a path forward, a slant of hope, a way of being in the world that was filled with deep honor and gratitude. 

Reading these seasonal rituals showed me a glimpse of Belonging to this earth. 

The other book was pure witchy intrigue. It was written by someone who actually grew herbs and was thus intimate with their personalities.

The book opened my eyes to calling upon not just an herb’s healing qualities, but to calling upon their quirks and personalities to work in your life in ways beyond physical healing. 

Working with herbs for magic invites them into your life to be a partner in a multi-dimensional way.  It opens up your intuition to get to know them as other beings who live beside you. 

It is no exaggeration to say that these books (really, their witchy goodness) pulled me out of a funk that I had been in for far too long. The funk-leaving did not happen in an instant, but opening those books for the first time caused a very profound shift. 

The shift created hope where before no hope had been. 

... what happened after the Big Shift? Check out Part 5!


*Fun fact: When John found out I had never read “Wind in the Willows,” he told me that I was “uneducated.” But he made up for it by reading “Wind in the Willows” out loud to me that summer while sipping tereré on the banks of the Delaware.