Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
LLEWELLYN JOURNAL
Article Topics
List of Articles
RSS Data Feeds
Mission Statement
Use of Our Articles
Writers' Guidelines

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

January/February 2015 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store†and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Journal
Print this Article Print this Article

Harvesting How-To

This article was written by Elysia Gallo
posted under


As summer begins to wane, we begin to harvest what we have sown. Lammas, or Lughnasadh, celebrated on August 1, honors the first harvest. Perhaps all summer youíve been growing fruits, vegetables, or a little herb garden. You canít wait to share your bounty with others. But before you put your harvest to useÖ how do you appropriately gather that which youíve tended for so long, in a way that will honor its sacrifice?

I always look to the pros for advice. One of the best-loved Wiccan authors, Scott Cunningham, was truly on one wavelength with herbs. He wrote numerous books on how to interact and make magic with plants, herbs, foods, oils, incenses, and more. He put years into formulating specific instructions on the actual gathering of herbs.

In Magical Herbalism, Cunningham suggests you gather herbs at night, fasting three hours beforehand. Wear clean clothing and go barefoot. Draw a circle clockwise around the plant with your magical knife. Then hold the knife to the herb, and declare your intentions. Cunningham suggests the following, or something similar: ďThou has grown by favor of the Sun, the Moon, and of the dew. I make this intercession, ye herb: I beseech thee to be of benefit to me and my Art, for thy virtues are unfailing. Thou art the dew of all the Gods, the eye of the Sun, the light of the moon, the beauty and glory of the Sky, the mystery of the Earth. I purify thee so that whatsoever is wrought by me with thee may, in all its powers, have a good and speedy effect with good success. Be purified by my prayer and be powerful.Ē Then gently cut a few sprigs, or whatever part of the plant you need. He recommends taking at most 25% of the growth so that the plant can recover afterwards. Then bury a small piece of bread near the plant as an offering, an exchange of energies.

Everything you gather should be put directly into a cloth bag; Cunningham believes that once they have touched the ground, the plantís leaves, flowers, and so forth will be of no use in magical operations. He also cautions, as do many other authors, that they must not come in contact with iron.

Magical Herbalism was written more than 25 years ago and is still a great resource for anyone wishing to delve into these arts; itís deservedly a classic. However, if youíre looking for a fresher approach, turn to Herb Magic for Beginners by Ellen Dugan. As a Master Gardener, Dugan has really devoted herself to all things growing, and has been practicing witchcraft for more than twenty years. Her approach is more practical and less verbose than Cunninghamís. For example, when gathering the herbs, forget all the thous and thees. She speaks to the herb in plain English, saying something like, ďI gather this herb for a magic spell, bringing harm to none. May it turn out well.Ē

Also, she offers dos and doníts when gathering live herbs for magical use. Some of the dos include: use a sharp knife or a pair of garden scissors, cut the leaves or stem cleanly, pay back the plant with fertilizer and care, leave the area looking better than you found it, and take the smallest amount of plant material necessary (she says less than one eighth of the plant). Some doníts? Donít snitch flowers and herbs from someone elseís, or a public, garden. Donít break or twist off stems or twigs, but cut them away cleanly. Donít gather wildflowers or plants from a park, as they may be a protected species or provide a protected habitat to animals. And my favorite? ďDonít skulk around in the dark; this will not add to your mystique. Because you canít see what youíre doing, you could gather the wrong plant or nip a finger.Ē

Probably the safest way to avoid any problems here is to only gather what you yourself have planted in your garden, for your own magical uses. If you do prefer to gather herbs at dark, just make sure you do so carefully!

And remember, as with all magical operations, intention is key. If your demeanor and intent are honorable, compassionate, and respectful toward the herb, you canít go wrong. Take a few moments to connect with the herb, acknowledge its sacrifice for you, and empower it with purpose.


RELATED PRODUCTS

Magical Herbalism
Magical Herbalism
The Secret Craft of the Wise
Scott Cunningham
$13.99 US,  $15.95 CAN | Add to Cart

Please note that the use of Llewellyn Journal articles
is subject to certain Terms and Conditions

The New Year, and its promise of starting over, dangles the carrot of a clean slate in front of us. We want to lose weight, finally start meditating, drink less, make more time for friendships and family... the list is as universal as it is personal. It's so important to take our desire to be happier seriously, yet sadly far too many resolutions... read this article
The Dead Are Watching
Brighten Your Ostara by Bringing Balance to Your Life
Creating a Plan for Spirit Communication: A Topic of Pagan Activism
The Goddess and the Priestess: The Archetype of the Powerful Woman Realized
Witch Crystals Casting Stones for Divination and Magic

Most recent posts:
Turn a Word into A Spread
Many times we ask questions of the tarot that only touch the surface of the true issue. Marcus and Tali give a technique that can help dig deeper and...

New Year's Resolutions By Venus Sign
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Jessica Shepherd, author of The Love Alchemist's Notebook and the new Venus Signs. Many of us are...

Psychic Abilities: The Little Voice and the Light
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Debra Robinson, author of A Haunted Life and The Dead Are Watching. I've had so many people over the...





Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar
82nd Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
$11.99 US,  $13.59 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $15.95 CAN
$11.19 US,  $12.76 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $10.99 US,  $12.50 CAN
$8.79 US,  $10.00 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac
Holidays & Lore, Spells, Rituals & Meditations

By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $13.95 CAN
$9.59 US,  $11.16 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2015 Magical Almanac Llewellyn's 2015 Magical Almanac
Practical Magic for Everyday Living

By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $13.95 CAN
$9.59 US,  $11.16 CAN On Sale!