Although I have been a witch for a time already, there are certain topics that have eluded both my interest and ability. The use of herbs is one of those areas I know almost nothing about, just a few properties because I love tea, but nothing serious and profound. I took a copy of The Witch’s Herbal Apothecary: Rituals & Recipes for a Year of Earth Magick and Sacred Medicine Making, by Marysia Miernowska, knowing I would learn a bit more about them, and despite I did, I found the experience to be bittersweet.
The author explains the uses of several herbs, using a frame of reference the four major phases of the moon, which she pairs with the seasons of the year. Hence, she also speaks about the Neopagan Wheel of the Year, not as much as I would have liked, but provided a somewhat solid format to work with. She also explained both the medicinal and spiritual properties of each herb, and how they relate to said phase and season.
In addition to this, The Witch’s Herbal Apothecary includes many recipes for both medicinal and spiritual purposes, with clear, simple instructions on how to prepare them. I didn’t expect anything less than this coming from Marysia Miernowska, given her background. What I did have problems with was with the writing style, which I found way too whimsical for me.
I lost count of the adjectives and metaphors the author used, so many flourishes to embellish the text that took me out of the reading several times. I even had to skip complete pages and sections because I couldn’t cope with this kind of writing. Although I did like some passages, I found The Witch’s Herbal Apothecary too overwhelming for my taste.
The illustrations had the same effect in me. Some of them were beautiful, but had no purpose, and some even seemed to be there just to fill a space; this made me wonder several times about the way the book was edited, since I found too many blank spaces that could have been easily used for more and tips, which, by the way, are very interesting, or images.
I prefer a more practical, pragmatic approach to whatever it is I am reading, so it is just a matter of taste as far as I can see. Marysia Miernowska created a useful, easy to follow and simple book, so I would consider The Witch’s Herbal Apothecary as a good option for anyone who may want to get started in working with plant spirits and herbal remedies. Even better if they like this kind of writing, for I’m sure they will devour it in no time.
Highly-feminine (trust me in this, although the author said she would remain gender-neutral at the beginning of the book, both plants and the figure of the witch are written in feminine form, and the phases of the moon are also identified with the archetypes of the Wiccan Goddess), filled with pretty illustrations and an evocative style, The Witch’s Herbal Apothecary: Rituals & Recipes for a Year of Earth Magick and Sacred Medicine Making, by Marysia Miernowska, blends useful recipes with spiritual poetry and medical advice. It may not have worked that much for me, but I found it entertaining, interesting and thought-provoking.
Print length: 224
Publisher: Fair Winds Press (January 14, 2020)
Publication date: January 14, 2020
ISBN-10 : 1592339093
ISBN-13 : 978-1592339099
About the author
Marysia Miernowska teaches herbalism through the Gaia School of Healing and regenerative land practices in California. She is the master herbalist and owner of Wild Love Apothecary and was named one of the “top 15 witches on Instagram” (@marysia_miernowska). As an herbalist, witch, biodynamic gardener, and Plant Spirit Medicine Practitioner, she is rooted in the Wise Woman Tradition of Healing. Marysia teaches and speaks at conferences internationally on herbal medicine, plant shamanism, regenerative farming practices, and Earth Magick.
About the reviewer
Bader Saab is a digital journalist and solitary, eclectic witch interested in the darker side of magic and divination. Besides reading and writing, Bader also enjoys studying the Gothic subculture, which he belongs to, learning new languages and making endless lists of movies, music and the like. He can be found on Instagram as @saab.bader.