Hagstone Publishing's 30 Day Plant Spirit Ally Challenge!

Merry meet, readers! I hope you’re all as excited as I am about Hagstone Publishing’s 30 Day Plant Spirit Ally Challenge!This has given me a great opportunity to connect with botany in such a special way. If you follow me on Instagram, @thewickinghour.flamery, you know my love for plants, flowers, and herbs runs deep. I make it my job to understand the nuances of every botanical creation I meet before asking permission for its use and incorporating it into my candle- & smoke wand-making work.

I never knew my journey would take me here. My mother was a science teacher for 40 years, and one of her many specialties was botany. Growing up, I never paid any particular mind to plant names, herbal uses, species, etc. I just enjoyed being in nature, surrounded by trees and plants. I wasn’t even much of a green thumb. I was preoccupied with school, work, and social engagements that I could never find the time to water a plant, much less tend a whole garden! But as I’ve aged, the call of the forest is swelling to a crescendo.

In Autumn of 2018, I began learning the art of chandlery (candle-making). I found myself being unable to produce just a plain candle. I kept wanting to put little bits of herbs and flowers into the melting wax, which lead me to research each herb or flower I incorporated into the candle. Suddenly, all the knowledge of botany my mother had attempted to beat into my brain during my youth came flooding back: tinctures, compresses, poultices, etc. And so began my obsession with learning everything there is to know about botany. (I don’t half-ass things, I’m all-in from the get-go. I whole-ass things, if you will.)

Simultaneously, this also married together well with my slight pyromania. Now, I am not an actual pyromaniac by definition. But I am most drawn to the element of fire, and the decomposition of items by fire is a fascinating process. So naturally, I began experimenting (safely) with pyromancy and botanomancy while learning about the properties of each herb. 

Pyromancy: “Pyromancy is the act of attempting to tell the future using fire…Pyromancy is a very old-fashioned kind of divination, or fortune telling. While pyromancy comes up most often in myths and fantasy novels, as well as computer games, it was actually on a list of ‘forbidden arts’ during the Renaissance. The method of pyromancy varies, but it mainly involves seeing shapes within a flame and using them to predict future events. In Greek, pyros means ‘fire,’ and manteia means ‘divination.’” (vocabulary.com)

Botanomancy: “Botanomancy is the art of divination by burning branches of trees or herbs. The most common branches used are Vervain and Briar. The fire and the smoke are both read to indicate which course of action should be taken. Botanomancy can be traced back to Druidic tree worship.” (Wikipedia)

As with most forms of divination, both pyromancy and botanomancy are nebulous creatures and should be handled with care and given a careful interpretation. Each herb, plant, flower, leaf, stem, and/or branch will produce a different flame, smoke, and scent. My personal preference when reading the flame and smoke is to choose an herb/plant/flower that closely represents what a client is seeking. For instance, as a very basic example, if someone is having romantic love trouble, burning some dried rose petals would be an easy choice, and reading the flame & smoke produced from the petals. But I digress as this is not an instructional blog post on pyromancy or botanomancy, and only serves to expand on my field of study.

To circle back and put a bow on this blog entry, I have chosen my Plant Spirit Ally: the beautiful and hearty chamomile! I truly cannot wait to spend the next month working with this adorable plant. Not only will I be performing botanomancy and dressing candles with my beloved chamomile, but I’ll also be stepping out of my comfort zone to make a flower essence & charged water! Of course, I’ll be doing every day’s challenge throughout the month, but stay tuned for blog posts about these three things in particular.

Beltane blessings to you all. I hope that this Sabbat ushers in a season of intense passion and birth for you all!

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Labhair go comhchineáil, gníomhú go measúil, diaga a bhfuil eagna níos airde agat, agus ná dochar a dhéanamh d'aon anam.

(Speak kindly, act respectfully, divine with a higher wisdom, and do not harm a single soul.)

~The Wicking Hour Flamery