While I think Moura is an excellent author and I’ve appreciated her books in introducing me to some interesting ideas, I would classify her literature as green wicca, not green witchcraft. The reason for this is simple: there are no set laws, rules, regulations or dogma in green witchcraft- which is not a specific religion as much as a practice, and for some of us, a lifestyle. Her books reflect a level of wiccan liturgy that is not universal or widely used in greencraft. For example, green witches in general do not automatically adhere to duotheism, which Moura broadly assigns to GW. Though it may refer to her tradition, it doesn’t quite apply to all traditions of greencraft.
The Green Tradition of Witchcraft sees the aspects of the Divine All as separate and united as Goddess, God and Both.- Ann Moura, Grimoire for the Green Witch, p.5
Arin Murphy Hiscock, author of The Way of the Green Witch is another popular author I appreciate, and I think she has a more realistic view of non-wiccan greencraft than many popular GW authors:
A green witch usually works alone, interacting primarily with the natural world. Historically, a green witch lived apart, using the energies of plants and trees around her to heal others. Those who needed her services traveled to see her. These days, a green witch is more likely to be living in the middle of a city or in the suburbs, and her garden is likely to be small. –Arin Murphy Hiscock, The Way of the Green Witch, p.1
The Rules of Conduct
1. Be careful what you do
2. Be careful who you trust
3. Do not use the Power to hurt another, for what is sent comes back
4. Never use the Power against someone who has the Power, for you draw front he same well.
5. To raise the Power you must feel it in your heart and know it in your mind.
[Words repeated through my maternal line since 1890] – Ann Moura, Grimoire for the Green Witch, p.8
Respectfully, I don’t think these statements are representative of green witchcraft- which has no particular moral compass. Spiritual morals in the craft of any kind is up to the individual or their tradition. And if the above statements were meant to apply solely to her line of tradition, I don’t believe it’s accurate to attach these neo-wiccanesque beliefs to green witchcraft itself.
Simply put, green witchcraft cannot be defined in a religious context or compared to other traditions: it is energy work or « magic », devotion and spiritual stewardship that revolves entirely around nature, the phenomenon that effect our planet (the moon, sun), the cycles of our seasons and the medicine (both spiritual and physical) that comes from plants.
The green witch does not have a passive interest in « magical herbalism »; they have an intense focus on the lore of the trees, the animal story tellers in the wild, the sacred uses of minerals and waters, and the spiritual medicine of baleful herbs. They typically also have a desire to seek healing from plants in the garden and in the wild, and devote to the rhythmic movement of ever-changing life. The seasonal markers; solstices and equinoxes would hold more value to a green witch than the cultural festivals of the Wheel of the Year, though through circumstance and personal interest, some of us, myself included, do incorporate a wheel of the year in our own individual way (my wheel has many spokes). This is something in GW that I fell in love with, your freedom to choose the way we practice this natural energy without restraint, laws or made up dogma. In whatever way the earth’s heartbeat speaks to you, that is the way to go.
In my path, green witchcraft is a folkloric tradition of witchcraft- combining our primordial relationship to the green growing world with supernatural or « magical » practices that usually reflect a devotion to the spirit world through the doorway of nature; shapeshifting, crossing/traveling, walking the land, spirit flight, spirit-aided healing, cursing, etc. The door to the otherworld lies along the Ghost Roads, which cross each other in sacred lines along the land. It is a place of power that is utilized by green witches who are keeping-the-weald, performing a devotion to a piece of land, sacred grove or natural spring. The otherworld mirrors our own, and we are a pale reflection of that otherworldy beauty. I believe the otherworld, a place we are so intrinsically drawn to, is the pure truth of things which illuminates our own world. We are reflecting the light like the moon to the sun, and oh how beautiful the otherworld must be if our own lush land is so exquisite.
For the Fae-world is the fire, and our world the pale luminescent halo of the fire…
The Fae-world contains the pureness of things, the reality of things, the perpetual pure fountain that is matrix to things, and everything that spontaneously leaps from the unseen into the seen is only a passing simulacrum, a ghost, a fraction of its source. -Robin Artisson, The Ressurection of the Meadow, p.82
Through nature, some of us find a swifter and more spiritual root to the inner darkness, the illumination of the soul and the otherworld. Folklore and faery tales from around the world encompass tales of how the otherworld may be reached through travel in the forest, or getting lost in the woods: be it Goldilocks, Gretel or the Golden Key, each found their way to something magical. The mystical relationship between the other-worlds and ours has not disappeared.
Amongst the Celts the oak-worship of the Druids is familiar to every one, and their old word for sanctuary seems to be identical in origin and meaning with the Latin nemus, a grove or woodland glades which still survives in the name of Nemi. Sacred groves were common among the ancient germans and tree worship is hardly extinct amongst their descendants at the present day. -Sir James George Frazer, The Golden Bough
Tree and grove worship takes place in the history and myths of many cultures; from India to West Africa, from the coastal people of the Northwest to the indigenous people of Japan. It’s easy to see why we value trees, meadows and sacred springs even today. They are wells of life, wells of knowledge, the spiritual fountains of the land.
The native peoples of European lands knew the sacred had manifested most profoundly among them as the tree-beings, their benefactors, and therefore a great magic was associated with them and paramount importance given to their well-being.– Rosa Romani, Poppy Palin, Rae Beth, Green Spirituality: Magic in the Midst of Life, p.12
Part of being a green witch is becoming as skilled in wildcrafting as you’d like and being familiar with the land you live on. Wildcrafting for medicinal herbs, edibles, and materials for magical practice will always be more powerful than purchasing ingredients through a middle-man because it forces you to take responsibility for your actions and to face the plant you are crafting from, or killing, face-to-face. There is a lot of honor in facing your prey. Americans and most first-worlders are so far removed from the gory reality of death or the end of life in general that the idea of going out and facing our prey is incredibly repellant on any level. I don’t share this view the way I did as a teenager. Now, I craft my own supplies or buy from other witches who collect/obtain their herbs respectfully.
There is something primally satisfying about eating something you grew in your own garden or dug from the wild. There’s something deeply captivating about drying and brewing your own teas, boiling herbs in animal fats for your own salve, grinding powders from flowers you collected with permission from the earth. It takes skill, time, and education to be able to masterfully wildcraft, and it’s an ongoing process. I am still working on it myself.
- Green Spirituality: Magic in the Midst of Life By Rosa Romani, Poppy Palin, Rae Beth
- Green Witchcraft: Folk Magic, Fairy Lore & Herb Craft by Ann Moura
- Grimoire for the Green Witch by Ann Moura
- The Golden Bough By Sir James George Frazer
- The Resurrection of the Meadow by Robin Artisson
- The Way of the Green Witch by Arin Murphy Hiscock
- Earth, Air, Fire & Water by Scott Cunningham
- Whispers from the Woods: The Lore and Magic of Trees by Sandra Kynes
- Mastering Herbalism: A Practical Guide by Paul Huson
- Wildflower Folklore by Laura C. Martin
- Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody
- Garden Flower Folklore (Insiders Guide: Off the Beaten Path) by Laura C. Martin
- The Folklore of Trees and Shrubs by Laura C. Martin
- Folklore and Symbolism of Flowers, Plants and Trees (Dover Pictorial Archives) by Ernst Lehner
- Earth Magic: A Wisewoman’s Guide to Herbal, Astrological, and Other Folk Wisdom by Claire Nahmad
- Wildcrafting: Harvesting the wilds for a living : brush-picking, fruit-tramping, worm-grunting, and other nomadic livelihoods by Jack McQuarrie
- Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places by Steve Brill and Evelyn Dean
- Plant Spirit Healing: A Guide to Working with Plant Consciousness by Pam Montgomery
- Plant Spirit Shamanism: Traditional Techniques for Healing the Soul by Ross Heaven
- Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants by Claudia Müller-Ebeling, Christian Rätsch and Wolf-Dieter Storl Ph.D.
- Nature Spirits & Elemental Beings: Working with the Intelligence in Nature by Marko Pogacnik