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A guide to safely working with the poisonous plants of the witches’ pharmacopoeia for magic, healing, and visions
• Explains how to work with baneful herbs through rituals and spells, as plant spirit familiars, as potent medicines, and as visionary substances
• Details the spiritual, alchemical, astrological, and symbolic associations of each plant, its active alkaloids, how to safely cultivate and harvest it, and rituals and spells suited to its individual nature and powers
• Shares plant alchemy methods, magical techniques, and recipes featuring the plants, including a modern witches’ flying ointment
Part grimoire and part herbal formulary, this guide to the Poison Path of occult herbalism shares history, lore, and information regarding the use of poisonous, consciousness-altering, and magical plants. Author Coby Michael explains how, despite their poisonous nature, baneful herbs can become powerful plant allies, offering potent medicine, magical wisdom, and access to the spirit realm.
Detailing the spiritual, alchemical, astrological, and symbolic associations of each plant, the author explores their magical uses in spells and rituals. He focuses primarily on the nightshade family, or Solanaceae, such as mandrake, henbane, and thorn apple, but also explores plants from other families such as wolfsbane, hemlock, and hellebore. He also examines plants in the witch’s pharmacopoeia that are safer to work with and just as chemically active, such as wormwood, mugwort, and yarrow.
The author shares rituals suited to the individual nature and powers of each plant and explains how to attract and work with plant spirit familiars. He offers plant alchemy methods for crafting spagyric tinctures and magical techniques to facilitate working with these plants as allies and teachers. He shares magical recipes featuring the plants, including a modern witches’ flying ointment. He also explores safely cultivating baneful herbs in a poison garden.
About the Author
Coby Michael is a practitioner of the Poison Path of occult herbalism and a cultivator of entheogenic herbs. He contributes to the Pagan Archives at Valdosta University, writes regularly for The House of Twigs, and maintains a blog, Poisoner’s Apothecary, on Patheos Pagan. He teaches classes and online workshops on plant magic, baneful herbs, and traditional witchcraft. He lives in Florida.
“Coby Michael’s The Poison Path Herbal is THE book that witches on the Poison Path have long been waiting for. It is an intense ride through the history and folklore of baneful plants, with exceedingly clear instructions on how to not only successfully grow them in your own garden but it also thoroughly details their proper preparation and usage on both magical and mundane levels. This is truly an important addition to the library of any apothecary or hedge rider.”
— Tara-Love Maguire, coauthor of Besom, Stang, and Sword
“Reading The Poison Path Herbal is like sitting around a fire on a moonlit midsummer night conversing with a master of occult secrets. Brilliantly discussing Renaissance magic and herbalism; Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Norse mythology; Biblical lore; and modern understandings of plant medicines; Michael seamlessly laces botanical science with entheogenic enchantment throughout this engaging work. In the process he outlines the Poison Path, showing the various mysteries and divine associations of Venus, Saturn, and Mercury. Read closely and carefully, as this book is not for the faint of heart. Michael is a real witch, and this is a book of real witchcraft, which includes recipes to make your own psychoactive tinctures, incense, beer, tea, and ointments. Hell—he even teaches you how to grow the magical plants yourself! The Psychedelic Renaissance has been waiting for a book like this—an advanced entheogenic grimoire for the witchy, the wyld, and the wyrd.”
— Thomas Hatsis, author of The Witches’ Ointment
“Coby exquisitely, with much research and deep respect, presents venefic, malefic, cthonic, and pure Poison Path magic, ethnobotany, and history at its finest. This is an essential book for any serious poisoner and herbalist.”
— Jaclyn Cherie, owner of The Nephilim Rising
“Coby beautifully combines history, folklore, science, and magic in The Poison Path Herbal with a compelling and charismatic writing style, drawing on years of practice and experience. It is an informative and poetic resource--a powerful introduction to the Poison Path, and a reference for more advanced students.”
— Ian Vertel, founder and owner of Poison Plant Cult
"I’m very keen to discover what Mr. Michael has collected and presents in this new book. For some, it might be a bit beyond the pale, but for those interested in ethnobotany, as well as those curious to look into some of the more shadowy corners of plant study, as well as how plants have been used in the past by apothecaries, herbalists, and the cunning folk (and if you know where to look, are still used today), this looks to be the book to be reading indeed."
— Johannes E. Riutta, The Well-read Naturalist
"There is a lot of information in The Poison Path Herbal that might not be appropriate for those who live in the ‘good vibes only’ section of the chorus, as much of this book is dedicated to personal gnosis and the responsibility inherent in achieving that gnosis. I will be adding this book to my collection simply because it doesn’t coddle or coerce: this book demands your undivided attention and promises great rewards for doing so."
— Sarrah October Young, Musing Mystical