From her Madison County home, Rebecca Beyer conjured the Blood and Spicebush School of Old Craft, through which she shares her deeply rooted passion and expertise. Now, drawing on her academic training in Appalachian ethnobotany and years of teaching in the mountains, she’s authored a gorgeous guidebook, Wild Witchcraft: Folk Herbalism, Garden Magic, and Foraging for Spells, Rituals, and Remedies.
If the topic strikes you as dauntingly esoteric or unfamiliar, fear not: Beyer’s approach is inviting, practical, and refreshingly straightforward. She begins with a detailed history of Western herbalism, witchcraft, and folk healers, placing her practice squarely within Appalachian traditions she’s encountered and incorporated here. One chapter offers instructions for cultivating “magical and healing herbs’’ while another focuses on tips for sustainably foraging them. A closing chapter on remedies, spells, and rituals offers year-round strategies for “living in sync with the seasons.”
For all of her dedication to matters sacred, Beyer offers much to readers irrespective of their interest in Wicca. “There are so many reasons to forage for food and medicine,” she writes. “Knowing the flora of your home area is a way to dive deep into a relationship with the land and all the beings—human and otherwise—around you.”