When traversing through wild, uncultivated, or even less trafficked spaces, we human folk can far too easily forget that we are guests in sacred space. While our adventures into the wild may last hours or even days, they are the permanent home to many non-human persons. From animals, birds, fish, and insects- those beings we can easily perceive, to non-human non-corporeal spirits of place and land who are less easy to perceive, the wild world we walk is filled with persons.
One tell-tale sign of presence comes when we stumble across a carved path across the landscape. This is not the same type of path as a human-crafted trail, road, or path- but something quite different; otherworldly even. These paths can easily go unnoticed if we aren’t looking for them. They are the ways carved into the land over seasons and centuries by animal folk and spirit folk alike= and they hum with power.
Ancient tracks connect one place to another. They link dens to watering holes, lookout points to hunting grounds, where one was raised to where one raises their own. Animals of many types use he same paths and seem to intuitively follow along veins of power in the land that help orient them in their mystery traditions. These same paths traveled by deer, fox, hare, and bear can also be follow by hawk in the sky and ant in the dirt. They have a certain gravitas which, not too unlike a highway, draws one into a path of least resistance when getting from one place to another.
But the secrets of these tracks don’t stop here- in fact, this is just the beginning.
Ancient tracks are also used and frequented by the spirits of place- those beings who are without a fleshy form that call this place home. The Fairy of ancient British lore are know to travel these ley lines between their haunts, use them to move camps each season, or work with them in their land-based mystery traditions. One of the most common warnings in British Fairy Faith lore is to never ever impede, destroy, or otherwise block these sacred pathways unless one wishes to incur the wrath of the good folk.
These tracks, then, link physical places together. They also link otherworldly places together and are often the ways in which many spirits pass between one world and the next. They are alive; rivers of power pulsing as crossroads and bridges between this land and the land as it exists in otherness.
I invite you, the next time you find one of these quiet tracks, to place your palms on the earth which has been exposed from their constant use. Drop into the pulse of this great artery of power and trace with your mind’s eye, the great distance this path emerges from and goes toward. Feel this track, as though it were a thread in the great weaving of the cosmos, stretch from our world into the otherworld. Be connected to what you feel, and maybe lay a word or feeling of blessing here in hopes that it might be picked up by the traveling hordes as they pass by.
To communicate with plants is a great feat. While on one level we are already in deep rapport with them via our shared breath and the fact that we are quite dependent on them for our very survival, the nuances of communication and conversation can be hard to find on the dial of our sensory radios.
Divination techniques offer us a more tangible way of interacting with the plant spirits and experiencing how it feels to have their wisdom and power move through our bodies. Tools engage the nervous system, give the mind something to focus on, and involve us energetically in the process of sharing where we’re more accustomed to just speaking, hearing, and seeing.
I work with a dozen different modalities of divination in my work- only two of which involve any type of physical tool outside my own body. These methods have been given to me by the plants and their guardian deities over the years and have helped me to train, refine, and sharpen my intuition to the point where I don’t use them nearly as much as I used to. They have taught me how to be present for the quiet movements and voices of the plant spirits and the green realm and how to begin to perceive them as they are, without the need for a middle-point tool. I was originally given the two methods that utilize divination tools, then slowly after that was given others that elide entirely on my own ability to perceive the subtlety of the green ones.
The way I work, divination can be used as a means to connect with individual plant spirits, deities, spirits of place, ancestors, and even energy patterns in a place or in a situation. I have specific modalities that I call on to approach each of these different categories of people, ones that seem to work best when aligning to the unique ways each of them speak and share.
I think it’s important for all of us, but especially folks who are new to working in more sorcerous, ritualized, and spiritual ways with the plants, that it can be hard to enter into those deep states of dynamic communication we all seek. Wanting it to happen is the intention that opens the ways, but the arte and craft must follow close behind. Plant spirit divination is a powerful way to engage the wholeness of who we are in the process so that we can strengthen and clarify our intuitive abilities over time.
In my work, divination utilizes the very bones of nature. When using tools, I work with staves (small bits of wood that have been harvested and prepared in ritual) and stones which are picked up, worked with, then immediately replaced to where they were. These tools carry a powerful connection to the land, the plant spirits, the spirits of place, the ancestors, and the deities of our ways just by being who and what they are.
If you’d like to learn 10 of my plant spirit divination techniques, I invite you to join us in The Grove where an immersive video course exists. Each lesson has been filmed out in the elements so that you can see how the process looks and how simple and direct it can be.
More often that I can count folks have asked me what it is I do. They aren’t usually looking for specifics but would rather have a nice tidy title that explains the tradition and path I work. Coming to an appropriate answer has been something of a journey for me since I have learned pretty much everything I do from my green allies directly and have been informed by lore and legend that is rarely neatly bundled in traditional expressions. So, what is it exactly that I do and how do I (very loosely) define the plant spirit path I walk?
What It Isn’t
Sometimes it’s easier to explore something based on what it is not in order to more fully understand what it might be. There are two things folks love to call what I teach- and two things I often see other folks calling themselves for lack of a more appropriate term: witch and shaman. Let’s take a look at each of these.
I am not a witch because I do not ascribe to any specific tradition of witchcraft, do not base my practices solely in the malefic, and don’t get most of my inspiration from witchcraft texts. While there’s no denying the overlap between folk magic, witchcraft, and plant spirit magic, they aren’t really the same. Modern witchcraft has become a different animal than it has been since time immemorial. What was once a mentor-prentice practice that was solely seen as nefarious, even before the ‘burning times’, has now become a religion wrapped in the trappings of new age philosophy and hung on a perspective framework of Christianity- no matter how much modern witches will disagree with that.
I am not a shaman because, while I do practice visionary workings that bridge this world and the green realm, I am not of the culture or initiatory tradition that the word Shaman belongs to. It can be said from a purely anthropological standpoint that I do shamanic things or engage in shamanic practices, but that is a far stretch from being a proper Shaman. The Tungus people of Siberia and related groups are the only real Shamans in the context in which the term is so flippantly misappropriated in the modern age. While many practices and traditions of what are defined anthropologically as shamanic in nature do focus on working with plant spirits, each is sacred within its own cultural vessel and is best left that way in order to support the preservation of indigenous traditions wherever they may exist.
As a brief aside here, the term plant spirit shaman is somewhat redundant. All Shamanism and shamanic practice is ultimately and almost exclusively concerned with spirits of many types. All shamanism is wrapped up in the plant spirits.
So, not a witch and not a shaman. What, then?
I have come to be quite comfortable with not only the term sorcery, but also the qualified term green sorcery as of late. Between you and me and the internet, I very much love the fact that this term has taken on negative connotations that would be more accurately placed with witchcraft while sneaking under the radar of pop-spirituality where it can evolve and thrive as it is wont to do.
Thanks to modern media, sorcery has a pretty bad wrap. I’ve become something of a horror film buff over the years thanks to the influence of my macabre-loving partner. I’ve noticed that sorcerers are more often the bad guy than witches, and that the way they are portrayed is almost always wrapped up in confused presentations of Christian heretecism, Hollywood satanism, and weird mish-mashs of occult ideas.
At its core, in my understanding and embodying of the term, sorcery is concerned with just one thing: the reality of the spirits. There is no need for religion, dry philosophical frameworks, armchair mysticism, or complication- all things rife in the modern occult world. Rather, sorcery is about what is being done. It is about how we seek out, experience, engage with, and nourish our working relationships with the countless non-human people who share this world with us- from deities to the dead, spirits of place to plant spirits.
Sorcery, then, is a radically animist and place-oriented practice. It can only be fully realized by one who has engaged completely with the where and when they live. It is under the trees that grow around you, the seasons as they express themselves in your bioregion, the animals whose paths you cross, and the feel of the soil under your own feet. Sorcery, in my opinion and experience, is the closest extant idea to a true shamanic practice that has been born out of the European lands.
While some forms of sorcery are incredibly complex and based on grimoire traditions that are synchretic and magical, not all are. In fact, many scholars have equated the term sorcerer with that of shaman, in a purely academic context of course. If our only real concern is living in right relationship with the spirits who share this world and this cosmos with us, then we can be directly informed by those relationships and brought into an organic green sorcery that is at once fiercely personal while dovetailing nicely with the harmony of the worlds.
So, green sorcery is a vital and evolutionary magico-ritual practice that is informed by and rooted in real relationships of place. It is an active and intentional connection to the plant spirits all, their realm, their mysteries, and their guardian deities and all that brings to the work.
My hope is that as time goes on, I will have more definitive and pithy ways of explaining what the plant spirit path looks like- but for now, I lean into the idea of green sorcery, plant sorcery, and plant spirit work and find them a worthy title.
Here’s a class I recently did on Green Sorcery for my YouTube channel. Enjoy!
Much can be said, and even more experienced, about the varying states of consciousness we ebb and flow through in our green sorcery. To me, consciousness is a spectrum and throughout the course of a usual day all people will move in and out of different states which can go from quite dense to incredibly translucent and permeable. These various states of consciousness can help to anchor us more fully in the here and now, or they can grant us a more direct perception of the worlds of otherness that surround, saturate, and contain our own.
Students often ask me about ways in which they can enter into altered states of consciousness to make their plant spirit work easier. They want to know how to quiet the thinking brain while activating the experiencing heart center- the liminal point of the body. Knowing that an altered state can make it easier to connect and communicate with non-human persons, most folks on a plant spirit path know it’s an important skill to hone. While many methods and techniques exist, one stands out above the rest in my work as both a personal favorite and one that I see facilitate the deepest and most profound effects in those who use it.
This particular altered state is one which, when entered, is never left behind. It becomes a new level of everyday perception by which we can more fully engage and experience the wholeness of the word we live in and lean further into the complex spiritual realities that weave through all the different levels of being. It is a way to be fully who and where we are- functional human people- while also having a dynamic access to the world of the plant spirits as we walk our respective paths.
This state comes as a natural effect to changing the way we see, acknowledge, and experience the world at large. The moment we step fully and whole-heartedly into an animistic perspective, we do in fact enter into a non-ordinary state of consciousness which allows more in and allows more of us to project out into nature.
Living with an animistic perspective means that we venture out into the world with the understanding that the world is inhabited by a vast and infinite number of fully sovereign persons who are not human. We choose to acknowledge and interface with animals, insects, trees, flowers, lakes, rivers, mountains, thunderstorms, and a whole host of not-visible people with the understanding that they are as much person as we are. Many of them, like the plants, know we’re there when we’re there. Some are just as oblivious to our presence as we are to theirs. Some engage with us directly in deep ways even though they aren’t like us, others engage in relationship with us through the power of avoidance and boundary. No matter who, or how, the animist perspective initiates us into a way of living that destroys human exceptionalism and decenters the human perspective in favor of wholeness.
By walking through life with the awareness that otherness exists, we wash away layers of dust which have accumulated over the eyes of our hearts so that, in a short time, we begin to re-experience the real magic of life and the real complexity of presence.
The foundations of working with plant spirits in magic, medicine, and ritual are surprisingly simple. The complexities come later as we journey into deep personal relationships with specific plant spirits and guardians of the green realm. For those folks new to spiritual work with the plants and for those who want a gentle reminder about the roots of our work, the essentials are offered here. From these roots one can nourish the tree of wisdom which will inevitably grow with time and loving attention. This tree, once grown, offers a protective canopy, a gateway to the green realm, and a living shrine where we can connect with the plant spirits all.
If the plants are not fully sovereign, conscious, and wise people, who is it exactly you’re learning from and working with? Our ability to not only comprehend the personhood of plants but to actively perceive if by working to clear ourselves of human exceptionalism is a crucial beginning step in the work. We must be able to approach the plants as a whole group and individual plants who attract us and truly engage with them person-to-person. This opens the path between us so that communication across the hedge is possible.
Once we acknowledge and experience the potent personhood of the plants, we are invited to show up in new ways and engage with them as one part of nature to another.
Sacred reciprocity ensured that all the endless gifts given by the plant spirits are in some small way honored and reciprocated to the best of our abilities. At first, we may be giving back to the plants without fully understanding the deep green blessings they are always giving us. In time, we will be initiated into these mysteries and understand why entering a relationship of offer-receive-offer is pivotal for our magical and medicinal work in the green arte.
So, what can we human folk offer up in gratitude to the plant spirits all? First, your intent is crucial. Ensure that your heart, mind, body, and spirit are aligned and intent on laying a gift that will honor the plants and be received by them. Next, consider some of these offerings which are all eco-affirming and traceless in wild spaces after nature runs her course.
To make an offering, clarify your intent then place it at the base of a strong tree you can sit with for some time. An offering bowl on an altar also works.
Listening from Everywhere
The plants speak in a language that is closer to feeling than thinking. Their symbols and wisdom rush in through the heart center, the only organ we have which is capable of processing such refined language, and it trickles into brain and body from there. To communicate with plants is to connect with teachers who are rooted in the fullness of the otherworld and fruited in the very world we call home. They are living, liminal beings who are gateways between the worlds and protectors of the sacred dualities of life and death.
Your time sitting with specific plants or in the presence of many plants is an opportunity to quiet, slow down to tree speed, and listen from everywhere. The plants are always communicating, and you are always in communication with nature via the faculties of your heart. The invitation here is to slow and quiet enough that you can experience it all.
I offer advanced classes and courses on plant spirit communication, but many folks find that by following the previous two steps and then engaging with an open, quiet, and eager heart, messages begin to flow.
As a practitioner of green sorcery and a plant spirit path, I think there is no better arte than the ability to communicate with the plants. What better teacher do we have than those who are rooted in the spirit world and fruited in the raw nature of our own? Their perspective is one which has fascinated us since the beginning and continues to do so even as their voices are systematically silenced.
So, there you have it. Three simplified, intuitive, and approachable ways to start connecting with the mighty plant spirits all right now from wherever you may be. This soil is rich and fertile and with a good understanding of it, you can grow o towering heights in your plant spirit work.
If you’re ready to go into more immersive courses in the green arte, I invite you to explore them here...
As we take initiation into the wild green ways, many of us from non-animistic cultures or backgrounds struggle with really experiencing the personhood of the plants. On paper, we understand that they are fully conscious, thinking, feeling, engaged individuals with whom we can have deep spiritual relationships. But we may still find ourselves in a forest feeling all alone.
In this post I’d like to share a simple meditation you can do in a garden, park, forest, meadow, or in front of your favorite houseplant to help open up your faculties of perception, engage a lightly altered state of consciousness (one we inhabit full-time as an animistic perspective becomes our normal operating state), and experience the personhood and presence of the plants in a direct and meaningful way.
Here’s the thing about this work: we love to complicate it! The reality is that plant spirit work relies on the truth of living in a world full of people and in a world that is made up entirely of relationships. So, the connection is already there- we just need to slow down to tree speed and lean into it to really experience it for what it is.
To use this simple method, I suggest carving out 15 minutes of time or more. Again, you may find yourself seated comfortably before the long arms of a living room Pothos, doing laps around a local park, or wandering down a forest path. It doesn’t matter where you do this practice so long as you have plants you can engage with. In fact, I suggest trying this practice in many different spaces, times, and atmospheres to really flex your visionary muscles.
Hidden within every green leaf is a process of deep alchemy which catches the light of the sun in the form of photon particles and converts them into pure life energy- food and fuel. It is the very greenness of the plants that absorb light- a pigment called chlorophyll which is created in the chloroplast cells of most plants and is a temple of mysterious alchemy.
In my work, Chlorophyll acts as a potent sacrament which connects me to the plant spirits and allows me to bring in a medicine which is saturated with verdant power. Chlorophyll is connected to all the plant spirits, and by working with it I am able to attune ever more deeply to their world and their wild ways.
You can find organic, unflavored liquid Chlorophyll at most health food shops. This can be portioned out into a small dropper bottle, the rest being kept in the fridge for preservation. The small bottle, kept on plant spirit shrine, can be worked with to begin, end, or empower a meditation or journey. It can be used to call in blessings, feed the mighty dead, write as a magical ink, or even mark the body for ritual.
Green Realm Attunement Ritual with Chlorophyll
In order to perform this simple ritual, you’ll need liquid Chlorophyll that is unflavored. Most of them are pressed from Alfalfa and have a rich green, mineral taste. While the flavor can be intense for some folks at first, it quickly becomes something craved when needed.
Here’s a class I did on Chlorophyll. I hope you enjoy…
Since the beginningless beginning, visionary human folk have sought to understand the deep mysteries of nature and ally themselves to its power. The Green Arte is an expression of our longing to connect to nature as a whole and to the plant spirits in specific. It is a dynamic tradition of plant spirit work that helps us experience the personhood of the plant people while working with them to cultivate harmony within ourselves, our communities, and the world.
The Green Arte is fiercely animistic- experiencing the world as being filled with a variety of fully sovereign people who happen to not be human people. As animists, we walk through the world in an expanded state of consciousness which allows us to perceive and relate with animals, plants, landmarks, geography, weather, and energy patterns in a way that gives them the full honor of their personhood. We experience that they perceive us as much as we perceive them and that in this bidirectional perception relationship is possible.
As a path of plant sorcery, our work focuses on allying ourselves to specific plants in order to call forth their wisdom, power, virtues, and blessings. We do this in many forms from the crafting of herbal medicines to the laying of herbal magics and rituals.
The medicine we craft is rooted in spiritual herbalism wherein we avoid thinking of plants as ‘good for’ such-and-such disease or how they can be ‘used for’ a specific outcome of healing or magic. Rather, we engage with them through devotion and dedication to learn their secrets firsthand as they choose to teach and guide us. We are initiated into the plant spirit path by the plants themselves.
Since our work focuses on cultivating relationships of power with the mighty plant spirits, we practice many angles of green sorcery and seek a resonant green gnosis along the way. We communicate with the plant spirits via divination, dream, and spirit flight, work with them through the performance of rituals, honor them throughout the seasons and cycles, bring them into our bodies as food and medicine, call them into our lives with magic, and follow their wise guidance as we dance our individual paths.
The deities we work with are also rooted in occult herbalism. We seek out those mighty ones who have a natural affinity for the plants, the places plants grow, and the mysteries the plants hold. These deities can come from many traditions depending on our own ancestral roots and help to protect, guide, and open the ways for us.
We engage with many aspects of plant ritual which help us align to the shifting seasons, celebrate the cycles of life, journey to the primordial realm of the plant spirits, and connect to the medicine and magic of our green allies.