In the spirit of the Halloween holiday season, I’m offering a free zoom session to feature
Haunting Herbs on
Monday, October 26
1:00 p.m. (ET)
The presentation features associations, historical and current, between witches and plants.
You won’t find spells, but may have a better understanding of plants magical properties, why they were needed and how they developed.
If you are interested, send an e-mail to
and I’ll send you a zoom invitation.
Class size is limited.
I started Collecting Firsts years ago, when I was weary of the same house, job, drive to work, etc., and I decided if life was going to be more varied and vibrant, it was up to me to take a more creative and proactive approach. It never occurred to me that my ‘first’ plague was in the future, or the first time watching my youngest daughter struggle with Covid 19.
On a brighter note, as she began to slowly recuperate, inspite of on going after effects, she asked me if I’d like to participate in the virtual Baltimore 26.2 mile crabby walk. At 70, I knew it would be a challenge as it was my first, but wanted to support her, so I agreed.
On Saturday, October 10, we completed our required miles and yesterday our t-shirts and medals arrived so we opened them together on a Zoom call!
We’re planning to do the turkey trot on Thanksgiving Day and run a half a marathon in the spring. Setting goals together has helped to make this bittersweet year a little more bearable.
Even during a pandemic, there are ways to collect firsts. I hope you are all setting goals and making wonderful memories.
As Halloween approaches, our thoughts may turn to ghosts, goblins and witches! One of the most infamous witchy moments is the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, circling around the cauldron.
"Double, double, toil and trouble:
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. "
"Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron, boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog."
Aww, come on now! You didn’t really think witches were scouring the forest to gather the eye of a newt or the toe of a frog, did you?
Folk names were used for herbs long before Shakespeare came along It was a bit like the copyright protections we have today. “Witches” were actually healers who were protecting their recipes and secret ingredients from those who had no understanding of nature, plants and their magical powers. Secret code names were created to protect the identity of the ingredients as well as give mystery to the herbal cures. Many plants are still called by their folk names today!
Some names can be determined by the part of the plant associated with particular body part: for example, seeds were associated with eyes. If Shakespeare had said mustard seed instead of “eye of newt”, a certain mystery would have been lacking.
Even though his descriptions were visually stirring, they were not appreciated by the herbal healers of the time. His using their code names made them furious and they put a curse on not only Shakespeare, but anyone who dared use the word ‘Macbeth’. Uttering the word in a theater is considered bad luck, to this day. Even witches who have dedicated their lives to healing can become enraged and vengeful if their secrets are exposed! Hopefully, I won’t regret writing this article. I think I’ll go gather some agrimony, just in case!
Parts of the Plant - Body Part
Bud or Bloom - Beak, Bill or Nose
Blossom - Head
Blossom or Seed - Eye
Bud - Heart
Leaf or Petal - Teeth or Tongue
Leaves - Foot, Leg, Paw, Toe, Wing
Sap - Blood
Seed - Heart
Seeds or Sap - Genitals, Private Parts, Semen
Stem - Tail
Stringy parts of the herb - Hair
Roots or Stalk - Guts
Animal Names - Plants
Cat - Catmint
Dog - Houndstongue, Grasses, Couchgrass
Eagle - Wild Garlic
Frog - Cinquefoil
Hawk - Hawkweed
Lamb - Wild Lettuce
Rat - Valerian
Toad - Sage
Weasel - Rue
An encore from the Deadly Herbs of Halloween!
Atropa belladona (Poison)
Solanum dulcamara (Poison)
Do The Write Thing
Fashion And Fabrics
Lessons From Nature
Pay It Forward
Take The Rose Instead
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!