Monday, February 06, 2012

Herb Substitutions?

Hi Witch Doctor!
I just found a spell that I was interested in doing but it called for using a bluebell, preferably the fresh whole flower, but could also use the dried flower. Since it is February and bluebells aren't blooming yet, I looked online to see if I could buy any. This appears to be a very rare commodity! I couldn't find it anywhere. This made me wonder something. If I absolutely can't find a real herb that I need, what if I painted a picture of it or used a photo? I'm sure it should be possible in this case (and probably in most cases) for me to find a replacement herb and for that, I'll check out your Encyclopedia of Magickal Ingredients (which is SO AWESOME) but I was just curious if paintings/photos are ever used as substitutions.
Thanks most excellent Witch Doctor!
~night wanderer

Hello Night Wanderer
Before long, I think you can wander about and see the bluebells popping up so there is also the possibility to WAIT for the correct season to gather the fresh flower for your spell. With regard to bluebell, there are many different varieties. Are we talking good old Texas bluebell? Scottish or English Bluebell, which apparently should not be confused. The bluebells are in the genre of Hyacinthoides, so if I were looking for a good substitute, I would suggest pure Hyacinthe oil which should be easier to obtain. In terms of substitutes, we need to examine the reason one is using the ingredients. For example, if you wanted the bluebell flowers for it's medicinal properties (to mix in a tea for example and take internally), I would not suggest Hyacinthe oil or a picture or painting but rather a corresponding herb that has similar medicinal properties to the herb you cannot find. However, if you were using for an emotional, psychological, magickal effect - it would be fine. For example, bluebells bring happiness. Hyacinthe oil is also uplifting and summons creativity. Often the visceral experience is important, so I would suggest a substitute than you could smell or touch or taste or feel. The eyes are certainly an important tool of the senses and the visual is very powerful so in this case, a photo or painting might spark the magickal feeling you are trying to summon. I would suggest for optimum effect that you obtain a blue candle, annoint it with hyacinthe oil and place a painting or photo of bluebells next to the candle or even carve an image of bluebells onto the wax. I imagine this will be a very powerful solution.
blessed be

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