I consider myself to be a root worker because some of my greatest allies in dealing with spiritual issues have been roots and the dried leaves and flowers of plants. When the right plant is burnt, space is cleansed and auras re-charged. When the right herb is worn, positive thoughts infiltrate the depressed or sick mind. When powerful angelic roots are brought into the haunted home, demons flee and never return. Herbs are the ultimate allies, working to save us long after we have forgotten them.
Roots work on many levels. They can be carried or kept close to the body to rid the aura of negative attachments, ward off the effects of bad vibes given off by enemies, enhance psychic ability and understanding, and attract benevolent beings for counsel or for protection during the night from night terrors or other malevolent spiritual forces. It is good to give back to the roots that work for you. I usually give Reiki to the herbs I am working with. Reiki is a healing modality where energy flows through the hands to heal or energize. As soon as the Reiki practitioner touches the body or etheric field of a living being the energy starts flowing. The practitioner will feel the hands warm up as the Reiki energizes the receiver and sends healing energy to off balance areas of the receiver’s body. The hands won’t respond if applied to a steering wheel or a cement block. This dramatic warming up of hands happens when touching a living thing. Whenever I touch my roots, my hands “light up” immediately.
When the roots are plucked from earth, they enter into another type of living. The angelic spirit of the root stays with the root as long as the physical root lasts. This is why the roots can work for us and receive the love we give back. If you aren’t trained in Reiki, the roots respond to offerings of songs, sincere and kind words, deep meditation or even caringly rubbing olive oil onto the root. There is healing in the intent and the action both. If you just intend to offer to the root, it’s not as effective as intending and doing. If I go and tell my mother that I intended to buy her a birthday gift but I never get around to it, she would not be as satisfied as if I actually put in the effort and produce. The roots actually receive all that you offer them on an etheric level. You may even have dreams of them thanking you. This is one of the ways that I communicate with my active herbs.
Active herbs are the plants that are working for you and/or herbs you have given purpose. They are on your altar or in your pocket, calling you from the wild, or in any space of purpose and focus. For example, I intuitively wore High John the Conqueror Root (Ipomoea purga) during a terrible illness that affected my mind and made me terribly depressed. Whenever I wore the High John, I could only hear one thought in my head over and over again, “Full Recovery, Full recovery…”. This gave me the strength that I needed to get through the process. That High John the Conqueror Root was working for me even before I knew its purpose! High John knew what I needed and gave generously. It was only right that I gave back to High John whenever I could. The High John had a positive effect on my mind and auric body similar to the reported effects of St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforlatum). I worked with Osha (Ligusticum Porterii) this past Christmas when I began getting bad vibes from some of the gifts under the tree. Instead of taking the offensive gifts from under the tree and putting them into the trunk of my car (which would offend members of the family), I put a piece of Osha Root behind the star at the top of the tree and it kept the negativity at bay. The right roots will do what you need them to do.
Make sure you also begin learning Latin names of the plants you are using so that you will be sure that you have the right herb. One plant can have a bunch of common names, but there is usually only one Latin name and that same name is used all over the world. There are many Magicians that will tell you that the actual plant doesn’t matter and that if you believe you are using High John the Conqueror Root than you are in fact using that root. This is false. As a Root Worker and spiritual sensitive, I can tell you from first-hand experience that each root has its own personality and ability. There is real and unique power in each of the roots. There is power in you as well. This personal power is enough in itself to help some issues in life but with others you will need a helping hand from an ally such as a family member, friend, a doctor, a lawyer, an ancestor, a great God icon or even a humble herb. A power that is often over looked in our society is knowing when and where to look for help. When you merge your consciousness with the power of the herb, there is great benefit. For example, the herb can act as a magnifier of whatever you are seeking; working tirelessly to fulfill the task you give it. You may say the prayer, but the herbal elemental repeats that prayer over and over making your heart’s desire much more likely.
Prayer is everywhere. To communicate with a higher power is honored all over the globe. But there is a problem. The earth is suffering. Our mainstream ethics, our science and our religions are failing the health of the planet. We don’t see the God in the nature, and so we can’t love it. People can’t love a godless planet; a cold polluted rock, so we leave the Earth for the scientists and the loggers. We make up illusory, powerless Gods and keep them abstract and “perfect” and place them out of our reach. The plants offer us medicine for spirit, body and mind but we can’t see them. All we see is weeds and dirt and become annoyed with them. We buy our prescriptions and suffer from the side effects and then we pray to a colorful nothing to be delivered from our sicknesses.
Some of us become delusional and worship our thoughts believing that all we must do is believe hard enough and things will turn around. We are too distracted to hear the call of our divine mother and her children, the plant spirits. We trick ourselves into a type of denial and call it“faith”. “Everything will turn out OK as long as I call the name of the deity. I will pray and pray and go to the temple and study the book of the deity. If I do this I will not be miserable when I die like the people who do not believe. I will be with my God in a better place.” This escapist belief is what deters people from the true word of God which can only be learned from experience, reflection and working with the spirits of earth. Root Work is a way to pray and meditate in the company of our greatest allies, the elements. Shamanism, Hoodoo and Witchcraft at their very core, are just that.
When I am having a rough day and I light my sage stick, the fumes permeate the spaces of the room and the whole environment changes adding to whatever prayers for purification I may have spoken. When I get my rosemary and vinegar mix and place a drop of the fluid onto the third eye of the children having disturbing dreams, they are calmed immediately and sleep peacefully throughout the night. Hollywood and other groups trying to make Witchcraft and Shamanism marketable promote it as a mystical science of instant gratification. This can’t be farther from the truth. Sure there are things you can get instantly from working with plants and spells like the examples explained above. But as far as attracting a house, a lover or money, it’s not much different than the prayer of any other tradition.The difference is that in root work, you include the roots in your prayer. Some people call this a “magic spell.” Look,this is an Earth centered tradition. We do nothing without Her. Our God will never be separate from Her, Mother Earth. We don’t need flashy results or instant gratification because there is medicine in the work itself. There is a sense of closure for the witch after during ritual work. This is whether the spell “works” or not. The spell always works as source of healing for the individual. What it does for the mind is far greater than what it can attract outwardly. For the man trying to get over the losing of a job, burning bay leaves and then a calm ritual bath may offer him a sense of closure. This bath also gives him a soothing period of meditation on the lessons learned and the direction he may want to go in the near future.
The Root worker is not a worshipper in the traditional sense. There is no begging and crying, for the Shaman sees himself as deserving and worthy. He sees himself as a partner, a leader, a divine caretaker of his plot. He knows that he doesn’t have to be perfect or the King of Kings to be important or useful, just as the chef of a rich man may not own the house but will run that kitchen with the highest of integrity! The Spirits choose the Shaman. The Shaman interprets and leads. The Shaman chooses the roots, but tis also true that the roots choose the Shaman.
Osha, the Great Bear Medicine Spirit of the Rocky Mountains walked through the concrete jungles of Denver and found me in darkness sleeping. All that was above ground was my wrist and five fingers out stretched like flower pedals. Osha began to chant, honoring the great Orisha known as Osain, Lord of the Plants. She then found a nearby stick and began to dig me out of the earth. She gently pulled me through the ground to the surface; I dangled from the giant hand of Osha as all freshly pulled roots do, naked. I felt a cold chill and awakened, fully exposed and above the ground for the first time. She smiled, laid an offering into the hole from where I was pulled and carefully put me in her mojo bag. I felt great warmth and purpose. It is there I remain to this day…
There is a give and take in the natural world. Balance is about giving and receiving. We give to spirit, it gives to us. The Gods (Nature) needs the Root Worker as much as the Root Worker needs the services of the Gods (Nature). In many religions today, there is this lopsided relationship with deity where we are the lost, disconnected and unworthy begging for miracles. But we are not unworthy and Magic is not about miracles. Does the magician who performs magic tricks think that his tricks are magical? Of course not. The magic only appears mysterious to the outsider; the one without knowledge. The magician knows the science behind his tricks. True Magic is all about understanding laws so we can bring forth what is really good for us. This is a healthy faith in things that have been proven. When I plant a seed in healthy soil, I have faith that the seed will grow strong. This is not the foolish faith as the alcoholic who avoids his AA meetings but is in Church every Easter praying for health, or the artist who believes that smoking large amounts of Marijuana is healthy for him and adds to his creativity. The artist would probably defend himself by saying that “weed” is natural and of the earth. I would say that Poison Ivy is also natural and of the earth. Shall we make a lotion out of it?? There is a proper way to work with the herbs and you must put forth the effort if you want to change or change your circumstances. For example, a woman who wants a relationship can make an offering to the Love Goddess Oshun. And if a great man pops us miraculously, she learns nothing for if she loses the man, she has no knowledge on how to get another if things don’t work out. The woman who knows the laws can make an offering to Oshun and sit at her altar and then proceed to meditate on how to become an Oshun (a desirable woman that loves self through action). Self-reflection is a must because like attracts like. Why should you focus on attracting any kind of love if you are bitter and depressed? All you will attract is bitter and depressed people! Even if you happen to catch someone who isn’t, the relationship won’t last long. The woman conjuring love is also going to need to put herself in an environment that promotes the kind of love she wants in her life. On the magical side, she can wear the flowers and roots of Oshun (and other love allies) to promote encouraging thoughts, make her aura more desirable and then use the scent to remind her of her agreements to self. One of these agreements may be to keep in mind that she is worthy of love despite her tumultuous past. Take note that the roots work on subconscious and conscious levels through auric manipulation and through the scent along with other subtle“reminders”.
Roots speak to me. I work with them. I don’t merely use them, for this sacred dance requires the energy of both parties. We both, plant and Root Worker alike, use and feed and use again for the betterment of all. The roots are very much alive after you pick them. Treat them with respect, and see the blessings that unfold before you. The herbs feed on love and promote it. They want to help! So don’t be bashful. Burn those smudge sticks, dress your candles in calming scents, place herbs on your altars and meditate while in their company. You’ll learn very different things from each one you listen to. See how you feel when certain herbs are in your pockets or what kinds of dreams you have when certain herbs are in your pillow. Speak to the plants in your home and water them with love in your heart. Make the herbal teas and take the herbal tinctures. See how they soothe the soul and the body. There is no moment with the roots that is not prayer. Be a Root Worker.