Ah, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, my old friends. Let’s talk about Science, especially Horticulture, Biochemistry, and Microbiology.
Horticulture and Herbalism
Horticulture is the art or practice of garden cultivation and management, but really it’s so much more than that. Horticulture is the study of plants; how they grow, how to make them more productive, and how to use them. Combine Horticulture with Biochemistry and Microbiology and you’ve got a good head start on soil sciences, including making soil fertile and able to support a wide biodiversity. Anyone who wants to use herbs in their magic would benefit greatly from taking even a glancing look at what horticulture has to say.
From nailing down the exact scientific name of plants to detailing precisely how to recognize them with complete descriptions of their habit and habitat, to teasing out exactly how and why any given plant might have the medicinal properties they do, horticulture informs each and every aspect of my interactions with plants. Every herb and spice I use, I know the exact scientific name, the common names, how it grows, where it can be found, whether or not it’s native to my area, and more. This depth of knowledge and understanding can influence the correspondences I have for the plant, and therefore how I use it in magic.
In addition to using herbs, spices, and other plant material, I also use Essential Oils. Distilled from pure plant material, the oils are hyper concentrated extracts of plants and plant parts (flowers, roots, bark, etc). Being able to point to the precise biochemical makeup of the oils, and knowing how those oils are likely to affect a person on a physical and mental level, can direct how I use them in a spell. Anointing oils for various purposes crafted from Essential Oils in an appropriate carrier oil bring even greater power to various tools, ritual, and workings. I know why coconut oil can be a better choice for love oils than grapeseed, and I can back that up by referencing the aromatic phytochemicals in both those oils and their expected effects on emotional and mental affect.
Knowing in depth the horticultural and biochemical background for herbal magics makes those magics stronger. I know why despite being strongly associated with fire and power, close oil shouldn’t be a part of any solar ritual, but you’d be amazed at how useful both thyme oil and oregano oil are for the same purpose. STEM, bitches. Learn it and apply it and then reap the benefits.