Winter has been mild, wild fires have raged in certain regions of my country, while in my region Winter has never really frosted up enough for me to truly feel The Cailleach’s breath upon my neck. My plants have not succumbed to the usual black frost, and pests which normally die down during the cold weather have remained active both in my home and garden.
While the weather has been mild, and spring is almost underway with Jasmine in various stages of blooming, I have been struck by a blight of my lungs. Two months, various doctors, various medications, including herbal help, and still the illness clings to me like a leech. Every aspect of my life has been affected by this, including work, gardening, and general day to day tasks like simple cleaning, making of food and tending to my birds. Reading can be difficult when I am unable to concentrate on whole sentences, and I often get lost in strange breathing cycles, trying to pull enough oxygen into my lungs before heart palpitations, chest pain and severe headaches accompanied by dizzy spells take over and pull me into tears of pain and frustration.
This I am told is Bronchitis. It is the strangest case I have ever known, being that as a child Bronchitis was a common affliction of mine and I have never been this badly off. It all feels kind of darkly, spiritous, violent, and like a venomous bite from deathly darkly beings-perhaps it feels this way because the readings have been clear- struggle, conflict, difficulty, battles, hardship. If Bronchitis were the only issue, I would be so lucky.*
The bones have had to wait.
The Poisons, however, will not.
Datura stramonium, a beloved ally always reseeds in my garden. Right now I am nursing one back to health after aphid and slug damage and another has been carefully repotted into its own pot. Datura has been singing through my dreams and comes feverish hot with Tarantula venom.
“Dance! Dance! Dance in a daze.-Walk the fire!”
“But I can’t breathe”-Please, please make the pain stop.”
I pick a leaf, hold it in my hand, and cross to the otherside. Death will come, this is not a bargain- this is goodbye. Magic died of respiratory infection and failure. A long illness, Various vets, various medications. Sometimes you can pull a soul through, sometimes death is inevitable.
It is a sick world that will tell you “This happened for a reason”. You cannot comfort someone by stroking a need for everything to have meaning. The only lesson that I have learned is how cruel and stupid this world really is.
Datura understands better than mankind. No need to coddle me with stupid platitudes- no need to pretend compassion. True compassion comes from a broken-open- thorned heart, ripe with seeds of deathly love. According to Harold Roth, in his book “The Witching Herbs”, Datura stramonium often comes as a black dog- this does not surprise me. Hekate and Anubis don’t coddle either.
Datura and Brugmansia came before I took the oaths, their poison and my poison are the same.
Brugmansia candida- the white Serpent- blooms with regularity. I am carving her roots again- another fiery dance with amateur hands and the occasional blood offering. She seeps into me, I seep into her. This is the Ouroborous. I work more closely with Brugmansia- making gifted leaves and flowers into ointments- perhaps because her nature is less erratic than Datura. The Datura ointment will come soon. But it is not yet harvest time. And she has other methods of getting into my skin.
Datura is a devil’s plant. But it is not malevolent like the propagandists will tell you. The devil is the witch’s ally.
There is no bad and no good. There is just dosage and method. Even cherries and peaches can kill.
This is not the realm of human morality. Here ignorance can get you killed. Look at all the skulls glowing with flames by Baba yaga’s hut. How did they all come here and die?
Luck of the draw.
“The Mixe of Oaxaca (Mexico) believe that Datura stramonium contains a plant spirit in the form of a very old woman. For this reason, one Mixe name for the plant is ta:g’amih, “grandmother”- Christian Ratsch- The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants
“Old Woman” does not suffer fools. The layman does right to fear her medicine. But still propaganda is ignorance.
This is why the Poisoner is a solitary creature.
Who can trust the witch who herself is poison?
This is why we are silent and hidden.
Scapegoats are not a new phenomenon. We are not pretending persecution when everything wild, dark, deadly, and venomous is demonised.
“Kill it with fire, mow it down, “it is bad”. It is the mantra of our era- it has been the mantra of era’s before.
How much more urgent can things become?
Don’t worry, Datura will not coddle you with platitudes and lies. Grandmother is too old to be a coquette. Her nature is plain to see, sharp thorns, and a stench to boot.
The Devil’s Grandmother.
Datura and Brugmansia were once considered variations of the same plant, probably on account of the similar flowers and poisons. But their natures are different. While Brugmansia is often cultivated in gardens for its showy, heaven-scented flowers, Datura stramonium is a roadside weed, labelled as noxious and is perpetually regulated by garden societies and governments-much like women, and particularly the elderly and non conforming.
Queen of Heaven
Queen of Hell
A wise witch works with both hands and knows when to call on the devils or the angels- both of course can kill, just as both can heal.
It is all a matter of dosage and method.
Spring is coming, and with it will be more greening, more poison, more tending. The Toad nights will come soon, and I hope to complete my quests for the Yaga.
“Walk the fire on Tarantula legs”
“Dance like the devil is on your back”
*After three months of this, and not being able to breathe properly and being in hospital after collapsing due to a high heart rate, terrible chest pains, not being able to sleep due to not being able to breathe, and low blood oxygen, I ended up in hospital again, after feeling like I was about to die. My heart rate was clocked at 150, and my blood oxygen at 50% and I was booked into ICU. I had myopericarditis, and pneumonitis, and various tests were done to see why this had occurred. I had then been tentatively diagnosed with Lupus ILD for which I am still on chronic medication, and will be on for the rest of my life. More can be read about my take on the illness in the post Occult Herbalism, Spiritual Afflictions, and The Yaga’s Garden.