Welcome back witches, mystics and stoners! I know it’s been a hot minute since my last column, but we’re back, baby! As we’ve continued to move through a Covid world, at least here in the US, one of the ways I’ve been able to survive is by working with cannabis as a tool to help me be present and grounded in my body when my mind is all over the place and my thoughts feel scattered. Plant medicine is exactly that; a sacred practice where we are able to commune and find resonance with sacred herbs and flowers. Of course, we’re talking about cannabis, but this practice can also include herbs like lavender, mugwort, rose, damiana and even resin like copal, myrrh and frankincense. To help you all find your own style of sacred plant medicine rituals, I talked to one of my favorite witches, Taylor Cordova, aka the Flowerchild Bruja, the art witch and botanica owner who is pretty much a living incarnation of a flower. Taylor’s magick is POTENT and her relationship with magick, ritual, plants and cannabis never ceases to inspire me. So of course, I had to interview her for this column to share ways in which we can infuse even more magick into the way we work with and consume our cannabis.
Why Plant Medicine?
When we talk about plant medicine, we’re talking about forming an intentional relationship with the earth and all her children. We come to the altar of Gaia as students to learn with humble hearts and open minds.
“For me, plant medicine is my greatest, most prolific teacher, because plant medicine taught me how to learn from any and everything around me,” Taylor explains. “If you pay close attention, you can learn so much about the nature of things by sitting and quietly observing them. This is especially true of plants and flowers. Like humans and animals, plants all have different personalities. They all require various conditions to thrive and grow.”
When we acknowledge the myriad of ways that we must tend to plants and flowers then we can also see this as a reflection of the way we must take care of ourselves. When we ritualize this—both through our consumption of cannabis and also through ritual acts of self-care like movement, ritual baths, or cleansing with sacred smoke—we are acknowledging our personal divine nature.
“Plants enhance my self-expression in the sense that I look to them as my divine mirrors. I also like to use them as bridges to each new, more evolved version of myself,” Taylor shares. “If I’m wanting to embody a certain virtue or energy in my life, I’ll study plants and flowers that represent my intention and possess those qualities.”
By learning how certain plants grow, where they’re native to, how they thrive and bloom, Taylor is able to bring these gifts into her own life, learning from the perspective of the plants and creating a garden in her own being for these qualities to flourish. Taylor also suggests picking or buying flowers with properties you want to embody and embrace in your own life; pink roses for more self-love, lavender for harmony and healing, eucalyptus for health and relaxation, for example. And she reminds us that you can also choose a specific strain of cannabis in this same way.
Cannabis As Ritual Magick
Intention is everything in ritual, and the same is true for the way we work with cannabis. Besides leaving nugs on her altar as sacred offerings to her ancestors and to deities she works with, Taylor also brings a sense of purpose to working with flower.
“To ritualize its use, I like to set a specific intention, then leave a portion of flower on the altar space for a few days, so it gets charged up and infused with the energy of the space and those who reside there. When it’s time to consume it, I’ll relax at the foot of whichever altar and indulge, being really careful of how my awareness stays close to my intention and with the energy of the space I’m sharing it with,” Taylor explains. From there, she will often meditate, feeling the energy of the cannabis move through her body, sharing each pull with her ancestors or deities. When she’s finished, she’ll leave a bit of cannabis burning in a tray or plate.
Another way that Taylor ritualizes her work with cannabis is by blessing the flower with an intention and inspiring it with something she wants to welcome into herself and her life. By inhaling all that she wants to embody and exhaling any blocks or obstacles in her path, she turns smoking into a spell.
Cannabis Is Medicine During Leo Season And Quarantine
To say things are more difficult than usual is an understatement; in the midst of a pandemic, we can turn to both magick and plant medicine as tools to help us find presence, relaxation, and safety in our bodies.
“During quarantine, cannabis has been a great ally in helping me regulate some of my mental stress and some of my day to day worries,” Taylor shares. “It seems that when I’m lacking grounding and I’m getting overly caught up in the matrix reality, Mary provides me with a clean filter to see a little more clearly… less emotionally and less reactionary.”
Yet the urge to use cannabis as a band aid can be strong; I know for myself that I’ve been finding escapism through cannabis and alcohol more than usual, and Taylor shares a beautiful strategy for self-reflection in these tough moments when we’re reaching for some flower without being conscientious of it.
“When I do find myself mindlessly reaching for Mary, I’ll ask myself questions like: Am I just coddling myself right now? Am I just looking to self soothe? Am I trying to find an escape from this reality? Is there actually potential for growth here?” Taylor shares.
When you are intentionally working with this medicine, take a moment to thank the spirit of the cannabis, sending white light to the flower, edible, or tincture through your palms as you hold it. Take a moment to thank all the people who have worked to get your cannabis to you, and acknowledge all those who haven’t had the privilege to consume this medicine safely. If you work with deities who honor cannabis as a sacrament, you may offer some to them as well. Then, set an intention for what you want this communion to bring you, whether it’s peace, relaxation, joy, abundance or whatever else. As you consume your cannabis, breathe in the energy of the plan. Feel it moving throughout your body. You can meditate with this, as Taylor does, or maybe you want to pull some tarot cards, journal or dance and move your body. Keep your intention in your mind and heart, and when you’re finished with the ritual, thank the plant, any deities you worked with and yourself.
Remembering The Privilege of Using Cannabis
Another aspect of intentional and ritualistic cannabis use is the necessity of remembering the criminalization of the plant, which disproportionately affects Black and brown people. For those of us who are white, it’s so wildly important to be aware of the fact that just because it’s safe for us to smoke and consume cannabis doesn’t mean everyone has this privilege. The amount of Black and brown people who are locked up for nonviolent marijuana charges is ghastly, and part of a magickal practice with this plant is recognizing and doing our best to dismantle the systems of oppression that make this possible.
“It feels very necessary that we all acknowledge and continue to support the millions of Black and brown citizens who have been and still are systematically incarcerated, as a result of sharing this same medicine, which we now enjoy so freely,” Taylor shares. “Something so sacred has now been commodified, packaged, regulated and taxed, to make the fat cats richer, while too many of our brothers and sisters have paid in blood, for attempting to do the same. This is troubling to say the least.”
Taylor shares that this dismantling is of the utmost importance to help bridge the gap between who’s allowed to plant, harvest, eat, and live off of Gaia’s generous bounty and who’s not. No one should be criminalized for working with or indulging in cannabis, or any plant for that matter. The wisdom of the earth is sacred and we must fight for justice for those who have been imprisoned for the very medicine we work with.