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Green Witchcraft, Explained: A Beginner’s Guide

Call it plant magic, potion-making, herbalism, or gardening; we’ll call it green witchcraft: a school of magic that draws on the power of nature. Green witches, sometimes called Earth witches or forest witches, feel deeply connected to the natural world and channel this relationship into spells, rituals, and other magical workings.

We at Sea Witch Botanicals have long been fascinated by the properties of plants and the wellspring of magic alive within our Earth—we wouldn’t be here without it! In an homage to our green roots, we’ve decided to take a deep dive into the realm of green witchcraft. 

On this page, we’ll explore what green witchcraft is, who can be a green witch, and how to know if it’s the right path for you. We’ll also share a few exercises and resources for beginning green witches, and overview a few related magical practices.

Note: Many witches use the spelling “magick” when referring to witchcraft or other aspects of their personal practices. We acknowledge the nuances distinguishing “magic” from “magick” and have chosen to use the spelling “magic” to simplify for our audience.

What Do We Mean by Witchcraft?

bottle of magic potions in magical forest

As we approach the topic of witchcraft, we want to note that the term “witch” itself carries a lot of historical baggage related particularly to the persecution of women and non-Christian people over the centuries. 

We also want to bear in mind that most pagan, occult, or magical practitioners in history would not have used the terms “witch” or “witchcraft” to describe their practices, as these words weren’t truly in use until the witch hunts began in the 1400s. Even then, a “witch” in these terms was not truly describing an occult practitioner; really, a “witch” was an exaggerated character born from the fear of heresy and the supernatural. These types of witches do not exist.

What folks today refer to as a “witch” might be more clearly defined as an occult practitioner: someone who “attempts to influence the surrounding world through occult (i.e., hidden, as opposed to open and observable) means,” writes Encyclopedia Britannica.

"The problem of defining witchcraft is made more difficult because the concepts underlying these words also change according to time and place, sometimes radically. Moreover, different cultures do not share a coherent pattern of witchcraft beliefs, which often blend other concepts such as magic, sorcery, religion, folklore, theology, technology, and diabolism. Some societies regard a witch as a person with inherent supernatural powers, but in the West witchcraft has been more commonly believed to be an ordinary person’s free choice to learn and practice magic with the help of the supernatural."

—Encyclopedia Britannica

All of this is to say: Modern practitioners are reclaiming the words “witch” and “witchcraft” to describe their occult, magical, and/or spiritual practices and beliefs. “Witchcraft” today generally refers to the use of spellwork or rituals to enhance one’s own life, often by way of connecting with nature or intuition. This is the definition we will be working off of on this page. If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, we strongly encourage you to read Encyclopedia Britannica’s article on witchcraft.

What Is Green Witchcraft?

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Green witchcraft is a branch of magic that revolves around nature. To a green witch, the natural world is alive and teeming with magical energies to be harnessed. While each might have their own specialization or unique practice, green witches frequently work with plants, animals, crystals or stones, the elements, and the seasons to craft their spells. 

Green witchcraft encompasses a full range of possible spell workings, from health and prosperity, to empowerment and joy, to warding and protection, and much more.

A green witch’s relationship with the Earth is sacred—it’s an important source of intimacy, safety, and connection. Because of this, many green witches also happen to be environmentalists. They are passionate about transforming our relationship with the natural world and prioritize sustainable living.

Who Can Be a Green Witch?

BIPOC woman holding orange butterfly

No matter your gender, religion, or background, anyone can be a green witch. What matters is your interest—and your drive to pursue it. All it takes is a spark of wonder, a connection with nature, a willingness to study, and to practice what you learn. 

While green witchcraft is a completely open practice, it’s important to recognize that it draws upon the traditional knowledge of cultures throughout the world and across time. For example, the correspondences of certain plants in North America might be rooted in ancestral Indigenous wisdom.

That makes it a green witch’s duty to understand the origins of the materials they work with and the stories these materials might carry. For this reason, a green witch might benefit from being a student of native ecology.

Is Green Witchcraft Right for You?

Potion Ingredients Herbal Witch Medicine Craft Turmeric Moon Milk Magic Enchanted Beverage Mortar Pestle Witchcraft Halloween Ginger Lotus Brew Elixir

Anyone can walk the green witch’s path. Consider exploring further if you:

  • Feel a deep reverence for nature or the natural world
  • Are interested in cultivating and maintaining a deep personal relationship with the Earth and the land you’re on
  • Resonate with an animist view of the natural world and believe there is an inherent aliveness, power, or life force in all things
  • Are drawn to plants, animals, stones, and/or living by the seasons, and enjoy learning about their medicinal and metaphysical properties
  • Enjoy being outside and engaging in outdoor activities, such as gardening, walking, hiking, swimming, dancing, exploring, building faery gardens, identifying plant and animal species, foraging, or basking in the sun, rain, or moonlight
  • Are interested in practicing reciprocity with the Earth, such as ethically sourcing your materials, gardening, or leaving offerings for plant or animal spirits
  • Consider yourself an environmental activist and/or prioritize an Earth-friendly lifestyle

Green Witchcraft Related Practices

Green witchcraft naturally overlaps with many different spiritual and folk magic traditions. Many modern practitioners consider themselves eclectic witches, as their practice takes inspiration from multiple traditions or schools of magic. Below are a few branches of witchcraft worth considering as well if you’re interested in becoming a green witch.

Kitchen & Cottage Witchcraft

White and brown ceramic mug. A rich black tea from the Yunnan province in China with hints of Cacao

Photo by Drew Jemmett on Unsplash.

Kitchen and cottage witches are practitioners who imbue magic into their living spaces. These more domestic branches of witchcraft tend to focus on the needs of the home and those living in it. Where a kitchen witch might exclusively work magic through the process of making food, a cottage witch’s domain extends to the entire home. 

These witches can cast any spell they like, but spellwork might typically include workings for protection, cleansing, and harmony. For example, some witches might have a store of homemade cleaning solutions imbued with magical ingredients (e.g. a surface cleaner made from vinegar and lemon or cedar essential oil), while others might hang protective charms in the doorways made from herbs or found materials.

Hedge Witchcraft

Silhouette of trees during red moon

Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash.

Hedge witches are practitioners known for “riding the hedge” between the physical and metaphysical worlds, with the term “hedge” referring to the boundary between these realms. Hedge witches specialize in liminality. They can skillfully navigate and commune with other worlds, often as a means of accessing alternative wisdom, guidance, or knowledge—or simply to explore the mysteries that lie beyond the hedge!

While they have a strong connection to nature and can use nature-derived tools in their practices, hedge witchcraft focuses more on the ethereal. Communicating with spirits (such as ancestors or land spirits), practicing divination, attaining altered states of consciousness through meditation, breathwork, or other means, and performing herbal magic all fall in the realm of the hedge witch.

Sea Witchcraft

Bird's eye view of sea waves ocean

Photo by Andrzej Kryszpiniuk on Unsplash.

Sea witches are practitioners who specialize in harnessing the power of the sea and its rich aquatic ecosystems. From working with the patterns of the tides to swimming through the ocean’s cleansing waters, these witches spend a great deal of time along the shoreline developing their personal bond with the sea (such that they might be mistaken for mermaids). The landscape of the sea becomes the stage for performing rituals or spellwork. These workings are fueled by the sea witch’s own relationship with the water and the life it hosts.

Many take the sea witch as a symbol of environmental stewardship. It signifies a deeply personal bond with our planet and a sense of responsibility to preserve, protect, and restore its ecosystems.

For instance, we chose the emblem of the Sea Witch to represent our commitment to keeping our waterways clean and free from harmful toxins, which we do by providing all-natural home and body care made with 100% plant- or mineral-derived ingredients and packaged in waste-conscious materials. As sea witches, we are passionate about conservation, intersectional environmentalism, and reducing our waste—and we use our resources to support this type of work.

Exercises for Beginner Green Witches

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If you’re looking to start your own green witchcraft practice, here are a few easy ways to begin.

  • Connect with nature. The basis for all of your workings as a green witch is your relationship with the Earth—so nurture it intentionally!
  • Build an altar, witch’s table, or sacred space to anchor your practice. You might feel inspired to include found objects from the natural world, stones or crystals, living plants or dried herbs, images or small statues of animals, and so on.
  • Meditate with a certain crystal or herb and notice how its energy feels.
  • Study the uses of plants and record your favorites, along with your own experiences with or ideas about them. You may wish to begin a grimoire (a self-written book of spells or magical information) for this purpose.
  • Learn about the ecology of the land you live on. You might also look into what types of environmental stress your local ecosystems are experiencing and/or getting involved with local conservation work, activism, or cleanups.
  • Tune in to the season you’re in and notice how it shapes the natural world. Consider learning more about the Wheel of the Year or living by the rhythm of the seasons.
  • Experiment with herbal magic. There’s an abundance of ways to incorporate plants into your rituals and spellwork. Try out this easy ritual for manifesting with herbs and fire!

Resource Library for Budding Green Witches

A seasoned witch is simply a good student. Below are a few resources for helping you along your green witchcraft journey.

  • The Healing Tree: Botanicals, Remedies, and Rituals from African Folk Traditions by Stephanie Rose Bird
  • Guides or reference books on plants, animals, or fungi in your geographic area
  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer. While this essay collection does not specifically speak on green witchcraft, Kimmerer’s writings exquisitely illustrate the intimacy one can build in relationship with the Earth. This might be a lovely reference for understanding the wisdom of nature.
  • The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People + Planet by Leah Thomas. This book does not specifically speak on green witchcraft either, yet we believe it is an important read for any person interested in making a positive impact on our planet.

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