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  • Emma Farrell

Integrating Shadow with the Spirit of Wormwood

With the Green Witch we venture onto the poison path and into the realm of native psychoactive plants. Wormwood is a powerful plant and one that requires respect and a strong mind.

I don’t know why such a hardy plant as wormwood is difficult to find in the wild today; it is easy to grow and even small plants in plastic pots can survive very cold winters when left outside. Young plants grow into sturdy and large bushes in the space of one season. The leaves of this beautiful plant have a dreamy bluish hue, and its high content of volatile oils make this a very potent medicine plant with a particularly distinct odor.

One of the most bitter plants in the world with a preponderance for clearing physical and etheric parasites, Wormwood likes to get her hands dirty and wanders the shadows in search of what lurks there. She takes on the jobs that no one else wants and is the messenger that always runs the risk of being shot. You either love her, or you don’t.


You either appreciate the sublime beauty in her difficult and uncom-promising work, or you turn away and pretend you never even heard of Wormwood. Like many plants in the psychoactive group, Wormwood is a true shadow plant; her spirit can penetrate levels of existence that others fear to tread. It is her courting of the illusory and the surreal that earns her classification by Dale Pendell as a rhapsodica and why the ine- briant made predominantly from wormwood, absinthe, became popular with bohemian artists and authors of days gone by.

Despite being grouped into the poisonous plant category, the green witch is actually very safe to consume over a short period of time. I usually only take Wormwood for 18 days and then have 3 weeks break. Also, plant essences are such a great medicine to continue the work as they only contain the

bioresonance of the plant and not the chemical constituents.


Wormwood’s predominant element is air; she has an affinity with the mind as reflected in the Old English and Old Saxon name for this plant, wormod, roughly translated as “defend the mind.” One would imagine that the name wormwood refers to the

gut-parasite-clearing qualities of the plant, but this is not the case. A three-week protocol with only the essence allows Wormwood to show you the conditionings and unhelpful energies that influence your thoughts, blocking access to reality. We view the world through the lens of our preconceived ideas and beliefs about past experiences. We view others through the same filter and make judgments about their motivations based on seemingly similar situations in the past. She cleanses the mind and cuts through the illusions that bind our perceptions. She purifies the surface world so that the truth of the shadow can come to light.


Not everyone is ready to see the truth of reality or the real motivations of the people around them, hence Wormwood’s reputation as a tough teacher. This is why I recommend Wormwood for those on the warrior healer path, for those healers who know the depths to which their own healing and cleansing need to go to be at the top of their game. Fine-tuning our thought processes helps us wriggle free of the indoctrinations that society and culture impose on us and safely expands our consciousness into the realms required for deeper healings to take place. For the cultivation of the warrior mind, we need courage to accept aspects of ourselves that we feel are not pleasant, such as our base emotions or our true motivations. We must refine our thought patterns down to the minutiae of their energy frame work to weed out anything contradictory to unconditional love.


Precision is a key attribute to the spirit of our green witch, as she looks very closely and homes in on the details. The spirit of Wormwood has been a great teacher of mine while I was learning psychic surgery. She showed me how to be both quick and detailed in my work, honing both my visioning skills and faith in my ability at the same time. Like many of the Artemisias, working with this plant on a regular basis will develop and strengthen clairvoyant abilities, which is so necessary for shamanic healing.


Wormwood appears to me in different guises, as a kitchen witch with a rye sense of humour, as a much more wrathful spirit, floating above my bed one night like the ghost in the Edwardian novel The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. Quite scary. But she was also extremely beautiful, wrapped in green flowing robes and only partially visible from the shadow around her. Wormwood is my perfect ally for these time where truths, untruths, and partial truths are prevalent and light heartedness is sorely needed.


- Excerpt from Emma Farrell's book, Journeys with Plant Spirits


  • Ref: Pharmakopoeia, Plant Powers, Poisons and Herbcraft, Dale Pendell (2010 North Atlantic Books) Pg 103