Natural Magic

As we develop as Witches we often encounter great lists of herbs, roots, woods, and crystals that are used in spells, rituals, and charms. You will also have learned that this rootwork is in the origins of witchcraft. Some of you may even have a strong affinity for this kind of magick. This is actually called Natural Magic and makes use of just about everything in the natural world. In the context of Renaissance magic is that part of the occult which deals with natural forces directly, as opposed to ceremonial magic which deals with the summoning of spirits. Natural magic sometimes makes use of physical substances from the natural world such as stones or herbs.

There are hundreds of ways that Natural Magic is used, it is employed even by Ceremonial Magicians. Natural magic so defined includes astrology, alchemy, and disciplines that we would today consider fields of natural science, such as astronomy and chemistry (which developed and diverged from astrology and alchemy, respectively, into the modern sciences they are today) or botany (from herbology). The Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher wrote that “there are as many types of natural magic as there are subjects of applied sciences”.

You might be a metallurgist incorporating magick into and through your work with metal, or a jeweler, these are also forms of natural magic. Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa discusses natural magic in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy (1533), where he calls it “nothing else but the highest power of natural sciences”. The Italian Renaissance philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, who founded the tradition of Christian Kabbalah, argued that natural magic was “the practical part of natural science” and was lawful rather than heretical.

In truth, the implementation of the natural world as part or all of your practice, and a nearly continuous part of your education in the Craft is certain, because we ourselves are part of the natural world. It is through studying the past that we reclaim these lost arts.