When gathering roots for spells or medicine, there are wise ways to do the digging. It will take some time—all worthwhile things do. But a root properly freed from the soil makes potent magic.
Don’t hurry with shovels and sweat and strain, trampling the ground you dig them from.
Love the plants whose lives you take.
Know their names.
Know the way the light shines through their leaves as the sun rises or sets. Know them beaded with rain or morning dew.
Know the smell, taste and texture of the flowers when they bloom.
Greet them with affection, and ask if they will give themselves to you.
Leave an offering in exchange for their sacrifice: Clean water for their brothers and sisters, perhaps, or a poem in their honor. Or better yet, plant new seeds and bless them.
Only then should you part the earth with your trowel, and push the soil away from the roots with care.
Keep your thoughts on gratitude for the way the roots will help you as you wrap your hand around the root to pull it from the earth. Send down into the the soil the green energy that pulses all around you, the shining of the moon, the warmth of the sun, the tenderness of the rain.
Pull patiently, and feel the root release from the soil, sliding free into your waiting hand.
When you have finished, linger a moment in green company. Fill the holes from your digging, blessing the ground and the ones who remain with your love and prayers.