“Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,–
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”

Macbeth (IV, i, 14-15)

From time immomorial (or at least from around the time of the writing of the Greek Magical Papyri), magic users have been hiding the secrets of their craft in a sort of code.  I know quite a few individuals that label their herbs in this way…but the problem (as least for me) with that method is that many of these names are  irrelevant to modern society, and that there isn’t actually all that much overlap between my herb cabinet and the herbal code.

And so, I think there is a call to write our own modern formularies, to suit the needs of the modern witch…or at least to suit the needs of THIS modern witch (ear of an ass=comfrey…WTF!?!) and her witchelets (and if it has the added bonus of confuzzling the hubby, so much the better!!!).  No need to throw everything away, there are still parts of the code that  might suit some herbs fairly well…the body part to plant part association, for example:

Formulary metaphors
Eye–inner part of a blossom
Paw/Foot/Leg/Wing/Toe– leaf
Guts–roots and stalk
Hair–dried stringy herbs

Part of this, of course, means knowing your herbs–their history, their uses, their feel.  The other part takes some imagination (kids are great for this part).  It is, of course, not a necessary action…but its fun.  Our herbal code is related to our personal use and interaction with the herbs, and does not follow the whole plant-animal correspondence. Some examples:

Dandelion: Wishflower
Sugar: Powdered Kisses, Kissing Sand
Yarrow: Pirate weed (since pirates bleed a lot)
Basil: George Washington’s Toes (b/c of his place on the dollar bill, and the money correspondence of basil)
Flax seed: Petrified Fleas (they *do* look a bit like fleas…)
Sprinkles: Sprinkles of Love
Vinegar: Baboon Spit (in flavor relation to Dill Juice being called Tears of a Hamadryas Baboon in the traditional code)
Chickweed: Chicken Bones
Yellow Wood Sorrel: Sourpuss
Plantain: Slitherin’ Snakeweed (v 1.0 calls the young leaves the “toe of a slitherin’ snake”)
Peppergrass: Hot tongue