I’ve been reading The Fire in the Cauldron by Orion Foxwood. It’s had some confirming moments for me, and others that I don’t agree with.
However, one thing he said that struck me was when using materials in magical processes such as stones, plants and the like, that we call out their spirit rather than charging them with our personal power. There is something in that.
The shamans have many songs that they would use while picking their healing plants that they would sing to coax out the power of the specific plant. And, if you’ll believe it, in Europe and the British Isles we have very much the same practice.
Orion calls it “helping the plant remember”, but I find that kind of silly. The power is there, the spirit is there, it is we who are welcoming it to be used by us for our purposes. When I go out to pick yarrow, for example, for my beers I will sing to the plant the following from the Carmina Gadelica:
"I WILL pluck the yarrow fair,
That more brave shall be my hand,
That more warm shall be my lips,
That more swift shall be my foot;
May I an island be at sea,
May I a rock be on land,
That I can afflict any man,
No man can afflict me.”
It is way of speaking directly to the plant’s spirit, and directing its purposes to our needs. We may do the same thing with rocks and metals, coaxing out the various virtues of their inner spirits to use them in our workings.
This all ties back, of course, to animism: the core of witchery. Everything in the world has spirit, consciousness, anima, life, vitality. The witch taps into this spirit to manipulate the threads of fate to our will. We control our own fates for we know the secret names of Old Fate. We know her true intelligence behind all her guises that various cultures have set up. We know the true intelligence beyond the fragrant yarrow plant.
It’s like what opencircle333 says about why they pray to Mary and Christ: There are powers behind those faces. Deep, cthonic, ancient powers. We recognise these powers and can tap into them. So it is with plants, stones, metals, and waters. These are the subtle occult forces that shape and reshape the world every day. And they are eternal, as long as Nature is eternal.