The Poison Path

The Poison Path is a branch of esoteric or occult herbalism.

It combines concepts of animism, shamanism, witchcraft and alchemy.  It falls under the category of modern traditional witchcraft as practitioners seek to uncover the arcane uses of plants classically associated with the occult and esoteric.  The Poison Path is a spiritual practice that is about more than the ingestion of entheogens to achieve hallucinatory states, although this is part of the history of the practice the practitioner also seeks a connection with the spirit of the plant through ritual, cultivation and harvest.

I focus specifically on the plants of Indo-European folk lore and magic when it comes to a practical application, but in study there are many unique plants all over the world that have ritualistic uses based on their physical and spiritual effects.

My research is focused specifically on the tropane alkaloids which include Belladonna, Henbane, Mandrake and other Nightshades.  These are members of the Solanaceae family of plants that include poisonous plants like Thorn Apple another one commonly associated with Witchcraft.

Some of the topics included in this practice are:

The creation of herbal tinctures and philtres for use in ritual or the creation of magical inks.

Connecting with Underworld deities and subterranean earth spirits.

Honoring of ancestral spirits through offerings, and communicating with ancestors for knowledge and insight.

Traveling to the Witches’ Sabbath, utilizing techniques of soul flight, trance and herbal preparations.

A first hand experience of the plant’s life cycle and how it changes throughout the seasons by cultivating and harvesting these plants in your own garden.

Connecting with the plant’s genius through trance, ritual ingestion, and spirit work.

The creation of herbal homunculi using the techniques of spagyric alchemy or the tradition of Carving the Mannakin.

Honoring spirits specifically aligned with the current of classical witchcraft including the Horned One, the Witch Queen, crossroads spirits, Mercurial spirits, Hecate, Lillith, Circe, Medea, the Host of the Wild Hunt and the King and Queen of Elphame.

And that is barely scratching the surface of all of the different directions the study of esoteric plant lore can take you.  My studies aren’t limited to plants that are poisonous or hallucinogenic.  I also have an interest in those non-toxic plants associated with magic and alchemy.  Plants like Lady’s Mantle and Centaury which are well known allies to the alchemist’s Work are an example of plants that act as magical allies.  There are many more to mention such as Sorcerer’s Violet, Solomon’s Seal and Vervain which are all powerful allies to the magician and add potency to any mixture to which they are added.

I think that there is an entire tradition of practice that could be built around an exploration of those plants that have historically allied themselves with the arcane and other worldly.  It is my desire to share my passion for these mystical plant allies and the truly diverse ways that they can enhance our practices.  I love finding an obscure piece of lore or a new and interesting way of working with a plant and sharing that with other people who would be just as excited.  That is my desire for what has come to be known as The Poisoner’s Apothecary, to be a resource of information on this Crooked Path and inspire further exploration to continue working with these spirits who through the ages have shown they have much to teach us.


The Plants of the Poison Path

Nightshades All Around Us: Bittersweet Nightshade

Foxglove: Digitalis and the Faery Realm

A Collection of Mandrake Lore By Coby Michael Ward

A Collection of Belladonna Lore by Coby Michael Ward

The Court of Helleborus: A Collection of Hellebore Lore

Devil’s Apple: A Collection of Datura Folklore By Coby Michael Ward

Mark of Cain: A Collection of Poison Hemlock Lore

A Collection of Wolfsbane Lore

Twilight Sleep: A Collection of Henbane Lore


Resources, interviews and essays from the Poison Path

Of the Nightshades: Interview With Ian Vertel

Baneful Herbs & Venefic Witchcraft

Remembering the Spiritual Properties of Entheogenic Herbs

Bane & Beauty: An Interview with Dylan Pierce

On the Nature of Plants: Ramblings of A Poisoner