The Poison Path

What is the Poison Path?

The Poison Path, also known as veneficium or pharmakeia, is part of the broader practice of esoteric herbalism.  Baneful herb knowledge can be incorporated into any practice.  The study, exploration and partnership with poisonous plants or baneful herbs for magical, spiritual and healing properties is the path of the poisoner.  While it still falls under the umbrella of green witchcraft, the plants of the Poison Path stand in a category all their own.

Baneful herbs are those plants we are told to stay away from.  They often cause or are in some way connected to the taboo energy of death.  Oftentimes the very poison that makes them deadly is also a powerful medicine when used properly.  These are plants that expand consciousness and promote new perspectives, something that will always be a threat to existing power structures.  It is for this reason that these plants were given a bad reputation.  They were associated with the folk knowledge of the country, whose practices were at best superstitious and at worst diabolical machinations.

The Poison Path is centered around entheology, which is the study of sacred plants for their psyche-magical properties to effect personal growth.  Like many esoteric sciences it incorporates multiple sources of information including ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, alchemy and herbalism.  There is also a very spiritual component to working with these plants.  It is my mission to share my passion, and here is a collection of some of my writings on the topic ranging from (2017-present)

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 master plant spirits through trance, ritual ingestion, and spirit work.

The creation of herbal homunculi using the techniques of spagyric alchemy

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.

I have included a list with direct links to all of my Poison Path articles below!

The Plants of the Poison Path

Thornapple, Gender and Ritual Application

Solanaceae in the Garden of Shadow

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

The Fly in the Witch’s Ointment: Redefining the Poison Path 

Preparing for Flight: Techniques for Ritual Entheogens

Unguentum Venenum: A Flying Ointment

Samhain in the Devil’s Garden

Saturnian Plants: Defining boundaries and Defining Boundaries

Spellcrafting with Baneful Herbs

Plant Spirit Glyphs 

The Healing Properties of Baneful Herbs

Nightshades: Ointments, Oils and Tinctures

Deadly Delicacies from Emporium Black

Of the Nightshades: Interview With Ian Vertel

Baneful Herbs & Venefic Witchcraft

Baneful Herbs & Traditional Craft

Remembering the Spiritual Properties of Entheogenic Herbs

Bane & Beauty: An Interview with Dylan Pierce

On the Nature of Plants: Ramblings of A Poisoner