How do astrology and herbalism relate to each other? What does it mean to be a witch at this time in history? How does intersectionality influence our way forward? This week I’ve invited Alexis J. Cunningfolk on the show to talk about these topics and it was a great conversation.
Alexis J. Cunningfolk (she/her/they) is an intersectional herbalist, magickal mentor, and weaver of remedies at Worts + Cunning Apothecary. She helps folks radically re-enchant their lives through herbal medicine and magickal arts.
As a queer nonbinary womxn of mix-d heritage, she revels in the powerful intersections of ancestral wisdom, social justice, and plant healing. She offers online and in-person classes, including The Lunar Apothecary and The Tarot Apothecary, as well as free resources on her blog, and magickal insight through her newsletter. You’ll find Alexis most often on Instagram, taking photos of tea and waxing poetically about life as a witch.
There were so many things about this interview that will stay with me. I love how Alexis talks about bringing story and meaning back into herbalism, really connecting it to our lineage and not just about medicinal qualities (although they are important too). She still uses herbs as magic along with other purposes and I find it both refreshing and fascinating.
We’ve lost so much because of imperialism, colonialism, and the loss of our ancestral roots over time. But I feel like Alexis’ work and the work of others, can help us to reconnect and reclaim what has been lost.
In this interview Alexis mentions the doctrine of signatures, another deeply interesting topic, which to me speaks to the connectedness of all things. Our ancestors knew this and we need to be reminded of it. Maybe science is right and everything is random, maybe we are creating our own meanings out of nothing, but the more I learn the more I see that everything has evolved together. And the cool thing is, that means everything, and everyone, has a place and a purpose in the world. Everyone is needed.
Alexis noticed a shift in her students and how they approach magic, wanting an instant relationship with the Divine, and even sometimes what seems to be a Pinterest/Instagram driven desire for the “right look”. I agree that aesthetics are important, and that can certainly play a big part of a spiritual practice, but I think it’s important to remember the most important piece of the puzzle: the magic you bring with you.
I love her take on developing a slow practice over time and through devotion. Most of us want the immediate fix but cultivating a consistent practice, whatever that practice may be, is the long game. And of course, take pleasure in your practices.
“We deserve to be taken care of, and loved, and held for the long haul.”
Resources mentioned during the show:
Luisah Teish, specifically her book Jambalaya: The Magical Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals
Rosemary Gladstar’s books on herbalism
Julie James, herbalist
Demetria Clark, herbalist
I’m so glad Alexis said yes to being on the show! Don’t forget to sign up for The Tarot Apothecary, which starts January 1st. There’s even an early bird special! Next week I have an interview with the incomparable Rachael Maddox that I’m excited to share with you. Until then, enjoy your family, the cooler weather(ish, I still live in Texas), and have a great week!
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