The Cunning Crow Apothecary
Magical Herbs and Potions for the Modern Witch
t wasn’t until around 1000 AD that witches attracted the wrath of Christian priests and their followers, but since the early days of humankind witches have been known for their spellbound potions and herbal brews. Herbal apothecary is nothing new, but the magic being cooked up by Seattle-based, witch-owned boutique, The Cunning Crow Apothecary, is putting a modern spin on an ancient alchemy.
With a mission “to reawaken the power of traditional magic and herbal medicine,” we had to know what was brewing in The Cunning Crow Apothecary’s cosmic cauldron! We spoke with co-founder Ylva Mara Radziszewski on how she and business partner Lauren Herold joined magical forces to concoct their herbal remedies from mama Gaia, and how she personally uses magic in her everyday life.
When and how did The Cunning Crow Apothecary come into existence?
The Cunning Crow Apothecary was born summer of 2015 as a teaching temple and practitioner space. My friend and co-founder of the apothecary, Lauren Herold, and I were already making preparations by appointment from our in-house apothecary.
We began hearing from our clients and students that there was a need for a spiritual “forum” of sorts. And so we decided to open a store where energy healers, spiritual practitioners, and their clients could access the tools of the trade along with remedies to assist in their ceremonies and their clients’ healing journeys. The store opened March of 2016.
What is your favorite product/ritual/herb when you need to ground down and cleanse your energy?
Our go-to product at the store has to be our Energy Clearing Spray. It’s a hydrosol made from western red cedar, white sage, benzoin, and mugwort. We are in love with it! Some of our favorite stones for grounding are blue lace agate, nuummite, and quartz (of course).
My personal plant ally for grounding is devil’s club. I’ve also found great comfort in the personal rituals gifted to us by Starhawk. For grounding and personal empowerment I always return to The Pentagram of Pearl.
What have you been guided by the most through your spiritual journey?
I feel like I’m most guided by the care and diligence of our clients and students as they empower themselves through their craft. The journeys they take and the histories they carry are remarkable tales of resilience. I tend to work with survivors of sexual assault, substance abuse, and those fighting the systems of marginalization of gender, race, and sexuality. I’m most guided by curiosity, divine inspiration, and the hope of sovereignty for all beings.
As an intuitive and a witch, I strive to listen to the ancestors and the elements. I feel their messages and observe the moments they illuminate. It’s my hope, as a witch, to be guided by the ritual of choosing.
Where is the most spiritual place you’ve traveled to and how did it influence you?
As of late, Poland. My father is from Poland; he died two years ago and I carried his ashes through Poland while on pilgrimage. The day I released his ashes I turned 32. I wandered through a small forest on the edge of the Baltic Sea in a town called Gdańsk.
As I wandered to the beach I sang. The grandmothers began to whisper and sing with me, teaching me about the medicine of ancestral voice and how to sing the magic of the plants into remedies. The Baltic Wintering Syrup that we sell at The Cunning Crow Apothecary is actually a recipe I learned from the grandmothers that day. Once I arrived to the beach the clouds opened and the sun shone. The Baltic was as deep and grey as the hours before dawn. I felt my blood turn cold; I felt my bones burn. I came home to myself as the ocean gathered my father into Her arms.
How do you personally use the power of traditional magic and herbal medicine in your daily life?
There are so many ways to honor our relationships with Spirit and the medicines of nature. Most days I will cleanse my body with smoke from an herbal smudge blend. Usually I blend mugwort, rose petal, chaparral, and sage brush for my personal work. I will ask the smoke and the herbs to heal and cleanse my body, my heart, and my mind that I may do my best to be in right relationship with them; to do good work in the world this day. I come back to that prayer throughout the day.
EXCLUSIVE SPIRIT GUIDES DISCOUNT
Spirit Guides readers get to enjoy 10% off select herbal goodies at The Cunning Crow Apothecary online shop! Use code SpiritCrow to save on Altar Kits, Moon Kits, Wortcunning Vials, CCA Sprays (Sweetness Returning, Energy Clearing, Curse and Thought-form Unraveling). We’ll be alchemizing our energy, that’s for sure!