Earth-Friendly Witchcraft (Baby Witch Bootcamp, Ch. 34)

Person Holding A Green Plant
Photo by Akil Mazumder, accessed via Pexels.

Whatever religious or spiritual tradition they identify with, most witches agree that there is something sacred about the natural world. We draw our power from the earth beneath our feet, the sky over our heads, and the air in our lungs.

And yet, many of us live in societies that are actively contributing to the destruction of the natural world. Most developed nations have a linear economy, which means resources are extracted and then sent on a one-way trip to consumers who will use them and then throw them away. This leads to overflowing landfills, air and water pollution, and quickly disappearing resources. The World Economic Forum predicts that, if our habits don’t change, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. And I dearly hope that by now we’re all familiar with the reality of climate change and its devastating impact on global ecosystems.

I’m not trying to scare you, but I do want to point out the hypocrisy of drawing power from the Earth in our magic while simultaneously contributing to her destruction. If we truly want to consider ourselves spiritual allies of the planet, we need to make an effort to live our lives — and practice our magic — in ways that are less harmful to her.

You don’t have to become an environmentalist or switch to a zero waste lifestyle, but we can all make little changes for a more sustainable life. There’s lots of information out there about how to live a more Earth-friendly lifestyle, so in this post I’ll be focusing on how to apply that same philosophy to your witchcraft.

Steps to a more Earth-Friendly Practice:

  • Limiting your consumption will automatically lower your negative impact on the planet. Follow my previous guidelines for avoiding consumerism to start shrinking your carbon footprint.
  • Avoid plastic as much as possible. According to the WEF, 70% of our plastic ends up in a landfill or in the world’s waterways, and according to Julia Watkins, author of Simply Living Well, only 9% of household plastics get recycled. Plastic (unlike glass and metal) cannot be recycled indefinitely — it can only be recycled a handful of times before it becomes too degraded to be repurposed any further. There really is no way to make plastic safer for the planet, so it’s best to just avoid it altogether. Look for tools made of metal, wood, or glass instead of plastics, and try to order things shipped in paper and cardboard when possible.
  • Create spells that won’t leave leftovers. One of the big contributing factors to our current environmental crisis is that we just produce too much waste. You can avoid this in your magical practice by crafting spells that won’t leave you throwing away a big ball of candle wax, herbs, and paper. Kitchen magic is a no-brainer for this, since kitchen spells are meant to be eaten. If you want to do a candle spell, use small candles that will burn up completely — I find larger candles are more likely to leave leftover wax. Making magical bath salts is another great option for leftover-free spells — just make sure everything you include is safe to go down the drain and won’t contribute to water pollution!
  • Forage for your own spell materials. One of the best ways to avoid plastic packaging and cut down on emissions from shipping is to use materials from your backyard! Learn about the plants, animals, and minerals native to your area, and take regular nature walks where you can gather what you need. Remember to only take as much as you need and to be careful never to damage the plants you harvest from. Make sure to carefully disinfect any animals bits you pick up — you can do this by burying them in salt for a full moon cycle and/or setting them in the sun/under a UV light for several days. If you find a dead animal and want to strip and clean its bones for use in ritual, this is a much more involved process and will require special research, equipment, and lots of time. And, of course, never eat anything you have foraged unless you happen to have an advanced degree in botany.
  • Keep a magical garden. Another great way to connect with the planet and shrink your carbon footprint is to grow your own herbs, vegetables, and fruits. You can, of course, grow food for your kitchen if you have space, but even if you live in a tiny apartment you can grow a handful of magical herbs in pots. For a list of common houseplants and their magical associations, check out this post.
  • Shop for spell materials at a local farmer’s market. Buying local is a great way to avoid the environmental impact of shipping produce, and it allows you to support small farms. Farmer’s markets also typically carry seasonal produce, which can help you align your magical practice with the cycles of nature. Farmer’s markets are a great way to find seasonal fruits and vegetables for kitchen magic, but you can use the produce you find there for other types of spells as well.
  • Trade paraffin wax candles for beeswax or soy wax. Paraffin, the material used for most cheap candles, is a by-product of crude oil, which is not only highly unsustainable but contains carcinogens (chemicals that may cause cancer). Beeswax is a sustainable alternative, and beeswax candles produce a “clean” burn, meaning it does not negatively affect air quality. Soy wax is a slightly pricier, vegan-friendly sustainable option that also produces a clean burn.
  • Use undyed, unbleached paper for your written spells. The bleaches and dyes used in most commercially available paper have a toxic effect on the environment. Colored paper cannot be recycled or composted because it will contaminate everything it touches. Use plain, unbleached paper for your written spells, especially if you plan to bury them in the ground or dispose of them outside.
  • Make sure your essential oils are ethically harvested. Essential oils are tricky — although they are marketed as natural, many of them are produced through unsustainable methods. Because essential oils are concentrated, it may take thousands of pounds of plants to produce a single pound of oil. This can have a devastating impact, especially for endangered plants like white sage or palo santo. Look for ethically-sourced, wild-harvested essential oils — these are oils that are gathered from the wild in ways that don’t hurt the local ecosystem. Mountain Rose Herbs and Eden’s Garden are two brands that are committed to sustainable essential oil production.
  • Instead of burying a spell in a jar, bury it in a hollowed-out fruit or vegetable. Many traditions call for spells to be buried in the ground. Items like jar spells and witch bottles are traditionally buried on the witch’s property. The problem with this is that plastic and glass bottles do not biodegrade, and will remain in the ground for years. Instead of putting these materials in the ground, bury your spells in a hollowed-out fruit or vegetable. As a bonus, you can choose this item to support your intention. For example, you might use an apple for a love spell or a spicy pepper for protection. Just make sure everything inside the spell is also biodegradable!
  • Keep a compost pile as an offering to your local land spirits. Compost is an easy way to reduce food waste, and it gives your garden a boost! Even if you don’t have your own garden, you can give your compost to a fiend who does or look into donating it to a community garden. When composting, it’s important to maintain a balance between carbon-rich “brown” ingredients (leaves, undyed paper, cardboard, etc.) and nitrogen-rich “greens” (fruit and veggie scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, etc.) — you want about four times as much brown as green in your compost. Start your compost with a layer of brown — preferably twigs or straw to allow good airflow. Alternate layers of green and brown materials as you add to the pile. Every time you add to your compost, verbally express your gratitude to the land spirits. Your compost should be moist, but not soggy — you’ll know it’s ready when it’s dark and crumbly and smells like soil.
  • Make your own tea blends with loose herbs and a reusable tea strainer instead of buying teabags. Witches and tea go together like peanut butter and chocolate, but the individual wrappers on teabags create a lot of waste. On top of that, since many of these wrappers are dyed, they may not even be recyclable. Keep your teas earth-friendly by buying dried herbs in bulk and blending your own teas. Making your own blends is not only better for the planet, but also allows you to choose each ingredient for a specific magical intention.
  • Find ways to use your trash in your craft. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Instead of throwing things away, find ways to use them in your magic! Use food scraps from cooking, like carrot greens and potato peels, in spells. Turn an old shoe box into a travel altar. Add your coffee grounds to spells to ground them and manifest results in the physical world. You get the idea. Be creative!
  • Research different models for Earth-friendly living, like the zero waste/low waste lifestyle, sustainability, and the solarpunk movement. This will give you more ideas for a sustainable lifestyle, as well as a sustainable magical practice.

The funny thing about Earth-friendly living is that, the more time you spend taking care of the planet, the more connected you feel to it. I encourage you to try some of the ideas on this list — you’ll be amazed by how quickly you develop a deeper relationship with the Earth and all her creatures.


  • Of Blood and Bones by Kate Freuler
  • Simply Living Well by Julia Watkins
  • “By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans, study says” from The Washington Post
  • A Sustainable Mind podcast
  • Practical(ly) Zero Waste podcast

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