Essential Oils, Medicinal Herbs, Flower Essences: What’s the difference?

PART 1 – Overview

As I talk to more people about herbal medicine and flower essences, I realize that there’s a lot of confusion around the definitions and usages of the different plant healing modalities. I will go into each modality in more detail during later blogs, but wanted to start off with a basic overview of three options:

Essential Oils

Essential oils are fragrant, highly concentrated natural constituents of plants that are located in tiny secretory structures with the leaves, berries, petals, roots, zests, resins or woods. They are what give the plant its characteristic odor. They are generally used as additions to DIY house cleaners due to their anti-septic and anti-bacterial properties, as therapeutic aromatherapy and mood enhancers, and as healing modalities generally for headaches, nausea and fungal infections.

Medicinal Herbs

These remedies are made from whole plant material such as roots, bark, leaves/stems, berries and flowers. They come in many different formats including tinctures, oils, decoctions, teas, syrups, vinegars and ointments. Herbs can help to support the balance in your system through a variety of health concerns, including: nerve and muscular pain, asthma, allergies, headaches/migraines, PMS, menopause, anxiety, depression, ADHD, digestive issues, fertility and more. They can also work on more generalized issues like stress management, recovery from trauma, fatigue, and poor concentration. 

Flower Essences

Flower essences are infusions of flowers in water preserved with brandy, which uniquely address emotional and mental aspects of wellness. Their focus on rebalancing the mind can support relief from trauma, PTSD, fear, phobias, poor concentration, family issues, grief, anger management, stress, anxiety, panic attacks, depression and more. They can aid in the rebalancing of physical issues, too, as our emotions affect us physically through the body-mind relationship. Overall, they help create awareness about and resolve issues of unhealthy conditioned habits or perceptions. This relearning and rebalancing can lead to greater well-being and harmony in our lives.

Your health is important! If you are looking for help for a particular issue, I highly suggest speaking with a practitioner of your modality of choice in order to get the best outcome. Additionally, alternative medicine is a collaborative experience; you know your body best, we know the modality best. It is very important that you feel comfortable and confident in your choice of practitioner, so that we can work together effectively on your health concerns. 

For Flower Essence Therapy, schedule a session with Clare Gardner Nieto.
For an Herbal Consult, schedule a session with Liz Johnson.

Clare Gardner Nieto, Magus Minion

A Word on Sigil/Affirmation Phrasing.

Let’s go through converting and affirmation to a phrase for a sigil. In doing so, we can touch on how to best tailor a phrase/sentence to be turned into a functional sigil. So, let’s get started.

Original Affirmation: I will be superior to bad thoughts and low actions today.

Hm, okay. The intention is good, but there is a lot I would change about this affirmation before making it into a sigil.

1: Phrase Tense

Sigils work via continued contact or a slow steady discharge. Because of this, it’s usually best to use the present tense in your phrase. Saying I “will be” something is well and good, but it doesn’t define when. Saying “I am” is clear, and demands results now. To be sure, there’s a little fake-it-‘til-you-make-it here, but that’s fine for sigils! We’re defining intent so that we can manifest it, so let’s aim high!

This affirmation works as a spoken affirmation but might lose some punch as a sigil due to the future tense phrasing. Instead of having a hopeful “will be” let’s change the tense to the Present. Also, let’s get rid of the “today.” I want to be this way forever, so let’s not limit the positive effect on this one.

Affirmation: “I am superior to bad thoughts and low actions.”

2: Clear adjectives

This one may depend on your world-view. If you have a good/bad and black/white worldview, saying “bad” and “low” might be enough, and the phrase may not need any more alterations in terms of adjectives. My world-view does not include a set, universal definition of “bad” or “good,” so I need to be a little more specific to get the results I want. Even if you do subscribe to a tidier worldview than mine, it may help to be specific! (I’m not going to get into world-view here, because that’s a whole book in itself)

Rather than say “bad” thoughts, I really want to focus on what kind of thoughts I don’t want. I’m going to go with “self-sabotaging”. This is much more specific, if a little more verbose.  Likewise, instead of saying “low actions” I’m going to go with “hurtful actions.”

Affirmation: I am superior to self-sabotaging thoughts and hurtful actions.

3: Caster’s State of Being

In the affirmation we have, the caster is “superior to” the behaviors that are listed. That’s dandy, but the phrasing still worries me, because humans (or however you define yourself) err, and have bad days. This phrasing is worrisome, because it invites the user to feel shame if a self-sabotaging thought or hurtful action does slip through. Sigils are great, and we should aim for the stars (like I said before), but keep in mind that there are limits to how much energy you can give to it, and therefore limits to a sigil’s power.

So, the quick fix would be something like “I do not engage in self-sabotaging thoughts and hurtful actions,”  right? NOPE!

In a sigil, we are aiming to attract things. Sigils aren’t nearly as effective at banishing things, so lets work with attraction. So, we want to make sure we’re not using a negative phrase. Anything that has the word “not” in it is weaker than a positive “I do” or “I am.”

This affirmation names two negative behaviors, so we have to do some linguistic gymnastics to make this work.  The easiest way is to name behaviors that you want to attract instead of ones that you want to push away. However, that’s not the point of this affirmation, and sometimes we just want to get rid of a behavior, so let’s give this a shot.

Affirmation: “I am detached from self-sabotaging thoughts and seek non-hurtful actions.”

Awesome! This gives us an added bonus of not trying to change our thought patterns completely, but instead work within the framework we are given. This makes the sigil easier to charge and maintain. The “Non-hurtful” isn’t maybe the most ideal, but it will do.  “I am detached” works, because it means that yes, those self-sabotaging thoughts are still going to come through sometimes, but they’ll just roll off. That’s great! In my experience, being able to have a thought but not really buy into it is the first step in meaningful change of a thought process, so we’re off to a good start here for long-term change!

Final note:

It would be possible to take this affirmation and split into it two separate sigils and then mash them together, too. Then the phrases would be “I am detached from self-sabotaging thoughts” and “I seek non-hurtful behaviors.” It may make the creation of the visual aspect of the sigil easier.


-Kitty, Magus Advertising

Fiction Section Groupie

Working in a bookstore, as I’ve said before, is a bookworm’s dream. There’s nothing quite like being surrounded by books everyday. However, while I love the endless amounts of non-fiction research materials offered at Magus, I am in my heart, a fiction girl. Which is why I was so excited to see that we had a fiction section.


Though small, the section has a nice selection for all age ranges of supernatural-themed books such as paranormal mysteries, picture books on mythology, young adult urban fantasy, and middle grade fantasy adventure. I had a lot of fun recently reorganizing and redecorating the shelves. There was a certain nostalgic pleasure to going through the books for younger readers and seeing titles I’d enjoyed like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Artemis Fowl, The Runaway Bunny, and Tamora Pierce’s Inheritance Series. Going through the adult section was an exercise in self-restraint as I saw books I’d loved, books on my To-Read list and books I’d never seen before that I longed to add to the ridiculously large unread pile in my living room.


In the end, it was rather fulfilling to add some shine to a section that will hopefully make a fellow fiction reader just as excited as I am.

-Katta Hules

Spiritual Practices: Pandemonium

Last month I gave you, dear reader, a glimpse into my personal spiritual practice. I thought this month I’d do it again but in a roundabout way. Hold on while I take us through 3,000 years of history very quickly.

I’ve been feeling the myth of Pan lately. For those in the know, Pan is the ancient Greek God of the wilderness, shepherds, and pastures. He is described as looking much like a satyr, having the torso and face of a man and the legs of a goat. Of course he also sported a nice pair of horns too. Many ancient Greek depictions show him with a horse’s tail and longer ears. Only later in Roman art is he represented as more of a goat or satyr.

While he was probably known throughout the ancient Greek world, his worship and reverence was central only to the Arcadians. Arcadia was not a very fertile place, so crops like wheat or other cereal grains did not grow well. The land is rocky and full of forests so agriculture wasn’t the focus of their society.  The Athenians called the Arcadian’s “acorn eaters”, for the made their bread from the processed nuts of the Oak tree rather than the wheat of their more advanced society. Arcadians were shepherds, so it was no wonder their main god was half goat, half man, and little on the wild side. Their main goddess was Artemis. There again is a wild and unrestrained personality.

The myths of Pan are peppered throughout the ancient literature. Pan was said to be nursed alongside the infant Zeus. Later, when Zeus was captured by Thypon, it was Pan and Hermes who helped restore his strength. He is responsible for the Astrological Sign Capricorn and the musical instrument: the reed/pan-pipes. He is a highly erotic god and the stories of him chasing after nymphs, young shepherds, and goats are plentiful. Wild, untamed, and sexual are just a few words to describe to this highly charged deity.

Much of western society focused its attention on the gods of culture, even after the polytheists of Europe became “unfashionable.” References to Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, and Hades travel through Western art, literature, and government. Gods of the wilderness, of chaos, of revelry and desire, were left in the past for a multitude of reasons: mostly because society valued progress, rationality, war, and monotheism.

It wasn’t until the height of the industrial revolution in Great Britain did the Great God Pan rear his head again. I could go into all the poetry, statuary, literature, and worship that began to flow back to Pan at this time but that would be best left to the professional historians. Professor Ronald Hutton does just this in his talk History of the Pagan Horned God*. You can listen to it on the Druidcast podcast in the link below. It’s a long talk but so worth it.

Spring has come back to Minnesota. The cool winter days are behind us and when the sun is out, I can walk in jeans and short sleeves and feel happy again. I went for a run the other day in shorts and felt the sun on my face. I took off my shirt, grabbed my hoola-hoop out of the garage and swung that around for a while. I have plans on getting out onto the hiking trails on my next day off. Come rain or shine, I’ll be out there. I’m going dancing this Friday night. These are my offerings to Pan.

I’m rather cultured individual so it might be strange to see me as reverent to the goat-footed-god. I work on my computer a lot. I wear button down shirts. I try to comb my hair every day and keep it in a neat braid. I try to keep myself contained, to be well mannered, and to speak clearly. While I honor and respect these aspects of society, I’m creature of nature, of the wilderness, of the swamps and mud. I love the feeling of my heart beating in my chest when I run. I love the ecstatic flow of dance music when I’m in the club. I love wine, and dancing, and bodies, and all the things the wild goat God Pan stands for. Spring fever is real and it’s a pandemic. I say embrace it.

Further reading on Pan, and other horned gods:
Horns of Honor: Regaining the Spirit of the Pagan Horned God by Frederick Thomas Elworthy, Raven Grimassi



-Markus K Ironwood