Working the Poison Path

Join Melissa Madara for this essential look at the history, mystery and magic of poisonous plants!

When looking at a medicinal understanding of poisonous plants, we can see that within their toxic cocktail of chemicals, there lies the capacity to create great medicines as well as lethal weapons. The archetype of the witch relies upon incorporating this two-handed approach; embracing the capacity to hex alongside the capacity to heal, to cure and to curse, and to hold space for both understandings within the same whole. For this reason, poisonous plants are positions as particularly useful allies to witches, for they speak the same morally-ambiguous language as we do.

By exploring a select few of these poisonous plants, we will illuminate this two handed approach to witchcraft, and uncover the path of working these deadly allies in ritual, medicine, and craft. We will explore the mythology, history, and science of poisonous plants, many of which can be found in the Catland courtyard garden, and provide an informed pathway for further exploration of their spirits in your personal work.


Melissa Madara is a witch, chef, storyteller, botanist, and co-owner at Catland Books. Their work deals with the healing power of myth, divination, and immersion in the natural world. They are a teacher at Catland Books and numerous other metaphysical spaces in NYC, and are available for herbal consultations, tarot, and magical coaching by appointment. Find their interviews in the New York Times, Vice, Broadly, Teen Vogue, or Refinery 29, or see Melissa's published works in Fiddler's Green, Venefica Magazine, or their premiere book, The Witch's Feast. Follow Melissa's work and adventures on IG : @saint.jayne