Most witches I run into at most gatherings think spells are the thing of the past, and the neo pagan witches seem be hopping on the new age band wagon with crystals and gems, which is just leading people into stripping our Earth it's own energy. People just tend to forget the most important thing in the craft is working with the rewards that nature gives us. And these rewards are given to us when we work with Mother Nature, when we take from the Earth and do not give anything in return, sooner or later we will feel the Earth's anger. Mother nature shows man again and again that he is no master of nature, when the rain falls and the floods come, nature wins.
Earth quakes erupting, Tornados, Hurricanes, and snow, we should work more with nature.
Mother Earth gives the knowledge on how to use what grows upon her skin the surface of the Earth. Because we are her children she tries to take care of us, we should show respect for her.
The knowledge of herbs has a spiritual side and a healing side and is used for motivation needs or wants that could be obtain threw herbs used threw ceremonial magic. Herbs uses in different ways were found to have different causes and effects. By mixing the spiritual side with ceremonial methods it was found to please the mother Earth or the Goddess.
She has past on to her witches as her teachers and has requested that for the knowledge of the Earth we must give thanks to the highest way and that is threw ceremonial magic and symbolic representation of the Goddess and the system of life. The casting of the circle and the use of the herbs during the ceremony and after are very important. The elements play their part as the system of life. Most cast a circle without symbolism because it is thought it was not needed, but in ceremonial magic it is part of creating a temple for the Goddess in the highest honor. This was part of the ceremony and is part of the spell of growth towards the union of your soul with the Earth and when you are initiated. So it is very important I think to be initiated by another to have a witness to this union makes one take this commitment more serious. That's probably why I do not think too much of self-initiation.
You can take back your commitment to easily and if it is witnessed you then to remember it more and take it more seriously, especially if it is made into a very spectacular event you will remember it always. Your ceremonies and learning’s of the craft, and symbolism with herbs are the spell of growth towards the union of your soul with the Earth and is a spell being weaved.
Spells have their purpose and should be remembered even if most is folklore. But I find most spells very useful. So the next time you see a rock and a herb side by side, take the herb that will grow back, but that shinny crystal and gemstone does not come easy to the Earth to replace as a plant.