One thing that I have noticed to be sorely missing from most of the books on Hoodoo and Rootwork is the concept of plant spirits. I honestly don’t know if animism part of the rootwork tradition, but it is safe to say that it is part of both the African and Native American roots of conjure. Most of the conjure books that I come across make it seem as if the simple fact of throwing some dried herbs into a red flannel pouch and then consecrating it is enough to make a powerful mojo hand. In My opinion this is far from being the case. I always like to say we call it rootwork because the roots do the work!
When our predecessors would have gathered their herbs and roots for working or medicine they would have addressed the spirits of each individual plant letting their intentions being known in the process. I feel that this is something that many modern workers have neglected while allowing their ego to believe that all the power in their working comes from them alone. To me a proficient conjurer is successful because of his skill with working with the spirits and not as much because of personal power. Knowing which energies are best suited for a particular situation, how to call them forth and then direct them toward their task is what a conjurer does.
There is no set way for someone to honor the plant spirits so I encourage each worker to devise their own. My ritual is pretty simple. I set all of the items out on the altar and then hold each one in my hand individually and talk to it. I address the spirit, let my desires be known, and then ask that the spirit reawaken and bring energy by to the plant for the desired purpose. I then set that plant on a plate and feed the spirit with a few drops of rum (whiskey also works fine). After all of the plants have been laid out on the plate and given offerings I set out four cups of water around the plate in a “cross” shape. I add a dash of spearmint water to each cup which is used as a way to thank spirits for their service and light a tea light in each cup. Let that sit over night or at least until the lights have burned out and then use them for whatever they were charged for.
Address and honor the spirits and I promise that you will see a dramatic improvement in your workings.