The future of the world is in plant magic.
“The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.” — George Bernard Shaw
In this issue we look at how we humans are working with the energy of plants to create a more sustainable, healthy environment. The green magic of plant life is truly the root, branch, and leaf of all life on earth: without chlorophyll — the green pigment at the center of the energy-transforming biochemistry of photosynthesis — life as we know it would simply not exist. (There is nonphososynthesis-dependent life dwelling at the bottom of the ocean, but it’s not much like us.1) So we begin at the beginning: with the green magic of plant life.
In the Jewish/Christian Bible it is called the Garden of Eden (Eden in Hebrew means “delight”) while in the Qur’an it is simply the Garden, thus implying that all gardens are places of ecstasy, joy, and abundance.2
That’s certainly the case for the subject of our featured interview, award-winning author, psychic-clairvoyant, and Garden Witch extraordinaire Ellen Dugan. Author of a dozen books on the magical intersection between botany and the Craft, Ellen takes us on a guided tour of her work (get a look at her real-life garden, too!) in her interview with Charlyn Walls.
The abundance of plant life flows naturally from the rich connections of intact ecosystems. Although industrial farming can ruthlessly exploit what Gaia has created, a more sustainable approach to agriculture is possible. Permaculture, a system-based approach to agriculture that seeks to integrate human design with the ecosystem in which the farm/garden is naturally embedded, is rapidly gaining popularity with earth-centric Pagans. Sierra Green introduces us to a few of the pioneers in the Pagan permaculture movement while Michael Night Sky interviews their most well-known leader, activist and author Starhawk.
Next up is a trio of articles which outline practical, down-to-earth (forgive the pun!) ways to connect your magical and gardening worlds. Diotima Mantineia shares elemental workings to enrich your soil, Eli Effinger-Weintraub shows us how to use native plants in our magical garden, and Susan Pesznecker introduces the concepts of Rudolph Steiner’s biodynamic gardening. On a more philosophical note, Clea Danaan introduces us to the theology of ecopanentheism, recognizing God/dess both within and transcending the living Earth.
Even the most nurtured soil cannot become productive without water, thus the art of rain-making is one of the most ancient of magics. It is also one of the most complex, as Merideth Allyn shares in her article on weather magic. Continuing our watery motif is Wandering Witch Natalie Zaman’s account of her sojourn in that most liquid of American cities: New Orleans, Louisiana. If you’ve ever wondered what the magic of the bayou is all about, you’ll eat up her detailed report on the hidden faces of this notorious (and delicious) magical destination.
But we haven’t left the Garden behind just yet; our columnists have more goodies to offer! We begin with Tess Whitehurst, who writes on the many ways to connect with the healing power of flowers while Archer examines the philosophical meanings of two flowers in The Lotus and the Rose. R.J. Stewart offers his ruminations on the nature of fae plant magic and the process of discovering and working with power plants.
Moving still deeper into the Earth, Judy Harrow offers her perspectives on that most commonly-invoked (but often little-understood) magical ritual: grounding and centering; while Ashleen O’Gaea relates her experience with going (literally) underground with her family in exploring caves. Kenaz Filan rounds out our focus on plant allies with a report on the many ways to use common ingredients for herbal kitchen magic.
A different sort of “green” is the subject of Galina Krasskova’s column on the deeper practice of money magic, while Isaac Bonewits offers his ruminations on the limits of magic (and how to overcome them). There’s also offerings from Ruby Sarah, who shares her Lammas breadmaking tips plus Deborah Blake on the one thing you shouldn’t cut corners on: Pagan books.
Thought we were finished? Not even! Rounding out this issue is our spotlight on Pagan metal rock band Icarus Witch, a delicious magical love story, tips for having fun (and staying safe) at Pagan festivals, a double-handful of reviews of Pagan books and music, and, of course, our dynamic duo, Good Witch/Bad Witch. I hope you enjoy this cornucopia — and your summer.
2 http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/ Garden_of_Eden
Find out more in Witches&Pagans #21 - The Garden Issue