Plant Magic: Wisdom from the Green World

Whether you live in a city or the countryside, the magic of plants can be found everywhere and sometimes where you least expect it. Be open and explore the magic that surrounds you.

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Sandra Kynes

Sandra Kynes

The author of over a dozen books, Sandra is an explorer of history, myth, and magic. Her writing has been featured in SageWoman, The Magical Times, The Portal, and Circle magazines, Utne Reader and Magical Buffet websites, and various Llewellyn almanacs. Although she is a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, she travels a solitary Goddess-centered path through the Druidic woods. She has lived in New York City, Europe, England, and now Maine where she lives in an 1850s farmhouse surrounded by meadows and woods.  

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Golden Magic in the Meadows

Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) and sweet goldenrod (S. odora) brighten the autumn roadsides, fields, and meadows. The genus name comes from the Latin solida, meaning “whole,” and ago, “to make” suggesting that goldenrod has been used for a range of medicinal purposes. According to folklore, goldenrod points toward hidden treasure or marks hidden springs. It was also believed that carrying a piece of goldenrod would aid in finding treasure. Blooming at the same time as ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), goldenrod took the rap for causing hay fever until studies showed that its pollen is too heavy to be airborne. Use dried flowers in a sachet for spells to attract wealth and prosperity. Place several sprigs of flowers and leaves on your altar to aid in divination. Cut long stems of flower plumes and place these wherever you need to lift and boost energy. Goldenrod is associated with the element air. Its astrological influence comes from Venus.

 

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Spinning Magic with a Spider

As a gardener I have made my peace with spiders but I could never bring myself to intentionally touch one. While the spider plays an important role in the ecosystem and is part of the army of “good bugs,” it does not engender warm, cuddly feelings, as does the butterfly. However, its ephemeral web is a source of endless fascination, beauty, and metaphor. I must admit I have been enchanted with the yellow and black orb-weaver spider in my garden, perhaps because it spins a spiral shaped web.

In various Native American tribes, Spider Woman or Spider Grandmother is regarded as a benevolent being who guides and provides. She is also considered a supreme creatrix. In Hindu myth, the spider symbolizes the goddess Maya. Representing a divine creative force, she is a goddess of illusion, wisdom, and intuition. Spinning the web of fate, she is associated with magic and witchcraft. Likewise in Europe, a number of goddesses are associated with the magical craft of spinning and weaving. Both the spider web and weaving symbolize magic because from seemingly nothing, something is brought into existence.

As for magic, don’t worry you don’t need to handle spiders in order to use them for magic or ritual. Symbolism, energy, intention, and visualization provide the means to call on their power and influence. We can visualize the energy we send out as a web of magic that weaves together our ideas and their manifested outcomes. We can call on the energy of the spider to fire up and support our creativity and to develop the skills we need to express it. The spider also helps us in creating or renewing connections and communicating with other people. It can help us recognize opportunities and have the patience to wait and work on desired goals. Known for its aggressiveness, the spider can teach us how and when to employ assertive power that is guided by wisdom.

 

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A Lacy Weed Fit for a Queen

Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota) is also known as bird’s nest weed, devil’s plague, and wild carrot. It is a familiar sight at this time of year in fields, ditches, and open areas. Growing one to four feet tall, it has feathery leaves and wide, flat umbels of tiny white flowers that bloom from May to October. Each umbel has a dark reddish-purple floret at the center. After its seeds set, the umbel curls up and inward forming a cup that resembles a bird’s nest.
The root, which is much smaller than today’s cultivated carrot, was a common food in ancient Greece and Rome. In the Middle Ages it was believed that the boiled flowers could be used for a love potion. In the sixteenth century, Queen Anne’s lace was introduced into Great Britain where the flowers and leaves became popular hair accessories. This plant’s common name comes from the story that Queen Anne of England (1665-1714) pricked her finger while sewing and a drop of blood landed in the center of her white lace. Finding this plant almost impossible to remove from fields because of its deep root, farmers called it devil’s plague.

Make an infusion of leaves and add it to a purification bath before performing spells for love, fertility, or virility. If any flowers are still available, use them to decorate your altar for attraction spells as well as esbat rituals or use the leaves and “birds nest” seed heads. Also use the seed heads in spells to increase fertility. Wrap a dried root in lace and put it under your pillow to enhance dream work or to encourage prophetic dreams.

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Planet and Plant Magic with Jupiter

Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system is a prominent luminary in the evening sky in the northern hemisphere. Planetary energy can be used to enhance magical work especially when combined with the energy of plants. Draw Jupiter’s astrological symbol on a small piece of paper to combine with any part of a plant you use. Carry a clove with you to enhance success. When seeking justice use an acorn or oak leaf in a spell to raise energy. Oak will also help with strength and authority. Use myrrh during meditation to deepen your spirituality. To sharpen your intuition, burn a couple of pine needles. Attract money and prosperity by tucking a sprig of sage into the drawer or cabinet where you keep financial papers. Combine Jupiter’s symbol with a little anise for luck.

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Light Up Your Summer Magic

To paraphrase the wizard Gandalf: the smallest of things can hold a great deal of power and that includes insects. Symbolism, energy, and visualization provide the means to call on their power. Also known as a lightning bug, the firefly is one of the good bugs and a gardener’s friend. The flickering bioluminescence of adult fireflies can turn any backyard into a magical display of twinkling lights. Like many people, I have fond childhood memories of catching and releasing them. Quite naturally, the firefly can aid us anytime we seek illumination and inspiration. Representing hope, it can also help when we need guidance. For spell work, include the firefly when you need to remove negativity or any metaphorical darkness in your life. As an activator, this bug adds power to spells. We can also call on it to get our own energy moving to help us achieve our goals. In addition, the firefly can give our creative expression a big boost.

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Magical Midsummer’s Day & Saint John’s Wort

Under the category of “if you can’t beat them, join them,” the feast of Saint John was a Christian substitute for the celebrations that were centered on this time of year. The counterparts to Saint John’s Day and summer solstice are Christmas and the winter solstice. In essence, Jesus and Saint John took the place of the oak and holly kings. Midsummer’s Day is part of the celebrations that occur around the times of the summer solstice. Falling midway between planting and harvest, it marks the middle of the growing season. One form of love divination was to pluck a flower of Saint John’s wort on Midsummer’s Eve. If it was still fresh and not wilted in the morning, one’s marriage prospects were good.

 

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The Healing and Magical Wizard Solomon’s Seal

The Israelite King Solomon was said to have great wisdom, and to possess a special signet or seal ring that aided him in his magic work. By medieval times, he was regarded as a great wizard. According to herbal lore, he was said to have placed his seal upon this plant when he realized its value. It is still used in herbal medicine for a range of treatments and regarded as a powerhouse. The circular scars on the rootstock, which are said to be the mark of Solomon’s seal, are actually left by the stems that die back after the growing season. During the Middle Ages, the design of the seal ring was regarded as a powerful amulet.

 

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