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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Motherhood, Death, and Magic

Around this time of year, the white lily is THE flower in the Christian world. The Madonna Lily (Lilium candidum) represents the Virgin Mary, and death and resurrection. But the white lily had these associations long before Christianity. In fact, the white lily may be one of the oldest domesticated flowers. Cultivated in Crete as early as 3000 BCE, it was depicted on Minoan vases and in frescos in the palace of Knossos. The flower was also associated with the Cretan moon goddess of nature and hunting, Britomartis, who was later identified with Artemis.
        Throughout Greece, the white lily was also cultivated for medicinal purposes and enjoyed as garden ornamentals. Also known as Juno’s rose, the lily was associated with Juno/Hera in Roman and Greek mythology. Legends vary, according to one the white flowers sprang up where drops of Juno’s milk fell to the ground. Associated with fertility, lilies were worn by Greek and Roman brides. The lily was also cultivated by the Egyptians who dedicated the flower to Isis.
        The white lily was also a funerary flower to the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians because it was a symbol of hope and renewal. While the flower memorialized the dead and help them on their way through the afterlife, on the practical side it helped to mask unpleasant odors.
        Although the symbology was adapted into Church lore, in medieval Europe the white lily was still used medicinally and as a flower of magic. While the dried root was sometimes worn as an amulet and love charm, the lily was also used to counteract love potions. Medieval magicians used it to manifest spirits. In England, lilies were hung over doorways to ward off bewitchment and grown in gardens to keep ghosts away.
        For modern magic, place a white lily on your altar during full moon rituals to call on the beauty and power of Luna. Dry several flowers and use them in a sachet for a love charm. The lily is a flower of renewal especially because it rises from the ground on its own unaccompanied by leaves. Place a vase of lilies on your altar to symbolize a new chapter in your life or to welcome any type of transition.

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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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