This Dusty Earth: Witchcraft in the City

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Menstrual Sperm Alien Seed Pods! The weird, wonderful world of the Southern Magnolia

b2ap3_thumbnail_Magnlia_a_Verbania.JPGWhen I was a kid, I loved picking up the bright red seeds that littered the ground each fall. I was used to seeds being various shades of brown or black, and the riot of color that marked each passage into winter was always thrilling. I never really knew what to do with them; I'd usually carry them around for a bit and then discard them. But they were fascinating.

When most people think of the Southern Magnolia, they think of its huge white blossoms, which are currently in bloom. They think of the South, not Los Angeles. But we have them everywhere here, and to me they feel just as integral to Southern California as palm trees or pines.

As an adult, I still love collecting the Southern Magnolia's seeds--only now that I'm a witch, I can think of a hundred magical uses for them. The tree itself is traditionally associated with fidelity, but I think its magical power goes far beyond that. The seeds appear in fantastically weird pods like this one:

Magnolia fruit. Image credit Wikipedia.

If this doesn't strike you as something that would fall out of a UFO, then I just don't know what to do with you.

The Magnolia's seed pod strikes me as quite sexual--more so than some other fruits you see in the fall. Apples and pomegranates are associated with sexuality, yes, but their round shape is reminiscent of a pregnant belly. The Magnolia's elongated fruit, distinctly visible in the center of the blossom before the petals fall off, remind me of the lingam and yoni in Hindu cosmology: more about the union and creative potential of sex itself, rather than the separation, transformation, and birth that might follow (although I'm certainly no expert on Hinduism, and I could be wrong on the particulars).


A lingam and yoni, symbol of male and female creative energy. Image credit Wikipedia.

The seeds themselves are an interesting mix of male and female, too. Their red color calls to mind menstruation and the womb, but when you pull them out of the pod, they come with little tails, like sperm:

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0923.JPG

So, what are these hundred uses for the Southern Magnolia seed that I supposedly know? Well, I'll leave you to come up with your own. It's more fun that way! (Also, writing out a hundred spells would be really hard on my wrists. Also, maybe I don't quite have a hundred.) But think of these seeds when you need help with sexuality, creativity, or vitality. Think of them when you embody the story of the Star Goddess and Miria, or when you work with a genderqueer figure like the Timtum or Inanna (the tree itself is associated with Venus, Inanna's descendent). Think of their interesting placement in the Wheel of the Year: they appear around Samhain, directly opposite of Beltane, which we traditionally associate with sexual union. Death and creative potential aren't two separate concepts; rather, they're two faces of the same moment. Think of how we call the orgasm "the little death." Think of the possibilities that open up when a worn-out state of being is put to rest.

If you live in an area with Southern Magnolias, keep an eye on their blossoms from now until fall. Notice the growing pods in the centers. Give an offering when the first red seeds appear.

Do you work with the Southern Magnolia in your magic? Do you know of any neat lore associated with this tree? Sound off in the comments!

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Asa is a sliding-scale tarot reader, intuitive, and witch blending pellar craft with animism and earth-based Judaism. Instagram: @tarotbyasa

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