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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Holly in Summer?

Following the wheel of the year through the Celtic tree calendar, July 8th begins the time of the holly tree and its ogham character Tinne. While the tree calendar is a modern construct, it holds meaning because of the concepts it has come to symbolize and the significance it has for twenty-first century magic, ritual, and everyday life.

Although we associate holly with Yule, this is the time of year when it comes into bloom with delicate, inconspicuous flowers. The energy of this period (from July 8 to August 4) is associated with hearth and home. It is a time when problems that may occur are often best resolved through the power and unity of family.

In the past, it was believed unlucky to take holly indoors except at Yule and considered very unlucky to cut down a living holly tree. With sharp spines, holly leaves are the epitome of protection. To enhance the defense of your home, place three leaves under the front door mat. The leaves can also be used for protection against hostile magic. Tuck a leaf into your purse or wallet to carry as a protective amulet. It can also be burned it in a spell for protection against hostile magic.If you don’t have access to a holly tree, cut out a piece of paper in the shape of a holly leaf, and then draw its Ogham symbol in the center.

To enhance dream work, dry several clusters of flowers and then sew them into a sachet. Place it under your pillow. Holly is especially powerful for divination through dreams. Put fresh holly flowers on your altar for spiritual guidance.

English holly (Ilex aquifolium) is a dense, pyramid-shaped tree that reaches thirty to fifty feet tall and half as wide. Its glossy, dark green leaves have wavy margins and sharp spines.  American holly (I. opaca) reaches twenty-five to fifty feet tall. Its leaves are matte green instead of glossy. Both species produce small, white flowers that grow in clusters at the base of the leaf stems. The flowers are inconspicuous and easy to overlook. Holly produces male and female flowers on separate trees and relies on pollinators such as bees and insects. This means that you need to have one of each type of tree if you want holly berries, which occur only on the female tree.



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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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