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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Parsley: A Garnish That Belongs in a Grimoire

Parsley is more than a dinner plate decoration that has a long history of magic and symbolism. The Greeks used parsley medicinally and sometimes wore crowns of it at banquets and festivals. However, it was not used as a culinary herb because it was regarded as sacred to the dead. Associated with Persephone and the underworld, the leafy stalks were used to adorn graves. The Romans had a different take on it. According to legend, Hercules adorned himself with the plant, making it a symbol of strength and vigor.

During the summer solstice in parts of Eastern Europe, parsley was given to cows to prevent witches from casting spells on them, which would effect milk production. In the Pyrenees of France and Spain, parsley boiled in water was given to a person who may have been bewitched.

Oddly enough, in some areas of Europe it was believed that only a witch could grow parsley. Parsley is one of many herbs said to be an ingredient in witch’s flying ointment.

While brides in Poland carried parsley to keep witches and evil spirits away, in Germany brides tucked it into their skirts as a charm to keep a husband faithful. Parsley wine was reputedly an effective aphrodisiac. An old legend told to children in England noted that babies were born in a patch of parsley. When planted in a field on Midsummer’s Day, parsley was believed to keep faeries away from the crops.

Parsley grows in rounded mounds about a foot tall. Tiny yellow-green flowers grow on separate stalks. The oval seeds are grayish brown and ribbed. The white root looks like a small parsnip. There are two types of parsley generally available: flat-leaf and curly-leaf. Flat-leaf (Petroselinum crispum syn. P. sativum) is also known as garden or common parsley. Curly-leaf (Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum) is also known as Italian parsley.

While parsley may be a common herb, it is a potent ally for element magic (air and fire), ritual purification, and protection in general. Often used to freshen the breath, eat a few parsley leaves before spell work or ritual to add potency to incantations and chants. Diffuse a little essential oil when feeling emotionally fragile during times of change. Parsley is instrumental for keeping cycles turning and initiating renewal. Grow parsley in a flowerpot on a windowsill for a magical boost whenever you need it.





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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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