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 describes herself as 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 coastal New England where she lives in a Victorian-era house with her family, cats, and a couple of ghosts.  

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The Fairy Maids of February

While the days are noticeably longer, February often brings some of the fiercest winter weather making us long for spring and warmer days. One of the earliest flowers to venture into the bleak landscape is the snowdrop. Not waiting for clear ground, this little white flower often comes up through a blanket of snow.

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Plant Magic in Winter

At this time of year when there’s not much to do in the garden or find in the wild, houseplants become the focus for plant magic.

The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) has been popular since forever, which is no wonder because it is so easy to care for. This plant gets its name from its spider-like appearance and its spiderettes (babies) that dangle from the mother plant like little spiders on a web. The spiderettes start out as small, white flowers. Once they develop roots, they can be planted to start a whole new colony of spiders. Also known as the ribbon plant, their ribbon-like leaves can be solid green or variegated. In addition to adding a splash of interest to a room, spider plants are good for clearing impurities from indoor air.

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A Pagan Perspective on the Poinsettia

As the wheel of the year makes its final turn and begins a new cycle, most plants have faded but evergreens live up to their name. They were considered sacred because they didn’t seem to die each year. Bringing evergreens indoors embodied the reborn spirit of the Green Man. With sacred trees, mistletoe, and other plants taken into the home, it is no accident that this is a magical time of year.

As a time of transformation, Yule celebrates the return of the sun/son, which brings hope and the promise of ongoing life. While the Celts had established Samhain as the beginning of the New Year, tenth-century Norse Pagans changed their new year to Yule to coincide with the solar cycle.

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Flowers for the Dead

Samhain is a time to remember loves ones who have passed beyond the veil, as well as ancestors and even beloved pets. It is still customary in some cultures to honor the dead with a feast. As in the past, the feast can be a complete meal with an extra place set for those not physically present, or it can be as simple as leaving cakes and wine by the fireside or on the front step.

Flowers for remembrance placed on a gravesite or a home altar is a practice that also continues today. While most flowers are gone from our gardens at this time of year, chrysanthemums and marigolds are at their peak seeming to shine light into the darkness. The common chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium syn. Dendranthema grandiflorum, Anthemis grandiflora) is also known as the “garden mum” or just “mums.” This well-known perennial has dense flower heads that can be white, yellow, orange, or reddish-orange, as well as various shades of purple.

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The Magic of Autumn Leaves

Just when the vibrant colors of spring and summer seem like a distant memory, the trees put on their autumn display. On cloudy and dull afternoons, bright leaves capture the light making trees seem to glow from within. This last hurrah before winter provides a special time for magic.

Common throughout most of the United States, red maples (A. rubrum spp.) are distinctive with their rich-colored leaves, but come autumn, other maples get into the act and put on some of the most dazzling displays. Depending on the variety, red maple leaves turn from deep muted colors to a range of brilliant reds and yellows. Throughout the year, leaves from the red maple can be used in love spells, but in autumn they really help fire-up relationships. Press four bright red leaves in a heavy book. When they are dry, place them under the corners of your mattress to add spark your sex life. For something a little subtler, attach a pressed leaf behind a picture of your beloved.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Sandra Kynes
    Sandra Kynes says #
    Thank you, Tasha. It's a lovely poem.
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Lovely information, and so timely, I love the fall colors. I will post a poem about this for you on my site, along with a picture.
The Dog Days of Summer: As Above, So Below

The period from early July to mid-August marks the dog days of summer, which were named for Sirius, the Dog Star, the brightest star in the sky. In ancient times, it rose just before the sun during the hottest period of the year. In Egypt, the rising of Sirius marked the annual flooding of the Nile. Because the river water rejuvenated the land bringing it back to life, this occasion was associated with the return from the dead of the god Osiris.

Sirius is part of the constellation Canis Major, the Great Dog, and according to Greek myth, it represented one of the hunting dogs of Orion. Canis Minor, the Little Dog, represents the other one. I like to think of these constellations as guard dogs watching over us.

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Been seeing a very big star in the night sky of late, thanks for identifying it, I thought it was a planet. Not having researched

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Magic in the Herb Garden

 Summer is a time to have fun outdoors and enjoy the beauty of the green world. With so many plants growing and blooming, there is magic aplenty in our own backyards. Even if you live in a city, you can enjoy the magic of herbs grown on a windowsill. Alternatively, buy cut herbs at a farmers’ market or dried ones at a health food stores.

With a strong spicy aroma, it is probably no surprise that basil (Ocimum basilicum) is one of the most popular herbs today. It was also favored in ancient times. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used basil for medicinal and culinary purposes. During the Middle Ages, sprigs of basil were scattered on floors to freshen and clear the air as well as to protect against witches.

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