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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The Fragrance and Taste of Yule

The scent of evergreens marks the Yule season like no other, except perhaps cinnamon. We bake it into cakes and cookies, sprinkle it on toast, and add a wee dash to a cup of coffee, coco, or a rum hot toddy. A Yuletide potpourri wouldn’t be quite right without cinnamon’s warm spicy scent. Even the rolled sticks of cinnamon fit in with holiday decorations.
        The genus and common names of this spice were derived from the Greek kinnamon or kinnamomon, meaning “sweet wood,” which in turn is thought to have come from the Malayan and Indonesian kayamanis, that has the same meaning. Cinnamon is believed to have been first cultivated in Sri Lanka. One of the world’s oldest and most important spices, cinnamon has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes in China and India for over 4,000 years.
        There are two types of cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum syn. C. verum); also known as true cinnamon, and cassia Cinnamon (C. cassia syn. C. aromaticum); also known as bastard cinnamon, Chinese cinnamon. Cassia has a stronger taste and fragrance; Ceylon cinnamon is a little sweeter. Consuming excessive amounts of either type of cinnamon can be toxic.
        Cinnamon was a highly prized commodity for the Phoenicians and Arabs in trade with the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. According to Greek legend, the phoenix constructed its nest with cinnamon twigs. On the island of Rhodes, cinnamon oil was used during wedding ceremonies to anoint the bride’s hands. The Hebrews valued both cinnamon and cassia. Cassia was regarded as a sacred in China where, according to legend, eating the spice from a gigantic cassia tree bestowed immortality. During the Middle Ages in Europe, it became especially popular for spicing wine. It still is.
        Cinnamon is helpful for aroma therapy at this time year when we often get frazzled. The scent helps alleviate depression and nervous exhaustion, and it provides emotional. support. When you need clarity to focus on gift lists and everything else, combine cinnamon essential oil with mandarin and rosemary. Use it in the melted wax of a pillar candle for meditation and spiritual support.
        Use cinnamon to spark awareness, stimulate psychic abilities, and support astral travel. Also use it to increase the power and success of spells, and to support clairvoyance. It enhances divination and dream work. Cinnamon is also effective for consecrating amulets and magic tools as well as raising energy for ritual. Put a little powdered cinnamon in the palm of your hand and blow it away as you make a wish for the coming year.

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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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