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Author Topic: Gardening as magic / in your practice  (Read 1525 times)

Night Owl

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Gardening as magic / in your practice
« on: January 13, 2017, 04:29:13 pm »
Hey all,
For a long time I've wanted to plant a garden as part of my practice, and it looks like this year's going to be the year it happens. I've got seeds for various herbs, flowers, and vegetables and the space to plant them in- which is really quite exciting.

So I'm wondering if anyone here has a garden that is in one way or another related to their practice- whether the act of gardening is in itself part of it, you grow your own herbs for use in magic, or anything else I haven't thought of. I'd also like to know what you grow in it :)

Noctua

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Re: Gardening as magic / in your practice
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2017, 10:26:24 pm »
Quote from: Night Owl;201391
Hey all,
For a long time I've wanted to plant a garden as part of my practice, and it looks like this year's going to be the year it happens. I've got seeds for various herbs, flowers, and vegetables and the space to plant them in- which is really quite exciting.

So I'm wondering if anyone here has a garden that is in one way or another related to their practice- whether the act of gardening is in itself part of it, you grow your own herbs for use in magic, or anything else I haven't thought of. I'd also like to know what you grow in it :)

 
Gardening basically forms the core of my practice. Just about everything I do in some way connects to my garden and what I do there.

My magic circle is outside in a secluded corner of my yard, with plants marking out the quarters that not only symbolize the elements, but bloom in the appropriate season for that element. For example at the North I have a purple-blooming hellebore (Helleborus x 'Pine Knot strain'), which begins to bloom in the winter, while to the east I have a white windflower (Anemone sylvestris) which blooms after the spring equinox. South I have Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) which sends up deep red flower spikes starting in July, and west I have a toad lily (Tricyrtis hirta 'Miyazaki hybrids') that usually blooms in early October.

I have an extensive garden of magical and medicinal herbs, which expands every year. Last year I added verbena, vervain, mugwort, wormwood, horehound, and two new rose bushes (Rosa gallica officinalis, aka the Apothecary rose). They joined the other herbs I already had established: spearmint, peppermint (in a pot), marjoram, thyme, chives, lemon balm, hyssop, rosemary, anise hyssop, catnip, yarrow, rue, horseradish (also in a pot), lavender, chamomile. I know I'm forgetting some but those are the highlights. I'd also planted a tea plant (Camellia sinensis) which will probably have to grow for several years before it's big enough for tea harvesting. I usually plant ginger every year as well, which I harvest the day after the first frost. Basil and borage usually get started from seed each spring, and this year I'm trying a perennial angelica that sounds promising as well as hoping to add in some woodruff. On the "don't eat" list I also grow foxglove, comfrey, bloodroot, solomon's seal, and elder among my herbs.

I have 4 vegetable beds, one of which is perennials (asparagus and rhubarb). The other three get rotated according to the season and the year, so I don't grow the same crop in the same place each year. I always grow peas, carrots, scallions, beets, green beans, tomatoes, zucchini, banana peppers, and rutabaga. Other veggies I plant according to my mood and whims that year- the past 2 years I'd done okra but I think I'll skip that one this year since my husband hates it and I got tired of eating it all myself. I also have a permanent bed for strawberries, and am building a bed this year for raspberries (the leaves are also good for tea!). I also have 3 fruit trees arriving this spring, two apples and one cherry. The two apples will join the tree I already have, a pippin (meaning an apple tree started from seed) we've had for about 5 years now.

I've made a number of wands from the prunings in my garden- in particular the hazel and the oak that I have to prune back every year. The hazel is a Corylus avellana 'Contorta' and if you don't prune out the straight branches that grow up from the rootstock eventually you won't have any corkscrew branches left. The oak is a sad specimen that a previous owner had topped (the worst thing you could ever do to a tree!) and every year I prune out whatever water sprouts I can to stave off the inevitable for another year. In the past I'd woodburned a few of them and offered them for sale on Etsy but they didn't sell and I didn't have the time to maintain the shop. My favorite wand, though, is made of black cherry and comes from a tree that lived in my yard until it was felled in a storm. My athame is actually my hori-hori. No other knife has ever felt as right as that one.

Honestly all this is really just touching on everything in my garden- my end goal is to never have to mow grass again. None of this of course touches on why. I garden because it's the one thing that makes me feel whole and right- I've never been able to find inner peace unless my hands are covered in dirt and my face is covered in sweat. Gardening for me is the perfect way to commune with the Divine- to take what exists in Nature, and shape it with my own will to create something that transcends.

Altair

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Re: Gardening as magic / in your practice
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2017, 02:31:39 am »
Quote from: Noctua;201419

My magic circle is outside in a secluded corner of my yard, with plants marking out the quarters that not only symbolize the elements, but bloom in the appropriate season for that element. For example at the North I have a purple-blooming hellebore (Helleborus x 'Pine Knot strain'), which begins to bloom in the winter, while to the east I have a white windflower (Anemone sylvestris) which blooms after the spring equinox. South I have Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) which sends up deep red flower spikes starting in July, and west I have a toad lily (Tricyrtis hirta 'Miyazaki hybrids') that usually blooms in early October.


That's awesome. Well planned (and planted!)

Quote

I have an extensive garden of magical and medicinal herbs,...

...anise hyssop...


You and I both go for that one! Mine wasn't planted for magical or medicinal purposes, but because I like to work with native wildflowers, for the benefit of our wildlife...and OMG, that stuff is crack for bees.

My garden is limited by the fact that its an urban roof garden, so everything is in containers, rather than in the soil. Still, by putting a lot of emphasis on native vines (Virginia creeper) and grasses (switchgrass), it gets pretty lush. Its pagan aspect comes from the fact that in season it is the center of everything for me--studying, entertaining, eating, even sleeping sometimes--and that includes my pagan practice.

My daily meditation happens up there whenever weather permits. And its where I connect intimately with sky and air and growing things, and all the wildlife (birds and insects, mostly) I find there. It's almost a lab where I learn about Mother in a hands-on, "who's this come to visit, and this plant does THAT?" way.

Above all, I cultivate serenity (essential when you live in the middle of Manhattan). The switchgrass in its planters grows to my chin, and as it waves in the breeze it creates the illusion of an endless field (and blocks the view of unsightly neighbors). My rustic fountain is a small waterfall providing a constant gurgle (but really, the robins think it's their spa, and I suppose they're not wrong). A buoy bell I got to remind me of summer in Provincetown gongs gently, and thanks to the two butterfly bushes (one of the few non-natives I plant; it's crack to butterflies the way anise hyssop is to bees), butterflies and moths are frequently flitting about. I lie in the hammock and sometimes I'm literally paralyzed by a sense of tranquility, afraid that if I move except to rock slowly as I float suspended, I'll break the spell.

And at night, the lights! Few stars (too much light pollution from the city), but the moon may be soaring overhead, matched by what I call my moon lamp, which is a lantern that thrusts out from the old chimney covered in vines, the way I imagine the goddess of the moon holds out her lamp. Strings of pinpoint white lights that I lace through the grass give the illusion of fireflies (and on rare occasion a real one shows up), and a fake rock shoots a spotlight on the fountain for drama.

The nicest compliment I got was from a first-time visitor; I was about to apologize for my garden, because roof gardens in NYC tend to be sculpted, fashionista palaces designed by Big Name landscape architects for the well-to-do--not homegrown, somewhat overgrown, naturalistic affairs like mine. Before I could say a word, he sighed. Mission accomplished.

Specifically pagan: Verdanus, the spirit of my garden, is embodied in a Green Man wall sculpture nestled in the vines on the chimney, watching over things. And though mine is a roof garden, I'm lucky to have three trees, who are the garden's guardians...

...lovely Bette (my favorite, but don't tell the others) is the pale slender maiden, a young gray birch who stands watch at the northeast fence...

...newcomer Vi, a tree-form viburnum (who replaced Cersi, my beloved eastern redbud, after she died), is the mother who guards the entrance to the garden...

...and the very first plant I ever got, inherited from the community garden across the street where she wasn't getting enough light to thrive: ancient, old, gnarled, stooped Mal, the crabapple crone who worries over the southeastern fence.

By the standards of people with actual backyards, it's a little garden, but in case it's not yet obvious, like Noctua I love my garden.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Dynes Hysbys

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Re: Gardening as magic / in your practice
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2017, 11:13:07 am »
Quote from: Night Owl;201391
Hey all,
For a long time I've wanted to plant a garden as part of my practice, and it looks like this year's going to be the year it happens. I've got seeds for various herbs, flowers, and vegetables and the space to plant them in- which is really quite exciting.

So I'm wondering if anyone here has a garden that is in one way or another related to their practice- whether the act of gardening is in itself part of it, you grow your own herbs for use in magic, or anything else I haven't thought of. I'd also like to know what you grow in it :)


Very much so. I wouldn't say that the cottage having a large ash tree and a wellspring in the garden had any effect on my choice...!

First thing I did was create a herb garden for the harmless culinary herbs. It then grew to encompass some of the more esoteric and healing herbs such as wormwood and elecampane. I don't bother to grow those I can find locally in the woods and fields such as mugwort, comfrey and silverweed.

If you decide to grow St John's Wort ([Hypericum perforatum) it spreads like anything. No part of the garden is safe and it's now heading off down the lane!

I have also established a poison garden of henbane, monkshood, dwale and many others so if I ever move from here I will need to warn the new owners of just what is planted here.

The wellspring has been turned into a shrine to the presiding spirit. I've placed a large piece of artwork there and deliberately created a portal.

I also installed a small stone circle as a meditation spot and a pond for the wildlife's benefit - and mine. It suits me to have a garden friendly to frogs and toads.

The new hedging I've put in is a mix of hawthorn and blackthorn,

And that is about it  - for now! I have plans to add a summerhouse for a temple but that will have to wait a while

Altair

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Re: Gardening as magic / in your practice
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2017, 12:26:32 pm »
Quote from: Dynes Hysbys;201432
Very much so. I wouldn't say that the cottage having a large ash tree and a wellspring in the garden had any effect on my choice...!

First thing I did was create a herb garden for the harmless culinary herbs. It then grew to encompass some of the more esoteric and healing herbs such as wormwood and elecampane. I don't bother to grow those I can find locally in the woods and fields such as mugwort, comfrey and silverweed.

If you decide to grow St John's Wort ([Hypericum perforatum) it spreads like anything. No part of the garden is safe and it's now heading off down the lane!

I have also established a poison garden of henbane, monkshood, dwale and many others so if I ever move from here I will need to warn the new owners of just what is planted here.

The wellspring has been turned into a shrine to the presiding spirit. I've placed a large piece of artwork there and deliberately created a portal.

I also installed a small stone circle as a meditation spot and a pond for the wildlife's benefit - and mine. It suits me to have a garden friendly to frogs and toads.

The new hedging I've put in is a mix of hawthorn and blackthorn,

And that is about it  - for now! I have plans to add a summerhouse for a temple but that will have to wait a while


This sounds lovely.

I'm curious if you have a name for your presiding spirit. (I named mine, but I have a tendency to name everything.)
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Dynes Hysbys

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Re: Gardening as magic / in your practice
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2017, 12:48:14 pm »
Quote from: Altair;201438
This sounds lovely.

I'm curious if you have a name for your presiding spirit. (I named mine, but I have a tendency to name everything.)


Thank you  - like all gardening it's a work in progress and trial and error. I'm lucky that despite being half way up the mountain in North Wales part of the garden is so sheltered that I have rosemary in flower in January whilst across the valley I can see snow on the peaks!

But back to my water spirit - we just call her Y Ffynnon at the moment  (Welsh for The Spring). Maybe one day I'll earn the right to know a more personal name for her!

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