Earth day is here. Some practitioners will even have rituals to renew the environment, praise mother nature, or volunteer to help clean up pollution. Others will spend their day adding or tending their garden or houseplants. And then there’s some who don’t care or have “oh shit!” moments ten minutes to midnight and light a candle and dust off their cactus. To each their own.
Nature tends to be a very large portion of a great many people’s practices and growing the plants used in your practice is kind of assumed at times. But gardening isn’t easy. Some plants are notoriously difficult to grow like mandrake and others like mint can go wildly out of control if caution isn’t taken. You have to decide what’s better for you to grow versus what’s better for you to buy when needed. Then you add in your climate, local laws, and just how much space you even need to grow plants. Gardening is a huge endeavor and can get expensive very quickly.
I’m no green thumb. I kill plants all the time. I blame this largely because of space issues – I have too much space in the Crossroads House. House plants are far-flung so it becomes a hassle to care for them in a timely manner and when conveniently or aesthetically placed, there’s little sun for the plants to grow. Outside, the soil’s not great but it’s the layout of the property itself that makes it a gardening challenge. And let me tell you: It is a major annoyance of mine. My neighbors have this palatial garden next door and it irks me so much.
My number one gardening tip is to take it slow. Pick two or three plants a growing season and focus on them. Read up about their care and see how that does. Then pick up another few the next year. Over time you’ll have all the plants you want and you’ll know how to care for them without sinking a big chunk of cash into it. Plus, you’ll develop gardening habits so six weeks in you don’t slack off and kill hundreds of dollars worth of plants.
But what do you do with them? Outside of caring for them and using the bits in your practice, how do you work magic with living plants? There’s numerous ways to do it.
Plant with a blessing. For my 21st birthday I asked for a tree and a cat. I got Kiki and a cherry blossom tree. My tree is now huge and beautiful but it didn’t grow that way without help. When I planted my tree, I layered clean water on blessed herbal water on clean water, then murmured numerous beneficial inspiration and motivation as I planted it. I layered in spells for protection and health. Make the entire act of planting a spell and ritual.
Add enchanted decoration. Hanging a crystal from a tree branch or adding quartz to a flower pot not only adds an aesthetic beauty but also can add energy to the plant itself. Crystals aren’t the only thing you can use though! I enchant a very large number of wind chimes to my purposes and hang them up. I’ve also used pinwheels, tiny statues, and wooden signs.
Placement and pots. Adding a fun or funny pot can make or break a “boring” plant. Planting flowers with interesting color combinations can really make your garden stunning. Enchant those things. When you add soil to your garden or water the grow before planting, mutter your spells and send energy towards it. I write in chalk or water sigils or spells inside and outside the pot to encourage growth, strength, and health.
Work with what you got. Look to see what already grows naturally around you. The Crossroads House came with grapevines so I had a crash course in how to care for them. To my delight, poke weed and bittersweet nightshade all grow naturally in my yard (but so does poison ivy and poison sumac. Oops.) But don’t be afraid to ditch what you got. I’m not a fan of hostas but there were over a dozen of them when we bought the house. I ended up re-homing a bunch of them to friends back in college and I’m still finding more of them half a decade later. Just because you have plants you didn’t super want doesn’t mean you can’t enchant them too. When I cut back or rearrange the creeping jenny and grapevines, I put spells on them.
Ask the plant! If you’re an animist, then you’re probably of the school of thought that plants have spirits. So simply ask the plant what spells they should be used in. I tend to plop down somewhere sunny and meditate with the plant for a little while until I get a sense of what I should do. Sometimes it follows along with folklore and sometimes it’s out of left field. For example, I have a climbing rose bush that I only use for curses or vengeful bindings because the plant is mean and vindictive. I never come away working with that rose bush without several new wounds. No other rose bush gives me that trouble. My bittersweet nightshade is a sweetie though and super laid back. My hydrangeas are perfectly happy to protect, encourage, or connect to the spiritual world – in exchange for a a gallon or so of water. Maybe I’m projecting but my spells work and the plants are alive still so I give it the benefit of a doubt.
But what kind of spells can you use? Anything. Growth, protection, and health spells are the easiest to pull off. But money or job spells? Sure. I grow basil as a money spell. Curses? Yup. My creeping jenny will stop any enemy or thief in their tracks. It’ll take care of curses too. And that’s just from telling it what I want it to do while taking care of it. I find plants to be a really great alternative to positive jar spells. Plant some sunflowers or marigolds in soil mixed with a few pinches of other herbs can really boost household happiness.
Heads up though. Unless killing the plant is the purpose, be careful with what you add to your plant. You might want to toss in a bunch of ingredients to have a living spell but the weird additions to the soil ends up killing your plant – and your spell.
As for myself, this Earth Day I’ll spend my day picking up one of the local beaches, painting a few clever sayings on some pots, and getting to know my new plant friends.