“Listen patiently, quietly, and reverently to the lessons, one by one, which mother nature has to teach, shedding light on that which was before a mystery.” -Luther Burbank
Plant Speak: Some people find it hard to think of plants as having any other messages for humankind other than “Water me.” Nonetheless, from a spiritual perspective, all inhabitants of the plant kingdom have spirits to honor, appease, and observe for insights and lessons. In nearly all shamanic traditions, for example, the medicine person turned to the plant world to expand consciousness through each vegetation’s unique medicine.
By internalizing sacred mushrooms, peyote, cactus, tobacco, or herbs, the shaman breaks the barriers of perception, and embarks on trance journeys, most often of a very significant or urgent nature. Note that anyone abusing a plant’s wisdom for personal gain or a mere rush insults the indwelling spirit, and usually results in a very negative experience.
Mystical Plants and Magical Gardening
Shamanic journeying is not for a novice or curiosity seeker. Yet the Witch seeks out plant spirits with similar earnest as she might seek a Familiar or Animal Guide. Thankfully, nature kindly provides us with several other alternatives. Gardening is one. Here we have a truly hands-on way of getting close to plant spirits. Here are some ideas for adding the spark of magic to your garden:
- Spring Digging Rituals: During the spring certain Native American shamans dug clockwise in a plot of land from the center outward. This prepares the pregnant earth, which in tum nurtures the plant spirits being sown.
- Soil or Land Blessing: This is an old custom and one that your plant spirits appreciate, along with all the living things in that region. Two simple approaches are smudging and aspersion. With smudging, you use energized incense or an herb bundle moving the smoke and scent through the winds. This magically “clears the air.” Aspersion is similar except it employs a dedicated potion like Florida Water instead.
- Getting to Know You: Meditate near (or in) your garden. Focus on one particular plant that you use regularly. Take a leaf. Hold it. Smell it. Visualize it. What new insights does that plant spirit impart? Light Workers tell us that these spirits often communicate through imagery, tactile experiences and aromas.
- Treat Plants like Living Tools: All the greenery you use in magic is an implement of your life’s altar. So give those plants a special crystal, whip up nutrient-rich water and tend them with loving care.
- Sing! While some scoff at talking to our plants even science has evidence that vegetation responds to the vibrations of words (like sacred chants) or music (like drumming or song). If the Plant spirit likes your choices, it responds with increased lushness.
Mythological Plants and Developing Relationships with a Plant
You can’t develop a relationship with a person or animal by ignoring them! If anything, learning as much as possible drives improved connections. Integrate sacred plants into your life as much as possible. Watch them. See what they like (lots of light? Shade? Dry soil? Etc.). While you’re observing keep these tips in mind:
- Don’t Assume: Writers throughout history chronicled various plants and their metaphysical associations from Gods and Goddesses to crystal associations. While having this information is great, it’s only a starting point in Plant Wisdom. Consider: Someone writes down everything they’ve heard about you, seen in person, imagine or intuit. All of these have limitations, and some are bound to be terribly wrong. Plant Spirits are similar. Let your Nature Spirit represent itself and use that information accordingly
- Avoid Distractions: Working with Plant Spirit is no different than working with Spirit Animals. Focus. Start with 1-3 plants to which you feel a strong connection. Don’t wander off into a whole field of pretty, new herbs. Everything you learn from concentrated efforts inevitably translates into all your spiritual efforts going forward. Quality learning is rarely fast; specialization matters. you down.
- Stay Grounded (pun intended): Plant Spirits are creatures of Earth. They may have other elemental associations, but ultimately their roots are right here. This is an important study for your Witch’s Book of Shadows. Don’t let the nay-sayers get you down.
Plant Myths Folklore Omen and Signs
When we talk about Animal Totems, we also discuss how these spirits use imagery as a nudge or wake up call. Plant Spirits can use symbols too. So when a specific bit of greenery appears everywhere you look, it means one of two things. One it’s your personal Power Plant and wants to get your attention. Or, two it’s an omen from nature speaking through the language of plants.
For example, you see African violets on the TV, in magazines, all over internet sites. If this is Nature’s prodding the violet’s message is one of spirituality and protection. Perhaps it’s time to re-work your personal wards.
And what of Plant Power? Well, maybe Bean Spirit comes to you in dreams as well as through other mundane images. You sense it calling. How does Bean Spirit impact your life? Well, for one, beans represent providence. Bean Spirit protects you from ever wanting. Beans are generative and healthful. In nature, Bean cooperates with specific crops ensuring a better yield. With whom do you need to cooperate for improved blessings in your life?
Don’t feel silly – listen to your plants and learn their wisdom. Your magic and appreciation for Nature both benefit.
Based on “Shaman in a 9-5 World,” by Patricia Telesco. All rights reserved.