1. Spirit Gardens: Ecology and Magic

We have been taught to think in compartments so dumping ecology and magic into the garden box is a challenge to introduce. A healthy garden requires building a habitat from scratch. The soil has to have the right particles, structure, and pH for a collection of plants to thrive. And that collection can’t be a random selection of plants either. Each species has a habitat requirement and that habitat could have alkaline soil or acidic, superb drainage or not so much, and so on. And just like us, plants want to be with their friends, creatures that in nature grow with each other as companions. This is the complexity I hope to simplify in this group, a demonstration where the worlds of magic and science come together in the garden.

Spirit Gardens is a group for serious practitioners; those who choose to cultivate and make an intrinsic part of their life the plants that they handle in rituals, spells, divination, and any expression of magic that requires plants. Powerful magic requires that the plants handled be those found together in a specific ecosystem. Why? Because plants from the same system when handled together increase their power exponentially, they are friends; they form a coven of sorts. The collective power of such a group of plants exemplifies the old adage, greater than the sum of its parts. That won’t happen if your medicine bag contains plants from a dozen different unrelated ecosystems from all over the world. Often such a smorgasbord of plants only leads them to antagonize each other. So while you are hoping to cast a great spell your plants are instead busy fighting amongst themselves.

And don’t think for a minute that plants are simply things available to be used at your discretion. They are not. Plants are living creatures with lives, awareness, and very specific intentions. They are spirits, and the liaisons between us and every other world. Plants are creatures that must be known and understood, entreated but never ‘used’; you are entreating them to collaborate with your intention. It is the plant world wielding the power, not you, so treat it with the respect it deserves. Plants have been here for hundreds of millions of years, they have survived many climate change epochs. They are the masters of adaptation and the keepers of the oldest knowledge. Our species is little more than a fledgling having logged a mere 200,000 years.  We are nothing in the presence of the wisdom keepers of the plant kingdom. So the next time you read or hear, “Just put this, that or the other thing together, and poof, you have a magic potion for such and such”, you had best scrutinize that. Those plants could rise up and beat the livin’ you know what out of you. I am not speaking metaphorically either.

And speaking of our fledgling history I recommend that you read the essays in Sacred First Foods to familiarize yourself with our long history of striving to understand the ever-changing world around us. We became serious ritual plant handlers about 50,000 years ago. This is where the Craft began and where our ancestors set the foundation for learning how to entreat plants for ritual purposes. The oldest practitioners handled plants from specific environments.

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