As I write this, the Easter weekend is drawing to a close and though not of the Christian persuasion, this holiday does afford some of us in the UK a four day weekend (I say some because for those in the service and other industries, such holidays mean little – I know, I worked in a shop for eleven years!). And the weather has been glorious!
It’s Monday evening, twilight is falling and the male blackbird is sat on his usual perch in the cherry tree singing his even song. The garden smells sweet now that the heat of the day has mellowed. It has been a busy day, or weekend more like, as I have spent most of it catching up with jobs in the garden.
Gardening is something I enjoy, but it’s also one of the easiest ways in which to bring the magickal, spiritual and mundane aspects of your life together. For me, that’s the point, for these aspects of ourselves do not live in a vacuum, they are each an important part of ourselves, and when out in the garden working with dirt and seed, I can’t help but feel that all of those different parts are brought together, all in harmony. It is a good feeling!
So let’s discuss gardening then! I feel that gardening falls into three main categories:
Edible Plants – Food is so important because we need it! But more than that though, what we put inside of us is almost spiritual. Think about all of the diets, good and bad, that people follow, adhering strictly to the rules. Or the way others might obsess over their food intake. Or think of the joy that having a sweet (or savoury) treat might bring to another. The truth is that food is more than just what we eat, there’s a whole heap of emotions, thoughts and feelings that go with it.
Medicinal Plants – Almost every plant has it’s use in the medicine cupboard, and there’s a lot of crossover with food, after all, health begins with what we eat, and yet there is more to medicinal plants than eating. Many plants can be used to make ointments, tinctures, waters and creams that can all be kept in your first aid box.
Magickal Plants – Every plant has a magickal use, I’m yet to come across one that doesn’t. Whether you choose to grow flowers or food in your garden, you won’t go far wrong whatever you decide. It doesn’t matter what path or tradition you follow, there will be a use for plants in your practise, even if it’s just the burning of incense.
Now, it must be said, there is a lot of crossover between the three groups, and it’s possible to create a garden that incorporates all three. I always suggest to those new to gardening, who aren’t quite sure what they want to grow to try herbs. Herbs are something of the holy trinity when it comes to gardening. They can be used for cooking, in medicine and in magic, and so you can get the most out of these plants. I also suggest herbs to those who are perhaps a little reluctant or do not have a large outdoor area because they can be grown easily indoors as well as out. At the very least, a few pots of herbs on your kitchen windowsill, caring for them and using them, is a good way to begin.
But with that said though, if you can get outside and create a garden, then I would strongly encourage you to do so. Gardening is an excellent way to create and strengthen a connection to land. There’s a quiet satisfaction that comes with digging the earth, so much so that it’s a meditation in and of itself. More than that, you’ll become familiar with the natural rhythms and cycles of your small patch of land and you’ll also see with new eyes the secret little world that is so often missed – you get to know the comings of goings of birds and other garden critters, you’ll notice the little changes that occur as the year passes and the Wheel turns. Regular readers will know that I bang on about connection to land and nature a lot, but that’s because I truly believe a connection to the land, to nature can only strengthen your witchcraft or practise.
Next time we’ll explore the practical side of planning and creating a garden as well as looking at the kind of plants you might want to grow.