Magick Gardens

Warning: Gardening is addictive and will improve your health, spirit and mental well-being.

Rachel Patterson, Kitchen Witchcraft: Garden Magic, pg. 3

This GIF pretty much sums up how I feel about gardening. It’s funny, two years ago I couldn’t keep a Hen and Chicks succulent alive, but last year I managed to grow a pretty little garden! This year I’m taking on more challenging plants, and even plan to transplant a rose bush! I know roses are fairly hardy plants, and as long as I time it right the bush should take root well, but I’m still proud of myself. Confidence is key to success in all endeavors! (That, and a little help from Good Neighbors.)

My bright and sunny darling
June, 2018
My quaint little garden, before I got help from my Good Neighbors…

Before I purchased any supplies, I did my homework. Growing a garden is a science, just as it is an art. You need to know which plants get along, which plants like light, and which like shade, and you need to know if the plant will be happy in regular soil, or if you need sand or a fancier soil. I’m still a novice, as you can tell from my impressive vocabulary (fancy soil – face palm).

August 2018
After leaving offerings to my Good Neighbors, and calling on Aine to bless the soil

Connect to Earth on a deeper level…

Growing a garden is more than just planting and harvesting supplies for your herbal collection. It’s about connecting with the Earth on a deeper level…it’s about establishing a relationship with the spirits of Nature, the Fair Folk, and the Genius Loci, and it’s about using magick to create life. When I see a seed I planted turn into a cute little sprout, reaching for the sun out of the dark soil, I am overcome with pride, in the plant and myself. It’s akin to the pride I feel when my son does something new, so it wouldn’t be far off to say it’s a motherly love you feel for your plants. Those little plants have spirits of their own, and they respond to your love and affection.

I think it was a documentary, perhaps a video on Youtube or Facebook, but it revealed that plants suffer when they’re bullied. They had two plants – same plants, same soil, same age – everything was identical. They were kept in environment controlled boxes, to ensure that the only variable was what the plant was told. They had recorded people saying mean things, and saying nice things, and played the mean things to one plant and the nice to the other. The plant who heard the compliments grew strong and tall, while the abused plant was weak and sickly. If that isn’t proof that plants have feelings, I don’t know what is!

How do I start a magickal garden?

Intention

The first step in creating your magickal garden is the first step in any magickal activity: devise your intent. Do you want the garden to carry out an assortment of intentions, or do you want to stick to one theme? Do you want to grow a garden as an offering? Or, how about creating an elemental garden, with a separate garden or section for each element. For ideas, I have created a Pinterest board with all sorts of pins about gardening for witches.

Research and Record-Keeping

All of my garden plans are in my grimoire. Some people use spreadsheets, recording their planting time, when and how they are to be pruned, watering schedules, feeding schedules- everything needed to keep the garden tasks sorted. I will create a diagram of the garden, to scale, so I can plan where to plant each seedling.

I live in an apartment, so I only have a small space to work with. (I have had to put in a formal request to plant a small rose bush, and it is yet to be approved…) The flower and herb garden is going to be in the back yard, so as long as it doesn’t extend past my little porch and steps, it’s allowed by property management. That gives me a bit of land about five feet across and four feet deep. Not a lot in garden terms. This means I have to choose plants that do not need a lot of space around them, but growing outside means my plants can grow nice and tall. By planning wisely, I can manifest a magickal garden just as glorious as any other. You feel such pride when you carefully devise and plant a healthy garden, no matter the purpose. When it doesn’t do well it is heartbreaking. That is why research and record keeping is so important.

  • Research:
    • what plants do well in your location;
    • what plants get along and which need to be in their own container;
    • how much light and water the plants require; if the plant needs special soil, or will need particular food. Do you need to mulch? Do you need sand?
    • Will the plant attract bugs, and if so, what kinds? Butterflies and bees are great, but if you or a family member is allergic, then you may want to avoid a bee-attracting plant.
  • Record-keeping:
    • To make sure your garden thrives, you will have to design it carefully. That means drawing out a scale sketch, and then sectioning off what will go where. If you can do this in your head and remember, that’s great! But, if not, you will have to draw it out. If you don’t want to keep that then use scrap paper.
    • It helps to have one location to keep your design sketch, research notes, a chart of what can be planted when, and even record when you planted something, if it’s going to come back next year, how often it needs watering, when and how to prune, and proper harvesting methods.

By planning wisely, I can manifest a magickal garden just as glorious as any other.

Elemental Garden

One design I am considering is an elemental garden. I’ve done my homework, and kept extensive notes, so once I know what can go where, I can work in an elemental theme.

Earth/Land

Soil is the body of the garden. It is the body, and water is the blood. When you lay down the garden, take a bit of soil in your hand. Bring it to your nose, and inhale deeply. There is nothing like the scent of fertile soil. Bring it apart, and watch it fall. There is a thing of beauty, as soil slips through your fingers. And don’t wear gloves when you do this! I know, your nails will be grubby and gross. But when you first lay out your garden, it’s important to connect to the soil.

Your Earth garden may be a garden on its own, or it may be a section of your garden as a whole. In addition to soil, you can bring the element of Earth into your garden with rocks, crystals, and statues of dwarves and fairies. Growing lush greens, like having a pot of mint, or a nearby bush, will work as well. Earth and Land, in any elemental system, is associated with the quality of strength and stability. What better to represent that than a tree? If you can’t plant a tree, then plant your garden near a tree. Hanging some chimes in the tree (incorporating air), will tie the tree to the garden.

Earth Spell: Garden protection


Using a pot or cauldron, mix a handful of soil from your garden, a healthy dose of pepper, and a few pinches of dried basil. (Use your intuition for exact amounts). Use a rusty nail to stir the mixture. Set the nail aside, and, using your hand, sprinkle the mixture around the perimeter of the garden saying:

Basil cleanse, Pepper sting, This garden is sealed with a protective ring.

Bury the nail at any corner of the garden. (Make sure it’s deep, and to be safe, put a stone or board over the spot. I know I love to garden barefoot, and would hate to step on the nail if it manages to climb up to the surface. This would be a good spot to put your garden altar!)

James Kambos, “Spring Garden Magic”, Llewellyn’s 2013 Magical Almanac, pg. 15

Air/Sky

Nothing says spring like a melodious song of birds in the morning. One of the most depressing things about winter is waking to silence – or worse, to the sound of a snow plow. While I’m grateful that snow removal is included with my apartment, it’s not a pleasant way to wake. The gentle breeze brings the unmistakeable scent of spring – the soil, the moss, the subtle smell of trees as they awaken from their icy slumber.

To incorporate air into your elemental garden, plant flowers with gentle yellow hues. Angelica, “Ruby Giant” echinacea and Russian Sage are all ‘air’ plants. Wind chimes are always a great way to invite the powers of air. My favorite way to extend offerings to the powers of air is to hang bird feeders. Whether it be a humble hummingbird feeder, or half a dozen large feeders and houses, Nature appreciates when you feed her feathered children.

Fire

Spring is a little cool for us Northerners to go camping, but it’s the perfect time for bonfires and fire pits. The spring showers keeps the grass moist, minimizing the chances for a wandering spark to cause a tragic disaster. If you are like me, and live in an apartment, then a fire pit or chimnea may not be possible. you could make do, with carefully placed candles and lights. Planting sunflowers will bring the element of Fire into your garden as well (or any flower with vibrant orange, red, or yellow hues). There is a neat DIY Mason-jar candle holder I found on Pinterest, which is in the board I created for Magick Gardens. Where I live, mosquitos can get quite thick by the height of summer, so citronella torches and candles give mood lighting and keep the pests away.

Water

Water is the life blood of the garden. Something simple as a way to collect rain water for your plants can be efficient in incorporating the powers of water into your garden. A rain collection container doesn’t have to be an unsightly bucket either. Paint a watering can, or repurpose coffee cans, so as one overflows it will pour into another can just below. Rain water is much better for our gardens than tap, so if you don’t get a lot of rain, try to save what you can when it does.

A birdbath, or even a small pond are equally efficient, and much prettier to look at. While I can’t have a bird bath, much less a pond, I can have a small fountain. There is something about the gentle trickle of a fountain – it’s reminiscent of a gentle spring rain. I’ve included a few pins on how to make your own fountain. I’m not comfortable working with sheet metal, so I will hunt for clearance fountains to add to my garden.

Water is rejuvenating, and refreshing. Make a ritual out of watering your plants (or any other form of tending); take the time to talk to your plants and connect with their spirits. Each plant spirit has its own personality, its own vibration. Get to know each one. This especially comes in handy if one gets sick. If you are in tune with the plant’s spirit, you can ask it what is wrong. You would be surprised how well this works.

Connect to your Plants

As I said, take the opportunity to get to know each plant in your garden when you can. Even if it’s just a few minutes when you’re watering them. Not only does this prove helpful when a plant gets sick, but it helps when it comes time to deadhead, prune or harvest. It’s not respectful to go around cutting someone’s hair, so it’s equally rude to just start snipping away before asking the plant for permission. Last year some of my flowers grew as tall as 6 feet, and the flowers would get so heavy the poor stalk would be leaning from the weight. I would water the garden, and talk to all of my plants. Then I would get shears, ones I used only for my garden, and before I snipped anything I would talk with the plant. I would ask if I could cut it here or there, and would tell it why. “Your bloom will soon die, may I cut it here to relieve your back from leaning and make a bouquet in my home?” or, “this part of your plant has become sick, may I remove it so you can thrive?” Same goes for deadheading, when you pull dead blossoms off so the flower can replace it with a new one. “I’m sorry I have to hurt you, but it’s so you can keep growing strong”. And after I’m done, I take a moment to feel gratitude for my plants, and for their sacrifice. Even if it’s just a damaged leaf, it’s part of their body. The garden is much healthier when it knows it’s loved.

Each plant spirit has its own personality, its own vibration. Get to know each one.

Garden Magick

You may use your garden to grow herbs and flowers for magickal workings, or the act of growing the garden itself could be magick. While I have included some pins about what a Witch’s Garden includes on the Pinterest board, don’t feel compelled to include any of the suggestions. With witchcraft, you want to make it your own. That means listening to your body, your intuition, and trusting that the messages you receive from nature are real. Yes, my garden will have some herbs. But that’s because I was drawn to them, NOT because some ‘expert’ wrote that I have to have them in order for my garden to be ‘witchy’. As witches, we are naturally drawn to the outdoors. We are nurturers, mothers, caregivers, healers, and have honed our abilities to walk between the worlds. All of these qualities are exercised in gardening – whether it’s a rock garden, a pond, a succulent or zen garden, flower garden, vegetable garden – I could go on and on.

I think that altars make the magick garden complete, but again, go with your gut. If you don’t feel comfortable having an altar outside, then don’t have one! Like I said before, I need a little help when it comes to gardening, so I adorn my garden with things that Good Neighbors like. I will have an altar in my garden this year, whereas last year my ‘witchy’ stuff was at a bare minimum. The altar will be for Earth gods, ancestors, dragons and Fae, so I’ll have all sorts of odds and ends out there so there is something for everyone. But that’s me.

When one hears magick, it’s natural to think spells. There are countless spells that use the growth of a plant to bring prosperity, or the soil of the bed to bring protection, luck, health, happiness. I included only two spells, but I found dozens more in researching this post. (Most of the content I knew, but still like to do research to see if there’s anything I can add to the piece). Growing an elemental garden connects you not only to nature but to the elements as well, which makes spells utilizing the elements all the stronger. You could design your garden in a way that it works with the planets, or deities. There is no limit to the possibilities. James Kambos, in his article “Spring Garden Magic”, said “The spring garden should be a place to celebrate magic.” (p. 19, Llewellyn’s 2013 Magical Almanac). I couldn’t agree more, Kambos! The very act of growing and nurturing a garden is magick.

…gardens reflect alchemy in action, bringing the above of spirit to the below of color, scent, and natural beauty, and the soul to the without of evocative expression.

Tiffany lazic, “Urban Elemental gardens: Crafting magic in small outdoor spaces”, Llewellyn’s 2019 magical almanac, pg. 45

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Resources*

Llewellyn’s 2013 Magihcal Almanac

Llewellyn’s 2019 Magical Almanac

Rachel Patterson, Kitchen Witchcraft: Garden Magic


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Faery Musings…

With spring so close I can almost smell it, I can’t help but think about two things: Gardening and Faeries. The two seem to go hand in hand- well being out in nature in general makes me think of Faeries. I have been a little weary about working with them. After two years of study, I have decided to ease into Faery craft. At this point, I don’t know how in-depth I will go, and I think that is best. I recently wrote a post for Hubpages, “Befriending Faeries” and I explain guidelines and how to start practicing Faery Witchcraft, so if you want to hop over there to read more about getting started, go ahead. I’ll wait! I’m patient!

……..

What’d you think?! I’m pretty proud of it

So, now that you’ve read Befriending Faeries, you’ll know that starting gradually is the way to go. you need time getting use to working with Faeries, as they are unique spirits. They aren’t your ancestors – they aren’t human, for that matter. They are powerful, but they aren’t deities. The energy is just, well, different. It can be tricky working with Fae – they are easily offended, they have different sets of morals and beliefs, and not all Fae like humans. In the words of Morgan Daimler – some want to “eat your face”. I like my face, tha—oops! Can’t say those words to a Fae. I’d appreciate it if they didn’t eat my face. I’ve been practicing, working on my manners while at the same time avoiding saying “thank you”. I don’t want to owe them anything without setting the terms first!

So the reason for this blog is to follow up on Befriending Faeries in a way that I can’t on Hubpages. DGMW, I love writing for them, but you must keep the Hubs straightforward and professional. I’ve had one of their editors tell me to change one of my first Hubs because it read more like a blog or diary entry. I want to talk about what it’s like after you set up your Faery craft practice, but I don’t want to make it cut and dry – because working with Faeries is not cut and dry. It’s not straightforward, so I opted to write about it here where I can include anecdotes, (and my corny jokes).

Faery Witchcraft Basics

Okay, so I wouldn’t say that I practiced Faery Witchcraft, because most of my workings do not involve the Fae, but I think an overview of what Faery Witchcraft is a nice follow up for Befriending Faeries. Much of my practice involves what I will be outlining, except I don’t have all of the tools yet. The main difference from Faery Witchcraft and ‘basic’ witchcraft (if there even is such a thing), is the tools and the altar. You will have a working altar, where you perform your spells and worship deity, a faery altar, and it’s recommended to have an ancestor altar as well. Your ancestors, whether of blood or culture, will be great guides when working with Fae.

Tools

  • Knife (not iron – bronze knife with black handle best)
  • Cauldron (again, not iron)
  • Stone (any found stone that you instinctively know is a gift from the Fae)
  • Wand (you will end up accumulating a number of wands; most powerful when made yourself from a local tree who gifts you the wood)
  • Quaich (a bowl with 2 handles, used for drinking; associated with sharing drinks; used for holding food and drink as offerings; may be substituted with wooden bowl).
  • Mortar & pestle (for grinding herbs; best to have 2, one for food and tea quality herbs and another for incense)
  • Broom/ Besom (for clearing away energy; best when made of heather)

“Part of being a Fairy Witch is always being aware of the energy around you and staying open to possibilities”

Morgan Daimler, Fairy Witchcraft (Moon Books, 2014), pg. 40

Creating a Faery Altar

A faery altar is a place for you to connect with the Fae. In Celtic Lore & Spellcraft, Stephanie Woodfield says that “your faery altar will act as a bridge between you and the Faery Realm.” (p.163). The altar does not have to be extravagant. Morgan Daimler and Stephanie Woodfield concur that your altar should contain things that you instinctively feel will be the right things to call attention to the Fae. My faery altar consists of a small faery garden, a candle, and my deck of Faery Oracle cards. When a particular rock, piece of jewelry, or even broken candle holders, calls my attention, I will put it on the shelf or add it to the Faery garden.

When you dedicate a certain place to the Fae, you might want to cleanse and bless it. I lit some frankincense incense and wafted it over the shelf (which I cleaned thoroughly before), and over the faery garden. I set a little dish next to the rock garden with a cookie and little cup of milk with a squirt of honey in it, and said this blessing (from Celtic Lore and Spellcraft):

I bless this altar in the name of the Sidhe,
that it may be a place to weave faery magick
and honor the Fair Folk.
So mote it be!

Silently welcome the Fair Folk, careful to invite them by saying or thinking “I welcome Fair Folk of good intentions and friendship in their hearts”, or something along those lines, so you don’t invite a faery that is going to do you harm.

Thoughtful Thursdays: Finding the Magical in the Mundane

✨✨There is magic all around, no matter where you are, no matter what you’re doing… you just have to be open to it. There are many realms within this world – little worlds within this world: Forests, Fields, Beaches, Backyards even. Today I will tell you how to transform a mundane walk through the woods into a Spellcrafting Stroll through a Magical Woodland. ✨✨


When you have the chance, go for a walk through the woods. When you step onto the path, you are entering a different world. Instead of a vast blue sky and all-encompassing light, the air is cool, the breeze is gentle, the Sun only meeting the ground in sparse rays of light. Continue forward, following the splashes of light – these are your guides to the perfect space in which you will perform your working. Walk slowly, so your eyes can thoroughly observe the scene. What colors do you see – shapes, shadows, take as much of it in as possible. Your goal is to immerse yourself in this world and learn how you fit into it. You are not on the path, you are a part of it..you are a part of the woods. 

As you stroll listen to the wind… what is it saying? Pause for a moment and breathe in through your nose. Close your eyes and focus on the scents. What do you smell? You can better understand your surroundings by using your sense of smell to identify the things your eyes don’t detect. 


Your hearing can further define the world around you. What can you hear? As a breeze glides through the branches imagine the leaves dancing about when you hear them rustling. Can you identify the bird calling nearby? What do you think the squirrels are chattering about?

Go to the nearest tree and place your hand on its’ body- observe the sturdiness of the trunk… the refreshing coolness of the bark. Stand in the presence of this tree and feel the energy radiating from it- how does it feel against your body? Does it carefully nudge your aura? Or is it a strong force enveloping you in a hug?

The sun peering through the trees is more than streams of light illuminating the forest path…it is the Goddess, sending you energy that, when accepted through your Crown Chakra (the top of your head) merges with yours, making your magic determined and fierce.

Let your intuition guide you to The Spot – the place where you will conjure and cast. When you find this place, stand there for a moment and slowly rotate, taking in your surroundings. The techniques you were practicing along the way will have you all warmed up for this task. Once you have etched the area into your mind, stand comfortably with your feet shoulder width apart. Feel your power start to warm and rise in your belly, and send it down your legs, through your feet. Push it from the bottom of your feet into the ground, in the form of roots if that helps. Send those roots deep as you can, allowing them to stop naturally. Now breath deeply, into your belly and then your lungs and hold that breath with the muscles of your belly and chest- don’t close your throat. Hold for the count of 2 or 4, whichever you are more comfortable with, and then release. Let the air out of your lungs and then your belly, and again hold by flexing the muscles in your middle. The next deep breath you take, envision you are absorbing the power of the earth, drawing it up with your breath. Continue this breathing technique until the energy has traveled up the roots, entered your feet, then up your legs, into your belly, rising up until your body has fully absorbed the powers of the Earth. How does it feel as it merges with your personal power? With the power of the sun?

Now comes the fun part! You may cast a circle if you wish, or set a protective barrier around you. In Wicca, the circle is cast in order to keep the energy raised in a contained space. It condenses as it increases, and so when you finally open the circle it is sent into the world like a stone shot into a field with a slingshot. In Celtic magic, the circle does the opposite in a way, whereas instead of creating a pressure cooker for magic, it establishes a sacred space with no veil so the deities or spirits you call to may communicate with you. Depending on the working I may use the Wiccan circle or I may use the Celtic. Whichever you use, if any, is totally up to you.

This working will be sent into the Universe, to tweak and shake the delicate strands of the Web of Life encouraging the series of events necessary to ensure that what you desire will come to pass. The power of Speech was believed to be immensely powerful by the Celts, so begin by stating your desire out loud. See the destination in your minds’ eye – if you are casting for a new career, imagine your daily routine from the moment you wake up until the time you lay down to sleep. How has your life changed with this new career? Do you drive a different car? Does your house have any new furniture? What is your range of emotions through the day? Do you have a peaceful commute? Or do you start your day by taking your laptop out to the chair on your back porch to check emails in your pajamas while you sip on coffee? What was the busiest part of the day? How did you feel when the rush was over? See these things clearly as possible. When you get home from work or when you decide your work day is over,  are you tired?…feel a sense of accomplishment?…giddy because you landed a new client? When you are getting ready for bed, what thoughts are going through your mind?

When your journey self drifts to sleep, bring your awareness back to your body. Ground the energy speeding through your body and with it send your intent. Once the energy charged with your Will is pushed into the earth the soil will nurture it, help it grow sturdy and strong.  The power of the Sky is of the element Fire, so it is the spark that will bring change to your life that will lead you to your goal. Feel that spark traveling with the power of Sky through your body, and when it comes up your midsection to your head let the power shoot out of the Crown chakra and rain down around you. Feel the strength and stability and potential merge with the earth energy and send it back down your roots. This energy is now a part of the Woodland floor, the soil in which these trees have taken root. The trees will absorb the energy, and the sunlight that caresses their leaves will ignite the intent into motion.

You should pour a bit of water onto the earth as an offering and a sign of gratitude for accepting your presence and for contributing to your magic.

✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨

Your body, mind, and soul are the only tools you need to make magic. Sure, an athame or wand helps to focus magic but your finger is just as efficient- maybe even more powerful, at casting a circle.  Your Will, Determination, and your Imagination- your Inner Sight are essential to magic as they are the catalysts which bring your desires to life.  Your bodily senses will define the world around you, help you understand how you fit into it. Your intuition will guide you towards the location both safe and sacred -perfect for making magic- and your Inner Sight will set into motion that which you are determined to accomplish…what you Will.