This morning, as I sipped tea and prepared for my day, the buzzing of the weekly weed whacker hit my ears. I’ll be honest, I’m not comfortable with the sound because of the plant allies which surround my house. There have been “accidents” in the past and the loss of a few plant allies as a result. So, upon going outside and seeing the decimation of several well loved plants once again, I grew angry. Very, very angry.
“Spittin’ mad”, as my mother might say.
You see, for me, having a deep connection to plant spirits is one of the best things about being a Witch.
Working with plants is a major part of my Craft. Even in the past months, as I’ve expanded my spiritual path to include Modern Hekataen Witchcraft, engaging with plants as a Green Witch will forever be part of my path. For me, the energy of the Earth Mother permeates everything I see or touch. The grass, plants, vines, bushes and trees fill our lives and provide us with beauty, food, medicine, et al. , but they also assist in energetic and magickal workings. Plant Allies surround and fill my home with their individual and collective spirit energy. So, to see even one damaged or destroyed because of carelessness or disregard upsets me. I’ve put a lot of love into creating a working relationship with the plants inside and outside of my home.
Sure. There are times when I prune, harvest, or even have to remove a plant. But it’s always done with love, respect, and an understanding of the spirit which resides within the plant, flower, herb, or “weed.” Part of my practice as a Green Witch is to connect with plants, and other land spirits within nature, so that the relationship is well established and understood. The Earth Mother is honored and the plant allies know my intention, whatever it may be.
Therefore, I get a little righteous in my anger over the destruction of my plants (and the rain forest). Some people might say I’m overreacting when I weep over the loss of a valient miniature rose bush due to the careless actions of another person. Angry enough that it becomes the subject of a blog post. Like this one. Not my friends, of course. They offered understanding and advice in how to deal with this sorrowful situation. No, the “some people” include the weed whacking dude who couldn’t be bothered to be apologize for what he’d done. But who cares what anyone else thinks, right? That mini rose bush was my plant ally! A sweet spirit I’ve loved and nurtered for months. So, I’m trying to process and focus the emotion (anger, sadness, grief) into something more productive (hence this blog post).
Let’s talk about connecting with plant spirits. How does one do so?
Over the years, I’ve found it’s important to be “mindful” when it comes to my relationship with nature. People who do not have a “green thumb” have asked me if growing plants is important or necessary to do the work of a Green Witch. Actually, no it is not. In my opinion, you can be a Green Witch (or a Witch or Pagan of any path) and experience a deep energetic and/or spiritual alliance with nature.
You can get to know the spirits of the trees in your yard or neighborhood by stopping, placing a hand on the trunk or a branch, and letting yourself “feel” or “sense” the tree’s spirit. Call upon the spirits of the dried herbs you are working with in a spell to be your ally. They will respond. The relationship will be different than what you might experience with a live plant, but it will be there.
I practice this mindfulness with the plants in my home. There are trees beside my driveway I spend a few minutes with on pleasant afternoons. I stop and take a moment to breathe, look up at the sky (even if it’s mostly cloudy or gray), and am grateful for the connection I feel with the Earth Mother. I offer birdseed at the base of bushes or trees. I track the currents of a breeze while pushing my toes into the grass. And I take the time to “be” within nature. Growing the plants yourself or being a gardener is not required to have a deep connection with plant allies. Even if I were to never have plants in my home or tend a garden again, I would still practice deep connection with nature. Plants would still be my allies.
Mindful practice has become an important part of being a Witch for me. Why?
As a solitary, I am the sole motivator in how I walk this spiritual path and do magickal work. Perhaps those who are in groups, covens, groves, or kindreds do not disconnect from nature because of riuals or activities expected within their tradition or belief system. Solitary practioners do not have such a routine or schedule unless set by themselves.
If you want a deeper connection with nature, and to cultivate plant ally relationships in the process, here are some suggestions (Adapted from an ad sponsored by the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in a Yoga Journal article this past Winter):
- Nature meditation – A little tricky in Winter (in Michigan) but if you dress warm it can be done. A Spring, Summer, Autumn activity for me.
- Hike with your hands – Walking while running your fingertips over the bark of trees, rocks on the ground, etc.
- Find a sit spot – A place in your yard or in nature (safety first if your an urban dweller) where you can spend 5 minutes a day just breathing.
- Walk barefoot outside – Sink your toes into grass, dirt, sand (being careful of what’s on the ground around you).
- Meditate near water – We are fortunate to live 15 minutes drive from Lake Michigan (amazing place to meditate) but also near some parks with streams and rivers in them. If you have a place to go near water I recommend visiting at least once a week and get in tune.
- Offer gratitude – Leave a small offering of bird seed or water before you leave and thank the Land Spirits/Nature (my take on gratitude, not the author’s)
- Observe Plant or Tree Auras – Sit with the tree line or a plant in view. Breathe and allow yourself to enter a light trance state. Soften your gaze until you can “view” the spirit energy/body of the plant or treeline.
- Engage Plant or Tree Spirits – Open your senses as you would when holding a stone or other object. Reach out to the plant/tree spirit. Allow it to “show” itself to you. Ask the plant or tree spirit if it is willing to be your magickal ally. Assume nothing. Wait for its answer. And remember, it’s okay for a plant or tree spirit to decline. Take the time to approach and ask another.