Years ago, I had the good fortune to find a mentor willing to teach me about witchcraft. She shared wisdom that I use to this day, but the first and most valuable lesson helped me understand the importance of plant allies. I’d say the “greening” of my practice came long before a shift to green witchcraft. This also led to the greening of my home as a result.
My mentor introduced “greening” into my life (although that would not have been a term she used) by sending me into nature to observe and spend time with a plant. As a result, I came to know and understand the spirit and energy of plant allies in a deeper way. So, I thought I’d share the basics of that lesson and how even just the presence of plant allies in your home space can assist.
Greening Your Home: Know Your Plant Allies
As mentioned, the first lesson I received from my mentor had me trooping into my yard to study a plant. I had a month to photograph, identify, observe, draw and chart the plant. One of that month’s tasks included researching the plant’s habitat, how it thrived within its environment. Did the plant flower or fruit? Did the plant attract any particular kind of insect? How much sun and water were required for the plant’s life cycle?
The next month, my mentor had me return to the plant and learn how to connect with its spirit. The exercise was as follows:
- Meditate while sitting in front of the plant, then open the eyes while “softening” the gaze and observe the energy surrounding and infusing the plant.
- Place hands above the plant to sense the energy observed.
- Seek the spirit of that individual plant while sensing its energy.
- Then, ask the plant to be an ally in spiritual and magickal workings.
This may seem like a lot of work but it was worth it. Why? I never had much of a green thumb before these lessons. However, once I learned to observe a plant, get to know its spirit and energy, ask it to work with me, raising a plant in a container on my porch/balcony became a simple thing. As a next step, I learned how to translate that action into growing herbs and houseplants. And all of this came before I ever did any spellcraft with a plant ally. In my experience, building a relationship with plants is key to everything.
Greening Your Home: Plant Allies Will Do Their Work
Not all plant allies assist in spellcraft but this does not mean they do not work in your home space. There are many plants that do not have a magickal function per se, but their spirit brightens a home, lifting moods and lightening the atmosphere. If I had my way, there would be plant allies in every room of my house.
Healthy house plants can clean the air of a home of pollutants. Caring for plants has been proven to lower stress and blood pressure. When the skies are gray, as they are now during Middle Winter in Michigan, the green (or other colors) of a plant ally can elevate a mood. This is why offering a plant to someone who is ill or recovering can be cheering on their soul. This proved true for me a couple of years ago when I had surgery to treat endometrial cancer.
A few days after returning home from the hospital, an FTD delivery arrived with a Dish Garden from my colleagues at work. The basket was filled with plants in various shades of green and white (one with flowers) and Car put it on a bookcase across from me. I had been in a lot of pain to that point. Almost immediately, the plant spirits reached out with peace, restfulness, and healing energy. I soaked that up with gratitude and it made a huge difference. Those plants still live in my home offering the same gifts whenever needed.
I experienced the plant allies within the Dish Garden in such an immediate fashion because of years learning how to “meet and greet” plant spirits, to the point it is automatic now. However, it is my belief that plants reach out to people even when the recipient of their energy is unaware or inexperienced. Plant allies will do their work, regardless of our recognition. So, give a plant to someone who is in need of their help. But for us as magickal and/or spiritual practitioners, the experience of a plant ally partnership is so much better when we put in the effort of getting to know them.
Greening Your Home: Be Mindful Of Pets And Children
This should go without saying but not all plant allies are safe for pets and young children. Case in point, I love poinsettia. Before Balthazar came to live with us I had two in my care for over a year. However, he is a curious cat and I would rather not endanger him by keeping plants in my home which could cause harm. Therefore, I gave those plants away as gifts.
If you are new to greening your home then I recommend doing the necessary research. Learn what plants are safe to keep around pets and young children. If there is a plant you must have then find a way to keep it away from general areas or reachable spaces. I have an aloe plant that lives in my kitchen window because the cat (by some miracle) never gets on or in my cupboards. We have encouraged this behavior. The plants on a low table are those in which he is safe to be around. And he loves them! My plant allies are Balthazar’s personal garden.
There are plenty of resources regarding pet and child safety when it comes to bringing plant allies into your home. Remember, Google is your friend. You can also visit a local library for books to study or visit a greenhouse with knowledgeable staff. And if it is not feasible, station your allies in an outside greenhouse or garden. Plants do wonderful work wherever they are located if you ask.
Greening Your Home: But I Have A Black Thumb!
Oh, how many times have I heard this lament, especially from Witches who feel drawn to Green Craft? I used to say the same thing once upon a time. What made the difference for me has been learning to discern, experience, and work with plants as allies with spirits and energies of their own. Why? Because it takes time and dedication to build a relationship. The steps shared by my mentor have become second nature to me but in the beginning, it took effort.
Which is why I recommend the steps to learn about one plant. Spend a month observing, learning, and being with one plant. If it is possible, do so in its natural habitat. However, if you need to practice the steps indoors by purchasing a single plant and bringing it home, I urge you to do so. Then study that plant.
Find out what its needs are to thrive and provide them. Know the plant’s life cycle. Meditate near and speak to the plant. Share your energy with it. If the plant struggles then adjust by discerning its particular care needs and trying them. If it still does not thrive, then gift the plant to someone and pick another.
Plants Known To Be Low Maintenance
Pothos Ivy: One of its benefits is that it purifies the air of impurities but in my experience assists in clearing out negative energy as well.
Dieffenbachia: This gentle plant ally enjoys medium to low light and it doesn’t require frequent watering. All of my plants are watered once a week and are happy as can be.
Heart Leaf Philodendron: Enjoys any kind of light. This plant ally has a joyful spirit. I cannot help but smile whenever I am nearby or enjoying its beauty.
All of the above were part of the Dish Garden. Additional easy-care allies I recommend include:
Aloe Plant: I love my aloe plant, which has been with me for many years now. It started on my altar and thrives wherever it is placed. (Not safe for pets).
Lucky Bamboo: I have found that so long as this plant’s specific needs are met, then it provides abundant energy to a room. You must provide it with room-temperature purified water (never tap water) and check it every few days to water. Low or artificial light is preferred. I have also found it best to keep Lucky Bamboo away from other plants.
African Violet: This a beautiful ally which I have had now for years. Be sure to re-pot them once a year, keep them out of direct light, keep the soil moist, not wet. And they are safe for pets!
Greening Your Home: Plant Allies Every Where You Go
Even if you are unable to connect with plants to the point of having them in the home, you can use the knowledge to build your relationship with plant allies in your yard, the park or in the wild.
Take the skills you have (or will discover through spending a month with a plant) and use them to bring the energy you need from your plant allies into your home through essential plant oils and herbs. Connect with plant spirits and they will work with you in so many ways to “green” your home, life, and magickal practice.