So, I’ve learned peony is a powerful plant ally. The other day, while looking out my kitchen window I saw something beautiful. The peony bushes are blooming! Big, beautiful snowball-like blossoms that draw the eye both day and night. Not to mention their fragrance that sweetens the air as well. I haven’t worked with these flowers before, therefore, I have been doing some research. Here is what I’ve learned.
Peony: “June Is Busting Out All Over”
Perhaps when Oscar Hammerstein penned the iconic lyric to the song in the musical production, Oklahoma!, it was the sudden appearance of these blossoms that inspired him. Blooming in late Spring/Early Summer, this flowering plant has a short burst of glory (about a week) before returning to an herbaceous green for the rest of the season.
According to Wikipedia, the flowers come in six varieties:
- single: a single or double row of broad petals encircle fertile stamens, carpels visible.
- Japanese: a single or double row of broad petals encircle somewhat broadened staminodes, may carry pollen along the edges, carpels visible.
- anemone: a single or double row of broad petals encircle narrow incurved petal-like staminodes; fertile stamens are absent, carpels visible.
- semi-double: a single or double row of broad petals encircles further broad petals intermingled with stamens.
- bomb: a single row of broad petals encircles a shorter dense pompon of narrower petals.
- double: the flower consists of many broad petals only, including those which likely are altered stamens and carpels.
Peonies are perennial, which means they will return every year once established. Some have been known to flourish for up to 100 years. In most growing areas they tolerate a variety of well-drained soils, require lots of sunshine, and little maintenance. The blossoms are 4 – 6 inches in diameter. Peony does not transplant well, so choose where you place it in your yard or garden wisely. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, plant peonies in late September and October in most of the U.S., later in warmer/western climes.
Edible and Medicinal in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Practical Self Reliance suggests that the seeds, petals, and roots of Common Peony are edible. Use them to make jellies, in salads, or as a garnish in lemonade, iced tea, or cocktail.
Known as Chin-shao-yao in China, the white peony is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for a variety of ailments including pain and swelling, fevers, epilepsy, pulmonary heart disease, etc. It is also considered helpful for a variety of gynecological issues including cramping, balancing the menstrual cycle, and treating polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Pregnant and nursing mothers should not consume this plant. As always do your research and talk to your doctor or a trained herbalist before embarking on adding any herb or plant into your wellness routine.
Peony is a powerful plant ally.
For Ancient Greeks, the plant symbolized healing, named after Paeon, a student of the god of medicine, Asclepius. The flower is a symbol of a healthy marriage in Japanese culture.
Peony is said to attract fairies (read Morgan Daimler’s blog for information about the Fae, working with them, etc). The woodpecker is said to be its guardian, so if there is one in the area seek permission to harvest from both the bird and plant. Harvest for magickal work at night if you can.
This flower is associated with the Sun and yang energy. So, there’s no surprise that it also corresponds with the Zodiac sign of Leo and the Fire element. According to Beyerl’s Master Book of Herbalism, peony also correlates to the Moon and is said to balance the energy of day and night.
Let the magick begin.
You can work with this plant spirit on issues such as anger, anxiety, or banishing. Find assistance for your business through peony. Protect yourself, family, or friends from danger, relieve nightmares. Discover hidden things or promote opportunities, success, and prosperity. Preserve a harvest. Find release from sorrow or what no longer serves you. Peony will work with you on all of these needs or issues.
Here are some suggestions for harvesting and working with this plant (as always, ask the plant spirit before taking any action and give an offering in gratitude):
- Cultivate the root of the plant for drying in the Autumn.
- Dry flowers by tying them in a bunch and hanging the blossoms upside down in a dark, cool area.
- Create a necklace from the seeds to wear as a protective amulet.
- Place bouquets or garlands of dried peony in your bedroom or around the house.
- Use the petals in amulets, incense blends, ritual bath sachets,
- Add the dried root to spell bags.