As the first spring planting catalogs are hitting my mailbox (which is currently knee deep in snow) it occurs to me that for those of us dreaming ahead as we browse the hopeful seeds and bulbs to come, it might be fun to know of the lovely magical garden folklore that’s rooted in mystical cultures closer to nature than we are. They say there’s playful, happy magic about healing, luck and love in your garden, whether you choose to believe in it or not … so while winter winds rattle the chimney pots relentlessy, there’s no harm in fantasizing and maybe whipping up a recipe or two from a magical cookbook to while away the indoor hours. The nourishment that’s in Mother Nature’s storehouse isn’t only confined to foodstuff, after all – there’s plenty of nourishment for the spirit, too. There’s an old metaphysical adage that reminds us only to feed what we want to grow, so maybe feeding the imagination with a little magic is a perfectly acceptable pleasure in any season.
Here’s a little list to tack to your refrigerator while awaiting Spring, so you can decide exactly what you’ll want to encourage to grow in your garden and in your life as this newest and hopefully, most bountiful year begins to bloom:
Plant honeysuckle, marigolds, roses, thyme.
To grow love:
Gardenia, spearmint, cherry, apple, maple are your good bets….as well as tomatoes and strawberries, especially if dipped in wine. Women who wish to conceive are encouraged to eat sunflower seeds, as the sunflower was sacred to Apollo, Demeter and Helios in Greek mythology.
To grow happiness:
Lavender, marjoram, catnip, morning glories all are said to have special powers.
To grow money:
Mint, snapdragons, clover, dill, basil, ash, pine and apple are prosperity magnets.
To avoid theft:
Plant a Qi fence of garlic, cumin, vetivert or thistle around your property.
Hydrangeas, sunflowers and myrtle should do the trick…why not throw in some sesame seeds, too, as they are sacred to Ganesh, the god of prosperity and good fortune.
You might want to build an altar with an offering stone:
In days of old, the gods and the fairies were offered gifts of grain, grass, milk, water, honey – all to ask for blessings and to say thank you for those received. A water element in your garden is said to be a wealth enhancer and it’s certainly a boon to serenity. My garden is replete with angel statues in nooks and crannies and Buddha, sitting contentedly under an umbrella of weeping cherry. I have mirrored disco balls in all my trees to reflect the sunlight into the house, so it dances on walls and ceilings in a spritely way .
Fairies and earth elementals are thought to love
Gazing globes and all shining objects, which are said to deflect evil, as well as absorbing and reflecting the positive energies of sun, moon and sky. My garden gleams in every season just to keep the fairies, earth elementals ( and me and mine, of course!) happy.
Hints from Mother Nature:
And don’t forget to always plant on the waxing moon and pull weeds on the waning one…but I’m sure you serious gardeners already knew that.
Know Which Trees to Hug
The Druids and other ancient sects practiced Tree Magic, so you might want to know the many qualities ascribed to specific trees, so you can honor them in your garden (or at least know which ones to hug first.) Here’s a list to consider:
Ash, which is Sacred to Odin who sacrificed himself for higher wisdom on an ash tree, is used in making magic wands.
Cherry is called The Phoenix Tree and should be meditated with whenever the spirit needs refreshment.
Honeysuckle helps us learn from the past and as it is sacred to the Celtic Goddess Cerridwyn, helps us attract a lover.
Holly was revered by Druids and is said to be held sacred by all earth-working creatures – fairies, gnomes, elves, and the like – who tend to all growing things.
Lilac can align the Chakras, call the fairies, evoke past lives and provide clairvoyance.
Maples can balance male and female energies and will benevolently boost our energy and ground us if we or sit with our spines against them.
Oak, which was sacred to the Druids, can call forth all magical kingdoms.
Pine trees are blessed by Mithra and are said to eliminate guilt and cleanse the spirit.
Whether you believe in magic or just cherish the self-replenishing wonder of your garden, it’s sweet to contemplate the continuum of love and largesse that Nature represents, isn’t it? In this time of robo-calls and hashtags and electronic messaging – of 140 letter communications and the disconnectedness of the accelerating timeline that’s propelling us into a less human and less contemplative future – the idea of spending time in a replenishing garden seems magic enough to me. My hammock sits in the snow at the moment, calling to me through the frosted window pane.
Three months to go in the Northeastern clime I inhabit, before the crocuses poke their little noses up to remind us of Nature’s impending rebirth. So while we wait impatiently for Spring, I offer a recipe from a magical cookbook to help you while away the hours til St. Valentine’s Day when enchantment is always in the air! I have absolutely no evidence about whether this recipe will produce results…but on the otherhand, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
A Most Sensual Soup
Eight large ripe beefsteak tomatoes (the finest you can find, needless to say). Scald them in a large pot (red would be best if you have such a treasure) until their skins split and can be easily removed. Drain and cool, then remove seeds and chop…while you’re chopping, dice two ample sized sweet onions and three cloves of garlic to saute in the loveliest olive oil you can find and the freshest butter, in equal measure. When the onions and garlic are sheer and your kitchen smells like a charming farmhouse in the Tuscan hills, add the tomatoes to the generous melange and simmer til soft. Now you can puree, adding salt from the sea, cracked black pepper and blissful thoughts…singing will help, wishing and dreaming are absolutely essential, and playing a love aria from Puccini or Verdi, could only enhance the magic. When ready to serve, add fresh picked basil (which encourages love), a dash of your favorite spirits (a special brandy might be nice) a splash of fresh cream from a happy cow and sprinkle all with any freshly grated hard cheese that tickles your fancy, dribbling butter-rich handmade croutons with reckless abandon (tiny heart shaped ones might make a pretty picture). There are those who’ve been known to add a handful of primrose flowers and violets, but I think that would gild the lily, don’t you? So let’s not. Instead, serve with warm goat cheese toasts and nasturtium salad (which is rumored to make a lover want to dance with you!) Then pour two glasses of the most romantic wine you can find and the enchantment will be complete.
Bon appetit, my friends.
© Cathy Cash Spellman/The Wild Harp & Co. Inc 2014