Anthropology Of Religion
Besides needing to do some tarot readings for clients, which I save for the liminal time of dusk, I had time for myself today to do as I wished (a very rare thing!) and I wished to wildcraft and transplant wild native plants into my garden. So out I went on this sunny day in my wellies and my indigo coat. First, I harvested some Enchanter's Nightshade ("Circaea alpina") from the head of a mountain spring. I noticed it growing there last year, but didn't collect any in time before the unseasonably hot summer we had killed off the delicate moist and shade-loving plants. Enchanter's Nightshades aren't actually in the nightshade family (solanaceae) and are found in both N. America and Europe. How they acquired their name and association with the Greek witch Circe is a mystery to most, but a look into their use in European folk magic for sorcery and witchcraft explains it. The local Native peoples here were well known for practicing magic, so I wouldn't doubt it if they put this beautiful plant to a magical purpose as they had a liking for the magical powers of strange roots.
Medicinally it was used by Native peoples externally as a poultice or a wash for wounds and was be taken internally as an infusion for wounds as well. Magically it is used to tempt a would-be lover to you, for shapeshifting and transforming, enchantments and glamours, as well as cursing or binding enemies - quite an all-purpose magical plant! As it needs an environment of perfect balance between shade and light, wet and dry, it is also used in workings for balance - those of energies, femininity and masculinity, the bright and dark The leaves and the strange little bulbous roots are now drying over my kitchen window.
Then I walked further on to search for a large family of native Rowan to ask for a trunk the right size for a shaman's staff for a friend. One was offered, it's bark reminiscent of moonstone changing colour from blue, to green, to silver, to white I asked permission and spoke my chant and cut the piece quickly and cleanly from the base. 'Twas a very tall one! I gently directed it's fall so as not to damage the surrounding trees and shrubs and then poured my homemade mead made from the blood of trees (my dad's maple and birch syrup) over the wound as both offering and wash for the wound to stave off disease. Then I set about to saving the leaves for drying for magical oils and incenses, small branches wide enough for beads, and cut the thinner portion into wand sizes, and lastly sawed the larger portion of the trunk into two shoulder-height staffs.
After taking my wildcrafted treasures home I went back out into the woods and dug up some wild native plants for transplanting. Granted Mullein isn't technically native, but it's been here for so long now and is a well-known weed methinks it counts. The great Mulleins usually get whacked down by kids, dogs, or the annoying bushwhacking gas company, so instead of waiting for a Mullein torch this year only to see it destroyed, I decided to transplant this beauty into my garden so it could thrive in the full sun it loves so much. It's quite fuzzy and soft, not really showing it's nature and history of association with witchcraft. I also transplanted two Great Yellow Avens. They don't look like much but weeds now, but they grow large stalks with even more leaves and nice yellow flowers in the summer. The flowers and roots are used magically for protection from just about any illness, evil, or wild animal, when carried on one's person.
I also transplanted some False Solomon's Seal as it's not only huge, beautiful, and transplants easily, but it has a local and ancient tradition of being used for magic. It has white star-petaled flowers in the summer and bright red berries in the fall which are edible. The Coast Salish believe it belongs to snakes, bears, deers because they are all believed to eat its fruit. It has many medicinal applications, almost too many to list here without droning on and the magic is more interesting anyway! The berries and the roots were used for sorcery and False Solomon's Seal root mixed with Sweet Flag root ("calamus") was used to cast spells on people or lay tricks (Native magic is pretty much rootwork and quite similar to hoodoo minus all the Catholic/Christian symbology). Combined they "might" have also been used by shamans to fly or call spirit guides. ("Update: it turned out to be true Solomon's Seal that had probably escaped a garden, still though, score!")
My porch garden has been growing since January due to the beautiful weather British Columbia has been having. My catnips are huge! I didn't know the leaves could be as big as my palm! My potatoes are coming along nicely, my herbs and baby Cedar trees survived the winter, and my Rowan tree's delicate leaves are all unfurling. My peppermint is big enough to hack at to make money-drawing oil, and my black nightshade came back all on its own. This year instead of planting as many food plants as I did last year, I will be planting more medicinal and magical plants. Friends gave me many seeds so now I have just about every Nightshade and Belladonna that exists, two types of Datura, Henbane, Castor bean, and Rue seeds. I hope to get them all germinating this long weekend so when the weather is stable and nights warmer I can plant them all outside. I think I have a thing for nightshades as last year I grew two local varieties as well as potatoes, five types of hot pepper, and three types of tomatoes which are all in the solanaceae family -- I just realized that now!
Article Source [wicca.com]