Inside A Witch’s Herb Garden

After toiling all spring in my garden, I finally have a chance to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

I made these little signs for my backyard herb garden and sprayed sealer on it to weatherproof it, but I’m still not sure if they’ll hold up.  We’ll see!

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Medicinal & ritual herbs are in the backyard, but I keep kitchen herbs on the front steps, where they are more accessible.

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I try to grow a new herb every year.  Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.  This year, I am growing stevia.  So far, it’s been pretty easy.

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This book made my summer reading list this year.  Somehow, I ended up on this publisher’s promo list of bloggers.  They occasionally send me review copies.  I really enjoyed this one, which is a nice introductory primer to wildcrafting.  It’s really helped me a lot on my nature walks.

secret medicines from your garden

I consider the woods near our house an extension of my garden.  I collect firewood there, and I use references like the one above to identify various plants for ritual and medicinal purposes.

This is my new favorite, in season right now.  I first noticed it growing wild along highways and roadsides.  It’s called Chinese Trumpet Vine.

chinese trumpet vine

Medicinally, it supposedly makes a good blood tonic.  I probably won’t use it that way.  But it might make an appropriate offering to Chang’e.

Back in my own garden, the perennial flowers have done well this year.  Foxglove quickly became my favorite flower of the last few years, except I can’t seem to keep it alive!  I buy a new one every year anyway because I love having it so much.  Associated with fairies and hallucinogenic flying ointments (don’t try it!  it’s poisonous!), foxglove has a special place in the heart of any garden witch.

foxglove

I just started growing scotch broom a few years ago.  Ruled by the element of water, scotch broom can be used in banishing rituals and purification.   Gather a bouquet and place it near the front door for protection.  The Goddess Tree has a nice little article about it here.

scotch broom

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Elemental Garden Blessing Ritual

Don’t you just love this time of year?  The air has that moist earth smell.  Bulbs are poking their heads up out of the ground to see what’s shakin’.  Stuff is getting all green.  And the whole world finally seems to be shaking off its frosty chill.

It’s time to really get going in the garden.  Take care of the spiritual side with this simple garden blessing.

Garden Blessing Ritual

You will need:

*A gemstone of your choice.
*Spring water
*Salt
*Smudge stick
*Compass
*A small red, green, yellow and blue candle
*Hand shovel.

1.  Let’s get started.  Dig in there.  Literally.  Grab your hand shovel.  Take that bad boy and turn over the soil.  Get your hands dirty.  Bugs and worms are cool.  Don’t be afraid to touch them.  They don’t bite.  Well, most of them.

2.  Once the bed is good and broken up, take the gemstone in your dirty hands and say a blessing.  Acknowledge what you wish to accomplish for the coming season.

3.  “Plant” the gemstone in the center of the garden.  Bury it deep.

4.  Bust out your compass.  Place the the green candle in the North corner with the salt, the yellow candle in the East corner with the smudge stick, red candle in the South corner, and the blue candle in the West with your spring water.

5.  Beginning in the South corner with the red candle, walk clockwise around the garden.  Light each candle, stopping to welcome the power of the elements into your garden space.  All of these elements are essential to life.  Let’s make ’em happy.  In case you don’t know their corresponding directions, they are:

North = Earth
East = Air
South = Fire (Sun)
West = Water

6.  When you are done, you should arrive in the back at the South corner with the red candle.  (You’ll note set up is important for this ritual if you want to avoid awkward changes in direction).

7.  Continuing in a clockwise motion, you will arrive at the West corner with the blue candle and the water.  Sprinkle the water around the circle, imagining its nourishing effect on the fresh earth.

8.  Move on to the North corner with the salt.  Sprinkle the salt around your garden, imagining it as a force of protection from predators and invasive pests.

9.  Finally, you will arrive at the East corner.  Pick up your smudge stick, use the yellow candle to light it, and continue walking clockwise from corner to corner.  Blow gently on the end of the smudge stick to “breathe life” back into your garden after the long winter months.

10.  To close the circle, walk counterclockwise, extinguish each candle as you go.

There.  You’re done.  Happy gardening season!

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