No matter what type of witch, healer, pagan, or spiritual guide you call yourself, having your own garden of fresh herbs is no doubt a vital part of your personal practice. Sooner or later, you will feel the pull of the soil, calling you to plant, nurture, and harvest. Embracing earth magick and growing your own herbs serves multiple purposes and allows you to develop a deeper relationship with the earth, leading to a greater spiritual power. As you coax tiny seeds into robust and strong plants, you’ll enter into a pact of sharing energy, giving your energy to the plot and the plants, more at the beginning, but also receiving from them in many forms. An herb garden is a sensual delight in so many ways. Your eyes will be your first line in determining plant health, your sense of smell and taste your left and right hands in knowing when they are at their peak and ready for harvest and your hands the toolbox which makes everything else possible. This garden will be a sacred space and if you are willing, can be an area for you to communicate with things beyond the veil, relax and ponder on the secrets of life, and to exchange energies. Plant magick is as real as magick can get. Anyone who has established a witch’s garden knows that there is no faking it. Herbs are knowledge; ancient and sometimes forbidden, but nonetheless knowledge; more than any spell book, internet site, or library. Your herbs will speak to you and if you are open enough to listen, they’ll reveal more secrets than you ever thought possible. There is nothing more real than that.
A visible witch’s garden will have certain characteristics that may be troublesome to outside observers; those who would judge first and understand later or never at all. Since a large plot of earth sectioned out in the shape of a pentacle isn’t always realistic, a true witch will understand that results are the product of inputs and by expending their energy at the right time, will find success. In other words, follow your heart, follow your practice of magick, and follow your instincts. If you do have the land and a level of seclusion, a full complement of witchy herbs await your green thumb. I say seclusion because there are many witchy herbs which are poisonous but attractive looking and could draw attention. Also broadcasting the fact that you are “different” from your neighbors might not be the best option for some people. If you are apartment bound or live in a close neighborhood then consider an indoor pot based or window based garden. It’s your energy and nurturing that makes the garden sacred, not the exact shape, size, or number of plants you grow. Your practice is your guide in deciding what to plant in your garden, and of course where you live. Mother Nature always has her say in everything we do on this planet.
What herbs do you use often should be the first question you ask yourself when planning this garden; make a list and do some research on availabilty of seeds, adaptability to your climate, cold heartiness, and whether the proposed herbs are toxic in any form. The latter point is especially important if you have young children or pets. Often times you will need to go outside of your local channels to get seeds or starts as many witchy herbs are non-mainstream. There are many reputable greenhouses both in the United States and Canada which can provide just about everything you could want. Make your preparations while waiting for the seeds and rootstock to be delivered. This planning is critical in the process from an energy standpoint – as I mentioned, sharing energy occurs between the plants and the planter – this is when you pour valuable energy into tilling the soil, filling the pots, and preparing the site. The number of ways you can add special magickal touches are endless; the shape of the garden, the decorations on the pots, what you bury in between the rows, and more.
When you have your sacred place prepared and your seeds and plants ready, plan the right time to open the earth to receive your chosen plants. There are many “rules of thumb” on when to plant, but only one that really seems to resonate – plant during a new or waxing moon. More info on planting by the moon.
As you plant, remember what the “means to the end” are for your garden. Keep focused on what you will use these herbs for, sharing with them your innermost thoughts, allowing your energy to amplify their purpose for being. Handle them with reverence and respect for they will reward you a thousand times over with all of their power. How you choose to manage the garden once it’s established will depend on your personal ways. Whether that means watering it under the moonlight, walking widdershins before stepping inside it, surrounding it with magickal items, cords, or knotted cloth, or any other sort of protection charms, it’s a matter of personal choice. There is no right way or wrong way to plant and care for a witch’s garden.