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The Magical Garden

The Rowan

If a rowan tree should take root in your garden, then your home and all who dwell therein are blessed, for the garden is under the special protection of the fairies.  The rowan is a witch or wiccan tree, which means that it is the tree of the Goddess.  It is said that the wiccan tree thrives upon land made sacred by ancient stone circles and forgotten Druidic rites.  Should you happen upon a flourishing rowan, which is most bountifully hung with cluster of delicate red berries, then you may be sure that some saintly soul lies buried close by.

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For the Garden-Boot and Shoe Rowan Berry Charm

Drop a palmful of rowan berries gathered upon Rowan Tree Day (13 May), into any number of old boots and shoes you wish to discard-only they must be of leather.  Take them and bury them deep, choosing a spot where your bedding plants best flourish, and say this little charm over them as you work;

Rowan fruit, boot and shoe

Bless my flowers the summer through;

Fairies of the wiccan tree

Work this growing charm for me

Work by the light of a waxing moon, upon a Friday for a Wednesday, these being nights of Venus and Mercury and under the guardianship of their angels, Anael and Raphael.  Then you may look forward to a veritable Eden of summer flowers.

Bay

Wherever the bay flourishes, that garden and the dwelling it graces are protected from flash and flood.  It is a tree of the old gods, a tree of the Lord, and its spirit is valiant.  Its fragrance and its essence celebrate holy valour and human triumph.  Take bay leaves in your food, or make them of a tisane (one teaspoonful of the herb to a cup of boiling water), for they have properties which heal and restore.

For the Garden-Human Hair and Bay Leaf Garland Spell

Take of bay leaves nine in number, and collect a winding of human hair from your brush until you have enough to pass around your hand nine times over. At the time of the new moon, or yet when it is full, tie both leaves and hair together into a garland, intoning all the while:

"Fair Selene, let this be

A rope of charms and sorcery;

I root my art in God's good earth

To give it secret cunning birth;

May it bloom like the bride at kirk-

My soul and natures handiwork!"

Bow to the silvery orb, and lay the garland in the hole you will have dug out earlier in the day, ready to receive tree, shrub, herb or flower.  Set your plant with firm tenderness in the soil, speaking a blessing over it.  Water well, unless there should be a nip of frost in the air, in which case you must wait until mid morning to satiate its roots.  Soon after the working of this growing spell, there will most likely come a flood of rain, which will be nourishing and beneficent for the new addition to your garden, so much so that it will be as if you caught the scent of your bay leaf charm in the rain washed air.

Oak

The oak is a holy tree and is the lord of truth.  The is a tradition that the voice of Jupiter may be heard in the rustling of its leave, and indeed the oak's spirit is mighty and wise.  Its kindly heart gives peace; its noble boughs give shelter.  The Druids revered this tree, and the precious mistletoe to which it is host

Charms

Carry an acorn in your pocket to protect yourself from storms, from losing your bearings and from evil intent.  Paint a smiling face on your acorn. This might seem a pastime better suited to children, but it will make your charm stronger, for the Oak Man lives also in acorns.

Put a handful of oak leave in your bath and you will be cleansed both body and in spirit.  An oak leaf worn at your breast, touching your heart will preserve you from all deception and the world's false glamour.

Carry three acorns about your person and you will have a charm for youthfulness, beauty and attainment in life.  Tie and bind them with your own hair and bless them under the new moon and the full moon, every month of the year.

If you wish to know whether you and your present beloved will marry, take two acorns, naming them under a full moon for yourself and your lover, and drop them into a crystal bowl of well water.  If they sail close to one another, as though knit by a bond, you will be sure to marry; but if they float away from one another, that is a token which speaks of severance.

The Holly

The handsome holly is a lucky tree, for it affirms life and is a symbol of undiminishing vitality. Ensure that is has a place in your garden, for its glowing green presence wards off unfriendly spirits. The Holly Man lives in the tree that bears prickly holly, and the Holly Woman dwells within that which gives for the smooth and variegated leaves. The first is lucky for men, the second for women.  Do not burn holly branches unless they are well and truly dead, for this is unlucky.

For the Garden-Ale and Holly Berry Spell

An old charm to help your garden grow is to pour a quart of ale into a silver tankard upon the night of each new moon, and to drop therein nine holly berries, having blessed them and washed them in its rays.  Hold it aloft, speaking this charm to the moon:

Fair Selene, I drink to thee!

May this mead a potion be!

As soon as the rune is chanted, you must empty the tankard over your hollyhocks, your foxgloves and your torchlillies.  Then you shall have fine blooms indeed.

The Birch

The lovely silver birch is a Goddess tree, the symbol of summer ever returning and the festival of the first fruits, which is Lammas-tide, the first day of August, when the goodness of Mother Earth is celebrated.  May Day, Whitsuntide and Midsummer are also important days upon which it is well to wear a sprig of birch in your buttonhole.  May poles are best fashioned from thorn and birch wood; upon the calends (the first day) of May, a little cluster of birch leaves, pinned as a brooch to the cloak or bonnet of a maid, will work a love charm so that she may choose her suitor in the May Games.

Charms

Folklore says that the birch is a tree of paradise, an emblem of the everlasting summer that prevails in the spirit worlds.  It is said that the oak and the birch are husband and wife, and that wherever the birch takes root; the oak will come and grow nearby.

Hazel

The hazel is a tree of kindly witchcraft and diverse blessings.  The Druids held it to be the tree of wisdom and knowledge, poetry and fire, beauty and fecundity.  Its nuts should be eaten by lovers, poets, and scholars, although that goes for all, as there is something of each in every one of us.  The mild of the hazelnut is especially blessed, and should be taken as a charm for health and fortune.   Folklore says that forked hazel twigs can find gold, and that is a lucky wood for water diviners.

Charms

Weave hazel sprigs into a chaplet and wear it in your hair; if you do this on May Day you will have good luck all year, and you will have three wishes granted to you, besides in order to fulfil your desires.

To protect you home from fire and flash, make a small bundle of hazel twigs on Palm Sunday, tying it about with your own hair.  Keep it above the hearth, and it will bestow domestic bliss as well as safety.

Enchanter's Flowers

If you would create a garden with magic at its heart, where the fairies come to make sport at eventide, and which grows for your health and your happiness, then cherish a number of ancient herb's and flowers sacred to the months, the stars, the planets, and the angels.

Beans

Grow a crop of beans, for these celebrate the powers of the Goddess; the soul of this plant knows the secrets of the rites of life, death and rebirth. There is wisdom in the scent of the blooms of the bean which only the spirit can hear; the myth of the plant is that it sings to wandering ghosts and guides them on their way to supernal realms; colliers will tell you that when the bean is in flower there will be deaths underground.

Charms

Take a stroll in the garden and inhale the perfume of beans in bloom as evening falls, for then you may be sure to dream prophetic dreams; but be wary, for you will touch the essence of your very soul with your night time vision, and the truth in these visions is sometimes a burden of sorrow, what some call nightmares; to ride the truth of the soul can be a fearsome journey.

Briony

If you afford a little license to the briony, you will have on hand the mandrake or the woman drake plant, according to whether the climber is male of female.  The briony root is as magical as the true mandrake, for nature has fashioned it just as curiously, as though it were a poppet doll for spell making.  The woman drake will cure all manner of women's ills, and the mandrake chase away rheumatic complaints.

Foxglove

This is a fairy plant, and you will please the fairy folk if you grow the tall foxglove to nod in your garden. Fairies care for every flower and herb, but they find the foxglove especially hospitable.  Some have seen the fairy dwellers within, and in their fear have given the flower strange folk names, for it is called Fairy Weed, Dead Men's Bellows, Bloody Man's Fingers and Witch's Thimble.  There is a poison in the plant which causes drunkenness and frenzy so decline foxglove tea, for it is sinister. A few of the leaves and flowers of the foxglove, sparsely scattered, will bring a sweet moodiness to your bath time which can do no harm.

Violet

A necklace of violets protects from deception and inebriation.  Use them in your love philters and in spells to restore health after long illness.  If you dream of violets, fortune is sure to smile on your before long.  If violets bloom in autumn, they speak a warning.  A lovely myth tells us that violets first sprang where Orpheus laid his enchanted lute.

Honeysuckle

A posy of honeysuckle will bring a maid tender dreams of love and passion. If you bring honeysuckle into your home it is said that a wedding will follow on its heels.

Primrose

The primrose is a symbol of birth and progeny.  Count the number you first see, and if there are thirteen or more, you will be lucky all year.  Laying hens are said to be influenced by this charm.  If you see a single primrose, dance around it three times to avert the ill omen, for it foretells a bad-laying year.  Make a tea from the pretty flower heads to soothe away sleeplessness and to dream sweetly; and a tisane prepared from the leaves (two chopped teaspoonfuls) will bring back the sparkle to a failing memory and mind.  Lay a little posy upon your doorstep, and fairies will cross your threshold as you sleep to bless your house.

Lilly of the Valley

Country fold sometimes call this flower Our Lady's Tears, for it is said to have sprung up where her tears fell.  Others call it Liriconfancy, for it is a maid's flower.  Because Death seeks virgins on account of their purity, some say it is unlucky to plant out a bed with Lirconfancy alone.  The distilled water of the flowers revivifies the system, and their perfume evokes images of the Goddess.

Ivy

Ivy will tell the fortune of the house.  If it grows upon the walls of your dwelling, it gives protection from malice and misadventure; if it suddenly withers, the home will pass out of the present family's occupation.  Wear a garland of ivy leaves about the head to prevent he hair from falling out after illness.  Ivy leaves soaked in vinegar and wrapped around a corn will send it away; press out the juice from the leaves and let it be taken up the nostrils to easy a cold and a streaming nose.

An old love spell runs thus:  Pluck an ivy leaf and hold it against your heart, changing three times as you walk:

Ivy, Ivy, I Love you,

In my bosom I put you

The first young man who speaks to me

My future husband he shall be

Rosemary

If rosemary roots naturally in your garden, it signifies that the woman of the house is a matriarch, powerful in mind and spirit, and her counsel and wisdom should be respected and followed; if such a woman moves away from the dwelling, the rosemary bush will often die.  It is a holy and magical plant, and its oil and fragrance are healing.  Its name means "dew of the sea" and its meaning is fidelity and remembrance.  It is for the great occasions of life-weddings, funerals, and births.

Charms

An old charm bids the bride and her groom to dip rosemary sprigs into their wine before they take their first sip, for then love will always flourish between them.

Rosemary tisane is a panacea, and a potion for beauty of the mind, body and spirit.  To put a sprig of it and a silver sixpence under your pillow on All Hallow's Eve will ensure that you dream of your future spouse.  If a maid sets a plate of flour under a rosemary bush at sunset on Midsummer Eve and goes again to retrieve it at first light upon Midsummer Morning, she will find her true love's initials traced mysteriously in the flour.

Yarrow

Yarrow is a witch's herb and a woman's herb, and should be offered in a little posy to the newly married bride, for it brings the blessing of conjugal happiness.  Yarrow is a talisman and a breaker of spells.  Its tea is a panacea for maidens and mothers.

Vervain

This is an herb of mystery and enchantments.  The Druids of old gathered it under the Dog Star, observing their secret rites and chanting sacred runes. It is said that vervain was used to staunch Christ's wounds, and sprang for the first time beneath the cross of Calvary so that use might be made of it. Today, old wives use it still to cure wounds and to banish many assorted ills.  It is an enchanter's herb, and has mystic power over locks and bolts. It is for love spells and love amulets.  It is a lucky herb for brides.

Charm For all spells and charms, this rune must be chanted whilst gathering the herb:

All-heal, thou holy herb, Vervain

Growing on the ground

Blessed is that place

Whereon thou art found.

Heartsease

This pretty flower with its painted maiden face is for broken hearts and for all those disappointed in love.  Numerous ailments can arise to afflict some poor soul where previously he or she strode through life bonny and healthy, and the secret behind their malaise is a broken heart.  Fable has it that Cupid brought colour to heartsease with one of his arrows, and indeed it is a flower for the heart.  The soul of the plant is concerned with love and the healing of the heart.  Country people sometimes call it love in idleness or the pansy.

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