Skunk Cabbage

Week 39 of the PBP.

Skunk cabbage. It’s ubiquitous in the swamps and marshy parts of the forrest. This plant is about asserting yourself, holding your own and finding others like you. It also holds a valuable lesson about being indiscriminately repellant—mosquito and human alike avoid its aroma.

Skunk cabbage is one of those unglamorous plants that probably wouldn’t make it into your typical neopagan herbal, but it’s unparalleled in its effectiveness when it comes to keeping out the bad stuff. Personally, I like to include it in protection and banishing spells when I really need some extra oomph. (It is a good idea to check in with your housemates, though, as to when they’ll be out if you’re going to use it fresh in ritual!)

Sycamore

Week 38 of the PBP.

There’s just something about the scaly, leopardy bark of the sycamore that I’ve always found irresistible. When I visited Portugal in 2011, one of the most memorable experiences of the trip was sitting beneath the giant spreading branches of a sycamore in the courtyard of a Templar monastery. It was almost as if the branches still held the chants of the monks rustling amongst its dry winter leaves.

Sycamore is of the deep Earth, rooted in the sturdy realm of Saturn. A sycamore gifted me a branch this past Samhain, and rarely have I felt nwyfre flow so freely in an impromptu tool. The branch is quieter now, but no less grounding.

Rose

Week 37 of the PBP.

Welp, I’m caught up through August! I feel like I actually may be able to make it all the way to Z. I’ve definitely entered the space of “good enough” with regards to this project. I’m trying to cut myself a little slack due to various upheavals since July, and I think it’s going to be ok.

So, back to the plants! The entry is for the rose, probably my favorite flower to grow. The colors and odors range across the visual and olfactory spectra, with new varieties being bred all the time. Roses can be old fashioned or timeless, prissy or wild. There’s a rose for every mood. My nana loved yellow roses; my mother loves pink; my favorite is flaming orange.

The epitome of beauty, I associate roses with Venus and Fire. While love spells first come to mind as a magical use for this plant, I’ve found her to be helpful with protective wards and purification waters. There are probably as many different kinds of magic for roses are there are varieties. Gentleness and strength are also the qualities of the rose, and being gentle with oneself is one of the first ways to becoming strong and supple rather than hard and brittle.

Raspberry

Week 36 of the PBP.

I love, love, love this plant! It’s one of the most gregarious of the hedge-dwellers, and provides bounty for all who would dare to dance through its thorns. Raspberries make the August heat bearable, a reward for the long hot days.

Raspberry was the first plant that I learned to identify as safe to eat. I like to fancy that I have a good understanding with the thorny brambles—I rarely get scratched, and my small stature comes in handy for reaching into the depths of the stand to get at the berries that the birds ignore as too difficult.

This is a Firey, Martian plant if ever there was one. I always feel safe within its thorns.

Quercus (oak)

Week 35 of the PBP.

The oak as door. That is probably the most powerful association this tree holds for me. The lightning’s path between cloud and soil.

There is so much lore from so many cultures about the oak. It’s clear that this tree has fired the imaginations of humankind for centuries. And nothing in a blog post could possibly capture a fraction of its majesty.