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Listen: The Spirits are Speaking

I have never been a witch that worked with plants. I have been doing this witchy thing for almost 17 years, and I was never a witch that gardened or grew herbs. It just wasn’t my thing.

But one of the fun things about being a witch is this:  over time, your practices, interests, and magic shift and change. And, if you are an animist, the natural world reaches out to work with you.

Last Samhain, I left our pumpkins out in the yard over the winter. They rotted and spilled their seeds to the ground, and I ended up with a tiny front yard bursting with pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) vines. I got a kick out of this turn of events and decided to leave them be, curious if they would produce pumpkins. I ended up getting five pumpkins out of the deal:


Four are pictured here – I didn’t notice the last pumpkin until a few days before Samhain!

The pumpkin vines were snaking all over the yard, covering other plants that decided to show up and make their presence known. Before I knew it, I had two large Datura plants (Datura stramonium) standing sentry in my yard:

I looked to Sarah Anne Lawless’ website to learn more about Datura’s magical uses. Long story short: it is a highly poisonous plant that can be used for astral travel and other spirit work.

One of my covenmates suggested that the plants that show up around a home are allies that desire to work with the people living there. Thus, I am starting to research the plants that are naturally growing around my home and in my neighborhood. I found that I have common mallow (Malva neglecta) growing behind my house (another herb used for spirit work) and that my back yard is filled with lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). I recently planted mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) and it is flourishing. Most recently, my amazing herbalist friend Violet took me on a plant walk today, helping me to identify more plant allies that are living in my neighborhood.

One of my favorite Rumi quotes has always been “What you seek is seeking you.” Witchcraft is often active work – we are casting spells, contacting the Gods, creating change, impacting the worlds with our magic. But we should not forget that the world is reaching out to us, too – the Gods, the Dead, the Spirits, and the Landvættir (spirits of the land) are all doing their own work, casting their own spells, impacting us. It is beneficial to take the time to be receptive to that which is seeking us out, calling our names, asking to do sacred work by our side. Magic is all around us in the beautiful living world.

What plants naturally grow around your home? Do you feel their magic? Do you work with them, talk to them, coven with them?


  1. A lot of bittersweet nightshade came up volunteer at my house, also some black nightshade. Also, a wild rowan tree sprouted in our yard several years ago. We have a hawthorn and several hollies, too. I tend to look at the plants that have come on their own, and the ones we add as messages/allies.

      • The Rowan/mountain ash is very common here in Washington State. I’ve used the sharp flavored berries, after frost, to flavor a liqueur. Also made a very bittersweet jelly one year.

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