May 17, 2021

Healing: A Small Start, by Marcia Sherman

Editor’s note: This nonfiction article was an easy choice for me. I’m a gardener and I adore information on plants, be it folklore or growing tips. Here, Marcia supplies practical tips, folklore, and a peek into lovely, easy to grow plants. You’ll learn while having fun!

Starting centuries ago, as soon as people began to gather in communities, there have always been Healers. Revered or feared, those who many consider the earliest physicians used the whole of nature in casting medicinal spells. The following is a sampling of my limited experience with healing flora which nature has provided from my own property.


Marigolds come in a variety of colors and sizes. A natural insect repellant, they thrive in a southern exposure bed which receives full sun. Water and the removal of spent blossoms are all that is required. In spell work marigolds symbolize the restorative power of the sun, as well as abundance. Before the flowers die off completely, collect as many petals as may be needed. Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil and bake in a medium oven until completely dry. This keeps the golden color from fading. Stir them once or twice. Prepared in this way, and kept in airtight containers, they will last for several years. Besides use in spells, they make a colorful addition to potpourri. 

Roses are another flower essential to many spells, especially those for romance, and healing broken hearts. As with marigolds, full sun helps in growing a healthy plant. After the flowers have passed their peak, remove the petals from the hip and allow to air dry completely in an open weave basket, occasionally stirring, then store in glass jars. They will last for months. Petals from roses received as gifts or purchased specifically for drying are perfectly fine. To use in spellwork, just remember to cleanse the petals of any outside influence. Sea salt, sage, even a well-intentioned breath will negate foreign energy. Color is important to the type of spell cast. There are many books and references available to determine what color is best for what healing influence.


Aside from the petals, other parts of flowers can also be employed. Daylilies grow in abundance in my yard. This flower blooms in sun or shade, and may bloom twice in a growing season. After the flowers have dropped off, allow the stalks to dry completely. Stalks should pull out of the base plant easily. My besom began life as a bunch of dry day lily stems culled from the prosperity corner of my property. The bundle is light and manageable, and tied with a purple ribbon. The besom whisks away stale energy, and graces my altar during healing spells for added personal power.

Depending on where you live, trees may play a part in your home’s landscaping. Several large trees including oak, a maple, and a hickory graced our back yard. Sadly, it was necessary to clear some of these due to disease, inconvenient placement, and weather damage. Many magical tools came from the branches and limbs—including wands and walking sticks and dowsers. Lacking in self-discipline? Hickory provides healing and a way back to the right track. Every year acorns rain down from the remaining oaks. What the squirrels do not hoard are collected and used for spells which call for longevity and masculine curative power. Maple heals with stability when off balance in any aspect of life. Crumbled into a powder, dried leaves can be safely stored indefinitely. Be sure to store separately as combining the leaves may negate their power. A fascinating side note: every time we contracted for professional tree removal; each worker took a branch of whatever was cut down. Superstition? Tradition? Magic.


In the way we may embrace a spirit animal, a flower, bush, or tree may hold special meaning. Holly is such a plant for me. Every place I have ever lived has been blessed with holly, either in the form of a living, growing bush or tree, or as decoration during Yule. My affinity for this beautiful and varied plant makes it the perfect addition to any spell in which I need an extra boost of personal power. In the happy circumstance you feel attracted to certain herbs, flowers, bushes, or trees—non-toxic plants of any sort—make sure to attempt the growing of it.

Not all spells call for flora alone. Where there are gardens and trees there are almost always birds and insects. Birds shed feathers, build and abandon nests, and sadly on occasion lose eggs. These are all useful items to have in your store of supplies. Found carcasses of bees, butterflies, and moths; and empty cocoons can be saved for restorative spell work. A cicada is supremely lucky for recovery and rebirth spells. Remember—nothing must ever be destroyed or disturbed for a spell. The consequences would hardly be worth it.


A word about the inanimate—a few years back,  I attempted to lure the fey folk with a fairy ring of granite rocks.  My purpose was to add extra healing magic to my backyard space, to encourage visits and good luck. All I managed to do was trip over the rocks whenever I mowed the grass in that area. I swear I heard wee fairy laughter every time. Soon after the ring was dismantled a toadstool fairy ring appeared.  Lesson learned: it is usually best to let the fey create their own magical healing spaces.


Of utmost importance when gathering supplies for spells, especially healing spells, is intention. In creating a healing ritual, reflect carefully on the outcome you seek. I hope sharing this personal composition inspires you to take a closer look at your own yards, gardens, patios, or window boxes and what they have to offer as you embrace the grand tradition of Healer.


Marcia Sherman specializes in flash fiction, poems, and essays on fairy tales, folklore, and mythology. Since 2011 Marcia has contributed to various annuals published by Lewellyn Worldwide. She adheres to an earth-based belief system, is a proud mother and grandmother, and is Shadow-cat's human.


This story is brought to you by Brittany Warman and Lissa Sloan, two of EC’s very generous patrons. If you’d like to help EC survive and thrive, learn more here.


Image of roses from Pixabay.


Kelly Jarvis said...

This is phenomenal! I dream of having a garden like this.

Marcia Sherman said...

Kelly -
Thank you for your comment. I wish you happy gardening.
Marigolds grow anywhere with sun and water, and they help keep bugs away.

blessings -

M Sherman