Silently a flower blooms,
In silence it falls away;
Yet here now, at this moment, at this place,
The world of the flower, the whole of
the world is blooming.
This is the talk of the flower, the truth
of the blossom:
The glory of eternal life is fully shining here.
— Zenkei Shibayama
In honor of Maia and Flora, and all the other Green Growing Powers of Springtime, I am sharing some ideas about weaving magic with the help of our allies in the garden.
Magic has been defined in countless ways – the ability to change consciousness at will, the ability to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, or, as radio producer Karen Michel has described, “When the intended combines with the unexpected to have an effect that is finer and more surprising than what’s hoped for.”
In her book of treasures, Magical Gardens: Myth, Mulch and Marigolds, renowned Goddess expert Patricia Monaghan adds this gem – “Magic is what occurs when nature’s fecund beauty meets our energy and desire.”
“If,” she writes, “magic is the exercise of will over circumstance, what better image than a rock garden full of alpine plants in a desert valley, or a balcony full of blooms high above an urban freeway?”
For thousands of years, people have cooperated with and coaxed the Earth’s own magic in order to bring food, shelter, and beauty to their homes. Gardening is a combination of working with and against the natural inclinations of Wild Nature. We plant our seeds in Her soil, but we tear out the invading plants that might diminish the energy of those we favor. We allow our plantings the Mother’s natural rhythm of light, dark, sun and rain. Yet if for some reason She is not cooperating with our garden’s ability to flourish in the ways we desire, we help things along, by watering, adding extra shade or light, and other protections as needed.
A garden is a magical threshold between the will of humans and the natural inclinations of the Wild. “In wilderness,” Patricia writes, “we find beauty, but not magic. Where vegetation grows unimpeded, unaltered by human will and vision, we have pure Nature, not magic…In the garden, we corral Nature’s blossoms and fruits for our pleasure and nourishment; She responds, on Her own terms, giving some gifts we never thought to seek, and withholding others we crave.”
In the garden, we dance with the Divine. We learn when to battle fiercely for our visions, and when to surrender. We mourn the roses overcome by Japanese beetles, the tender flowers nipped by late frost. And we rejoice in the annual resurrection of daffodils planted long ago. In the garden, which is built on the composting and death of what once was, we celebrate the tender budding and fragrant blossoming, for sweet is the magical fruit of our labors.