Secrets of a Green-Thumbed Witch: Tarot and Gardening
by Melanie Harris
Growing a sacred garden can be a delight, but when
leaves wither and plants begin to die, feelings of hopelessness and
disappointment emerge. Such desperation can make chemical fertilizers
tempting, but often, all that's needed in the garden is a little magic.
With each growing season, we have a fresh opportunity to improve our
skills as both gardener and Witch. We want to do all we can to grow our
best gardens yet, and this includes trying out new magical methods to
improve our crops.
One such technique that is easy to learn and very
beneficial is to use Tarot cards to help maintain the health of plants
in the garden. Tarot cards can reveal a failing plant's specific
ailment and needs, and can also be used to increase vitality and
enhance growth, calling on essential elements in the environment that
will sustain and protect your plants.
If you have a plant that is showing signs of distress
or that is growing more slowly than expected, sit next to it with one
of your Tarot decks and mix the cards, focusing on the plant's
energies. Absorb the vibrations of the plant and send this power
through your fingertips and into the cards. Ask the plant what is
wrong, and draw a card for the answer.
As your ability to creatively apply your knowledge of
the Tarot will determine the quality of your garden diagnosis, it's a
good idea to study up on various aspects of Tarot symbolism and
interpretation. Intuition is your primary tool, but it needs a firm
foundation of knowledge on which to operate. Seek out both new and
classic guides to the Tarot, and strive to never rely solely upon one
reference. By learning a multitude of possible associations for each
card, you will give yourself a broad base of information to help you
develop your own interpretations.
Here are some general interpretive guidelines to get
you started in the right direction. With a traditional Tarot deck,
drawing an upright cup card can show that the plant needs more water,
as cups are the suit of this element. A reversed cup card may signify
that the plant is being over watered. Likewise, an upright wand card
can reveal that the soil needs to be better aerated, while a reversed
wand card shows that the plant might need to be buffered from the wind.
A sword card likely points to disease or overcrowding, and if the card
is reversed, it can signify that the damage may already be beyond
rectification. An upright pentacle card communicates that the plant may
need stronger protection against pests, while a reversed pentacle card
can show an imbalance in soil composition or a need for more nutrients.
An upright Major Arcana card can be interpreted as a sign that the
plant needs more light, and a reversed Major Arcana card may mean that
the plant needs to be shaded.
For those with a more advanced understanding of the
Tarot, interpretations of chosen cards can be more detailed and the
diagnosis of the plant's ailment more specific and complete. For
instance, the Five of Pentacles in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, with its
imagery of starving figures left out in the cold, could be taken to
signify that the plant is plagued by a pest that is cutting off its
access to nourishment. A worm or insect could be feasting on the roots
of your little green friend. As another example, the Eight of Swords,
with its symbolism of confinement, could be interpreted to mean that
the plant is being restrained. Another plant could be wrapping around
it or crowding it, or if it's a container plant, it might need to be
moved to a larger pot. The more familiar you are with the Tarot, the
easier will it be to make the most of your intuition when interpreting
the cards to diagnose the health of your magical garden.
With contemporary decks that stray from traditional
imagery, you will need to rely solely on your psychism to supplement
the information in the interpretive guide to your particular card set.
Unlike the traditional Tarot, fairy cards and similar sets do not have
the benefit of having been written about for centuries, and there is
simply a lack of available cross-references for studying the newer
decks. Don't let this discourage you from investigating these cards,
however. Many contemporary decks retain accuracy while offering a fresh
perspective that can expand your magical skills and sharpen your
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