Being a Voduist (or any other spiritual practitioner) requires ongoing supplies to keep things moving along. Candles, oils and botanicals are in constant demand, so it is no wonder then, that you will find a flourishing garden of the most useful plants in most Voduists backyard.
While there is something sacred about wandering the bush, identifying botanicals and gathering what’s needed, cultivating your own plants for Vodu also has its rewards. Getting up close and personal with individual species provides key insights and helps you develop a relationship to the plants spirit. They always appreciate your nurturing and reward you with a bountiful harvest. If you have luck in your garden, caring for your own plants also allows you a constant supply of those that may not be found in the local environment or those hard to find botanicals that some suppliers charge a fortune for.
Whilst travelling, one thing I really missed was my garden. As much as I enjoyed connecting with the Australian wilderness, I longed for my roots to delve deep into the ground and call somewhere home. It has been 5 years since settling here amongst the alps, shadowed by the sacred ‘Big Fella’ himself (Mt. Bogong) and as this winter draws to an end, I watch patiently for my garden to reemerge from its cold slumber.
According to local Australian Aboriginal lore, in these parts Spring was known as ‘Gna-lleu’ and it’s definitely my preferred season for joining Gran Boa and experiencing his domain.
So come with me now for a brief journey through my potted garden and a bit of botanical lore.
*Gran Boa is the Vodu Loa of the woods and as such, reigns over plants, their secrets and the wild animals found in the woods.
Garden Sage (Salvia Officionalis)
I tend to use this botanical mostly in formulae for divination, psychic enhances with good effects, possibly because of the thujone it contains. It’s often used like Rosemary as a loving binder but is said to be much stronger. A hardy herb that grows into a smallish shrub with purple flowers in summer.
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
Another herb containing thujone, although this chemical may not be solely responsible for the psychedelic effects felt from drinking Wormwood’s alcoholic derivative, Absinthe. The spiritual properties of Wormwood tend to see it used in works with dark spirits and sometimes baneful formulae.
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
All mints are favoured by spirits and Pennyroyal is no exception. This herb is useful for drawing in helpful entities, as an offering or creating the right environment for ancestral work. A pennyroyal tea helps with depression and the floral water is an excellent ritual space preparation spray. A delicate ground cover that is frost sensitive and enjoys full sun.
Sweet Violet (Viola ordata)
Apart from this plants culinary uses (the flowers are tasty in salads), violets are used in a similar way to pansy for love and relationship work, although I also have personal experience using violets to expose a liar with good results. Watch out, violets have a habit of spreading rapidly and taking over.
Elder (Sambucus Nigra)
A sacred tree in many European traditions, Elder produces useful black berries. Used for protection and healing in a variety of ways, I have found its best effects in Wanga (Vodu pouch fetish) or other talisman type work. Grows to be a medium sized tree so requires a large pot or preferably, open ground.
Yarrow (Achilla millefolium)
Associated with Mars, this herb is excellent for protection as well as having uses for baneful works. Some also say that yarrow is good for courage and bravery although I have no experience of it in this way. It makes a nice ground cover and doesn’t mind a bit of shade.
Grandfather White Sage (Salvia apiana)
This well known spiritual cleanser has been used for centuries by the Nort American Natives as a smudge (smouldering fumigant). This is a sensitive plant to grow that requires plenty of special attention.
I hope you have enjoyed and learnt something new with this walk through our garden.
In future posts I will take you with me into my local mountain bush to explore the flora, fauna and other useful resources Gran Boa provides us, but for now, please feel free to contact me with any questions, to be updated with new learning opportunities or follow the links for more information.
Emm Jay (c) 2015
All text and images are copyright Emm Jay and may not be reproduced in part or full without permission of author/ photographer.