If you are in the habit of listening to your flowers speak, you will hear Monarda’s gentle whispers, barely audible between the wind and the crickets, telling you to fly, and to remember. This is a plant of my childhood, a favorite of my mother who would swoon over the beautiful, raggedy fuchsia and purple flowers, and then pull them out by the roots. Both a hardy and prolific grower, Monarda just loves to take over. They do not, in my experience, have a bad growing spot outside of deep shade. As are all members of the Lamiaceae family (think mint, thyme and sage), they are able to adapt and spread in just about any growing condition. I have two types of Monarda in my garden, M.fistulosa, otherwise known as wild bergamot, and M. didyma, which my mother called ‘Beebalm.’ They do tend to mildew if they get too wet in shade, but mom would cut them to the ground and they would still come back, year after year. It was M. didyma that my mom loved, but the wild bergamot is famous for its medicinal qualities, and was used by Native Americans long before European botanists fell in love. Medicinally, Monarda is a nervine, inspiring both calmness and joy. Herbalists have used her to stimulate renewed hope in those who are experiencing grief. She is often used in poultices and tinctures to treat skin infections and wounds of all types, a use first discovered by the Blackfoot Indians. Monarda is high in thymol, an ingredient often found in mouthwashes and a powerful antimicrobial and antioxidant. A strong tea of the leaves and flowers can be brewed to treat headaches and fevers, a common usage in my household.
Beebalm is one of my favorite plants when natural, land-based magicks are called for. By ‘natural’ I mean those magicks that are earth-focused, those that can be constructed with natural, everyday materials that you find in the fields and woods around your land space. The energy that fuels your magick is powered by the divine life force of Malkuth; the plants and rocks, the water and the fire of this plane contain powerful, divine intelligences just like the upper and
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We are a group of individuals who feel drawn to an earth-based spirituality who gather to celebrate the cycles of the moon and sun, passages of life and death and to work for positive change within our own lives as well as the lives of those around us. We strive to live in harmony with nature, and its cycles guided by the strength and enduring qualities of the Oak tree and the resilient, nurturing energies of the Willow.
Enjoy a select writing from one of our members. More available on our Tumblr.
Oak and Willow
The Magick of Monarda
By AR Lobo
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