Plant allies play an important role in my spiritual practice.
Whether the work I do with a plant ally is medicinal (physical/mental/emotional) or spiritual (energy/spell work), I find that connecting to and fostering a relationship with a plant ally elevates my intention, facilitates the achievement of goals, and nurtures a sense of holistic wellbeing.
In this article, I’ll share my tips and experience connecting with plant allies, and why/how you should as well.
What Is A Plant Ally?
While there might be some more precise definitions of what a plant ally is for various spiritual paths, I define a plant ally as a specific plant that one feels a strong, intuitive or instinctual desire (and connection) to work with.
A plant ally is more than just a plant from which you use to make a tincture or a tea. This isn’t just a utilitarian relationship, but a spiritual partnership where there is (in my opinion and practice) a mutually beneficial exchange of energy and intention between you and a plant over the long term.
A plant ally might be a life-long relationship, or you may only work with it for a season – until a health or spiritual condition is resolved, or until a goal or desired outcome is achieved.
While I work with many different plants in my craft, there are only a handful that I consider spiritual allies.
How To Find A Plant Ally
A plant ally is simply a plant that you feel a pull toward working with. This could be a certain flower that always catches your eye, or a plant who’s qualities and characteristics (aroma, taste, shape and form, medicinal qualities) captures your interest.
As you read this article, you might have a plant that immediately comes to mind. Perhaps it’s one that you always MUST have growing in your garden. Or it’s your favorite ingredient in an herbal tea. Or it’s simply a plant that grows in your yard or along a path you frequent that always captures your interest and curiosity.
Perhaps you don’t yet have a specific plant in mind. If this is the case, simply set an intention that you want to work with a plant ally, and ask the Universe (your guides, god(dess) to help facilitate the connection.
When you’re out on a walk, or perusing a book on plants, pay attention to any that seem to “call” to you, or draw your interest. It may take time before this happens, so don’t feel like you have to hurry up and pick one. Just focus on your breathing and let your intuition guide you.
Making The Connection
Once you have identified a potential plant ally, it’s time to make the connection.
Identify & Research
The first step is to identify the plant. I was long drawn to Mugwort (one of my plant allies) long before I knew what it was called, or anything about the plant. I was intrigued by its shape and form, its aromatic leaves, and the silvery foliage that fluttered and dazzled in even the slightest breeze.
So if you have a plant that intrigues you, identify it so you can research more about it. My favorite app for this is Picture This, which you can use for free and I find that it is about 95% accurate.
You can also seek identification help using plant ID groups on Facebook, or browse though a plant guide book for your region.
In fact, I highly recommend that you cross-referencing any app-based plant ID with a book or online identification group, especially if you are new to identifying plants as there are many lookalikes that can be toxic if you plan to use it topically or ingest it – and these apps are not always 100% accurate.
Once you make a positive ID of the plant, read everything you can about it. I prefer to search the scientific name as most plants have multiple common names and there are a LOT of plants that share common names, which can cause confusion and can be dangerous.
As you research, make notes, and write down what qualities the plant has: medicinal, culinary, magickal, as well as growth habit, bloom time, ecology (ie: what other plants/animals depend on this plant), etc…
Once you’ve gained “book knowledge” of your potential plant ally, it’s time to introduce yourself.
This can be as simple as acknowledging the plant as you pass it during your morning walk. Touch it, smell the aroma of its leaves or flowers, and note where it is in the current growth cycle (is it sending up new leaves? Budding? Going to seed?)
Don’t be shy about talking to plants. Say “hello” and introduce yourself. Tell it that you’d like to work with it and would appreciate any messages or lessons it has for you. Perhaps even ask it what it might need from you in return.
You can also meditate by this plant, and pay attention to any intuitive hits or insight that come to mind as you observe, smell, touch, or commune with the plant.
Once you’ve gotten to know each other, it’s time to work together.
When the time is right (and you’ll know this because you’ve read up on the plant and when to harvest), ask the plant permission before you take any parts.
Many people like to leave an offering of water, a small crystal, or a handful of compost.
When foraging or harvesting, it’s important not to destroy the plant in the process. Take only what you need, and leave enough of the plant so that it can regenerate.
Be mindful of where the plant grows, and avoid foraging on sites that might have been exposed to pollutants. (Some plants absorb and store heavy metals and other contaminants.)
Never forage on private land without permission, and be mindful of rules and laws in your areas when it comes to foraging plants in public parks.
Working & Crafting With Your Plant Ally
One of the most rewarding things about working with a plant ally is all of the things you can craft with them.
From medicines to ritual items to art and even growing and tending to the plant yourself, here are some ways you can strengthen and benefit from a relationship with your plant ally:
If your plant has medicinal value, you can make medicines from it. Tinctures, teas/tisanes, and infused honeys/syrups, oils, and salves are all popular herbal medicines.
If you’ve followed Tracy and I for a LONG time, you might remember us from our green smoothie days. Well, green smoothies are another way to make plant magic and medicine!
If you make your own plant medicines, be sure that you know what you are doing. There are numerous books (a good starter book is Backyard Medicine by Julie Bruton-Seal and Mathew Seal), videos, and courses (ranging in prices) that will give you knowledge, confidence, and teach you the safety of working with various plants.
Online learning sites like Udemy have some really great courses on herbalism. While generally lighter in content than a full-on 1-2 year herbalism school, these courses are MUCH less expensive and are sufficient to get you started – especially with making your own home-made plant medicines.
No, you won’t necessarily become qualified to practice herbal medicine and take on clients after completing a Udemy course, but it’s a great way to get started, and explore this path further. I particularly enjoyed courses by Elizabeth Heck <– NOT an affiliate link, I just really enjoyed her courses!
Remember, not all plants are suitable for internal use, and some may not be suitable for topical use. And some may be perfectly okay for you, but may be toxic to pets. Again, read and research and know the ins and outs of what you are working with!
Both medicinal and non-medicinal plants can be used in ritual. Add them to spell jars, hang them from bunches around your home, incorporate them into wreathes or dried arrangement, use them as incense – there are just so many ways you can work with your plant ally.
One way that I like to work with plant allies, and the element of both fire and air, is by burning herb bundles. You can make your own with a variety of plants that likely grow around you.
Learn about the magickal correspondences of your plant so that you know which spells or workings it may be best suited for. A go-to book on plant correspondences for many magickal practitioners is Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs.
As you work with your plant ally, you may intuitively come up with correspondences, symbolism, or meanings that are different from what you read in books and on websites. This is okay, and you’re not incorrect (neither are the books).
It just means that the plant is forging a relationship with you that is unique and personal to you and what you need (as is the case with all spiritual experience)!
Creative Expression & Art Magick
If you’re a creative person, draw, paint, or make art with your plant. Whether you use it to boost creativity, or it is the subject of your art, you can incorporate your plant ally into your art magick.
Many people make dies from plants and use these dies for magickal writing, drawing, or to color fabrics.
Grow The Plant
I am a gardener, so of course I try to grow all of the plants I have a deep connection with.
Depending on where you live and your climate, this may not be possible with all plant allies, but if you’re able to, try growing it.
I find that growing the plants I use, and taking care of them year after year strengthens my connection and relationship to the plants that I use.
Of course, it’s not necessary to have a massive green witch’s garden. You can still have a strong, powerful relationship with a plant ally without growing it yourself – even if you forage off your land, or purchase it at a supermarket spice aisle (and don’t let anyone tell you one is “more spiritual” than the other!)
Working with a plant ally can lead to profound physical, mental, and spiritual healing.
A plant ally relationship looks different for each practitioner, so try not to overthink it and let your intuition and the “voice” of the plant guide you in how to work with it.
You may only have one plant ally that you feel called to work with, or you may have many.
Either way, always treat your work and relationship with a plant ally with respect and be sure the flow of energy is mutually beneficial (ie: take care of the plant and it will take care of you).
Do YOU Have A Plant Ally? Do You Have a Question About Finding or Working With One?
Post a comment below and share!