Monday, February 27, 2012

No Man's Land: Keeping a Piece Wild

original photo by Rezzan
I had gotten my earliest plant and gardening wisdom from my Grandmother, and for that I am grateful to her. She was also what some would call very 'superstitious' {or as I like to think of it, smart enough to heed old lore!}, and I am pretty sure that I got that trait from her as well. There were various practices in the garden that were taboo to stray from, and while I know many were very sensible {in the material sense}, others were definitely carried out for more esoteric reasons.

One of these practices was to keep a piece of her property wild, and let the plants and other wild ones do with it as they willed. This was the place for the 'Dandy Wee Folk' to stay in as long as they wished, and to hopefully protect the land around them.

At the time when I was a child, her property was a modest suburban lot, so this space set aside for this purpose was quite small. In a yard enclosed in zealously manicured cedar hedges, you found a humble but flourishing garden, and in the far South corner this little wild space nestled between a couple of old trees.

Discreet, just like my Grandmother.

I admittedly found some of her practices odd, but this was one that I had respected to the letter, and I made sure not to disturb that space and its residents {or the bread and bowls of milk sometimes left there by my Grandmother}.

In my research travels I have come across similar traditions where farmers and gardeners would set aside some land and leave it be in the hopes of appeasing 'evil' spirits and Genii Loci. In England these parcels of land are often called Jack's Land, in Scotland Guideman's Field and Cloutie's Croft, and in Wales The Devil's Offering {Gardener's Magic and Folklore by Margaret Baker}.

I wholeheartedly believe that at the core of superstitions, there are practical reasons behind their existence, and one does not have to believe in Faeries to see how this practice is a good thing!

This is a practice that has been adopted by Permaculture, which is reflected in design zone 5:

ZONE 5 — A wild area. There is no human intervention in zone 5 apart from the observation of natural eco-systems and cycles. Here is where the most important lessons of the first permaculture principle of working with, rather than against, nature are learned.

Click on this link to find out more about the design zones in Permaculture.

In a world full of human sprawl and the destruction of wild spaces, the least we can do is set aside pieces of land just for Nature.



Friday, February 24, 2012

Consecrating Seed

{Originally posted on my other blog}

{royalty free photo}

This is a personal adaptation of a ritual that is found in the Carmina Gadelica, which is sometimes used as a source of inspiration by Gaelic polytheists for rituals and prayers.

This is a two part ritual. The first part is done on a Tuesday which is the actual seed consecration, and the second part is done on the following Friday when the seeds are planted.


Making offerings are central in both my religious and magical practices. For this ritual I ask for blessings of the gods {in general}, ancestors, and land spirits, so I make offerings to all three. Three of our household deities are also left offerings, as they all play a key role {Macha for fertility & agriculture, Airmid for healing plants/herbalism, and Flidais as a "diplomat" for the wild parts of the land & critters}.

In a bowl I place one of each type of seed that will be planted on the following Friday. I will also bring in any seedlings that might be planted out too. For the ritual I will also have spring water, which is used to consecrate the seeds; as well, I will have three candles, one to represent the gods, one to represent ancestors, and one to represent the local nature spirits.

Before sprinkling the seeds/seedlings with the water, I walk in a circle sunwise with the spring water nine times {1. blessings of the gods 2. blessings of the ancestors 3. blessings of the local nature spirits 4. blessings of Macha 5. blessings of Airmid 6. blessings of Flidais 7. blessings by land 8. blessings by sea 9. blessings by sky---land, sea & sky are thought to be the Three Realms of Celtic cosmology by many CR Pagans}. Then I sprinkle the seeds nine times {same reasons and in same order}.

That's pretty much it for Tuesday. I will keep the seeds on the altar until Friday.


Before planting on Friday, I will make another round of offerings. Those for Macha, Airmid, Flidais and the local nature spirits are made outdoors. The offerings for the nature spirits are separate from the ones of the three goddesses.

Then I say the following:
I will go out to sow the seed,
In names of Them who gave it growth;
I will place my front in the wind,
And spread a gracious amount on the ground.
Should a seed fall on a bare rock,
It shall have no soil in which to grow;
As much as falls into the earth,
The dew will make it to be full.

Friday, day auspicious,
The dew will come down to welcome
Every seed that lay in sleep
Since the coming of cold without mercy;
Every seed will take root in the earth,
As the Rulers of the elements desired,
The braird will come forth with the dew,
It will inhale life from the soft wind.

I will come round with my step,
I will go rightways with the sun,
In name of the Gods that are mine,
In name of the Ancestors and the Nature Spirits kind.

Gods, Ancestors, and Nature Spirits
Be giving growth and kindly substance
To every thing that is in my ground,
Till the days of harvest shall come.
Then I get to planting. Later on I will bury the consecrated seeds and some of the offerings in a pit on the property.

Well, that's it. Happy gardening! :)



A Wee Introduction

{royalty free photo}

Hello Dear Readers & Welcome to The Unfettered Wood Blog!

Here I will share what is happening at Unfettered Wood and content on witchcraft and Paganism. My hope is to focus much of the informational content on practices that have a history in my area as well as legends and lore from Northern Ontario. I will also share opinions and personal practices centered around Gaelic polytheism and folk magic.

In the meantime I will be dusting off and reposting some content originally from my other blog that hopefully will be of interest to you.

As far as what is actually going on at Unfettered Wood, I am offering a variety of services, which will be built upon and tweaked as I go along, and I will be opening a small Etsy shop this Spring featuring witchy wares made or sourced by myself.

Thanks for reading!