Deities of Plant Spirit Work
For me, working with the plant spirits through green sorcery makes for a pretty robust spiritual path. I think I could quite easily fill my days, my festivals, the seasons, and my life with the work I do in the green realm- and hopefully be welcomed more deeply into that work as time goes on. I draw so much of the plant lore and wortcunning ways of my work from the Pagan traditions of my recent and far-off ancestors; and because of this I have encountered many deities along the way who have been helpful, inspiring, and initiatory in my work.
I think many people who come to work with the plants in a more spiritual way often come from established Pagan traditions be they ancient or reimagined for the here and now. Plant spirit work dovetails beautifully into most earth-centered non-escapist spiritualities, so for most of us the plants nestle in perfectly to whatever cosmogony, cosmology, and praxis we may be connected to. Many of these same people are interested in which deities they can work with to help go deeper into their work with the green realm and its verdant inhabitants. In this brief post I’d like to share a few ideas with you on where you might look for green patrons no matter which pantheon, tradition, or expression you may be part of.
Most all pantheons have one or several deities who are in some way connected to agriculture: planting, harvesting, growing, preserving, and plant mysteries. These deities have an innate connection to the cycles of the plants and can be worked with to deepen how we understand the seasons, death-birth cycles, and more.
A few of the more well-known agricultural deities include Demeter (Greek), Houji (Chinese), Neper (Egyptian), Oko (Yoruba), Ukko (Finnish), and Veles (Slavic).
The lists of agricultural deities that can be found are extensive- and I’ve yet to explore a pantheon that didn’t have a least a few!
The various Gods and Goddesses associated with the harvest time bless us with the energy of nourishment and sustenance while also teaching us about the life-and-death cycles the plants so beautifully express.
Some of the most fascinating harvest deities I know of include Attis (Phrygean), Ceres (Roman), Lugh (Irish), Osiris (Egyptian), Parvati (Hindu), and Tammuz (Sumerian).
THE GOOD GREEN NEIGHBORS
One deity who stands out to me, partly because of my own personal relationship with him, is the Anglo-Saxon Ing Frey (Norse Freyr). Ing Frey is a deity with a deep relationship with plants and the light-elves, the non-corporeal spirits who share space with us and have a close connection to plants, plant growth, and wild places.
Freyr is known to carry a budding staff, symbol of life force and vitality. He is also deeply connected to sowing, growth, and harvest as well as the mysteries of the howe, the burial mounds of old.
The Green Man is another deity known mostly from British expressions but who shows up in many places across Europe and beyond. The Green Man presents as a face peering out from dense foliage, or sometimes as a face from which the foliage itself issues forth. I work with him as a great guardian of the green mysteries, a keeper of ancient plant spirit paths, and a protector of the earth.
Last but certainly not least, the various earth mother figures from all pantheons have an innate connection to the earth; specifically the land one is on right now. They can be seen as the source of the vital force that livens the land and all the plants that grow from it. The earth mother can also be worked with as the dark womb in which seeds rest and then burst from in the spring.
Who are the plant-centric deities in your own spiritual tradition?
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