One of the best things we can do as Wiccans to strengthen our spiritual practice is to increase our connection to the great outdoors, especially the cycle of growing plants. And what better plants than sacred herbs? Green witches (also known as hedge witches) and kitchen witches may especially enjoy this project. Read on to discover how to create a potted plant altar.
We Wiccans can get too mired down with our jobs and urban lifestyles, but a potted plant altar can go a long ways toward strengthening your connection with nature. Such an altar infuses your spellwork with the energy of green, living plants. And it is compact enough to fit into the tiniest apartment even if you don’t have a balcony or a front stoop. You can scale the potted plant altar down to size and fit it on a coffee table or in a sunny windowsill. A potted plant altar is ideal for kitchen witches to keep in the kitchen. You can use any type of plant such as a flowering bulb or an orchid, if you like, but herbs are especially appropriate because of their symbolism as Wiccan correspondences and also because of their extreme hardiness. They only require a bit of water and sunlight. Meanwhile, most herbs look vibrant and attractive and smell divine.
In my photo, I have used rosemary (protection, good health, warding away negative energy). But you could also use lavender (protection, purification, serenity) or mint (protection, vitality), or any other herb like chives that you enjoy. Aesthetically speaking, such an altar usually looks best with the “woody” stemmed Mediterranean type herbs like rosemary that look like little pine trees, though mint can be attractive as well, especially when it flowers.
Depending on how big you want your altar to be, you can plant one herb in the center and place your ritual tools around it as I have, which works for a smaller arrangement, or you could plant herbs such as chives or mint around the perimeter and put a flat rock or tile in the center on which to arrange your ritual tools. Use caution with any lit candles to place them where they cannot singe the leaves. You will need the following:
- Small decorative pot with a drainage hole in the bottom and a saucer.
- Small herb plant, maybe four inches tall
- All-purpose potting soil mix
- Small bag of decorative gravel
Start with a small pot, which can be made of resin or plastic to reduce the total weight of the altar (remember, you still have to add potting soil and decorative gravel). The pot I used is about ten inches in diameter. Herbs need a pot with a drainage hole because they dislike having their roots sitting in standing water. Put a coffee filter or folded paper towel in the bottom of the pot over its drainage hole so that you won’t lose too much soil with each watering.
Add potting soil, which can be any basic mix, to fill about three-fourths of the pot. Dig a hollow in the potting soil and plant your seedling. Pat the potting soil loosely over the roots up to its stem, but don’t pack it down extremely hard. The roots need room to breathe.
Cover with decorative gravel. In the photo, I used pearl gravel. As you can see, I have a flat rock in the north section of the pot to represent the element of Earth. To the east, my athame symbolizes Air, and the lit candle provides Fire in the south. To the west, my chalice stands in for Water.
A potted plant altar is portable, beautiful, and deeply infused with the power of growing, living things. Most plants act as natural air fresheners through their photosynthesis cycle in that they draw in carbon dioxide and emit pure oxygen. A kitchen witch can keep a potted plant altar in the kitchen and snip off the occasional bits of rosemary or mint for cooking magical dishes. A green witch can keep one on the coffee table or in the bedroom to turn her ordinary surroundings into a place of spiritual refuge.