This evening I was fixing dinner when I got the nagging feeling that I should make an offering. While the water was heating on the stove, I cracked open my bottle of Death’s Door gin that I’d been saving a poured a shot for Askalaphus. I then rummaged around in my witchy supplies and found a green chime candle that I thought would be appropriate color for Hades’ gardener, and proceeded to dress with the Shades oil I’d purchased from Stang and Cauldron. I created an impromptu altar with a few large quartz pieces, the segment of honey locust thorn, the shot, and the candle.
As I’ve been reading Schulke’s Viridarium Umbris, the notion of delving into the shadow side of plant spiritwork has been increasingly attractive. I’ve read Ross Heaven’s Plant Spirit Shamanism which is very helpful, but very focused on South American shamans (which I have no connection to, though their work is very inspiring) and the plants of the Amazon and Peruvian highlands. Wanting to start a bit closer to home (and the local plants that I can easily access) I am hoping that my studies help me in forging a stronger bond not only with the local land wights, but also with the Spirits of particular plant species so I can (as a result of a mutually beneficial relationship between myself and the plant spirits) learn how better to use them to strengthen my knowledge of the herbal side of the Witching Arts.
Where does Askalaphus fit into all of this? As the spirit in charge of the orchards of Hades, I figured He is one of the prime candidates to ask for advice in this venture into the “Shadowy Garden”. He firmly accepted my offerings this evening and even consented to answer three questions I posed to him a la oracle cards regarding my future endeavors in plant spiritwork, our relationship, and if I am ready to have my first familiar. Basically, signs point to “yes” for the spiritwork, I need to know why and in what direction I’d like to further a relationship with Him, and I need to work on my “art” more before I even need a familiar (boo). He’s a pretty blunt and honest guy, but he speaks Truth. Guess I can’t ask for more in my deity contacts!