“I am Mother to my Plants”

Trees, Plants and Private Gardens in the Practice of Modern Witches and Pagans


  • Breann Fallon University of Sydney




Paganism, Wicca, tree, garden, nature, religion, fieldwork


The tree stands as a sacred symbol in many faith traditions. Unsurprisingly, nature-based new religious movements are no exception. This article considers the manifestation of sacred trees in a number of religious traditions, including Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander spirituality, Abrahamic traditions, Ancient Egyptian religion, Buddhism, Hinduism, Norse mythology, the Shinto faith, and nature-based new religious movements. After this initial section, I present the findings of a fieldwork project undertaken in 2016. Using the survey as a tool, this project enquired into the use of trees, plants, and private gardens among practitioners from nature-based new religious movements. This survey makes use of both quantitative and qualitative survey methods, having been distributed to various nature-based new religious movements in New Zealand, Australia, Europe, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Despite extensive tree lore, these survey results present the tree as a peripheral plant in the practitioners' everyday practice, with the garden as a whole being more critical than any single variety of vegetation.


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Author Biography

Breann Fallon, University of Sydney

Breann Fallon is currently educating at the Sydney Jewish Museum, after many years teaching in the Studies in Religion department at the University of Sydney, Australia. She has published on genocide, genocidal sexual violence, religion and violence, religion and film, religion and art, as well as the religiosity of Anzac. Alongside her research, Breann is an associate editor for the Religious Studies Project and has appeared on radio and podcast programmes such as GLAMCity, 2Ser 107.3, God Forbid, Earshot, and Genrelisation.


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How to Cite

Fallon, B. (2018). “I am Mother to my Plants”: Trees, Plants and Private Gardens in the Practice of Modern Witches and Pagans. Fieldwork in Religion, 13(2), 169–182. https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.36021