“I am Mother to my Plants”
Trees, Plants and Private Gardens in the Practice of Modern Witches and Pagans
Keywords: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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