AND SO THIS GARDEN GROWS
🌱🌷🌻💐💕 Welcome to the garden where nineteen medicinal and magical plants native to México are growing. They fill the space with twisting vines, tall stems, protective thorns and flowers who burst open, sharing with us their varied scents, inviting in the pollinators who keep the cycle of plant growth going.
Mary sits at its base, her light glowing, holding sacred space for these plants to thrive. Mary - the virgin, the mother - whose yonic figure is seen in every alcove, and every market, garden and street corner here - for whom we leave flowers in exchange for her prayers, from birth until the hours of our death - is the only figure from the catholic faith I was raised in whom I really trusted. Seeing her here so often brings me back to childhood moments in the church, sitting uncomfortably on those hard wooden benches.
The church: with its high ceilings and dappled light pouring in through pristine stained glass windows, its golden accents, dark velvet red draperies, its ritual of song and prayer, incense smoke curling through a hallowed space. I used to shroud myself in a psychological veil, blocking out the words and ideas which felt invasive, making up my own stories and songs. Only the story of Mary resonated with me: It was not her choice to be a part of this lineage, yet her magic seemed the most profound. Mary, full of grace, with the blessed fruit of her womb. Her undeniably vaginal figure glowing, constantly praying for the “sinners” of the world.
Here, in the open air of the garden I have made my own place of worship: I built the bed, tilled the soil, uncovered stones which are examined for their beauty, and used to draw the boundary lines where different plants will grow. I put down seeds, covered and watered them, waited for their sprouts to emerge. I dreamed of the plants that would grow, studied their magic, made depictions of them inspired by their energy, and by both the ancient text in the Códice de la Cruz-Badiano and more contemporary botanical images. After some time, the seeds sprout. And quickly following, the stems, stalks, vines appear, supporting the leaves, thorns and buds. One sunny morning, flowers unfold; the plants are ready to share their medicine and their magic. They are made into teas and tinctures, or brought to decorate the altar for Mary.
Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With native plants who mend in many ways: Árnica, Espinosilla, Baiborín, and vines of Barbasco. Yauhtli’s small yellow flowers inspire all the other plants to know their medicine. Toronjil Morado for digestive health, Salvia Cruz to clear the air. Toloache and Estafiate for dreamtime spells, Flor de Sangre brings the butterflies. Hierba del Golpe for your heart, Hierba Luisa and Hierba del Cancer too. Nopal, Sabila, Chicalote: the plants with spikes, leaves of Tobacco. Damiana brings love and vitality. Cempasúchil blooms honor the dead.
And so this garden grows.
In this garden I feel safe to move my queer body with the rhythms of the sun and wind, to sing quiet songs the plants teach me, and to pray to a contrary Mary while I make remedies and spells to share with those around me.
So enjoy a warm medicinal beverage here made from native plants, while you gaze upon this garden altar, smell its scents and hear its healing sounds: let its magic remind you of the roots that connect us all, and give you permission to grow with the blessings of Mary: however it is that you need or wish to grow. 🌱🌷🌻💐💕