I have been walking with Plantago Major and her cousins since the Summer of 2013. Although I was already keen on plant offerings, I had not gone out of the reach of dandelion, purslane, and yarrow, to name only a few and I had worked with them only on the surface of what they are and all their spirits embody.
Plantago met me and attached itself to my heart and spirit in a way that has only and always felt like home. This brilliant plant changed my perspective and has been courting me in my dreams and waking trances ever since. From the inside out, this plant has absolutely mesmerized me and helped me to heal more than I wish to express here. To know me is to know my love for these days of old rekindled into the now. These potions of mind, body and magic. These elixirs of our ancestors and their ways preserved strongly in my blood, waiting ever so patiently for me to remember. Now I couldn't possibly forget.
I am blessed with Elders who have taught me, wise women and men who have guided me, and an inner knowing and instinct that lead me to my soul's purpose herein this lifetime.
Well, one of my purposes anyway. 😉
Resources for your consideration:
Taken from an interview found: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/matauryn/2018/09/04/cp-plant-spirits/
"For me, a familiar is an intermediary spirit, usually a spirit invested in the work of the Witch. There is a lot of varying opinions on physical animal as familiar vs. entities from other realms vs. parts of your own soul complex. I am not one to draw hard lines and think that the familiar is a manifestation of the Witchcraft Mysteries, and your relationship and understanding of it evolves over time. Familiars may be the guide or ally, the daimon and good spirit assigned to us at birth by the Ladies of Fate. Some familiars are composite group entities, hive-like beings. Some merge and bond with aspects of your soul. Some start in a particular manifestation, giving you a concrete idea about them, to only become like mercury and shift, or a chimeric composite of several different forms, forcing you to reevaluate the mystery and your own confidence in knowing exactly how the worlds work. Ultimately I think the familiar acts as an intercessory, an intermediary between you and another realm or power, forming a bridge for that power and information to flow, but its a two way flow, and just as they offer, they expect things in return for the relationship to be mutually beneficial.
A plant familiar is the consciousness of a plant species or plant family that works with a magickal practitioner, bridging the gap between human and plant realms, just as an animal spirit might do the same to the animal realm. The plant spirit carries an essential nature, that we see as its magickal power or medicine, a unique orientation to life. It is an expression of that plant’s will and purpose in this world and the spirit world. The spirit of the plant is expressed with a theme on its many levels, including in its physical medicinal constituents, nutrients, chemicals and poisons. It is reflected in its magical operations and how it heals on the subtle level through its homeopathic and flower essence preparation.
I think the more you practice Witchcraft and the more you immerse yourself in the green world, the more potential allies and familiars you can have, as there is an interconnectivity in both nature and the spirit world that most human tend to ignore or forget. While some might feel a particular plant is core to their own magickal identity, I’ve found like relationships and friends, you have some that stay a long time, even a lifetime, and others that wax and wane as your own work, and theirs, changes. While Datura has been primary in my life, and really a gateway into understanding my relationship with plant familiars on this level, I also have strong relationships with the spirits of Mandrake, Yarrow, Lemon Balm and Comfrey. And in the last few years, Henbane has made deeper connections between us. Many find themselves with a small “team” of plant allies, particularly if they do spirited herbal healing work with others. They will have their “go to” allies to help them in their own life, and with clients."
Planet: Venus & Saturn as it both cleanses and protects
Powers: Healing, Strength, Protection, love
Magical Uses: Bind the plantain with red wool to the head to cure headaches, and place beneath the feet to remove weariness. Used in love spells and potions.
Plaintain is also hung in the home or car to guard against the intrusion of evil spirits.
For the old Germans, plantain embodied those souls who still sought the light after entering the Underworld. The ancient Greeks and Romans also believed in Plantain’s connection to these powers. The following is a spell from the 11th century marking plantain’s position as a plant of the Roman god Orcus and his daughter Proserpina goddess of death. “Plantain, herb of Proserpina, Daughter of King Orcus! As you have made infertile the mule, So may you also shut the wave of blood from this woman’s womb!”
Shamanic Magical Use: This is the plant of Helheim, the land of the Dead. Its shamanic uses are many and varied and rather subtle. First, it can create a certain amount of invisibility for a short period of time. Notice how the weedy plantain manages to make itself so inconspicuous? That's a power that you can harness, especially if you are journeying or pathwalking. Second, it can be used in recels to speak to the ancestors, or to find your way to the Helvegr. Its name "waybread" echoes this usage - waybread will help you find the way.
If you actually manage to get yourself astrally wounded, plantain is the plant to resort to. (www.herbalpedia.com)
The Weybroed Plantain that is Plantago of the herbs of Wodin in the Nine Herbs Charm. (http://www.wyrtig.com/GardenFolklore/NineHerbsPrayer.htm)
"And, you, Waybread [plantago], mother of herbs, open to the east, mighty within; carts rolled over you, women rode over you, over you brides cried out, bulls snorted over you.
All you withstood then, and were crushed.
So you withstand poison and contagion and the loathsome one who travels through the land.."
Translated from the poem Lacnunga (Remedies)
In many ways, plantago and plants such as dandelion and purslane beckon us to pay attention to the sacred in every day and simple events in our lives. These aren’t the 'big guns' of the plant world, by any means. These are the everyday plants who are too often overlooked in the search for the powerful, rare and usually exotic and not from our personal regions. Plantain represents the daily work, the daily practice that lays the foundations for the more occasional peak experiences. These “weeds” are our altars and our discipline, cultivated over time and with so much tenacity and vigour. Our daily gratitude and prayers rather than our holy-daze and Sabbats. The lessons that Plantago provide are the most relevant to my own spiritual progress and ways. While others find this weed to common, to me it is all encompassing. There is no end to its magic and blessings.