Goddesses of the Winter Garden
There are several winter Goddesses in the garden that deal with both death and rebirth. The first set of goddesses are a triple goddess, Urakeia, Uprunem and Uplanta. These three goddesses are quite well known goddesses in the gardening and agricultural communities. They are called upon from late autumn all through winter depending on climate and USDA zone.
Urakeia is the goddess of labor in fall. She makes sure you have all your chores down before the garden is put to bed for its wait for spring. She is the goddess of dead and dying leaves and she comes after her daughter Abscissa does her work in the garden.
Urakeia is invoked with phrase, “ Damn leaves!” and requires a magickal tools the shape of which varies with the preference of the gardener doing the invoking. Usually it’s a wide tined leaf rake. She is not to be invoked with the mundane tool of a leaf blower. This totally negates the magical act. This magical ceremony can end in 2 different ways. One is best performed when young. It is performed by a long running leap into highly piled leaves. This first way enables you to repeat the first part of the ceremony as many times as you wish. Make sure you have removed the rake from the pile before you try this ceremony. The more crackly crunching noises that are made the better. The other way is to gather with great solemnity and place on the compost pile and with great thanks for continuing fertility of the garden. Not near as much fun but much kinder on aging body parts.
Uprunem, the next goddess is the goddess of dead and un-needed parts of the garden. She is also invoked to insure fuller and greater growth. She is has a daughter, Deadheadia who is often called during the other growing seasons. Uprunem is often invoked unintentionally with the word “ Ouch!” and other words not usually heard in polite conversation. This unintentional invocation can be avoided with the use of a good pair of gardening gloves. However, I do prefer the barehanded but careful approach. She is most often invoked around roses, berry canes and some citrus but she can also be invoked in the perennial bed and in large trees.
The best way to invoke her is to go out the night before you intend to prune and ask the plants permission. This will normally allow the act of pruning to be done with ease and without resorting to harsher invocations.
The magical tools used are the bypass pruners and the loppers and saw. I prefer various sizes of bypass pruners. The ceremony is very simple. You study the plant to the outer facing buds and “snip” after removing all dead parts of the plant. The ceremony ends when all diseased portions are placed in the trash. The rest can go into the compost pile.
Uplanta is a goddess of rebirth. Her magical tools are the bulb planter or a ruled trowel. She is usually invoked in the garden center, nursery or while looking at the Dutch Gardens or similar catalogue. Ooh’s and aah’s uttered in the correct place and frame of mind are sufficient to invoke her.
Uplanta acknowledges our hopes that spring will indeed come again. She also has that subtle air of mystery. Mostly the one that comes from forgetting where you put those seeds or bulbs. Somehow they are never quite where you remember putting them. This also tends to solidify one’s beliefs in garden gnomes because who else is moving the darn things? Uplanta is assisted in her duties by a lesser but necessary set of specific goddesses known as Bulbo, goddess of daffodills and tulips, Rhizoma, goddess of bearded iris and callas, and Cormier, goddess of crocus and gladioli.
Uplanta keeps you on your knees unless you have one of the really cool knee bulb planters with the long handles, all through late fall and gets you there again in late winter when you are looking for things breaking through in February.
These goddesses of death and rebirth are integral to the cycle of gardening and tend to remind you that you are indeed part of the cycle of nature even if its because you back and knees are in severe pain. And may have you on a another popular goddess, Motrina.
Published in the Winter 2002 edition of the Isis Papers, a publication of the Temple of Isis/ LA. See Isispapers.org.