Garden spells and cow horns. Which way to go?


With horse manure, cow horns, sage leaves or little pebbles all in a row? 

Should be 6 ft tall by now

Last year I was having real trouble with my garden in Italy. Read on to see what steps I considered to sort it out!

All is not right in my rural Italian idyll. Very little is doing well in the garden. Plants that have been well planted and tended – not by me – are really far from thriving. I have a lilac bush that Is the same size it was when It was planted. Initially, we put this down to being nibbled by deer. But it has been protected from deer for a full season and it’s still the same size.  

Fig trees have just disappeared. A weeping willow that was eight feet tall when I planted it is now six feet tall!


This used to be 2 ft taller


Of late we have bitten the bullet and introduced horse manure, but so far with no noticeable effects. So it got me thinking, out of the box, as some very annoying people say.

I’m not adverse to a little new age hocum pocum. So my thoughts turned to more esoteric methods of improving the fertility of my garden. I started searching on line and the first thing I found was Bio-dynamics.

Now I know a little about this as my husband became interested in it a few years ago and we have a book on the bookshelf back at home in the UK – but not in Italy. So I started to look at the website to remind myself of the principles behind it. It was developed by Rudolph Steiner, yes him of the circular houses and very creative schools. They use a planting calendar based on the influences of the moon and the planets, they believe in the inter-connectedness of all things and they use natural preparations to enhance soil and plant health. Well that all sounds great.

But then it became a bit more complicated. I needed to find some cows on Michaelmas. Not easy in this sheep rearing area of Italy. I then needed to collect some fresh cow pats from cows that had calved and place them in 200 cow horns. Now I’m not sure about collecting cow pats but I am sure that collecting 200 cow horns doesn’t sit very comfortably with being a vegetarian, so I moved on!


200 of them?

I know voodoo has had a bit of a bad press over the years but the website assured me that there was nothing to worry about. However this approach seemed a little bit more complicated than the last. I needed a King and Queen, a blazing bonfire, drums and a python. While none of this offended my vegetarian credentials the talk of effigies and frenzied dancing didn’t really appeal.

I continued my search. The nice people at told me that flowing shapes and pathways would be good for the energy in my garden and if I wanted money and abundance I needed an outdoor fountain with floating golden balls – no me neither. Time to move on again? I thought so.

My next search brought me to more familiar territory. At the benefits of using smouldering sage to eviscerate negative vibrations was put forward. I’ve used sage in the past to ‘smudge’ houses. They recommended a verbal incantation followed by igniting the dried sage. They also counselled on not being drunk when you undertake the process and there was some discussion over whether to use abalone shell or clay to catch the ash. I even went in search of my sage. Do you think dead sage is the same as dried sage? I wasn’t sure.

But finally at Spells of Magic I found a spell for the garden. All I needed for this was some citronella candles, well they don’t work for keeping mossies away so why not put them to good use,  a birdbath, some wind chimes and a collection of stones and pebbles, all quite reasonable really. I had to consecrate these items. I’m a little hazy on exactly how and then I had to place them in their correct positions whilst requesting a blessing for each one. I probably need to do more research to work out the correct positions. Then I must call on the nature spirits and stand in the middle of the garden and say with my arms in the air:

smudging sage

Gaia, Gaia mother of all.
Bless this ground
On thee I call
Make it safe for all within
Peace and tranquility may it bring

But it does say I can use my own words if I like. Might have a go at that.  Any help in this area of rhyming spells would be appreciated. Anyway, I then spin round three times to seal the energy and sit on the ground to appreciate Mother Nature’s work. I’m really up for this one. I love a good spell. Just need to find a bird bath but that’s going to be infinitely simpler than 200 vegetarian cow horns.

Don’t forget if you fancy your hand at a rhyming spell I’d love to hear from you!

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