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Mystical Plants: Where Biology Meets Spirituality

The development of lore around mystical plants has been a natural progression from the ongoing dependence on nature for food, shelter and medicine. From the earliest times, man has relied on the bounty of nature. The powerful forces of nature have been regarded as otherworldly and mysterious, capable of bestowing both tremendous benefit and unspeakable destruction. 

In his quest to understand and conquer the awesome energies of nature, man has diligently sought to discover the secret powers of plants. And in times of pain and illness, man has instinctively turned to his botanical allies for comfort and healing.

Mystical Plants and Berries
Photo Credit Kathleen Karlsen

Mystical Plants in Ancient Cultures

The mystical lore of plants crosses virtually every cultural boundary. For example, a 60,000 year old burial site excavated in Iraq included eight different medicinal plants. This evidence of the spiritual significance of plants is echoed around the globe.

Shamanistic medicine, alive and well in traditional societies today, often incorporates the use of hallucinogenic plants which enable the herbal practitioner to reach unseen realms to obtain higher knowledge and guidance.

Mystical Plants and Mushrooms
Photo Credit Kathleen Karlsen

Spiritual Significance of Mystical Plants

Many people have also believed that plants themselves possess souls or guardian spirits. As early as the 4th century BC, the Greek philosopher Aristotle attributed a “psyche,” a type of lesser-order soul, to plants.

In Hinduism, plants are often associated with specific deities. Shiva, the god of health, is sheltered by the bael tree. Learn more about Shiva and listen to related mantras. Likewise, in Buddhism the bo tree is revered as the primary feature of the site where Gautama Buddha attained his enlightenment. Learn more and listen to Buddhist mantras.

Plants that play a central role in the lives of particular peoples often are given maternal, anthropomorphic identities. For some island dwellers, “Mother Coconut” yields food, oil, rope, clothing fibers and hard shells for a variety of uses. Similarly, the native peoples of the Andes in South America refer to the coca plant as Mama Coca.

Plants have not only been a traditional source of nurturance and blessing, but have alternately been believed to possess evil spirits. Who could doubt that maleficent inhabitants ensouled deadly plants such as belladonna, a key component in witches’ brews and murderous poisons? However, the vast majority of plants have served to soothe, to comfort and to heal.

Kathleen Karlsen Sacred Mantras & Symbolic Art

Author Kathleen Karlsen

Kathleen Karlsen is a musician, artist, writer and speaker. She is the author of two books (Flower Symbols and Vocal Medicine) and over 200 articles. Kathleen, her husband Andrew and their five children live in Bozeman, Montana. More about Kathleen Karlsen.

Kathleen’s Books

Vocal Medicine reveals Kathleen Karlsen’s personal journey and years of research into mantras, chanting and kirtan. Learn more about using mantras and singing to invigorate your life! Explore the chakras and the impact of sound in every area of your life. 

Flower Symbols by Kathleen Karlsen features fascinating information about the folklore of the world’s most beloved flowers. Flowers accompany us in nearly every major event in life. This book is a perfect gift for every flower lover in your life! 

Mystical Plants Article Summary

The development of lore around mystical plants has been a natural progression from the ongoing dependence on nature for food, shelter and medicine. Learn more about the ancient roots of mystical plants.

Flower Art & Gifts

Beautiful artwork, coffee mugs and prints featuring flowers, landscapes and nature. Unique inspirational artwork. Produced in the United States. Flat rate shipping $4.95 per order (US only), unlimited items.

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