Cypress - In the Garden - February

Plant Magic: A Year of Green Wisdom for Pagans & Wiccans - Sandra Kynes 2017

In the Garden

Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)

*Also known as common cypress, graveyard cypress, and Mediterranean cypress

Originating in southern Europe and western Asia, the Italian cypress is widely used for landscaping in North America. This evergreen conifer grows in narrow, columnar form forty to sixty feet tall. It has dark gray-green, scale-like foliage on upright branches. The foliage is aromatic when crushed. Round, knobby cones grow in clusters. Native to North America, the Monterey cypress (C. macrocarpa) is an endangered species. The bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) and others in its genus are deciduous trees, not evergreens.

The cypress was highly valued for medicinal and religious purposes in ancient times. The genus Cupressus is the Latin name for this tree. Although there are a number of versions of the Greek myth concerning a young man named Cyparissus, the gist of them all is that he was heartbroken after accidentally killing a beloved, tame stag. His grief was so great that he was transformed into a cypress tree, which at that time was already a symbol of sorrow. Despite its association with death and mourning, two cypress trees planted on a property were said to bring peace and prosperity to a household.

Cypress is a powerful ally when dealing with death and loss, especially to provide comfort and healing. Use a sprig on your altar to remember and honor ancestors and other loved ones. Burning a piece of cypress wood is effective for centering and grounding energy before and after a ritual. Also burn it for defensive magic, or to consecrate and bless ritual objects. Cypress is supportive of spells that banish, bind, or provide protection. Hold a branch in ritual or meditation when seeking truth and knowledge, or to stimulate growth and renewal. Holding a couple of cypress cones fosters awareness and clarity for divination and channeling. Place a branch of cypress on your altar for strength and wisdom when seeking justice. Hang one over your front door for protection.

Cypress is associated with the elements earth and water. Its astrological influence comes from Pluto and Saturn. This tree is associated with the following deities: Aphrodite, Apollo, Artemis, Astarte, Cupid, Diana, Hades, Hecate, Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn.