Plant Magick

Magickal Magnolias

I have several Magnolia trees around my home. In the spirit of using what you have around you and knowing your natural landscape, I wanted to look into the properties of Magnolia trees, their folklore, and any correspondences I could find online (plus come up with some of my own).

What is a Magnolia Tree?

Pink Magnolia flowers in half-bloom.
Image from Wikipedia

Magnolia trees are a genus of tree that contain about 210 different flowering species of plants. It is named after French botanist Pierre Magnol. One thing that I find absolutely fascinating about Magnolia trees is that they are ancient! Fossilized specimens of one type of Magnolia have been found dating to 20 million years ago! Magnolia trees were around before the evolution of bees and it is theorized that the Magnolia tree adapted to allow for pollination by beetles because of this! Magnolias are spreading, evergreen, or deciduous trees or shrubs. They have large fragrant flowers that can be bowl-shaped or star-shaped. The flowers also come in shades of white, pink, purple, green, or yellow. In deciduous species, the blooms often appear before the leaves in Spring.

I don’t quite know what species of Magnolia they planted in my yard when they built the house, but they haven’t flowered yet! I am definitely excited to see the color and shape of the flowers when they do bloom and blossom. 

The flowers of many species are considered edible. In parts of England, the petals of M. grandiflora are pickled and used as a spicy condiment. In some Asian cuisines, the buds are pickled and used to flavor rice and scent tea. In Japan, the young leaves and flower buds of Magnolia hypoleuca are broiled and eaten as a vegetable. Older leaves are made into a powder and used as seasoning; dried, whole leaves are placed on a charcoal brazier and filled with miso, leeks, daikon, and shiitake, and broiled. There is a type of miso which is seasoned with magnolia, hoba miso.

Wikipedia

Magnolia in Folklore

In Plant Lore, Legends, and Lyrics, by Richard Folkard, the author states that Magnolia belongs to a group of plants that are noxious, poisonous, and deadly. The author said they are a Plant of the Devil and should be treated as such.

The Magnolia grandiflora is one of those shrubs the baneful emanations from which have procured for them an ill name. It is a native of Carolina, and has large white blossoms of powerful fragrance. When wafted to a distance upon the air, the scent is delicious, but when inhaled in the immediate neighbourhood of a group of Magnolias in flower, it becomes overpowering. The Indians carefully avoid sleeping under a Magnolia in blossom, and it is stated that so powerful is the perfume of the flower, that a single blossom placed in a bedroom suffices to cause death in one night.

Plant Lore, Legends, and Lyrics

Using Magnolia Medicinally

A white Magnolia flower with pink and green inner parts.
Image from Wikipedia

According to WebMD, Magnolia plants have been used for a variety of ailments and issues. These include the following, though we have to keep in mind that there is usually a lack of scientific evidence and study to back up these claims.

  • Gingivitis
  • Anxiety
  • Dental Plaque
  • Menopausal Symptoms
  • Stress
  • Weight Loss
  • Common Cold
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Digestion Problems
  • Facial Dark Spots
  • Headaches
  • High Cholesterol
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Runny Noses
  • Toothaches

WebMD does point out several safety concerns including ingesting Magnolia during pregnancy.

Taking magnolia flower bud by mouth is UNSAFE during pregnancy. There are reports that magnolia can cause the uterus to contract and that might cause a miscarriage. Not enough is known about the safety of using magnolia bark during pregnancy. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

WebMD

They also say that Magnolia can slow down the central nervous system, so it is best to avoid ingesting Magnolia before medical procedures.

Magnolia can slow down the central nervous system. There is a concern that it might slow down the nervous system too much when combined with anesthesia and other medications used during and after surgery. Magnolia might also slow blood clotting and cause bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using magnolia at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

WebMD

Other Magickal Mentions of Magnolia Correspondences

According to The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook: A Complete Guide to Magickal Herbs and How to Use Them by Karen Harrison and Arin Murphy-Hiscock, Magnolia is of the Earth element and corresponds with the planet Jupiter.

Placing magnolia flowers near the nuptial bed ensures fidelity, and when added to the bath, they attract honor and recognition. With its rulerships by the Element Earth and the Planet Jupiter, the energies of this dramatic and beautiful tree promote financial increase. After the flower petals have dried and fallen away, the resulting seed cone makes a wonderful aspergil for sprinkling ceremonial waters.

The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook: A Complete Guide to Magickal Herbs and How to Use Them
Star magnolia from botanical gardens, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Image from Wikipedia

If we look at another source, one that came prior to the above book, Cunningham actually wrote that Magnolia corresponds with the element of Earth but with the planet Venus. He claims that the Magnolia tree, flower, and bark are used to promote fidelity.

Place some magnolia near or beneath the bed to maintain a faithful relationship.

Cunninghams’ Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs

My Thoughts on Magnolia Correspondences

For me personally, I tend to lean toward Magnolia being a plant ally to help promote wisdom and transformation. The flowers themselves are also bisexual meaning that it contains both pistils and stamens. It is a flower of androgyny! No one sex can be assigned to the flower and I believe that lends itself to inherent magickal quality. For Magnolia correspondences, I would personally use this little biological fact to correlate the Magnolia tree with abundance, growth, fertility, and self-reliance.

It is also interesting to note that it has anti-inflammatory properties physically. This also leads me to believe that using Magnolia in magick would aid in calming people and situations, even going so far as to quiet them altogether. It could potentially be used as an aid in banishing work or other baneful magick.

I am really glad I took the time to look into Magnolia trees and come up with some correspondences. I had no idea they were so fascinating and powerful. When my Magnolia trees bloom, I’ll be sure to share photos and let you know how they smell but I’ll be careful not to get too close!


Mandatory Disclaimer: Nothing written here is intended to treat, cure, or otherwise diagnose any medical ailment or illness. It is written for informative purposes only and is not medical advice. Please seek the advice of a professional before ingesting or otherwise consuming any herb, tree, or flower.

Sources and Further Reading


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