Friday, April 20, 2012

The Lovely Castor (Ricinus Communis)

I first made the acquaintance of the castor plant a few years ago when an older couple I know showed me the castor's they'd planted near their garden.  They said the roots were poisonous so they'd planted them there to control moles.  Whether that works or not appears to be a matter of debate, but I barely heard that assertion anyway because I was so taken in with the beauty of the plants!  They were all over 5 feet tall with glossy dark leaves, and rubbery pink seed pods.  I immediately asked if I could have some seeds from the plants when they were ready, and they agreed.  The next year was my first year of castor gardening.

                                                        My first castor plant. 

First off, I need to say that castor beans are poisonous.  Not slightly poisonous either, deadly. Don't mess around with them uncautiously.  That being said, the plant is a beautiful specimen.  The variety I grow has dusky purple leaves with a rubbery texture.  The pink of the seed pods is a beautiful brilliant contrast with the darkness of the rest of the plant.  It's beauty is so sensual, it whispers of guarding the darkened untrod sections of Eden.

The deadliness of this plant makes it highly useful in baneful work of course, but I've also found it to be a plant with a very protective quality once a relationship is established with it.  I have a rather large patch of it growing at one of the borders of my property, and I keep it's seeds in protective ritual containers throughout my home.  I only use it's seeds that I've harvested from the castor plants I've grown, I don't buy them. This isn't something I practice with all plants, but it's part of my relationship with the castor. 

Interestingly, I was born a few weeks overdue and my mother's doctor had her drink castor oil to move me along.  I understand that this practice is no longer recommended in the medical community, but I do enjoy knowing that this plant that I now work with so well was connected to my birth.

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