Humans and Plants: A Connection in Magic
By Feywer Folevado; Always at TotT, here.
All life on earth is dependent on plants at some stage or another for their survival. The "web of life" perfectly illustrates the delicate manner in which all things are indeed reliant upon each other in a complex but fragile system. When an animal eats a plant, two things are gained from this: the physical matter (or food-substance) of the plant-body is "accumulated" into the form of the animal, and energy-potential (or chemically bound energy) is released from the plant, in the forms of sugars and starches &etc, through which the animal may utilize for activities. These two functions obtained by the animal through the plant is a connection between them, for the latter is reliant upon the former for sustenance. However, plants do not necessarily require interaction on the part of humans or animals, although many particular species do use animals as a vessel for transference, plants can reproduce and populate without animals and are not verily dependent upon them for their own survival.
This connection between plants and animals is even more complex and intrinsically blurred when we reach the microscopic organisms, because many among them resemble animals as much as they do plants. And many of the processes in plants and animals are very similar or even practically identical - "if they are limited to certain fundamental functions."
One plant is not the same as another, as there are different species. But insomuch as an orange tree and an apple tree are trees, they offer up different fruits, and it is these differences that are called the "spirit" or "personality" of the plant. For what makes them different, and separates them from each other? Humans have anciently sought to understand the Why? before they understood the How?. What an herbal remedy provided to the sick for the ancient peoples must have seemed divine in origin. And in the domain of plants where they and humans had to coexist for thousands of years, we have an almost inexhaustible stock of stories and lore based upon their origins, and individual characters, throughout many cultures.
We must understand both the intimate and cellular - internal - workings of the plant, and the casual, every-day relationship with the plants, to have a full and rich appreciation for the plant-life. The magic and lore surrounding many plants, herbs and roots distinct the plant and gives it it's own character, and it only makes the scientific understanding of the organism more enjoyable and interesting.
In the ancient world as well as the modern, plants are the sources of many industries and are indispensable if not highly desirable for human civilization. We manufacture textiles from plant fibres, build our houses using wood, paper products allowed us increase in communication and knowledge, even many of our beverages and medicines contain plant derivatives. We use and rely on plants just as much as we do today as we did in the ancient world., and our dependence upon them has never wained.
However removed man may think himself from the seemingly inanimate world of plants he depends on them in ways which are more crucial and real than may be realized. The place of man (and animals) in this cycle of interaction and interconnection with plants gives a deep and spiritual sense of profundity. The precarious nature of plants in general shows the activity that happens between them and the external ecosystem around them. In many cases, as in a garden - without man there to water the plants, they would die - and so they rely on humans in that way; which makes the connection more concrete.
There are many ways to come to realize the importance of plants: from the regular every-day life of humans to the mental-sphere of mystery - understanding one compliments the other, and should not be held to be in water-tight compartments, so to speak. Appreciating the life around you comes in many forms! Through plants the beautiful but fragile nature of life can be pondered more deeply, as well as learning and expanding one's ever-growing knowledge base.
p.6; Transeau, Sampson & Tiffany