Mostly I yell at the climbing rose that seems to want to send runners out into the garden where I want to put my feet, rather than up the perfectly wonderful trellis we for got her. I’ve tried pruning and tying, but she doesn’t cooperate, so I have been known to yell. In the large picture, I’m more often likely to thank plants for their help, or compliment them, or ask them for favors, but I should be honest about not getting along with all of them.
It’s been decades since scientists started studying what some of us (animists, and practical magick users) already knew, that talking to plants can help them grow. The Secret Life of Plants came out in 1973. Now they have learned that in their own ways, plants talk to each other. These days even “normal” people talk to their plant. It’s a popular science fair project because the results are so dramatic.
My daughter had a friend who named her houseplants after her friends. (My grandmother’s Christmas Cactus is named Fred.) As time passed, she noticed that when one of the plants started getting sick, the friend for whom it was named was having problems too. This is a standard trope in fairy tales, so it isn’t going to surprise those of us who read them. Quantum physics (as well as the Emerald Tablet) has shown that once two things are connected, whether they know it or not, they can become, in some ways, stand-ins for each other. So, in that situation, by caring for your plant, you can help your friend. You can do Reiki on a stuffed animal and have the healing go to the friend who needs it. This may be why people like to tend the graves of their beloved dead, since this care will somehow communicate itself to the ones they love who are beyond normal communication. This is energy transference, not just a sop for the one worrying about a sick loved one.
I’ve also been known to talk to animals, and “inanimate” objects. If you listen hard- with your spirit, not just your ears, you can often hear what they need to tell you. I was told once by a plant well know for healing, that it was going to become non-therapeutic because it was being over-harvested. This is not something I considered as something plants had under their control. Another point this brings up is that each plant has it’s own spirit, and there’s also a spirit of the species – St. Johnswort or Elder, you will probably be talking to the individual or the Oversoul depending upon toward which of them you direct your thoughts
I will comment that, in my experience, rocks live so slowly that it’s hard for me to hear them; I tend to be rather impatient. Rocks are patient, and willing to support things. I doubt when people put marks on rocks (for divination) they change the energy of the rock itself, however I think the rock is willing to carry the energy of the symbol. Shaping a rock doesn’t change who it is.
But I talk to my computer, my car, stuffed animals, even my food. Even places. It’s a fun game to reach out to the genius loci (the spirit of the place) as you travel and see if you can feel the difference from one town to another as you go through them. (It’s a lot easier to get to know them when you actually stay there for a while, but it works as a car game.) I believe that everything, living or not, has a spirit, and that means I’m an animist. What you believe may not matter, but what you do does. If you try, and learn how to, you can communicate with spirits, and that often gets them to cooperate with you. As a recent example of a genius loci, I feel that the outpouring of love when Notre Dame burned may have strengthened the protection around it, and I could feel the love from around the world during the fire, and in the week that followed, each day brought news of something else that had come through better than we’d expected, from the windows, to the organ to the bees kept on the roof.
The world I live in is as alive as I am, and I do try to communicate with as much of it as I can. As far as I know, while being an animist is associated with primitive cultures, it’s not associated with any particular religion, and I know folks from many religions who all subscribe to an animistic view of the world now- in the 21st century.
One of my favorite holidays is the Shinto Holiday for Broken Needles, on February 8th, in which women bring the needles that have broken during the year and place them to rest in blocks of tofu or jelly at a shrine, thanking them for their service. Other household tools are also shown gratitude at this and other ceremonies. How lovely to show respect for something with which you have worked to make your life better. We try to show respect for all the things in our lives. At the same time, this awareness of closeness and connection results in the familiarity that also is expressed in more casual interaction such as yelling at a recalcitrant plant.
How do you talk to the things around you? When you notices that you are talking to yourself, make a hole in your inner monologue, and address something with which you are interacting- your computer, your car, a tool, plant or animal, then listen for something that doesn’t sound like your typical inner voice. It’s “in your head”, but not saying things you would expect. You may discover that your monologue can become a dialogue.