Although you may choose not to incorporate a religious aspect into your craft, a lot of green witches do so I wanted to include a run-down of some deities most commonly associated with earth. These spirits, gods, and goddesses can worked with in your craft, you can build altars to them, or just invite them to be your patron and protect the surrounding nature. Green witches are also often animistic, which means they believe animals, plants, and natural elements have spirits. Of course you already know these spirits as genius loci!
The Green Man appears across Europe in many ancient religions. Essentially, he is the personification of nature, appearing as a man’s face enveloped and wreathed by leaves, and he is revered by many green witches who know him as the “father of the forest.” While he had appeared across Europe’s religious architecture and folklore, he wasn’t named until relatively recently, by Julia Somerset in 1939. While carvings of the Green Man appear all over Europe, his origin is believed to have been with the Celts. The Celts considered the soul as residing in the head and also worshipped natural spirits, hence the combining of the natural world and the human face. The Green Man is believed, therefore, to represent a kind of divine natural spirit and the human soul’s connection to the natural world. Since the earth is made up of a never-ending cycle of seasons and a continual growth, death, and rebirth, the Green Man serves as a reminder of these natural rhythms to green witches. Before entering any wooded area, you may ask for the Green Man’s guidance and protection, and offer milk, honey or creations you’ve made yourself out of natural elements — like wreaths, for example.
Gaia: This is the Greek goddess of earth. She gave birth to the sky and sea and is the creator of the universe. She is sometimes called the “mother” and green witches pay their respects to her by asking permission before removing anything from the natural world and building altars dedicated to her. Gaia was born from Chaos and is the mother of the Titans. As far as earth gods go, she’s top brass. Honor Gaia by planting trees, organizing a local cleanup, or recycling. It’s wise to only ask for her help after you’ve proven yourself a friend to nature.
Pan: Roman god of the wild (mountains, forests, etc.) and nature in general. Pan is depicted with horns and has the hindquarters of a goat and as a result, he is intrinsically linked with fertility. Pan also has a heavy association with spring. For the green witch, Pan can be asked to assist with gardens at the beginning of the year or protection when traveling through wild, untamed areas. Pan is also a god who enjoys altars in his honor and offerings, so be sure to appease him before asking for help with your gardening needs — perhaps a statue of Pan in your garden will be enough to win his favor!
Ceres: This Roman goddess is credited with bringing agriculture to mankind. Unlike other gods, Ceres was involved in the daily activities of humans, and was, according to roman mythology, responsible for the changing seasons and keeping the land fertile. Ceres can be honored at the start of each season as your environment begins to slowly change. This is also the time to ask for help with making this transition smooth, not only for you, but for the world around you.
Cybele: A mother nature goddess whose followers extended far in ancient civilizations, beginning in the Phygrian kingdom in Anatolia (Turkey) to Greece and Rome. She was usually associated with animals and nature, mountains, and lions in particular. The Phygrians usually referred to her as “matar” or mother and saw her as a human embodiment of the natural world, and therefore a key figure in their lives, both as a protector from nature’s wrath and as a path to empowerment. As her influence spread to Greece, foreign followers worshipped her as a goddess of animals, but especially lions. She was also associated with Rhea, the mother of the gods, and Demeter, the goddess of agriculture. The Romans adopted Cybele during a time of great threat to their empire, seeing her influence over the natural world as a way to turn Rome’s fate around. The Romans viewed Cybele as the “magna mater,” or “great mother” of the gods and people as well, and thus believed her an appropriate figure to worship, as she was mother of all. For any green witches born under the sign of Leo, this is the earth goddess for you! Fire elements will be a suitable tribute (in the form of stones or red flowers if you prefer) and if you have an affinity for cats, be sure to treat them especially kindly as a way to honor Cybele.
Flora: This Roman goddess rules over the blooming of flowers. She was therefore particularly celebrated during springtime, in a festival known as “Floralia,” both for her youth and beauty, and her renewal of nature’s most wondrous of creations — the flower! A flower functions as a path to reproduction for plants, drawing birds or bees to nectar and adding a sly coating of pollen which is then spread to other plants’ blossoms allowing for fertilization. Given flowers’ role in reproduction, Flora was also celebrated as a fertility goddess. She is usually depicted as a pretty, young woman with a flower crown. You can recreate this flower crown yourself out of your own plants and place it on altars honoring Flora in the spring.
Aranyani: She is a Hindu goddess of animals and nature, particularly forests. Her name comes from the Sanskrit word “aranya” which means forest. Aranyani is elusive, but can be heard dancing among the trees thanks to the small bells she wears on her anklets. Aranyani is believed to be responsible for keeping the forest alive and growing, so on your treks through wooded lands, be mindful of her presence and feel free to express gratitude for your surroundings. Aranyani is said to be very beautiful, and she prefers the solitude of the trees — she is often depicted as a loner, although a generous one: She is able to feed animals and humans alike without ever disturbing the earth. Pay your respects to Aranyani by donning some natural threads and dancing through the forest. Don’t be afraid! Remember, Aranyani is hailed as being fearless and content with her own company — especially if she’s surrounded by lush greenery.