Plainly stated, ferns are magic. The folklore around ferns is bountiful as are the variations of ferns currently available. There are an estimated 15000 varieties in existence. Ferns don’t produce fruits or seeds, but instead they reproduce by spores.
Fern species live in a wide variety of habitats, from remote mountain elevations, to dry desert rock faces, to bodies of water or in open fields. Ferns have grown and woven themselves into the traditions of storytelling from fairytales to Shakespeare to textbooks on gardening.
Ferns are one of the oldest living plants on earth.
The magical and healing connotations are also plentiful. Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs describes ferns in great detail. In the encyclopedia ferns are said to have magical powers.
It adds that, “carried or worn, fern has the power to guide its bearer to discover treasures. If you ever find yourself in a spot covered with ferns, exactly at midnight, where no sound can be heard, Puck will appear and give you a purse of gold. When done intentionally, this is 'watching the fern'."
In By Oak, Ash, and Thorn by D.J. Conway, Conway says that ferns are described as sacred trees to the druids. In Celtic Shamanism, “uncurled fronds of male fern were gathered at Midsummer, dried and carried for good luck. All ferns are powerful protective plants and faeries are especially attracted to them.”
In medieval times, dried ferns were often hung in homes because it was believed they would protect the dwelling from being struck by lightning. During this time they were also planted to dispel negativity.
Ferns have also been documented as a friend of the fae folk and is associated with planet Mercury. According to LLewelyn, “The fronds of the fern are protective and boost the magickal significance of any fresh flower they are arranged with. The seeds from the fern were believed to grant the power of invisibility, and when the fronds are burned on an outdoor fire they are supposed to draw rain.”
The Asplenium fern is one of our most beloved plants.
As you welcome the fern into your home consider how to work with its rich history in magic, healing, and the otherworld. Ask yourself some questions, “What stories about the fern resonate most with me? What does the fern bring up for me?”
If listening to plants doesn’t come naturally to you at first, that’s okay! Sometimes a period of “deprogramming” around plants is essential. In Western culture we often face a severance from the natural world.
If you’re not sure where to start, trying journaling or meditation while in the presence of your fern, you may be surprised at what comes up for you.
Another idea may be to read some of these old folktales or lore around ferns. Do you feel protected with a fern in your home? Do you feel negativity being held at bay? Share your magical intention with your new fern friend and see what relationship can unfurl.
If you are new to planting this is a great fern to work with. Ferns love high humidity so keep the soil slightly moist but don't drown the plant. Keep this plant away from direct sun in a nice bright spot.