AMONG THE MANY questions I have never been asked is why there is a small crystal ball suspended from a rather grimy pink string hanging from the broken lamp that occupies a sizable section of my desk.
It is possibly the most useless piece of gardening equipage in my arsenal of gardening implements.
Equipage, by the way, and since I just double-checked with Encarta, means: “The equipment and supplies needed for an undertaking, especially a military expedition.”
Which about sums up gardening tools, yes?
The crystal is supposed to sense the plant’s desires, the which way it wants to nestle into the pot or the earth. The “do I need water or not.” The hunger for an 8-0-24 or 10-10-10 fertilizer.
All you need to do is hold the string (allowing enough string for it to dangle freely) with a weight suspended (I use a crystal since I happen to have such things handy, but anything with just enough heft to keep the string taut will do) between thumb and forefinger above whichever plant is troubling you.
Amazon offers a rather pretty amethyst number that is “12 Facet Reiki Charged,” which could mean it’s a good deal, for $5.20, chain and shipping included. 547 customers gave it 4.5 stars. 15 questions are answered. https://www.amazon.com/Natural-Amethyst-Crystal-Pendulum-Charged/dp/B002Y2NJWS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474425311&sr=8-1&keywords=healing+crystal+pendulum
Now hold it steady and ask, for instance, “Is this planted in the right direction?”
Wait a bit and slooowly the weight will begin to rotate, circling to the right if the direction is correct, to the left if it is not. (Left, is always incorrect, unless we’re discussing politics, when it’s frequently right. And who’s on first, I might add).
Given time, the pendulum will begin to swing round and round, sometimes hesitantly, as if the petunia or mum is uncertain of its desires, and other times it swoops about with wild abandon, as if to say, “Now you’re talking!”
In either event, if it circles left, turn the plant in some direction or other and ask again. Continue until you get it spinning right.
If the health of a plant is suspicious—maybe it is looking forlorn, or even drooping dramatically—do not ask, “Are you dead?” If the answer is yes, it is clearly lying. (But why would it, you’re probably wondering. I don’t think you want to know the answer; lying plants are just unfathomable.)
Instead ask, “Would you care for a drink?” or, perhaps, “More sun?” If there is no response, you can then assume it dead and dispose of it.
Such divining, as it’s technically called, can also be done over vegetables and fruits in the supermarket and is particularly helpful with those that are challenging and expensive, the ones that are particularly frustrating when you get them home and find them . . . inadequate. Take, for instance, honeydew melon, a constant cause of irritation, as its ripeness is particularly difficult to gauge. Just dangle your weight above one and ask, “Are you ripe?” Now stand there quietly, with your string and your weight (as people stare at you like you’re completely insane) and wait for the response.
You can also try this with daily life issues as well, like: Should I get a divorce? Eat a bacon sandwich? Take a nap?
This technique was learned as part of a session of past life therapy that I tried some (many) years ago, as a completely rational alternative to traditional therapy and the expenditure of countless dollars. During the session various things appeared, including a horse, apples, a lake, a cave, some great black clothing and really terrific hair.
I also learned the divining trick, which is, if nothing else, diverting.
Would that it worked when dangled over My Prince.
LittleBird Stephanie is working on a book about urban gardening. To see earlier columns, type Green Acre into the Search box at the top right of the page.