Poison plants of the Maiden Oracle offer an empowering purpose for this most bewitching of seasons. As we grow past harvest, blooms may haunt the heart with noxious forces, and yet that same fatal venom may be pruned to create. Be one plucked from peril or mended when once maimed, the Maiden turns the harm of another's poison into repellents of the shame.
"Cut the Thread" is Belladonna's call to keep toxic connections at bay. Separation is key, even when benign-seeming at first. This is the "Shunned Night" explored by the Wolfsbane card, asking us to wait for truths to appear beyond cursory sight: "The outline of this portrait in the shadows looks complete, yet the burning light of day might bring cunning eyes to greet."
Other Deadly Nightshades, such as Henbane and Datura, counter implications of danger by compelling us to seek rest, where dreams and nightmares sort the seams between folly or fate. Hallucinations may lead to a life that is squandered, yet mirages call us forward and illusions let us wander. Mandrake and Hemlock can bring blessings to a crisis, too. "Pulled from the obscure to be a witness to the depths," reads Mandrake's "Plucked, Plotting" card, as Hemlock's "Wept Breath" forms "maladies into fantasies."
In this spread, two species of mushroom appear: Amanita Muscaria and Destroying Angel Mushroom as the Major Arcana's Devil card. While seemingly disparate fungi, parallels abound in the Maiden guidebook. "The dreams and visions that might lure us to the stars may be mere mirages that will earn us future scars," reads "In Threes." The Devil card also warns one to stay closer to the familiar and be mindful of the illusion safe spaces provide, where "unrepaired cracks are a sign to beware of the dangers from exposure."
As the Autumn air varies, night and day, each evening poses a choice: Shall one follow their whims through candlelit shadows, or stay in our own home where inner thoughts are composed?
We bloom light from botanicals, like a candle finds glimmers of hope through the gaze of an Autumn pumpkin. The moon casts shadows on dead leaves, yet moves through the night to unlock those same unseen spaces — just at a different hour, upon different windswept mysteries.