Say It With A Switch: Integrating floral switches into your play and ritual

If you have not read the section in BDSM Rituals entitled “Cut Me a Switch, Bitch”, please do so now:

“The Rhodora”

On being asked, whence is the flower.

In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals fallen in the pool
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that, if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for Being;
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask; I never knew;
But in my simple ignorance suppose
The self-same power that brought me there, brought you.

          —Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Spring is fast upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere.  In many areas, trees are starting to bloom.  Blooming trees are a big part of why I love spring.  Just the sight of them brings to mind all kinds of exciting ideas.  There’s no reason why these lovely reminders of the Goddess’ Ascent should not be used in both ritual and play or both together.  Nothing is more beautiful than being showered with flying blossoms in a ritual.

A really neat way to incorporate floral switches (or wands if in a vanilla setting) is to use the Victorian Language of Flowers.  There are many different floral languages, some predating Shakespeare, but the Victorian version (and there’s even several different Victorian versions) is usually the easiest to access online.
The meanings that I’ll be using in this blog are from, which uses the meanings that most English Victorians would have recognized and agreed with.

Before I move on with some common flowering trees and their meanings, I need to touch upon usage.  You can create a Simple, or a one element spell, with a switch or bunch of switches from a single tree.  You can also complete more complex spells and messages with switches from several different types of trees.  Think of it in terms of a bouquet of switches for your partner.

Some Floral Switch Suggestions: A Brief Guide
* Denotes trees with nice straight branches of just the right thickness and smoothness for good switches

*Acacia–Friendship;  *Acacia, Rose or White–Elegance;  *Acacia, Yellow–Secret Love

Almond, Common–Indiscretion;  Almond, Flowering–Hope

*Rose of Sharon– Consumed by Love

Apple Blossom–Preference

Ash Tree–Grandeur; Mountain Ash–Prudence

Aspen Tree–Lamentation



*Bay Tree (Laurel)–Sharpness; Laurel, Mountain–Ambition

*Beech Tree–Prosperity


*Camellia Japonica, Red–Unpretending excellence; *Camellia Japonica, White–Perfected loveliness

*Crepe Myrtle–Eloquence;  Myrtle–Love

Cherry Blossom–Spirituality, Beauty; Cherry Tree–Good education; Cherry Tree, White–Deception;  Winter Cherry–Deception

Chestnut Tree–Do me justice, Luxury


*Forsythia (these are my favorite for floral switches)–Good nature, Innocence, Anticipation (Aren’t those all the things you want in a good sub?)


*Hazel–Reconciliation, Peace;  *Witch Hazel–A spell


Hydrangea–A boaster, Heartlessness,You are cold

Lemon Blossoms–Discretion

*Locust Tree (green)–Affection beyond the grave

Lilac, Field–Humility; Lilac, Purple–First emotions of love;  Lilac, White–Majesty, Purity, Innocence

Lime or Linden Tree–Conjugal fidelity
*Mimosa (Sensitive Plant)–Sensitive, Bashful, Modesty

Mulberry Tree, Black–I shall not survive you; Mulberry Tree, White–Wisdom
Orange Blossom–Woman’s Worth, Bridal festivities;  Orange Tree–Sweetness, Generosity


Pomegranate Flower–Mature elegance

Poplar–Courage; Poplar, White–Time

Peach Blossom–I am your captive

Pear Tree–Comfort

Plum Tree–Keep your promise;  Plum Tree, Wild–Independence

*Rhododendron, Rosebay–Danger, Beware

*Willow, Water–Frankness, Freedom; *Willow, Weeping–Mourning;  *Willow–Forsaken;  *Willow, French-Bravery and humanity  (I really like to use Pussy Willows for switches, but they weren’t in the Language. Pussy Willows are nice because not only can you cause welts, but you can soothe and tickle the welts with the soft pussy buds. And of course, pussy willows are nice against my pussy.)

  As with any sort of S&M and or sex ritual, be responsible.  Use safe words and condoms and respect boundaries.  No under aged participants or spectators.  Outdoor sex should be on private property.  Bondage should allow for blood flow.  If you break skin, use first aid to treat it and clean your equipment properly.  And for heaven’s sake, avoid the spine and kidney area!