The Marigold Effect

If you are a member of my online Sanctuary you know Michelyne. Mich is an all around superstar! She's the Program Manager and my right hand woman in my digital home. On top of her many jobs in the Sanctuary, Mich also writes a weekly column in The Sanctuary Bulletin, and I thought her last note was so significant I just had to share it with you all here in my Remember Your Magnificence Newsletter & Blog. Enjoy!


~With love, Anita ~



There’s a great analogy that is used in the education field for teachers who are new to the profession. However, it’s so rich and so relevant to every other aspect of social groupings that I wanted to share it with everyone here. It’s called the ‘Marigold Effect’. I am going to borrow the basics of this concept and apply it to ourselves as a group of people seeking to be our best while sometimes having difficulties in our lives.


The basic principle of the marigold effect is that when we plant vegetables or flowers, they seem to thrive when they are planted next to what are called ‘companion plants’. These plants, like garlic when planted next to roses, offer support and protection from toxins, pests and weeds. Marigold flowers have an amazing ability to ward off vegetable eating pests and harmful weeds that otherwise steal nutrients from the soil and suffocate other plants. Plants that grow around marigolds tend to thrive. So if we extrapolate this analogy into our human sphere, we can see marigolds exist in our communities. They are the ones that foster growth, encouragement and offer support to others who want to change and grow. They are the people who are cheerleaders, who bolster others when times are tough, and who offer their expertise to help people understand something new.


However, inside our forests and gardens we also have walnut trees. Walnut trees are well known for being sturdy, imposing, and having huge deep roots. What most people don’t realize is that walnut trees give off a toxin that can inhibit growth and eventually kill other plants that grow near it. Plants need to avoid walnut trees, plain and simple, or their growth can be stunted, or they can even kill weaker plants. Bringing this analogy back to our social settings, I bet you can identify both marigolds (the uplifting, supportive people in your social marinade) and walnut trees (the ones who are always down, and sad, and share their downward spiral to the point that you get sucked down with them) in your own social settings.


In our lives we are amongst all kinds of creatures. Ones that are supportive and encouraging and those who are depleting and inhibiting. Marigolds and Walnut Trees. Who would you rather be with? This is an important distinction for empaths since we are easily swayed. Make your choices with conscious deliberation and try to be a marigold yourself!