2: Shoots

The branches, stalks, limbs, foliage, leaves that absorb sunlight; the shoots need nitrogen to vegetate, to expand and grow closer to the Sun.

While living in Prescott, Arizona in 2005 I had a new switch turn on.  The Energy of the Earth.  In my free time I was studying Chakras, or the ever intriguing Rainbow Serpent living right here inside of us.  After recognizing how my chakra energy glowed I was able to see the hues in others, laying gently on the curves and corners of their eyes and face.  It would be a friend who opened up to me; they were actually letting me see their “aura” (though sometimes the occasional city-stroller got a buzz of meditation).  Honestly it was quite confusing!  I didn’t know what it all meant, but I told anyone who glowed to me and that led to lots and lots of good conversation!  A dear friend was reading Eliot Cowan’s Plant Spirit Medicine which led him to chatter with Mullein, Verbascum thapsus, and Morning Glory, of the Convolvulaceae family, and like any good friend details were shared and experiments begun.  At the same time I was enrolled in an Ethnobotany course at Prescott College and read The Cosmic Serpent by Jeremy Narby to prepare myself.  It explains how the Ayahuasca plant was used by natives in South America – under its influence natives were acquiring knowledge on how to use plants from the forest and the DNA/chromosomes which run our humanely form.

Ah yes… a truly divine stage for Plant Spirit Medicine to dance.

I had to explore more paths and see where the plants would lead me.  My first teacher of Plant Spirit Medicine was Dr. Deborah Frances R.N., N.D. in a class she led at The Herb-Pharm in Williams, Oregon.  I was working as an apprentice there and part of my work-trade included free classes from several amazing herbalists.  Deborah’s class was focused on Plant Spirit Medicine.  She led several meditations which brought us to Plant Spirits.  She would introduce them and ask them to share their guidance with us.  I sat back and watched as my brain/Third Eye filled with colors and literally spoke to me.  It was all so fast and new that I could only feel the emotions they sent me and how my body responded to them.  It was a fullness of breath and heart that filled every chakra, every body part.  My thoughts were at rest, my brain at ease and my body could fully feel.  A sort of new experience considering my brain tends to race.  When a Plant Spirit shares their energy with you, it is different from your response to eating it.  It’s not all that far from the feeling intuition gives you, actually.  It’s a message you are receiving.  But who’s to say who sent you that intuition? There could be multiple sources.  However, Plant Spirits can be distinguished between species and locations.  It is the magic that lives in the Earth that we as humans have a tendency to ignore.  Animals speak it too.

The following spring semester, the winds blew in my direction and I was able to add (and attend) the class Sacred Plant Medicine to Green Mountain College’s curriculum, taught by Village Herbalist and Midwife Helena Wu.  I had met up with Helena at the North East Herbal Association’s (NEHA) Annual Winter Conference.  She mentioned wanting to teach and with Green Mountain being in close proximity to her land it seemed like a perfect match.  There were seven other “witches” who decided to attend the course and the results were pure magic!  Helena discussed the basics in herbal work: medicine-making, the many ways to approach herbal practice (Ayurveda, Wise Woman Way), and growing.  But our main focus was on Plant Spirit Medicine.  I brought what I had learned from Deborah’s teachings and was able to explore further!  We read from Stephen Buhner’s The Secret Teachings of Plants and used his methods of plant communication.  (We also used his meditation techniques on communicating with ourselves!)  But before we could dabble in the ancient Plant Spirit dance we had to make a promise to the Earth – to be respectful towards plants and the Green Beings we would try to contact.  In actuality plants have lived on the Earth much longer than any of us have, and therefore act as an Elder to us.  They have been able to survive uprooting, relocation, any sort of disaster, picking, eating, and trampling all while continuing to thrive and ensure a future generation.  It is important to approach a Plant Spirit with respect.  You gain trust and friendship which allows you to fully communicate with them.  A friend is willing to help you and do favors for you.  And in return you do the same for them.  With this understood, we could commence communication!  Our plant meditations were inspired by holding the physical plant in our hands and mouths.  Helena would pass around an herb that most of us were unfamiliar with.  She’d lead us all into meditation:

“Relax into the Earth and feel its support.

Say hello to the plant you are holding…

Ask what it is used for…

Ask if you should be using it and why…

Ask if there is anything else the herb would like to share with you…

Thank it for its offerings to you,

Thank it for sharing itself and spirit.”

The most impressive sort of meditation, when I really feel that Plant Spirits are universal, is when you meditate in a group.  Wow…breathtaking!  Pure coincidence formatted to your DNA.  We would go around in a circle sharing what we experienced.  And our results were the same.  No matter how it was phrased, or what the specific dosage was, the ailment it treated was either very similar or exactly the same as what another group member had received.  The plants we were holding were speaking to all of us and literally sharing its powers.  This method may have been used by the indigenous peoples of the Earth to learn survival and healing techniques.  Just as Ayahuasca was used in South America.  Helena encouraged us to practice this on our own and eventually we could contact Plant Spirits who weren’t physically in our presence.  Calling to a Plant Spirit without being near the plant.

If this excites you I advise trying it on your own, it couldn’t hurt!  Just remember to be respectful, introduce yourself, and keep your heart open.  I also highly suggest picking up one of the books mentioned above to be a guide.

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