Of Plants and Magic

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”

~ Anatole France

I am rather fortunate with my work and my life, I get to experience and witness miracles, magic, and out of this world adventures.  I work (play) with the Plants in this world and others.  For the past twenty-nine years, my relationship with Pink Lady’s Slipper has been solely in the dream world.  Fortunately, I believed, planned, and acted and my dreams came true in incredible ways.

My first (and only other) meeting with Pink Lady’s Slipper (PLS) was in 5th grade.  Ever since then, I have wanted to see this rare, native Orchid; however, I could never find him.  PLS would often visit my dreams and journeys.  I wrote stories and poems about him.  I have seen his relatives around the world and have seen many different Orchids, but this unique pink bloom was elusive.

Twenty-nine years after my first encounter, my search is complete, my dream realized!  With the help of a friend, we found several patches of PLS in Ramapo Mountain State Forest in NJ.  Seeing the first bloom, brought tears to my eyes.  Finding the Plant to sit and spend time with was life changing.

Someone asked me, "Was the wait worth it?"  The short answer: “YES!”  The real answer is that I have learned there wasn’t a wait, there was a journey.  Had I met Pink Lady’s Slipper before this day, it would not have been the same experience.  The dreams, the shamanic journeys, my life events, even the walk up the mountain all contributed to the magic.

Earlier this Spring, I received the message from Trillium that the wait is worth it.  In the case with Trillium, I have wanted to make an Essence with ki* for many years.  Every year, I would miss the opportunity; I would either find a Trillium and not have my essence equipment or I would be set to make an Essence and would miss the flowers.  In the beginning of April, I finally saw a Trillium blooming AND I had my essence supplies!  I started making the Essence; however, Trillium kept telling me to continue further on the trail and to come back for the Essence later.  I reluctantly listened, which ended up leading me to an unbelievable experience with Dutchman’s Breeches aka Faerie Laundry and the Faeries (and the making of another Essence).  Completely blissed out, I returned to Trillium only to discover that a volunteer for the Preserve took my essence bowl!  I was so sad and dumbfounded.  I decided to make another Essence, but Trillium would not agree this time.  Instead he kept pushing my attention in another direction, which lead me to find two flowering Trout Lilies.  While I was sad that I yet again, did not make a Trillium Essence, I was grateful for the amazing way that Trillium directed me and could feel our relationship strengthening.  Several weeks later, I went hiking in the same Preserve, assuming that Trillium had stopped blooming.  What a surprise when I found a later blooming variety!  And this time I did make the Essence.  It was then that I received the message about being worth the wait.  I understood.  If I had made an Essence when I first wanted to, years ago, I would have missed these other experiences.  Plus, my relationship with Trillium would not have been the same.  I needed the searching and waiting (and frustration) to prepare me to be in relationship with him and to be able to receive his medicine.  Tears of gratitude ran down my face as I bottled the Essence.  

The same is true with my experience with Pink Lady’s Slipper.  I have learned much in the past 29 years, my life is drastically different from what it was when I was in fifth grade (and what I imagined that it would be).  I needed all of these experiences, I needed the dreams, I needed the wondrous walk in the woods to prepare me to understand and incorporate the magic of PLS.  Adding to the magic, I was now able to connect her to the Music of the Plants device.  So not only could I feel her magic, I could hear ki too!

Of course, we do need to take action and make intentions.  I would not have found either Trillium or Pink Lady's Slipper had I stayed home.  There is a balance between forcing and being passive.

While spending time with the Plants, I move into a different realm. In this place, I am able to understand more, able to see solutions, able to make connections.  I find listening to the Music of the Plants during this time opens other worlds.  This was true during my encounter with PLS.  While listening to her sing, I could see how her song enlivened the other Plants in the area, particularly the other Orchids.  Her song also helped Elementals to come out of hiding. The song attracted more Animals, particularly Birds.  Her music was helping me to move beyond conceptual understanding towards experiencing and being in connection with Nature.  I was able to really witness (and experience) the threads between the species.

Working with Trillium and Pink Lady’s Slipper these last several months has helped me to let go of my timeline and to understand that sometimes when we think we are waiting or wasting time, we are actually preparing.  And here’s the best part, what we are preparing for ends up being even better than our wildest dreams.  We could not have envisioned this because our earlier selves did not have the tools or capability of thinking it possible.  It is not achieving our goal or desire that creates the magic; it is our dreaming, our growth, our preparation, our journey.

This is only a small snippet of the magic that I experienced that day (and continue to experience) with Pink Lady’s Slipper.  My friend and I had an incredible encounter.  Even before we sat with PLS, we were witnessing exquisite Beauty, interacting with Animals, and aligning with the Possibility.  We were in a place that allows magic to exist.  Yet, as we encountered other Humans, I noticed that they were not experiencing this.  They were focused on the exercise and the destination.  They were practically running past PLS without even noticing that she was there.  Which to me speaks volumes about our lives.  I wonder how often we miss the magic, we miss the gifts, we miss the Beauty.  I of course encourage you to keep your eyes and Heart open to the Beauty and Magic, they really are all around.  And Dream!  Dream awake, dream asleep.  It is through our dreams that we create our reality.

*I am transitioning to using ki and kin as pronouns for Earth Beings.  This comes from Robin Wall Kimmerer and I really appreciate her work in returning our relatives to their rightful place of Honor in our world.  Here is an excerpt from an article that Robin Wall Kimmerer wrote for Yes! Magazine, "Nature Needs a New Pronoun: To Stop the Age of Extinction, Let's Start by Ditching 'It'":

“Ki” to signify a being of the living Earth. Not “he” or “she,” but “ki.” So that when we speak of Sugar Maple, we say, “Ohthat beautiful tree, ki is giving us sap again this spring.” And we’ll need a plural pronoun, too, for those Earth beings. Let’s make that new pronoun “kin.” So we can now refer to birds and trees not as things, but as our earthly relatives. On a crisp October morning we can look up at the geese and say, “Look, kin are flying south for the winter. Come back soon.”

Language can be a tool for cultural transformation. Make no mistake: “Ki” and “kin” are revolutionary pronouns. Words have power to shape our thoughts and our actions. On behalf of the living world, let us learn the grammar of animacy. We can keep “it” to speak of bulldozers and paperclips, but every time we say “ki,” let our words reaffirm our respect and kinship with the more-than-human world. Let us speak of the beings of Earth as the “kin” they are.