United Plants Savers

Living in Sanctuary

It has been nearly a year since I moved to what I now know as Heart Springs Sanctuary and slightly longer since I started working with the Nature Spirits of this place. For years I longed for a place to call Home, a place to work with the Elementals to create a Sanctuary. And here I am. Perhaps when you think about what it is like to co-create a Sanctuary with Nature, you have an image of a peaceful, beautiful unfolding: soft light, walking slowly through tall grasses, stopping to touch and smell and pray with the abundance of Plants. Or perhaps you have no idea what this looks like.

For me, I imagined the first scenario. And while I do touch, smell, and pray with the Plants, I have to admit, creating a Sanctuary is hard work and sometimes it isn’t work at all.

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Heart Springs Sanctuary is part of the United Plant Savers’ Botanical Sanctuary Network which means that we agree to restore and protect habitat for wildlife and especially focus on the endangered native species. Earlier this year, we started a campaign called “Planting Heart Springs Sanctuary” to plant about 70 Trees and Shrubs. This sounded like an easy job, on paper, in the winter. Then all the Plants arrived at the same time and needed to get into the ground- that’s 70 holes to dig, which of course, happened to be right when I was hosting the Organization of Nature Evolutionaries annual meeting. With help, I managed to get everyone in the ground, learning that everything goes smoother if I’m not doing the work when I’m tired. We have a few more Trees to gather to complete this first stage.

While it was a little overwhelming to plant everyone, this is actually an easy part of the job and to be honest, quite enjoyable. You see, I am also creating a Sanctuary for humans. Which means, a place where humans can come to connect with Nature and Nature Beings and discover the hidden aspects of themselves. This is a place where simply sitting by the Pond is healing (for both the human and the Pond). Creating this for humans is the part that requires the most amount of time and effort. Painting, unpacking, creating areas of sleep and rest and learning, hanging hooks, thinking of their needs - what is necessary to allow them to ease into their connection. And then of course is the logistics with the Land - where will they park, how will they move from place to place, creating areas of connection and repose.

This past year has been one of intense manual labor and quite often exhaustion. Though I know that this is simply the beginning, we are creating the foundation, and from here everything will blossom. If we set it up well, it will require much less effort to keep things going and growing. And soon (Friday), we will welcome this year’s HEARTransformation Apprentices! (There is 1 space remaining if you’d like to join us.)

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So what does it really look like to live in Sanctuary with Nature? It is deep listening - listening to what the Land needs, listening to what my Heart asks, listening to the smallest flower and the loudest bird, reading the signs that Nature provides. It is often ignoring my ego - which may mean cleaning out a dump area instead of creating a wetland garden around the pond (which in hindsight, the Nature Spirits were right, removing that trash cleared stagnation and raised the vibration of the Land) or asking for help when I’d much rather do it on my own (simply because I don’t want to ask) and even harder, accepting that help (and acknowledging how important it was to work together). It is often moving beyond my edges and perceived limitations. It is planting my favorite Berry bushes, knowing that I most likely will not eat any of them, for they are a gift to the Birds. It is sitting by the Pond drinking a cup of tea and allowing the water to bring forth my tears. It is singing to the Sun rising in the morning. It is getting down low to marvel at the dew drops on grass. It is leaving gifts for the Faeries. It is gathering Stones with the Gnomes. It is breathing and waiting when I want to do. It is marking off areas of no mowing and hanging signs for no spraying or harvesting. It is planting and rejoicing when you see the first sprouts returning. It is feeding the many feral cats and accepting their cardboard slums. And also laughing as they run and jump and hide in the boxes. It is often feeling overwhelmed and insignificant and being reminded that there’s no time limit, focus on one small step at a time. It is dreaming and visioning. It is gathering sticks. It is self-care and listening to my body. It is being covered in mud and falling asleep exhausted. It is being covered in paint and falling asleep exhausted. It is taking a nap in the Faerie Glen, receiving healing and messages. It is gathering trash and then more trash. It is hours on the computer - answering emails, writing, paying bills, creating classes, researching. It is gathering with friends and strangers. It is being astounded at the many gifts, surprises, and synchronicities. It is talking with Sister Protectress (Poison Ivy) and asking ki to stay out of the pathways (or intended pathways). It is letting go of the shoulds. It is radiating Love to every aspect of this Land and all who enter. It is magical.

And it is just the beginning!

Here’s the thing, you too can live in Sanctuary. My Sanctuary happens to be 4.5 acres with 3 ponds, a creek, and numerous ecosystems. However, any place and every place can be a Sanctuary. It is making a conscious choice to work/play with the other Beings of that place to be in service to the Highest Good of All. It is recognizing that as Humans, we are only 1 small part of Nature and learning to listen. When we create a space of reverence and Love where all Beings are honored, we create a healing space for ourselves.

This is the time of year when the veils between our world and the Faery world is thin. It is a great time to leave gifts for the Elementals, to dream, to vision, to play, and as tradition holds, to make Love in the fields blessing the harvest.

As the Spring time energy bursts forth in flowers and the Faeries dance with joy, may you too be fed and renewed, re-membering the connections with all. And above all else, may you know that you are Love(d).

Creating Sanctuary

"The best place to find God is in a garden. You can dig for him there."

~George Bernard Shaw

We are excited to announce that Heart Springs Sanctuary, Brigid’s Way’s home, has been accepted into the United Plant Savers’ Botanical Sanctuary Network!

The United Plant Savers (UpS) protects native medicinal plants of the United States and Canada and their native habitat while ensuring an abundant renewable supply of medicinal plants for generations to come. As part of their mission, UpS created a network of sanctuaries dedicated to restoring and preserving habitat for wildlife, both Plants and animals.

Herbalism and Plant medicine have an interesting history of both beauty and pain. Unfortunately, part of this history is the over harvesting of Plants. Now that interest in natural healing is growing and herbs become part of the latest health fad, it is even more critical that we are conscious of the well being of Plants and how they are harvested.

At Brigid’s Way we believe that our future is intricately tied with the future of the Plants. When we found our Home, we knew that we were creating a Sanctuary where Humans could work co-creatively with Nature and experience the Divine through the Plants and Nature Spirits. We wanted to create a place that honors the Plants and acts as a model for another possibility. That is the possibility where we all Beings can thrive.

We are very much in the beginning stages of creating this Sanctuary. We have great plans of converting the large lawn to gardens, wild areas, and walking paths. This Spring we are building a Labyrinth. We have a ridiculously long list of Plants that want to join us here (which we couldn’t be happier to have them). We want to create a Wetlands Sanctuary around our small pond, where there is again mostly grass. And we have some clean-up work to do. This is just what the Nature Spirits are asking us to do this first year! Who knows what plans lay ahead.

My point is that if the idea of a Botanical Sanctuary or a Sanctuary garden sounds appealing and yet, you think you have to create something pristine first, you don’t. The most important aspect of creating a Sanctuary is the intention. It is about saying that this area (which may be acres or may be a little porch with a couple growing pots) is Sacred. Beyond that, what constitutes a Sanctuary is up to you. It may be an area where you do not harvest. It may be a garden planted with a special purpose, such as a Butterfly garden. It may be an area where you simply sit and meditate with Nature.

For me, when I found this place or more when this place found me, I was determined that every aspect would be a Sanctuary. The intention is that every thing we do at Heart Springs Sanctuary is in alliance with the Nature Beings.

When I was introduced to Damanhur, my friend Esperide Ananas talked about the Three Mother Worlds: the Human World, the Plant/Tree World, and the Nature Spirits World. She said, “There was once one sound, one frequency, one World.” (That touches me so deep to think about one sound, one frequency.) However, the humans separated and caused the Three Mother Worlds to form. Part of Damanhur philosophy (at least based on my understanding) is that if humans are to survive on Earth, we need to reunite the 3 Worlds. [If you would like to learn more, join us for a free Teleseminar with Esperide on January 21st.]

Working co-creatively with the Nature Spirits to create Heart Springs Sanctuary is part of my efforts to help unite the Three Mother Worlds. Though I have to admit, I wasn’t conscious of this effort when I decided to make this a Sanctuary. I did it because it felt right, really it felt like the only option. I want to live in a Sanctuary. I want my clients and students to be received in a Sanctuary. I think we all could do with a little more sanctuary in our lives.

We launched our first ever crowdfunding campaign to support the planting of Trees and Shrubs at Heart Springs Sanctuary. This is the first step that the Nature Spirits have highlighted. These Trees and Shrubs are integral in creating a wetlands area, converting the large expanse of grass, creating a woodlands section where we will later plant native woodland Plants, and providing food and shelter for the Pollinators and other wildlife. The support from our community adds to the energy and vitality of this Land. As part of this project, we are offering people to name a Tree or Shrub for a Loved one or themselves. As we go about our gratitude walks and classes, we will greet these Plants by these names, strengthening the connection between humans and Plants. Please support this project by sponsoring a Tree/Shrub, sharing it with others, or helping us to plant. We are so excited to welcome these Plants and their human counterparts here!

Wherever you are, I hope that you are able to find sanctuary and can pause to feel your connection with the Plants and Spirit. Feeling the Love that they offer us, even when the world is cold.

“And don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous.”

~ Rumi

Lessons and Gifts from Pink Lady's Slipper

Lessons and Gifts from Pink Lady's Slipper

Pink Lady's Slipper is a rare native Orchid which grows in the Northeast.  After a twenty-nine year search, I recently reencountered her.  This is a sharing of some of the lessons which I have learned from her.  (I have learned more and I know that there are many more to come.)