What I do know is that assuming we know what is right and pulling the invaders without asking the Plants or the Land continues the domination paradigm. This is why I feel that if we want to be good stewards and really stand in our role as part of Nature, it is imperative that we learn how to communicate with Nature.
I was recently driving with one of my students. It was a gorgeous morning with a light fog, the sun was rising, illuminating the golden fields of Corn. He was busy taking pictures of the Corn and the houses and the countryside, while I drove. It has been an interesting experience to spend time with him over the past 6 months. He is from a city in Canada and the Landscape around here is quite foreign to him. Upon arriving in July, he asked, “Was the Corn that high last month?!” I had to laugh and say, “No, Corn grows.”
What a gift to see my Home through new eyes. I am encouraged to be wowed by the fields and the houses I normally drive by. Don’t get me wrong, I Love this area. I have favorite places and Trees that I greet whenever I drive by. Sometimes I go a longer way, just so I can see them. I tend to find Beauty everywhere and am known to fall to my knees in gratitude and awe at the sight of a particular Plant friend or maybe watch in wonder as a trail of Ants carry a ridiculous load.
That being said, spending this time with my student, showed me how I have normalized my surroundings. I don’t understand why, but this seems to be human nature. We see the common as ignorable while the exotic (and what is exotic depends on where you live) as magical, praise worthy, and worth more.
This is something we see often in our society. From the dismissal and even poisoning of some of our most powerful medicines because they grow in our yards. To the wandering eyes of people in long term relationships mesmerized by someone other than their partner. To the dreams of vacations or romanticizing other areas of the world. To the fascination of dieting with entheogens from foreign lands (like Ayahuasca) while ignoring the common, non-psychotropic Plants who can give us just as much, if not more insight and healing. [See the Elder Sacred Plant Initiation]
What this does is creates an endless cycle of more, more. Always looking for something else, often to fill a void, which these only temporarily do. I think we can look around and see how this desire for more plays out in our culture and what the consequences of this paradigm is.
As my student was gawking at our surroundings, he reminded me of innocent perception. Which ironically is one of the first tools I teach in the HEARTransformation Apprenticeship and Plant Communication classes. Innocent perception is the ability to see the world with new eyes, as if this is the first time we are seeing something.
In Plant communication, this allows us to go deeper and deeper with a Plant. So that when we are sitting with Dandelion for the 100th time, we meet ki with the wisdom and knowledge from the previous 99 times AND look at Dandelion as if this is the first. This is very different than going up to Dandelion and thinking “I know you.” When we think we know all about something or someone, we close the doors. We lock them into a box and we often miss the most magical components. Because let’s face it, no one reveals their true magic at the first meeting.
When we are able to greet our daily surroundings (including the people) with innocent perception, we open the doorways of magic. We keep the relationship alive. From this place, appreciation naturally flows. Appreciation is a power tool for our Hearts. According to The HeartMath Solution written by Doc Childre and Howard Martin:
"You can be confident that as you focus on sincere feelings of appreciation, your nervous system will naturally come into balance. Biologically, all of the systems in your body, including your brain, will work in greater harmony. The electromagnetic field radiating from your body will resonate with the ordered, coherent pattern emitted by your heart. And every cell in your system will benefit.
With your body in an improved state of balance, you’ll start to feel better emotionally—and it’s no wonder. Just as appreciation causes the jagged heart rhythms on the graph to relax into an even flow, so your thoughts and feelings begin to interact more smoothly.
Appreciation has a way of smoothing out life’s lumps and bumps. It puts things into perspective, reducing the heaviness and density of stressful thoughts and feelings.”
How do we do this? It’s actually fairly simple, though it is easier to do when things are going well. So that’s a good time to practice and get comfortable with these skills. Then when you think you are having a day from hell or you’re in an argument with your partner, it becomes easier to access innocent perception and appreciation.
For innocent perception, this is mostly choosing to see something with new eyes. Which may mean looking from a different perspective. In Plant communication, we use a loupe to reveal the wonders that our naked eyes often miss. Mostly, this is about attention. Taking the time to really see. Look closely at the creases on your Lover’s face and admire the experiences that brought them. Maybe imagine you are in a coffee shop, when you spot her across the way. What do you notice? In a natural environment, spend time in Nature. Take the time to sit, be still, and simply observe. Or maybe take a photo every day or every hour of a Plant growing.
I know we often are in a rush and can easily dismiss this as not having the time. I think the more we are rushing around, the more important it is that we pause and activate innocent perception. Plus, while it is lovely to spend a good length of time watching Nature, we can be utilizing innocent perception in our daily lives. Like I was doing as I was driving. My teacher, Rocio Alarcón, would say that I was going under the trance of Corn. And I was. Tears were coming to my eyes as I saw the fields glowing. I was seeing each Plant as a prayer for our Mother Earth. Yes, this was GMO Corn; however, you cannot remove the Sacred from Corn Mother.
One of my favorite reminders of innocent perception is the work of Louie Schwartzberg. He uses photography to bring the unseen World of Nature to life. You can see his video on Pollinators here.
Again, I think if we are able to utilize innocent perception, appreciation naturally flows. However, it is helpful to cultivate appreciation. We do this by simply noticing and listing what we appreciate, what we are grateful for. It is a really beautiful thing to share what you appreciate about your Loved ones with them. Or even near strangers. It is amazing how someone lights up when you show appreciation.
I know these seem simple, trust me, they are powerful. Innocent perception and appreciation have the capability of turning the mundane into the extraordinary. Imagine living your life as if you were surrounded by Beauty and Wonder. We are. It is simply a matter of perspective.
Earlier this year, I had the great pleasure and privilege of spending time with the Plants of Vieques (Puerto Rico) and Ecuador. I knew that I was going to make Essences, work with the Plant Spirits and most likely receive healing. This all occurred AND unexpectedly, my Love affair with Plants grew even deeper, I was on my “honeymoon” with Plants. I say unexpectedly because I already had a very deep Love affair. As the Plants (and my children) teach me, there is no end to Love, our Love can always grow.
I returned from these trips revitalized and awakened and excited to share the Plant Beings with others.
So who are these Plant Beings?
When we take time to stop and think about it, we understand that our lives depend on the Plants. It is they, through their process of photosynthesis, who give us oxygen to breathe. We eat their flesh (including in the form of meat) to nourish our bodies and give us energy. Some of us consume certain Plants we call Herbs to help us heal or keep us healthy. We know that Plants are great at cleaning our environment of pollutants.
Is there more? Do Plants have something else to offer us?
I say “YES!”
Plants have always evolved before animals/humans. Even now, they continue to be our evolutionary guides. They have much to teach us. Here is the great thing, because we are connected, when humans increase their consciousness, we raise the vibration of Earth, which in turn, allows Plants to evolve and fulfill more of their purpose, which in turn helps humans to increase their consciousness. Do you see the cycle? The importance of co-creative partnership becomes even clearer.
One of the great gifts of Plants is that they help us achieve Heart Coherence and move into Heart Intelligence, which means that they help calm our nervous system, allowing us to move into a receptive state where we focus on solutions and can see a broader picture. This has enormous impacts on our well being (on all levels). I frequently suggest that my clients spend more time in Nature, sitting with Plants or breathing with Trees. It is amazing how even 1 minute doing this can completely shift how we feel. This is a great tool for anxiety and stress. I now know to recognize that when I start to worry, am agitated, or feel like the sky is falling, I have not been spending enough time in Nature. Fortunately, listening to the Plants sing with the Music of the Plants device has a similar effect, which is especially beneficial in Winter.
When we look outside at the Plants, the predominate color is green. Green is the color of our Heart chakra. Is this a coincidence? Well, I don’t believe in coincidences. I think this is Nature’s way of telling us we are Love(d) and surrounding us with Love.
All of these benefits are available with very little effort from us. When we want to take up our role as part of Nature, to become the true creators we are, we need to move into reciprocity. With reciprocity we shift from blind consumers to active participants. A reciprocal relationship requires gratitude for and recognition of the incredible Beings that Plants are. Thus we move towards a deep intimacy and can work with Plant Spirits (and other Nature Beings). Our Love affair begins as we embark on this journey with the Plant Spirits.
What is Plant Spirit Healing?
I am asked this question frequently. I struggle to explain because Plant Spirit Healing is broad and full of so many possibilities it is difficult to put in a sentence. The easy description is that we work with the Plant Spirits to bring healing to a person or situation. However, there is no limit to how you work with the Plant Spirits. For instance, yes, I work with them every day in sessions with my clients. Sometimes we are working with Mugwort to remove or balance energies. Other times, I’m working with Plant Spirits to add more energy. Or we might work with Tulsi for Soul work.
And then there are the ways I work with Plant Spirits outside of my office. Years ago, I had to get a root canal. I do not use novocain with epinephrine, which worried the endodontist. I called on Mugwort and asked for help managing the pain. Instead of being a painful experience, it was blissful! Even the endodontist and nurse noticed the difference. We all left feeling happy and peaceful. While getting a massage, I will typically call on a Plant Spirit to help with a knot that won’t release or a particularly tender area. When I am feeling uncertain or wanting guidance, I call on the Plant Spirits to help me. I, of course, ask the Plant Spirits to guide my gardening, helping me to decide where to plant certain Plants. I also will work with Plant Spirits to help bring healing to an ailing Plant.
Recently, I was in a business meeting where someone was asking me to do something I knew was impossible. (I rarely, almost never, use the word impossible.) I knew that what she was asking would require a miracle. I kept saying to her, “There has to be another way.” To which, she would reply, “No.” Finally, I internally said, “Agrimony, Artemisia I need your help! Please change this situation NOW!” In less than 30 seconds, she looked at the papers that she was holding and said, “Oh, this will work!”
The Plant Spirits are the cornerstone of my life. They are my colleagues, my guides, my teachers and mostly, they are my BeLoveds. I cannot imagine my life without them. I would be truly lost. I was lost. Here’s the thing, this wisdom, healing, and guidance is available to anyone. We are meant to be in close relationship with Plants. As I said, our very lives depend on them.
If you would like to increase your relationship with Plants, spend time with them. Observe them, look closely at their flowers or how the water goes down the bark of a Tree. Experience them: smell, taste, touch them. Breathe with Plants, recognizing that your breath is a gift to the Plant and the Plant’s breath is a gift to you. Draw them. Sing to them. Daydream with Plants. Journey with them.
If you want to gain insight or guidance from the Plants, yes, it is helpful if you know how to communicate with them. However, this is a birthright, that we all knew how to do when we came into this Beautiful World. I tell my classes that my job is to clear away the limiting beliefs and trainings that told you you couldn’t talk to Plants. My point is, you may find it helpful to work with someone who can guide you in Plant communication; however, it is not a requirement, somewhere (possibly deep down), you already have this skill.
Of course, if you want to really deepen your relationship or learn specific ways to work with Plant Spirits for your own healing or healing others, then please join us for Brigid’s Way’s HEARTransformation Apprenticeship: Healing Through the Wisdom of Nature. Have your own Love affair with the Plants!
As I said earlier, Plants evolve as our consciousness increases. They want us to evolve, to embrace our full selves and they are here to help us along the way.
They have a short and important message for us today, “We Love you!”
And so, my Love affair continues.
I do not claim to be an excellent gardener. Never have. In fact, in the past, I was so unwilling to kill any Plant that I wouldn’t “weed” and my vegetable garden would soon consist of more weeds than vegetables. After losing my herb garden and restarting last year, I realized that I needed to make a change. So I did what I do and I asked the Plants for assistance. I talked about my realization of “de-planting” in the last newsletter, so I won’t go into detail here.
Since writing about it and as I prepare for garden days here, I have been trying to pay attention to how I work with the Plants.
First, I notice a huge difference in the Plants in my herb garden. I’ve been telling everyone that it is like they are on steroids. People nod and say yes this crazy weather, with the heat and abundance of rain, has been great for Plants. But that’s not it. If you look at the Plants in my herb garden and compare them to any other Plants, there is a difference. They are larger, stronger, and have many more blooms. You can (or at least I can) notice the difference in quality. I have a hypothesis which I’ll share later.
Why weed or de-plant? Well, as I said earlier, when I didn’t de-plant my gardens, the garden Plants struggled. I questioned myself, why are the Plants that I planted more important than the wild ones? They aren’t. However, when creating a garden, a human creates a contract with nature. The garden is under the human’s care. So it is my responsibility to provide the healthiest environment for the garden Plants. This is why I invite the wild Plants to grow in our field.
That being said, it is important to know (and this is contrary to what most gardeners will tell you) that the wild Plants are also important to the garden. These wild Plants do provide something. Perhaps they are using their tap roots to bring needed minerals. Perhaps they are providing protection (which is what Ragweed did for my garden last year). If you look at Nature, Plants do not like to grow alone with a lot of space between them (well, most Plants). And so our garden Plants, also need others nearby. Some gardeners do this with companion planting. I think this is helpful. I also think it is best if we can pay attention to the wild Plants (and the garden Plants) and see what is best for the garden.
This spring, Lamium purpureum or Purple Deadnettle came to my garden. I always admire this plant growing in the fields every spring. However, when I encountered ki growing (quite generously) in my herb garden, fear set in. I thought, I have to take care of this now or ki could take over my whole herb garden. (Most of the Plants were either still asleep or were just beginning to come out of the ground.) When I could step back, I realized that I like Lamium growing there, the purple and green were beautiful and Heart lifting. So I asked the garden and Lamium what I should do. The response was “Nothing,” I needed to let the Lamium continue to grow. So I did. As I sat with it and watched, the feeling that I got was that the Lamium was fixating energy into the garden similar to clover fixating nitrogen. She was raising the healing vibration of the garden. In time, her job was done and she told me to remove her, which I did. Now, my hypothesis, is that it is to Lamium purpureum that my garden (and I) owe the incredible growth, strength, and energy that is now present.
My point is that there is a time to de-plant and there is a time to let the Plants do their work. A good “gardener” accepts this and knows which time it is. To my knowledge, the only way to know when to do these is by paying attention to the Plants and letting them guide your work.
If you are interested in trying this, I encourage you to spend quiet time in your garden. Focus on sharing the space with all the Plants. Allow your breathing to unite with the Plants’ breathing. When you are ready, ask which Plant or Plants need to be removed. Open your eyes and see if any catch your attention. I try to focus on removing one or two Plants at a time. For instance, I am working with Ragweed right now. So I am removing all the Ragweed and only Ragweed . Then, next time I might work with Morning Glory and only remove Morning Glory. If one catches your attention, then go to that Plant (its okay if you don’t know what ki is, I encourage you to learn. Tell the Plant that this garden is for the Plants that you plant and invite. Thank her for her help in the garden and invite her to grow somewhere else (for me, we have a huge field where I invite them to grow). Ask her if there is anything that you need to do for her or the garden. Every time you pull a Plant, thank the Plant. If you can, eat or make medicine with the Plants you are “harvesting”. If not, then compost them and return them to the earth.
Be willing to allow the “weeds” to grow. Watch your garden and see how the energy shifts.
I have always had a hard time with “weeding.” I love Plants. I never wanted to kill a Plant (well, except for Morning Glory). Many of the “weeds” are Plants that I use medicinally or Plants that I suspected could be used medicinally. So for years, my gardens were overrun. Last year, I was gifted with a blank slate for a new garden. I was given a choice, I could continue as I did before and not weed or I could pull the unwanted plants. I contemplated this for awhile, until the plants gave me my answer. They taught me a new way and have asked me to share it. Originally we called this planting, now to not be confusing we call it “de-planting”.
I have an agreement with the plants that the garden will be for Plants that I put there or invite. If another Plant invites herself, I then explain the parameters of the garden and ask her to move to another place (I do have a large field surrounding my garden, with plenty of places for wild Plants.) That is the simple explanation.
What I actually do is get to know the volunteer. I ask her what she wants or needs and try to provide that for her. What happens is that I learn the personality of the Plants that surround me. I’ve also learned some new ways of using them. Most of the Plants that appear in the garden are there to help, so they tell me what I need for the garden. After I listen to them and make our agreement, I then pull them out. They often do not come back. Occasionally, I have had some return but usually it is because I wasn’t holding my end of the bargain and they were reminding me.
Through this process, I healed my relationship with Morning Glory. I learned that she likes to be sung to and told how pretty she is (which she is!). Now when I see her in the field, I stop and admire her. She helps me to be light and joyful. I enjoy this much more than wanting to kill her!!
This morning as I was in the garden seeing which Plants have begun to emerge, I saw a group of new volunteers. Now instead of dreading “weeding”, I am looking forward to getting to know some new Plants.
I hope that you find this helpful. If you try this, please let me know about your experiences!
I started this summer in deep grief, mourning the loss of my brother. I spent large chunks of the day in bed. However, I have 2 sons that needed a mother, so they started pulling me out. Then, the Plants started asking me to make medicines, I turned them down, because I didn’t think I was in the right frame of mind. So Spirit and the Plants decided to speed things up and get my healing started. Because of them (and some dear friends), I feel like I have emerged from the darkness of my grief. I will always miss my brother and will forever love him, but there is work that needs to be done on this dynamic planet and I can’t waste any more time. So I will hold him in my Heart and take part in the wonders of life. Thank you to all who shared thoughts, kind words, and prayers with me. And thank you to my many clients who patiently waited, allowing me the space and time to heal. I greatly appreciate it. While I cut out most of the human world, I opened myself more fully to the Plants and Nature. I was able to spend time in the wilds of Banff National Park, Canada (I highly recommend it) and the Adirondacks of NY (a heart place of mine), as well as on Windy Hill Farm. I also went to several classes including the New England Women’s Herbal Conference (WHC). At the WHC this year, there seemed to be a repeating theme mentioned: our world is quickly changing and the Plants are willing to help facilitate this for us and help us return to our wild, native roots. One of the classes that I took was with Pam Montgomery. She told us that Plants have always evolved before their animal counterparts. She also mentions this in her book Plant Spirit Healing:
Going back to the beginning of plants and animals, we see that amphibian plants, which are seedless vascular plants like horsetail and ferns, moved to land first, then reptilian plants like angiosperms or ones that have internal development and protection of an embryo moved to land last. As plants moved to land their animal counterparts followed them so that mammals did not appear on land until angiosperms (flowering plants) were there to feed them (page 20).
Essentially, since all animals depend on Plants to live, their evolution allowed our evolution. So we have a very close connection to Plants. This thought can lead to much discussion. The point that I want to make is that we owe much to Plants. Yes, it is generally understood that they give us food, shelter, and oxygen. More and more people are returning to the knowledge of our ancestors and understanding that Plants have other roles in our lives through physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.
We know that we have a deep connection to Plants through our breathing. They give us oxygen which our bodies use and then we exhale carbon dioxide which they use. Pam said something else that made me think, “If we (humans) disappear from this earth, the plants will continue to thrive (there are other sources of carbon dioxide); however, if plants disappear from this earth, we will die in about 3 minutes (from lack of oxygen).” Now, I know that there are some scientists reading this who will try to comeback with another scenario, we have oxygen tanks, we can create oxygen from water, etc. I ask if these are your reactions to put them aside and just think of everything that Plants give us and even with these scientific processes, how long could we survive without plants. So while these Plant Beings are so generous, how do we repay them? We clearcut, we poison, we genetically modify. How is that for gratitude?
What I ask and what the Plants ask is that we change our ways. There are those who are already honoring the Plants and their numbers are growing. However, the Plants are insistent that we move faster, deeper and share their knowledge. If we, as individuals, can create strong connections with the Plant Beings and continue to grow these connections we will not only “save the planet” but we will really be saving ourselves. For once you have that strong connection, you cannot turn your back on the plants nor will you want to!
Message from the Plants:
Turn off the television
Spend time in Nature (everyday! And yes, a backyard is nature)
Eat Wild Foods