Tuesday, July 30, 2013
A recent study published in The Economist showed evidence of something that herbalists, indigenous people, and folk healers have known for generations. In the study scientists demonstrated that in a group of tomato plants growing close to one another, when one became sick nearby plants activated their genetic defenses against the bug. When airflow between the plants was restricted, these responses were still activated. The scientists conclusions? These responses are triggered through an interconnected web of communication lying beneath the surface of the soil.
When I read this story, I was delighted to find confirmation of something that I have known deep inside my spirit for many years. Plants are connected to each other in ways that we can't even imagine. If the plants are communicating with each other in such a way, who is to say that humans and plants can't communicate? Ask any gardener and they will tell you that working in the garden shifts their mood or emotional state. Is this because gardening slows one down and inherently reduces stress? Perhaps. But could this also be that plants have an inherent ability to communicate with us on a deeper level, "beneath the soil", if you will?
My cosmology guides me to an understanding of the relationship between plants and humans as deeper than science has been able to prove. I have found through my own experience and witnessing the experiences of my clients and students, that when we slow down and open to deep listening, plant and human communication is possible. In today's busy world, it is difficult to find the time for stillness to open to this communication. But imagine what might be possible if you did?
Today, I invite you to allow yourself to be inspired by the tomato plants in this study. Find 5-15 minutes in your busy schedule and find a plant in your life to sit with. This could be a plant in your garden. a beloved houseplant, a tree in a nearby forest, or even the wild roses growing underneath the freeway near your home. Find a comfortable position and take some deep breaths connecting with your center. You may want to imagine that you have roots that reach down into the earth. You can imagine that these roots intertwine with the roots of the plant you are sitting with. Take a breath into your connection with that plant, however you feel that connection. And from that place of connection, listen. What is this precious green blood saying to you?
You may be surprised with what you hear.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
A Pair of this Queen of the Night's Blossoms
I have known the Queen of the Night's medicine for many years now. Sometimes this plant is called Night Blooming Cereus. I was gifted some flower essence from an herbalist friend who lives in the desert a number of years ago. The desert is where this sweet plant grows. This cactus gets her name because there is only one night a year that the plant blooms. One night, when the moon is just so and the earth and the stars align, this sweet Queen unveils her fertile blossoms. These beautiful blossoms only live for the darkness of one night.
I was first greeted by the smell of these delightful blossoms when I arrived at the house. A soft floral scent that smelled a bit like Jasmine and Rose with peppery overtones filled my breath. It was divine. I was immediately drawn into these two blossoms and found myself lost in their beauty and sweet smell for an amount of time that I still do not know. It felt powerful to meet this ancient Queen who I have known through her medicine for so many years.
The medicine of the flower essence of the Queen of the Night is potent. I have fount it to be particularly helpful in supporting people in relaxing into their sexuality. Especially when that tension is rooted in shame and guilt around sexual desires. I have found this essence to have a particular affinity for women although it is a wonderful medicine for all genders.
Because the Queen of the Night can only bloom in the darkness, I believe this plant also teaches us to embrace our shadows and celebrate the parts of ourselves that we keep hidden from others. I have found myself referencing this plant often in Chaplaincy conversations with people who are in the hospital and facing some of the most traumatic and difficult moments of their lives. The Queen of the Night invites us to remember that there are blossoms that are only possible in the darkness. There is beauty that can only emerge from the darkness.
Friday, July 26, 2013
A Yellow Rose Blooms in the Bay Area filling the neighborhood with it's sweet smell reminding us to connect with the Sun's radiance deep within all of us.
Today I launched this new blog! "Wisdom from the Green Bloods" is a blog to check out to learn more about our plant allies. There are a lot of blogs about plants and plant medicine out there. This blog will focus specifically on the ways in which our plant allies can support us through emotional and spiritual transitions and challenges. I will also write about the ways that the plants can support us in stepping into our power and living in a way that is in alignment with our purpose on this earth.
As a Chaplain, I will bring my experience providing spiritual counseling into this blog. And as an herbalist, I will bring my experience cultivating healing relationships between plants and people.
I plan to add new posts 1-2 times a week so please come back soon.