When Ananda suggested the topic of plant divas and energetic connections with plants for the April Herbwifery Forum blog party, I knew I wanted to be involved. The only problem was not having a blog. This prevented me from participating in the nettle party in March, so I really didn’t want to miss out again!
So, a new month, a new blog and some thoughts about my relationships with the plants I work with. I suspect they would say the relationship is very one sided – they do all the work, I just come along and smile at them or harvest them and very occasionally pass the odd comment while I’m nearby. I’m very bad at making time to be quiet, alone and do nothing else but pay attention.
Occasionally they take me to task, shouting their message until even I am forced to listen and take action. Here are a couple of stories about messages I’ve received.
I’m very fortunate to have been given some land to grow my herbs. It’s a small glade at the bottom of a field in the Cotswolds. You can see what I do there on http://www.springfieldsanctuary.co.uk/ . About two years ago, when times were particularly stressful, I’d gone for an energy field healing from a friend. She gave me some Goddess cards to work with, which seemed helpful. It gave me the idea of dedicating the Sanctuary to a particular Goddess.
I wasn’t sure which one to choose, so I thought I would ask the Sanctuary itself. It was a glorious, hot summer day and for a short while I was on my own. I lay down on the warm, dry soil and asked my question. The answer I received was couched in a somewhat ironic chuckle. “There is no need for an identified Goddess; this whole place is nematon – sacred space.” I realised I should have known this all along – it was not for me to force my will on a place, but to respect what was already here.
The first plant to draw my attention was yarrow (Achillea millefolium). He and I go back a long way – a plant of my childhood which was always there during the summer. The first year I grew herbs in the sanctuary there was a group of wild yarrow growing by the fence. It was not really large enough to meet all my needs so I bought some fresh plants to grow and put them in one of the herb beds. For several years the new plants were nowhere near as strong as the wild one, but gradually they became acclimatised to the limestone soil and their taste became the same.
I found yarrow in other places too – especially when I needed him. In 2002, I was visiting a friend in hospital who was dying of metastised oesophageal cancer. When I left, I kissed him goodbye on his forehead. The acrid taste of his sweat filled my mouth and I didn’t know what to do. By the side of the steps leading down to the car park was some yarrow leaves. I picked and chewed them and the taste of death left me. I suppose, as a battlefield herb, yarrow knows a lot about death.
Three years ago, another friend was involved in a fatal road accident. I was beside myself with worry and the fear lodged in my solar plexus as a deep, physical pain. A wild yarrow was growing in the cracks in our patio. I brushed past it every time I went outside into the garden. At the same time I was putting together a handout on the energetic use of herbs for a workshop I was running on flower essences. Part of my research led me to Karin Saunders 17 June 2004 radio show where she talked about yarrow strengthening personal boundaries so you knew where you started and someone else ended. This tied up with things Matt Woods mentioned in his discussion about yarrow.
While everyone else was choosing their flower to make a flower essence, I went to my yarrow patch and picked enough flowers to float over the top of my glass of spring water. We talked about what flowers we’d chosen and how they might help us.
The following Monday morning I took my yarrow flower essence into work and added four drops to my water glass because the pain was still troubling me. Within half an hour the pain had gone. I continued taking the flower essence for the next three days, but the pain did not return.
When I got home that Monday night, I went out into the garden and talked to the yarrow growing by the back door. I knew how much he had tried to show me he could help in a difficult situation but it had taken me a long time to realise why he kept drawing my attention. I told him how grateful I was he persevered.
Sanders, K “The Spiritual Properites of Herbs” on Herbal Highways June 17 2004 http://www.kpfa.org/archives/archives.php?id=15&limit=N
Wood, M The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicines