My spiritual believe is that everything on this planet is sentient and has a spirit. I suppose you could say I am an animist or a pagan or even a fool if you like; but it is my belief and it seems self evident to me that it is a belief based on fact. I spend a lot of my time working with plants – growing them, caring for them, observing them and appreciating them. I believe that plants are very intelligent and have a lot of guidance and advice for we humans if we interact with them in a respectful way. By that I mean, treat them as you would any being with spirit.
Our Celtic forefathers believed that trees were the ancestors of man and had a connection to the Other World. Oak was considered to be the most sacred of trees but all trees offered us healing and guidance and still do.
I grow plants and herbs to give something back to Mother Earth, to create more diversity as Connemara is quite a barren place although very beautiful. Thankfully the herbs or plants that I grow or forage from the wild are healing and I make medicine for myself and family and friends. A couple of weeks ago I took some kind of bite to my leg – I think it must have been a spider that I disturbed on an outside chair because I was bitten on the back of my calf. It was itchy to begin with and then my leg swelled and became very hard and hot to the touch. It began to feel painful when I first walked after sitting down. and my leg looked bruised and black. Then came PLANTAIN to the rescue.
Plantain – Plantagus lanceolata or Slánlus in Irish is THE herb to go for if you need to “draw” something out; a sting, venom, dirt, poison, pus or whatever. He works like a dream and it is so simple to make a dressing. I grabbed a handle of Plantain leaves from the garden, chopped them and pulverised them to a mush with the pestle and mortar, placed them on a dressing I made from cheesecloth and fixed that to the site of the bite. I changed the dressing a couple of times a day and after two days my leg was back to normal. Without the Plantain I have no doubt that I would have had to visit the doctor and he would have prescribed anti-biotics. Plantain saved my leg, saved me money and saved me time.
Whenever I harvest a plant for medicine I speak or sing to the plant, telling him or her how grateful I am that they have been growing so close to me. I say that I know what they can do and who the medicine is for and thank the plant for working so well. This communication is, I think, particularly important when using plants for emotional issues.
I was very busy recently campaigning against mining happening here in Connemara – a very beautiful and unspoiled area of Ireland. Within the committee, something sour happened and the group dynamics changed. I began to feel undermined and bullied and in the end I resigned. I think I was in a state of shock that such a thing had happened and I turned to some other plant allies, the nervines, to help me get over this.
Borage was included in my tonic because I felt so exhausted from the stress and Borage works to support tired adrenals and to bring courage and joy.
Passiflora is a nervine – a herb that supports and tones the nervous system and helps the mind and body to relax. She is very helpful if a person finds it difficult to sleep.
Nettle is always a friend to a woman, at any time in life and at any experience because Nettle is so full of minerals and vitamins and energy and offers the body everything it needs for stamina and energy. Nettle is very much a supportive and toning herb, a real pick me up. I felt drained by my experience which is why I included Nettle in my formula.
St. John’s Wort is rightly renowned for his use as an anti-depressant. I was not depressed but I was feeling a bit down in the dumps and as St. John’s Wort is one of my personal plant allies I decided to include him in the forumula too.
Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family and is ruled by the Moon – which suggests it will be helpful where emotions are involved. It tastes very lemony – like sherbert and is soothing and comforting. Lemon Balm was the very first herb I ever grew, years ago and I have never forgotten the revelation of the delicious flavour. Paracelsus suggested it was “the elixir of life” as Lemon Balm has the reputation of aiding longevity. She certainly helps to reduce the effects of stress for people of all ages; helping children with colic and nightmares and helping adults who are dealing with stress in their lives. We know today that stress is a killer and that it compounds other health issues so using Lemon Balm might well prolong life.
Thanks to my plant allies I am feeling hale and hearty and I have had the opportunity to take stock of my life and make a decision to choose to be serene instead of reacting to events.
The Universe conspires with herbs sometimes. I had just processed my dried Meadowsweet into tea when I heard from a friend who is undergoing chemotherapy. She did not feel well and wished the treatment was over. To make matters more difficult, she said, she had just been informed that not only did she have gastritis, she also had a hiatal hernia. Meadowsweet began calling to me, “…here I am, here I am!!. ” Meadowsweet is a specific for hiatal hernia and very soothing for the digestive system. This is because she reduces acidity, tones the stomach and improves the action of the stomach. She soothes the mucous membranes and relieves irritation and inflammation in the stomach. There could not be a better herb for my friend’s complaints.
We as a species are only beginning to realise (or remember) that everything is connected and that everything on this planet is one and the same thing. Once we can accept that idea, it is not at all difficult to accept that plants are wise and want to help humankind and will be the best of allies if we only open our minds to their healing abilities. Of course, herbal medicine is very good at healing our ailments, such as my spider bite, but they work on so many other levels to bring us back to harmony and well being. When we consciously engage with them, healing is different…more thorough, deeper – an altogether more spiritual experience. Tell me about your healing experiences with plants, I would love to hear from you.