Creating a Relationship with your Plant Allies

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A member of our Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle recently asked about working with Clover as a plant ally, and what that meant.  I responded on a herbal/medicinal level but also suggested I would post separately about what it means to work with our Plant Allies from a shamanic perspective, not just a medicinal one.

So let’s talk Earth Medicine . . . and how working with our Plant Allies can support us in so many areas of our life – spiritual, emotional and, yes, physical.

We know that Mama Earth takes care of us in so many ways. Our ancestors knew this too, and many had a wide knowledge of the healing and restorative powers of their local plants: which plants they could use to clear rashes, to reduce swelling or infections, to staunch bleeding, to build immunity, to calm an over-excited mind, to induce sleep. In those traditions, it was also very important to try and use local plants as medicine, as they typically have the medicine to cure “local” ailments (quinine for malaria, etc). For many, that’s all they could access anyway!

Many societies had medicine men or women, wise women, healers – and this was both respected and honoured. As our societies and cultures evolved, so did medicine. Many of the pharmaceuticals in today’s pharmacopeia were originally – and are still – created from plants (aspirin from willow bark, digitalis from foxglove, etc), while others are chemically engineered.

That being said, many of us either prefer the “old ways” or are returning to these Wise Woman remedies by making our own infusions, tinctures, balms and more. Some also like to use plant essences and homeopathic remedies (the latter has very little original plant material but has basically its hologram).

In shamanic traditions, our family of allies can include our ancestors, spirit guides, animals (such as clan/family totems — or personal allies — such as Bear, Lynx, Butterfly, Mouse, Spider or Eagle) and plants (trees, weeds, flowers, herbs).

We can call on all of them for their wisdom, and one of the most powerful ways to do that is to create a relationship with them (being in “right relationship”).

CREATING A RELATIONSHIP WITH A PLANT

There are many ways to connect with a plant. This method was taught to me by BC and Yukon herbalists  Darcy Tara and Lori Snyder,  and it was also shared by Clea Danaan in her book “Voices of the Earth: The Path of Green Spirituality”.

🌿 Find a plant with which you wish to work and sit with it in a comfortable position. Work with something in your home, to start, or very close-at-hand such as your garden, balcony, window box, street or a local park

🍀TIP: You may want to consider starting with a tree and its big energy; you can also lean back against a tree and some find it easier to tap into its energy this way

🌿 Take a few moments to ground, to feel that connection with Mama Earth, and release any tensions through deep slow breaths and through relaxing your muscles. Let the earth absorb any stress from the day.

🌿 Ask the plant for permission to connect with its energy. Be aware that it may say “no”, and that’s okay. It may be busy! Or maybe it just doesn’t want your energy at the moment. You may feel that refusal in different ways – – almost like a solid wall of air, or some other block or sense of resistance. If that’s the case, pick a different plant in the area and try again, or come back another day.

🌿 If your plant says “yes”, wonderful! Direct your attention to the plant and extend your energetic aura around it. Embrace it, figuratively (or literally, if it will allow it), and start to use all your senses (including your six-sensory ones) to connect with the plant:

  • Touch the plant, if you can. How does it feel? Smell? Sound?
  • How does its energy feel – calm? bright? energetic? sleepy? young? wise?
  • Is it a solitary plant, or does it like to be in a crowd with others?
  • Does it need a lot of attention and nurturing or is wild and resilient?
  • Does it sprout and mature quickly like the lodgepole pine, or slowly like the beautiful desert saguaro cactus?
  • Does it respond to music, chimes or singing? (Think of how nurturing it might be to a tree or other plant to hear the sound of bird song.)

🌿 Spend some time with the plant absorbing all its energy. If the time feels right, ask the plant if it needs anything…. some water, some fertilizer, some shade. If the time still feels right, ask it for its wisdom…. how it can support you, what it’s medicine is for you – it may be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.

🌿 Record what you learned in your journal or notebook.

TIP:
This doesn’t all have to happen in one sitting. It may take several visits over days or weeks to get to know this plant. Or maybe it takes only a few minutes. You never know!

You might like to visit your plant throughout the year, because its energy can change dramatically, especially in geographies with sharply defined seasons. Think of trees, now different they are in spring, summer, autumn, and winter. . . and what we can learn from them as we entrain to their energies and as they entrain their energy with Mama Earth. If you like drawing, sketch your plant in all its stages – new growth, full blossoming, harvest times (seeds, falling leaves) and stillness.

But there is also another way to work with our plant allies. For instance, we can journey with them and ask for their wisdom there, and also for their healing while in non-ordinary reality.

In the Alchemical Healing modality (created by Nicki Scully) one of the basic precepts is that “we do not require the physical plant in order to work with its magic” [Alchemical Healing, p. 138]. In this form of healing, we work directly with the spiritual medicinal essence of the plant.

I would highly recommend Nicki’s book(s) to learn more about this modality. I was lucky enough to take an Alchemical Healing introductory workshop led by Nicky recently and saw some amazing healing work by both Nicki and my fellow students. Her website is packed with info, and her books are carried by all major booksellers.

So, yes, it’s important in that healing tradition to know what plants do what. . . but they do not have to be local to your environment to do their magic.

IMAGE:
Image of trees in Vancouver’s Stanley Park was photographed with my iPhone SE.
Words in the photograph from a poem by Mary Oliver “When I am Among the Trees” (2006).


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year, creating or learning ancestral crafts and herbalism, or follow an earth-based spirituality…. or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle.

For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE

Or, CLICK HERE to join us today on Facebook


WP Sidebar graphics-5Connect to your purpose, your medicine, eliminate self-limiting beliefs, and integrate the new wisdom into your life through this unique you-centered blend of shamanic coaching and journeys, energy healing, alchemical healing, Earth Medicine, PSYCH-K® and PER-K® balancing, and six-sensory work. Together we draw on the modalities that best support your journey. Click on the picture for more information or visit our website:  www.innerjourneyevents.com

I sit before flowers to learn their Wisdom

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Photographed in Squamish, BC (iPhoneSE)

My greatest teacher is Mama Earth… I learn so much from her. What do you learn from Mama Earth? Or perhaps you have another teacher with whom you connect even more?

These words by Canadian poet Shane L. Koyczan express my feelings for Mama Earth much more eloquently than I could.

I sit before flowers
hoping they will train me in the art
of opening up

I stand on mountain tops believing
that avalanches will teach me to let go

I know
nothing

but I am here to learn.

― Shane L. Koyczan


🌿🌿
Photographed near Squamish BC
🌿🌿


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year, creating or learning ancestral crafts and herbalism, or follow an earth-based spirituality…. or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle.

For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE

Or, CLICK HERE to join us today on Facebook


WP Sidebar graphics-5Connect to your purpose, your medicine, eliminate self-limiting beliefs, and integrate the new wisdom into your life through this unique you-centered blend of shamanic coaching and journeys, energy healing, alchemical healing, Earth Medicine, PSYCH-K® and PER-K® balancing, and six-sensory work. Together we draw on the modalities that best support your journey. Click on the picture for more information or visit our website:  www.innerjourneyevents.com

An Offering Bag for Ayni with Mama Earth

img_8246Wisdom from Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon)
Day 18, Waning Gibbous Moon 🌖
5 days to Winter Solstice

As we approach Winter Solstice — The North in the Medicine Wheel, home of Mama Earth — this is a natural time for introspection, to dig deeper into our Selves, and a good time to examine our relationship with Self, others and Gaia.

One of the foundations of my practice is being in relationship with Mama Earth and with all those I encounter and interact with in this life journey . . . and most importantly, being in “Right Relationship” wih them. and how to honour that.

I first heard the word Ayni when I travelled to Peru’s Sacred Valley many years ago. Ayni, pronounced “eye-nee”, is a Quechuan word and an important basis of their spirituality, their way of life.

Ayni tells us that everything in the world is connected.
“Today for me, tomorrow for you.”

In an Ayni “right relationship”, all participants receive what they need. . . and live in balance with each other.

And Ayni is not limited to our relationship with others. It also speaks to the balance and exchange of energy between our Self and Mama Earth, Spirit, Flow, the Universe.

Almost every day, I walk in Nature, sometimes just in my neighbourhood along the rewilding greenways, and other times I go to the forest, the river or the ocean. Along the way, I observe . . . meditate . . . gather and forage.

And as I do so, I ask permission first and then leave an offering if the answer is “yes”. This is just one of the ways I can honour my Ayni / right relationship with Mama Earth.

I keep a little bag with me with materials I can offer, usually remnants from a herbal project or blessing ritual . . . some handcrafted loose incense . . . sage leaves . . . tobacco . . . a pebble . . . cornmeal . . . some oatmeal. I always have a Bowl in my work room to gather these bits, then transfer them to my offering pouch as needed.

This morning, I replenished my offering bag as it was getting a little low. Lots of offerings lately! I added a couple of new things, as I was fresh out of masa/corn meal: oatmeal and nutritional yeast, plus some dried fresh sage, Rowan berries, cedar, oak moss and bits of loose incense.

What’s in your offering bag?


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year, creating or learning ancestral crafts and herbalism, or follow an earth-based spirituality…. or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle.

For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE

Or, CLICK HERE to join us today on Facebook


WP Sidebar graphics-5Connect to your purpose, your medicine, eliminate self-limiting beliefs, and integrate the new wisdom into your life through this unique you-centered blend of shamanic coaching and journeys, energy healing, Earth Medicine, PSYCH-K® and PER-K® balancing, and six-sensory work. Together we draw on the modalities that best support your journey. Click on the picture for more information or visit our website:  www.innerjourneyevents.com

Thanksgiving Blessings

Blessings to all my American friends for a happy and safe Thanksgiving with loved ones today✨✨

As you take time today to reflect on your blessings from the last year, take time to thank Mama Earth for all she has given us.

I am sharing this lovely Thanksgiving prayer from Starhawk which was published in 2011 in The Washington Post. Enjoy❤️

Pagan Thanksgiving Prayer

We give thanks for this good green earth and all that lives upon it.

Thanks for the air, the Great Breath that that flows from leaf to lung and back again, sustaining life.

Thanks for fire, leaping flame and glowing hearth, warmth in the cold season.

Thanks for water, the life-renewing rain, the springs, streams, and rivers, the pools and lakes, the great oceans, womb of the first life.

Thanks for soil and for the web of life within it, tiny bacteria, threadlike fungi, slithering worm, that nourishes the grain, the wildflower and the redwood.

Thanks for the sun, for life-sustaining radiance showering down on us each day.

Thanks for the moon, for the waxing and waning light that drives the tides.

Thanks for our living bodies with their miraculous abilities to heal, to give and receive pleasure, to create new life.

Thanks for the food we eat: thanks to all the beings whose death sustains our lives.

Thanks to all who tend and grow our food, who plant and harvest, who bring it to us, who cook it for us with love.

Thanks for the great creative spirit that continues to invent, to play, to increase the diversity and beauty around us.

Thanks for the cycles of birth, growth, death and decay that come back around, always, to regeneration.

Thanks for the love and the community we share, for all the ways we express love, all the acts of kindness and compassion that weave us together.

Thanks to the courage of all who stand up for the earth and for justice, who against all evidence and all odds continue to believe in our power to make a better world.

Thanks to all who say yes–yes, we will do it!

We will renew the land and feed the hungry.

We will face down tyrants and set the prisoners free.

We will repair the damage and heal the wounds.

We will learn to live with open hands and open hearts, in balance and in peace.

We give thanks.


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year, creating or learning ancestral crafts and herbalism, or follow an earth-based spirituality…. or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle.

For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE

Or, CLICK HERE to join us today on Facebook

Re-membering Mother Earth

img_7795-2Thought for today…

When I read this quote today, I knew I had to share it!. Chameli Ardagh reminds us that our connection to Mama Earth is strong and is never broken.

“You don’t have to connect with Mother Earth, you have never been disconnected from Her.”
– Chameli Ardagh

There may be times when you may feel as though you are disconnected… but it’s time to re-member, rather than re-connect… to breathe the Earth…

Listen to the voice of Mama Earth…. re-member your Self, re-member me. When we re-member, we cause something to come back into our mind.

This Breathing The Earth meditation helps me re-member my connection to Mother Earth.

🌿Breathing the Earth Meditation🌿

This breathing meditation can be done outdoors or in your home… anywhere you feel comfortable.

  • Start by getting into a comfortable position.
  • Relax, and shake off any tensions of the day.
  • Drop into your heart space, and start to breathe slowly and deeply … imagine you are breathing from deep within, from your core, from the belly itself.
  • Now, bring your awareness to the Earth below you … it may be inches away if outdoors, or far below if indoors…. but it is beneath you… holding you…. grounding you… nurturing you…
  • Now, drop into that space, into Mother Earth herself… breathing deeply into that calming and grounding peaceful energy.
  • As you inhale, feel that grounding essence of Mama Earth filling your body… spreading out from your lungs and filling your core…. spreading out to your fingertips…. down to your toes… touching each chakra.
  • As you exhale, bring your awareness even deeper into Mama Earth… to HER inner core, HER deepest strength… re-membering HER energy, HER force… knowing this is also YOUR energy, YOUR force, YOUR core.
  • Continue breathing deeply and slowly, until you sense the shift, that the re-memberance is complete.
  • Bring your awareness back to your physical body and your physical space as you return to regular breathing.
  • Take a moment to reflect on how it feels to be one with Mother Earth…. to re-member your connection.

Try this every day for a week or so…. and reflect in your journal or BOS (Book of Shadows) how it feels… what you re-member.


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year, creating or learning ancestral crafts and herbalism, or follow an earth-based spirituality…. or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle.

For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE

Or, CLICK HERE to join us today on Facebook

Your invitation to the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle

14079955_10154776473538352_2421567297512776521_nI love sharing my practice with you through this blog, through my Facebook page and through other social media… but I also love learning from you all, hearing what you are doing in your practice, what rituals you follow, and interacting on a deeper level.

I believe one of the best ways to do that is in a space that is both safe and private, where are thoughts and questions are shared only within the community for which they were intended.

I have now created the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle, as a closed Facebook Group… just in time for Sunday’s New Moon!

If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda) creating or learning ancestral crafts, or follow an earth-based spirituality…. or are interested in learning more about this path, this may be the group for you!

A bean …what?

What is a Bean Gealach? I will tell you… Much of my work is rooted in Celtic Shamanism and in the Moon Mná Mamaí tradition, from Slí an Chroí in Ireland. In Irish Gaelic, bean means “woman” (pronounced “ban”, rhyming with “can”), and gealach means “moon” (there are regional variations in pronunciation, but I say “ghee-al-uck”). So, a Bean Gealach is a Moon Woman.

wp-sidebar-graphics-7In this group, we are Holding the Light and Sacred Space for you to share your HERstory, your journey, ask questions, share rituals…. and participate in the Facebook Live events and online circles where we can meet virtually, celebrate the cycles of the Grandmother Moon and delve into our Soul Questions for the month.

I love sharing Earth-based and Moon-based rituals, wisdom and practices in this global community that connects us from all around our beautiful planet.

Together, we will:wp-sidebar-graphics-8

  • connect to the Yin and Yang of our Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine energies
  • entrain with the changing energies of Mother Earth’s yearly cycle and with the monthly cycle of Seanmháthair Gealach (as Grandmother Moon aka Selene is known in Irish Gaelic)
  • celebrate through ritual (and a little bit of magick!) throughout the lunar month
  • celebrate the Celtic Wheel of the Year (Samhain, Winter Solstice, Imbolc, Spring Equinox, Beltaine, Summer Solstice, Lughnasadh, and Autumn Equinox)
  •  connect with our inner Goddess(es)
  • build personal altars and create sacred tools
  • connect to the stages of a Woman’s life from Maiden to Mother/Woman and Crone… including other stages that may be new to you!
  • and much much more!

Together we learn and grow, and create Sacred Space in our daily life.

Through this group, I will also make available premium offerings for events and workshops such as sharing Celtic Rites of Maiden-Mother -Crone, Connecting to Your Inner Cauldron (and more).

Please note that this will be a safe and respectful group,
and any trolls, goblins or ogres will be banished immediately!

The Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle group is administered by me, Della Ratcliffe.
Visit my FB page @InnerJourneyEvents or website.


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Transforming with Autumn energies

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Over a year (and over time), so many changes and transformations take place in Nature. And the alchemy of Nature can happen so quickly by adding — or diminishing — the elements of earth, fire, air and water throughout the year.

In Autumn…
Green leaves turn to reds, golds, purples
Berries and nuts ripen and fall
Some animals prepare for winter hibernation
Plants and trees draw down their energies
Birds and marine creatures migrate

In Spring…
Tree renew with bright green buds and leaves
Fallen acorns root and become young oaks
Animals give birth
Sap rises in the trees
Dormant plants renew and grow

Our ancestors were tuned into the seasons too — preserving foods by canning, drying and fermenting in the autumn; planting and spring cleaning in the spring; indoor crafts and repairs in winter …

How do you change with the seasons?

How does your energy shift?

What transformations are happening in YOUR life as we move towards Samhain in the Northern Hemisphere and Beltaine in the Southern Hemisphere?


 

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