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

Rituals for the Pisces New Moon

Wisdom from Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon)
Day 1, 🌚🌑 Dark Moon / New Moon in Pisces AND a Solar Eclipse
Sunday, February 26 at 6:58 AM Pacific Time (14:58 UTC)
🌙
We have another powerful start to the lunar month, with a Solar Eclipse (visible in parts of South America and Africa). An auspicious time for fresh starts!

For me, the New Moon energy doesn’t really begin until we see that first glimmer of light of the Waxing Crescent in two to three days. For now, we are in the Dark Moon, completing the last journey, embracing Grandmother Moon’s deep and powerful Yin energy, and strongly connected to our own wisdom and intuition. We are guided by The Crone, known by many names: Hecate, An Cailleach, Cerridwen, Hella, Lilith, Baba Yaga, Kali, and others.

Take this time to reflect, and refocus your visions and dreams for the next Journey. When we work with our Crone energies, we can face our fears squarely and courageously and can learn from them. We can accept our strengths, and embrace the fierce wildness within.

And like the Phoenix, this phase is not just an ending, a completion, it is a beginning. . .  a rebirth of light from the darkness. With the new light of La Luna’s crescent, our journey begins again. We start a new adventure. But unlike The Fool’s Journey, starting with a clean slate, we carry forward with the wisdom from our recent explorations. We still have endless possibilities but perhaps more clarity as we focus our intentions and incorporate the wisdom from our Dark Moon reflections.

This moon also embraces the coming Equinox (Monday, March 20, 2017 at 10:29 UTC) which for some signifies the official start of Spring (in the Northern Hemisphere) and Autumn (in the Southern Hemisphere). . . a time of shifting energies, towards balance and equilibrium, and an opportunity to review and refocus.

SOUL RITUALS FOR THE NEW MOON

Do you have rituals or practices for the New Moon? If not, consider some of these:

🌙  Do a New Moon tarot or oracle reading. At each new lunar phase — First Quarter, Full Moon, Third Quarter, etc — check in with the reading and draw additional cards for further illumination as you work through the month.

🌙  Start a lunar chart or Moon Wheel (so many great tools out there) to track your energy and emotions throughout the month to see how the phases manifest in your life: sleep patterns, emotions, flow days and, of course, the lunar phases (new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, etc)

🌙  Set up a new altar, or add new elements for Spring (Northern Hemisphere) or Fall (Southern Hemisphere)

🌙  Start a new herbal tincture, decoction or glycerite. I do this every new moon! This month, I’m starting a cooling tincture for the liver (I am full of Fire and over-stimulated at the moment, so need to dampen it) using a recipe from Rosemary Gladstar (one part burdock root, one part dandelion root and 1/4 part cinnamon bark). I’m preparing it two ways: one batch with ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) and one with alcohol (vodka).

🌙  Create a (re)Vision Board for the coming new season. This can help you get back on track with any New Year’s Resolutions you may have created. Or maybe something new may be revealed! In the Northern Hemisphere, the sap is starting to rise. . .  definitely an inspiration for new things and new visions. In the Southern Hemisphere, Mama Earth is starting to reap the abundance of Summer. .  time to reflect on your own harvest and start to prepare for the coming Autumn and Winter. This exercise can be done with magazines, or with various collage/photo apps on your laptop, tablet or smart phone. This exercise can be a great bonding experience, too, if done in a group.

🌙  🌙  🌙

For a simple New Moon reading, try this: New Moon Wisdom Work: a Medicine Wheel Reading

We also have several in the FILES section of our Facebook group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle (see info below).


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

Restoring with the Balsamic Moon

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Wisdom from Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon)
Day 25, Balsamic Moon  🌘  🌒

There are just a few more days until our next new journey with the Moon begins. The New Moon phase begins on Sunday, February 26th at 6:58 AM Pacific Time, and will be in Pisces. . . an emotional time — especially in the “full Yin” of the New Moon! — and a time when we are very receptive to other’s emotions. If you are an Empath, be sure to be aware of this influence, and to maybe “zip up” your shields at little more.

But this journey is not yet complete. We are now coming home, returning to our base, to our Self, with our truths and our wisdom. After our journey with the Moon, it’s now time to slow down… and restore our energy to prepare for the next journey.

This period before the New Moon is known as the Waning Crescent or simply The Balsamic Moon. An interesting word, balsamic, which means “healing, soothing, restorative”. This phase is all that and more, with its deep Yin energy and increased intuition. Time to rest and restore.

In this phase, we are stepping more and more into the wisdom of the Crone, the Wise Woman (Hecate, An Cailleach and others) which manifests most strongly at the Dark Moon / New Moon. In the Women’s Wheel of Life, the Balsamic Moon is represented by the Priestess and Sorceress. Do you feel their magic, their strengths, their energies, their wisdom?

If you find your energies turning outward, to supporting or counseling others, to sharing your gifts even more, then you are embodying your Priestess energies (that of Rhiannon, Inanna, Mary Magdalene, Arianrhod and others).

If you find you are well-grounded and that your way forward is clear, you are embracing your Sorceress energies (the energies of Medusa and of Cerridwen, aka the Keeper of the Cauldron).

So what can we Wise Women do at this time of the lunar journey, with our gifts and energies? We come back to our Self and we trust our inner wisdom. The shift to the Balsamic Moon in the three days before the New Moon is our Call To Action to complete our moon journey, one last opportunity to delve deep inside and connect with our inner light.

SOUL QUESTIONS AND WORK FOR THE BALSAMIC MOON

Take some time to reflect on the past month, on the seeds you planted and nourished and to the unexpected things that may have happened . . .

  • What is coming to your awareness or attention?
  • What might you have learned?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • What will you keep doing? Stop doing?

Is the soil of your Inner Garden ready for new seeds to be planted in the coming New Moon? Is there room for new or are old stories and beliefs making that soil barren? What can be released to refresh and fertilize the soil, to make room for the new seed(s) to flourish? The waning moon is the perfect time to do that. What from this month’s journey (or other journeys) can be released as fertilizer or compost for that new seed?

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, this is an important time to tend the inner garden as many new seeds can be supported in the coming months.

If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, this is a time for an even deeper reflection as Mama Earth is approaching her harvest time, as you reap the abundance of all you have done since the Spring.

🌙🌙

How are these Balsamic Moon energies manifesting in YOUR life?


🌙🌙


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

Healing begins within

If the label fits . . . LOL. And yes, I consider myself a hedgewitch.

But on a serious note, what does healing mean to you? 

And how to you bring and maintain self-healing into your life?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines healing, in part, as “to make sound or whole”.

The National Institutes for Health defines healing as “the personal experience of the transcendence of suffering”.

Both of these come into my personal experience and definition. . . yes, there is physical curing or healing but I tend to think of healing as a spiritual process.

For me, healing starts with awareness and is then supported by meditation . . . shamanic journeying. . . balancing . . . forgiveness. . . release rituals . . . Soul Questions . . . connecting with Mama Earth . . . making healthy choices for my body. . . speaking my truths . . . working with my Guides . . . transforming the impact of painful experiences so they no longer have power over me, no longer control me . . .

Sometimes the original condition / pain is gone yet can still control us. This is particularly true for the trauma of abuse or physical pain (think PTSD).

Here’s a simple example from my life . . . I endured mobility problems and pain for years, which was eventually cured by two total knee replacements. It wasn’t until both were complete and I could walk again (and walking well, I did my first triathlon a year later) that I realized I still thought and acted like a person for whom the simple act of walking was a painful experience. I had learned to protect myself, to avoid pain, to NOT walk. I had to let go of those conditioned responses and embrace a new way of thinking, that of a person with a healthy body. I gave up my “old story” for a “new story”. . . and was able to fully heal.

“They called her witch because she knew how to heal herself.”
― Te’ V. Smith, from her book “Here We Are, Reflections of a God Gone Mad”


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

The Spirituality of Friendship

As we honour the goddess Brighid and her transition from Crone back to Maiden at Imbolc* (see footer), consider taking some time to meditate or reflect on the women in your life . . .  your friendships with women — the Maidens, the Women, the Crones — and how your friendships have changed throughout the years.

For me, this came home when I read — and loved! —this definition of spirituality:

“the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.”

It would seem to me that friendship is spiritual, rooted in our concern and love for the soul and spirit of those in our own circles.

Soul Questions

Consider the dynamics of your friendships. Create your own questions or ponder on some of these:

  • Do I have friends — or relatives — of all ages?
  • What do my friends learn — or expect — from me? And vice versa?
  • What activities do we share?
  • What do I learn from my friends about life, about love, about self-care. . . about joy, creativity, strength?
  • What do they learn from me?
  • How do I support my friends. . .  and vice versa?
  • What do I expect in or from friendship(s) for them to be successful?
  •  When is it time to end a friendship?
    • That too can be a spiritual process. The friendship may no longer serve us (or vice versa). Perhaps it’s part of our “old story” and no longer in alignment with who we are in our “new story”. We can gently and lovingly let it go, and thank the person and the friendship for the gift and the lesson (or shadow lesson!) it has given us.
  • How do I hold space for friendship in my life?
  • How do I honour, nurture and celebrate my friendships?

The Triple Goddess Within

1330075291_triedinaya-boginyaAnd just as Brighid transforms from Crone to Maiden, so do we. We pass through each of the stages of the Triple Goddess throughout our journey in life; those seeds are within us when we are born.

Not only do we carry the ancestral DNA (and some say the memories) of all the women — and men — who came before us, we carry the full potential and expression of the Maiden-Woman-Crone. Just as the potential and blueprint for the mighty fully grown and majestic oak is within the tiny acorn, so are The Maiden, The Woman and The Crone already nurturing within you at birth. . . . and you can call on their wisdom and energy at any time.

And in your friendships — and in our life — each of those phases come into play. At times we are The Maidens together, full of energy and joy and adventure and play. We are The Woman when we step into creativity and nurturing, and holding sacred space for each other. We are The Crone when we share our wisdom with others, or gently open up others to their own wisdom, to self-healing.

Celebrate the Triple Goddess within you

and within your friends.

Le grá,
(with love, in Irish Gaelic)

Della


Note re Imbolc timing *
I celebrate this special day of the Celtic Wheel of the Year on the “astronomical” date of February 3rd, the precise midpoint between Yule (Winter Solstice) and the Spring Equinox. Many also celebrate on the traditional fixed date of February 1st or 2nd.


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

The healing power of the humble dandelion 

I love working with the local herbs I find on my plant walk, a daily ritual for me, foraging in the neighbourhood. And some of my favourite medicines are crafted from what some consider weeds, such as the dandelion and the plantain.

I collect dandelion roots in both Spring and Autumn — always ethically and asking permission of the plant first — then clean and dry them for use in tinctures and herbal bitters…. a great tonic for the digestive system.

It may be easier to purchase dandelion root from your local herb shop but I do love getting out there and collecting in the wild. The energetic properties of the roots differ in Spring (more bitter, good for calming the liver) and Autumn (more stored nutrients, good for supporting the digestion) which is why I collect twice a year. If I purchase from a herb shop, I may not know when the roots were collected. The roots pictured were collected on Spring.

There are many uses for dandelion (including the leaves and flowers, which are delightful in infusions, salads, soups or lightly sautéed as a side veggie dish).

Dandelions are abundant and sustainable, but be very careful and aware of where you are foraging. Because dandelions are considered invasive by many (if they only knew how important dandelions are to us and to the soil!), they are often sprayed with pesticides.

DO NOT FORAGE if you are not sure about pesticide usage.

The Dandelion plant is mineral (potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus) and vitamin rich (A, B, C) and also contains protein.


NOTE:
Dandelion also has diuretic properties so be sure to check all its properties thoroughly — as you would with any medication taken internally — to ensure there are no contraindications with your health or prescription drug regimen.


UPDATE: I had originally shared this post a couple of days ago on Instagram, and a friend subsequently shared a fascinating article on the cancer-fighting prooerties of dandelion. Click here to read the article.


 

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