All posts filed under: Plant Spirit Medicine

A ‘radical’ response to getting sick

It’s fall. In Oregon this means that the rains come back and it gets cold, grey and windy out. And for many people it means getting sick. Runny nose, stuffy head, coughing, upset stomach, fatigue, fever, chills and aches, … all that good stuff. And then we say to ourselves: ” Why am I sick again? What did I do wrong? I hate being sick! How do I get out of here as quickly as possible?” Wait! Slow down! Before you reach for that bottle of NyQuil or other pharmaceutical designed to suppress your symptoms so you can go back to work, consider another perspective. Your body is transitioning from summer to winter. Everything is changing: warm to cold, dry to wet, outside to inside, lots of fun in the sun to busy work. Your body needs some time to adjust. Your gut bacteria has to change to meet the fall foods. Your mucus membranes and lymphatic system have to gear up for a different range of bacteria and viruses. Your body temperature and fat …

What plants talk about

“Maybe we’re not quite as smart as we thought we were and perhaps plants are a lot more intelligent than we ever imagined.” What plants talk about is a stunning documentary following several scientists around the world who have discovered evidence of plants communicating with and supporting each other. Questions such as: Do plants work together? Can they recognize their kin? How do they recognize each other? are posed and assessed in a series of experiments. It is quite the awe inspiring video confirming many of my beliefs and understandings of the complexity of plant intelligence. One of my favorite examples is the way the wild tobacco plant changes the shape of its flowers and the time of day it blooms in response to predatory insects. You just have to watch it for yourself on PBS.

Grandmother Cottonwood

Cottonwood buds, the first harvest of the new year. I walked in the cold winter sun out to visit Grandmother Cottonwood. One tall, ancient one surrounded by millions of younger sprouts all interconnected and intertwined under the soft marshy ground of the Sandy River Delta. My fourth year of going forth and gathering the bounty dropped by these giants when they hold their wintry dances in the wild, blowing wind. Water and earth grow tall, hold the riverbank together and then coaxed by the wind throw off gifts for the people. And what sweet gifts they are laying like a pile of discarded antlers on my kitchen table. The resinous buds full of antibacterial and antimicrobial compounds the bark astringent aspirin like. Even the bees know to use this medicine, gathering copious amounts of it to be transformed into Propolis. The thick reddish goop they use to seal their hive against invaders of all sizes. Bacteria, mice, even the wind itself is pushed out. It was a strange sight this time to visit Cottonwood. Blackberry …

Walking among the Ancient Trees

Walking among the ancient trees I pause. Feeling their presence strong and stalwart. Stillness engulfs my thoughts until there is only now. I feel my being open, expand, flow into the earth and up to the sky. I look up. Drops fall great distance from moss covered branches. These beings have been standing here a long time. They are so different from me, yet their presence is familiar, like home. Some of them have already fallen, only stumps remain. But the stumps are not dead, they are the ground for new growth. New growth rises up out of this one. Three trees, already older than me, and beneath them a mysterious cave. The dwelling of the ancient one who's heart beats strong.  

imagine yourself …

Imagine yourself standing in a clearing. Green grass, soft moss under your feet. A circle of trees around you. Comforting, protecting, watching over you. Breathe deep, inhaling the sweet smell of forest, the life from all around you. You may notice some familiar trees nearby, Cedar, Maple, Hawthorne, Doug Fir or perhaps others you have no name for, but they feel like kin. A little closer are the flowers and bushes surrounding you, gently merging with the edge of the clearing. Imagine you can see the roots from the tall trees, the shrubs, the flowers and grass all growing down and out, entwined with each other and the fugal micelium that connects them all. You too are connected.  You may not have physical roots, but your energy comes out in lines and waves, like little rootlets all around you. Bigger ‘roots’ extend from your palms, the soles of your feet the tip of your spine, the top of your head, those energy centers throughout your body refered to as chakras. Tune into them now, feel …

What’s the big deal about eating Organic?

I have been eating organically grown food for most of my life. In the 80’s Austria was the first country to have organic certification and since my parents were interested in eating natural food they quickly sought out the little health food stores, Bioladen, in Vienna. When I moved to Portland for college I became a member at People’s Food Coop. By volunteering a few hours a month there I received a hearty discount and have always done most of my grocery shopping there since. I never thought about how much more expensive organic food is. It was real food and it just costs as much as it does. But for many people buying organic is on the other side of the big hurdle called “too expensive” So why buy organic? Because it is better for your body and the environment. Here are a few quotes from Joshua Rosenthal’s book Integrative Nutrition: Feed your Hunger for Health and Happiness: Fresh, organic produce contains more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other micronutrients than intensively farmed produce. According …

Comfrey root poltice is messy

I find myself, for the second night in a row, in front of the mirror with a bowl of brown slime and a roll of Saran wrap. This time the brown slime is less chunky, but my fingers are much more tingly from handling it for a long time. A week ago I fell ice skating, yes in July. I dislocated my right shoulder. This is an old chronic weak point, though it had been almost 9 years since the last time it happened. If it weren’t for the lovely and kind Dr. Judith Boothby, my chiropractor, bailing me out on a Sunday, I’m sure I’d be in much worse shape. But as it is I have very little pain and a fair about of mobility. Still the job remains to rebuild all this torn tissue and hopefully stronger and more aligned than the last time. So I get to experiment on myself with herbs and other magic. The first week it was mostly Arnica; internal, external, homeopathic, oil, homemade tincture and lots of ice …

Reclaiming Memories

The last relationship I was in was full of amazing spiritual experiences, divine insights, connections with plants and songs. It was also, particularly towards the end, extremely painful. Even though it ended many months ago the memories are regularly triggered. I pulled the Self Heal, Prunella vulgaris, tincture off my shelf to take some for my arm. As vivid as if it were yesterday the memory came back to me of how we stood in that field at sunset, the meadow spread out before us and the forest with our campsite behind. The remains of golden sunlight hung in the air, a cool breeze washed over standing my hair on end. We paused in silence for a while, each of us connecting to the energy of the place and the spirit of the plant.

to live and die with dignity

I realize once again that I have lofty goals for our world. for every human being, animal and plant to live and die in love and dignity. That’s really what it all comes down to, isn’t it? It came to me today as I cut up my bell pepper. I have to admit, I am a food snob. I buy almost all my produce organic and as local as possible. But this time I bought a conventional bell pepper, because my daughter picked it out, and I just wanted one, and there were no organic ones at either store I went to. As I was cutting it I felt how much less vibrant it was than the ones I got a few weeks back from a local farmer (must have had them in a greenhouse). I caught myself judging the poor little fruit and sent blessings to it and it’s family. The picture that came to me was of a barren field where pepper plants grow their short life and then are ripped from the …

Blackberries and Bees

The blackberries are blooming and though they are totally invasive in Portland, the Himalayan Blackberry that is, they are so essential to the life of urban bees. Blackberry nectar makes up the largest part of the annual honey production and is the last big flow before they settle down to fall activities like curing the honey they collected. Today I walked around my neighborhood and watched honey bees, most likely from my hive, busy collecting from blackberry blossoms, borage flowers, lavendar, wisteria and even cedum blooms. They are everywhere. Not only do the blackberries feed the bees, but they feed us with their delicious, juicy berries. Today I ate my first one. Yum! So while I completely understand the need to cut them back in certain areas. I certainly don’t like their poky selves wrapping through my tiny back yard strangling out the raspberries and veggies I so diligently planted. It is really important for the health of our bees that we leave some of the blackberries room to grow. And even more important that …