When we think about shamanic guides and helping spirits, what usually comes to mind are power animals, ancestors, angels, ascended masters, and all varieties of deities. But we also have plant spirit guides just waiting to connect with us. They provide healing, protection and other help as needed, and we can rely on them just as we do our power animals and other guides.
Their way of teaching is direct and multi-faceted. Some of the most profound lessons I have received have been from plants.
When I was very new to shamanic practice, one of the first successful journeys I ever did on my own resulted in a teaching from the World Tree. The World Tree is a universal archetype that has a place in many global traditions and stories. It is also called the Tree of Life (Celtic) and Yggdrasil (Norse). It spans all the worlds and has amazing life-force and wisdom. It introduced me to the cosmology of the worlds in non-ordinary reality. It gifted me a symbol and merged its energy with mine. I got a download of energy that made me feel as if I was as big as that infinite tree! It lasted about a day, then gradually faded. I told my teacher about it. She said that with serious practice I could hold that power longer, channel it for myself and others. The realization that there are shamans who walk around holding that level of power every day really blew my mind. That one journey taught me so many things, I am forever grateful to it for gifting me with so much.
There are plants that we meet in non-ordinary reality that are always there for us as a main teacher and helper. I have experienced their help and lessons in a myriad of ways; for healing, protection, knowledge and as vehicles of transport through the worlds. Then there are plants that just come to help with one job, like tend to a lung infection in a client, or clear a space of heavy energy. They are incredibly versatile, and always so happy to be of service.
Today when one hears the words power plant or plant medicine, what likely comes to mind first are hallucinogens like ayahuasca, mushrooms, peyote and other entheogens. They are powerful teachers, and many people new to shamanism think that having an experience with them is the way to initiation and knowledge. And it might be for some people. But it can also lead to confusion and dis-empowerment. I experienced that downside of hallucinogenic medicine myself very early on in my path. When people ask me about working with plants that way, I tell them that they do not need to ingest an entheogen or any other plant to work with it on a spiritual level or have it as a helping spirit. Journeying to the spirit of the plant is an initiation and begins our relationship. Then if it wants us to ingest it, smudge with it, cultivate it, it will let us know. It becomes our teacher and will tell us in journey how it wants to work with us.
Plant medicine is working with us in ordinary reality every day, sharing energy with us all the time. Trees, herbs, fungi and flowers growing right outside our door are wise and powerful teachers. When we recognize that we can connect with them on the spiritual level as well, our relationship becomes whole.
When I was starting out on my shamanic path, my first teacher, Lone Dove, told me that since I made my decision to follow the spirit path of my true self, that which no longer supported my true self would fall away from me. This would include partners, friends, jobs, ideals, belief systems, and ways of being in the world. She said the shadow part of ego was to believe that these needed to change with me as I changed. The way out of that judgement was to release them to their perfect path.
It made me uneasy at first. Who would I be without them? Could I make it without them? I had relied on some of them for a long time as defining who I thought I was, as well as for sustenance and support. It took courage, but I also realized that ultimately it took love. It is an action based on unconditional love, both for myself and for them. It releases us each to follow our own will and destiny. Who am I to say what is perfect for anyone or anything else? How can I know what their perfect path is? I can only know what mine is, and by keeping that integrity for myself is the best I can do for all involved.
Releasing them to their perfect path became one of my most healing philosophies and tools. It is a state where I end my attachment to the idea that things can be any different than how they are at this moment. The action is in the decision to release them to their perfect path. Often further actions are needed after that to facilitate the release. If it involves cutting ties with a person or institution, then I must take that next step. Most times I have found that it is easier than I thought it would be because I am coming from a place of love, not hurt or anger, even if it is only love for myself. Energetic action may be also be necessary. I cut any etheric cords that would keep energy flowing between us. I set clear boundaries. I also ask my guides if there are any soul essences that I have may have lost or that I may have taken unconsciously, and if so, ask for their help in the return.
Releasing something or someone to their perfect path does not always end the relationship. Our perfect paths may still go in the same direction together, but the relationship changes it so that we are each in alignment with our own integrity.
We all want to help others, especially if we have family and friends who are in pain and want our help. And we can help in many practical ways, but sometimes we overstep our good intentions. The most common egoistic trap of all humans is to think that we know what is best for another person. Releasing them to their perfect path frees us from this trap and respects their free will. It says we trust their Higher Self and guides to help them fulfill their soul’s purpose. Just as we trust in ours to help us fulfill our own.
Years after learning this from Lone Dove, I delved deeper into soul work through shamanic practice and reading Dolores Cannon’s quantum healing hypnosis case studies. I looked at etheric contracts, soul group and lineage agreements, and how past lives interconnect us with others. It neutralized the urge in me to judge anyone or anything. There is so much more going on at a soul level than we can ever realize!
Our current lives here on earth are but a tiny strand in the thread of our soul that is interwoven into the tapestry of the universe in the loom of the Source of All There Is. Our purpose is to love and take care of our tiny strand the best we can. As we do that, the integrity of our strand is radiated to the other strands so that we all make the thread strong and the tapestry wondrous.
The mushroom people have been calling to me in my hikes this fall. They flash a glimpse at me and head me off the trail like an arrow pointing in detour. I’m led to an interesting stand of tiny pale fungi trees sprouting in the pine needles of the forest floor. Or I look inside a hollow tree stump and am surprised by a vibrant cluster of fungi family. Delicate looking with frills and gills, they are in fact so hardy that they grow anywhere; in sun, in shade, up on trees, hidden underground. Their colors are often ethereal shades, even in the earthy tones. After they have sprouted, matured and released spores, they melt into fantastical shapes as they recycle themselves into the matrix from which they unfolded.
I have never seen so many different mushrooms and fungi before coming to Oregon. When I see them, I feel their energy as enchantment. They have a symbolism associated with magical realms in stories and cultures spanning ages around the world from Mayan sculptures to the Rig texts to Disney animations. In my modern western culture, I associate them with faeries and other hidden folk, earth Elemental gnomes, entheogens, and doorways into non-ordinary reality.
After connecting to them on my hikes, I wanted to connect to them in the spirit realms to get to know them better. I visited them in their fungi realm in the Lower World and asked if I could step into their energy fields. I immediately felt blanketed in a soft full feeling of kindness and compassion. I also felt that they radiated a deep inexhaustible supply of power.
They say that they are like the skin and nerves of the planet. Their underground mycorrhizal mat is like a nerve matrix. They showed it to me as tiny neural-like fibers within the soil, winding through roots and seeds and pebbles and stone. Tiny sparks of light flash here and there in communication and transmutation. They sense everything. They work as an energetic network linking together plants, trees, insects, and animals and minerals. They are working hard to transmute all kinds of toxins and pollutants, trying to keep up with us as we keep dumping more all over the planet.
I asked them if they had a message for us that I could share. They said that they are the forest under our feet that we cannot see. They send messengers to interact with the above world in the form of mushroom and fungi people. When we interact with them by feeling enchanted by their beauty or in the excitement of collecting them for our meals, that emotion transmits through the fungi, down into the neural mat and through the matrix instantly over a great distance. They appreciate the energy of our love and gratitude as they can send it around the earth almost instantaneously. It is beneficial to the planet and all life.
Even if we are living in a place where we don’t usually see mushrooms and fungi in nature, we’ll still see their images just about everywhere. We’ll see them in the produce section of the grocery store, in art, in lawn ornaments, browsing the internet. When we see their images, we can remember to send them love and gratitude for who they are and all they do. They’ll get the energy. And in their infinite kindness they will return the favor and share it far and wide.
To help you tend to soul issues that may manifest in physical, emotional, mental or spiritual aspects of your life, and to give you tools to empower your path to harmony and well-being.
-There are so many kindred spirits doing the work out there. I include these links to help our community connect with one another.
SACRED HOOP Magazine Guide to Shamanism Compilation- http://www.sacredhoop.org/Pages/FreeGuide.html
Kitzie's podcasts include interviews with artists and kirtan music. I love attending her weekly Satsang group and the New World Kirtan Band concerts -
Energy Intuitive and Nature Communicator - Cheri Melton's work with Devas and Nature Spirits is profound. So happy to have her as a friend and mentor -