This summer I unexpectedly and divinely deepened my relationship with flowers. The virus lockdown slowed the pace of life and I had a few months to just be more present and observant. Working at home on screens all day opened a need for daily walks around the neighborhood where I noticed that there seemed to be so many more flowers this year. There were more types I had never seen before, and the volume of blooms was spectacular. I felt them getting my attention, waving in the breeze, flashing their colors, dropping petals at my feet. I found their uncommon beauty in the wild; tiny calypso orchids beneath the firs, and delicate “pussy ear” mariposa lilies at the meadow’s edge. Then I had friends giving me unusual flower starts; red nasturtiums and watermelon poppies. I was surrounded by their colorful beauty, and I was paying close attention.
At the same time I was meeting so many flowers, I was reading co-creative gardening books by Machaelle Small Wright. She works with the Devas and nature spirits to co-create her garden in Virginia, which she calls Perelandra. She makes flower essences from the flowers in her garden and has been using flower essences for healing and balancing for many years.
I realized that the flowers were saying to me that now is the time for me to make flower essences. I have wanted to try making my own flower essences for many years, but never got around to it. Apparently the time was not right until now.
Flower essences are not totally new to me, I have used them on and off for the past 15 years or so. I was introduced to Bach’s Rescue Remedy first. We used to take in and socialize feral kittens and find them homes. I put a few drops of the remedy in their water and rubbed some on their ears to help their anxiety as they adjusted. Impressed, I also used Bach’s remedies for myself and family (if you have an adolescent in the house, I highly recommend checking out Bach’s remedies for teens - and for yourself as well!).
The amazing thing about flower essences is their subtlety. They are a form of energy medicine. Similar to a homeopathic remedy, the energy of the flower is imprinted into pure water, and then highly diluted. I knew how they were made, but I didn’t exactly know how they worked. Then I had a journey.
In a recent shamanic journey circle, we were doing a Lower World journey to an animal who had a message for us. I found myself in a meadow full of flowers. I lay down in the grass and watched the flowers swaying in the breeze. Honeybees and bumblebees gathered around me on the flowers and they began to speak about their relationship with the flowers.
They said in addition to the pollen, they receive the energetic song of the flower. The song is like its frequency. Each flower has their own song. The bees can hear it, and they hear which flowers are singing at the frequency that is resonant with them for what they need right now. This frequency of the flower is what is imprinted in the water when making flower essences.
They took me to a thistle to have me hear what its song sounded like. I couldn’t really hear a sound, it was more of a feeling or sensing of that frequency. Then when we went to a lily next, I felt the song was different, but I couldn't say how. I remarked that I didn’t seem to be very good at hearing the flower songs. They told me that it would take some practice for me because I was not a bee. They said they would help me. They said that learning to tune in to the frequencies would help me to know when flowers wanted to make essences with me. Then as I was ready to make them, I needed to ask the flower to infuse its frequency into the water.
They reminded me to thank the flowers too, so I would have a harmonious relationship with them, and they would want to keep working with me in partnership.
I have much gratitude for my balcony plants and my friend Francie’s backyard garden. We made some beautiful flower essences to work with and share. The joy I felt making the essences helped me know that I was tuned in to the songs of the flowers.
Recently I did a journey to connect with Gaia, the Deva of Earth, for a message about this time of pause and reset that we are in now.
It came as a lesson, as many journeys do, and it came with a sound and sensation.
WHOOMPH. As if she took her hand and pushed me right down into the dirt which absorbed me in an energetic embrace. It was heavy, sudden, serious. And enlivening.
She gave me the feeling of indigenous creation stories where First People were made from her mud and her breath gave them lifeforce.
She gave me the feeling of how she gifted me life in this body, and how when this life is done my body will be returned to her through the Elementals dancing away my form.
She spoke to me as one speaks to a child, and lovingly. She said that my blood is her blood, my bones are her bones. She came into my lungs with a sensation of what it really feels like to breathe, and a knowing that it is her breath as well.
WHOOMPH. This is what it really feels like to be in my body.
She gave me the feeling of being part of the entire world, and that everything on the planet really is my kin. Not just all humans, animals and plants; but also buildings, dump trucks, computers, trash heaps, refrigerators, filing cabinets, plastic bags, sneakers, viruses, everything. I had sensory awareness of a cellular and heart energy connection to everything. It was like plugging into a current of reverence.
WHOOMPH. She says the time for complacency is over.
The great shift in humanity will come when the realization that we are of the earth becomes crystal clear to all our senses. And that we physically are kin and connected to all that is her. I keenly felt that connection as my body was surrounded by her body, and I could feel the energetic matrix of all things. Many indigenous people have not lost this feeling and are aware of it all the time.
Everything we are and everything we have is of the earth. We can know this in our head, and we can feel the intuitive rightness of it, but it really does not sink in until we feel the sensation in our bodies, our cells, our energy systems.
When we can feel and realize the sacred in all things at every moment, we will have shifted.
WHOOMPH. Thank you, Mother.
Gaia by Susan Seddon Boulet
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.
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 kindredspirits 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 -
My friend and herbalist mentor, Lawrence Birch is a Certified Clinical Herbalist, plant whisperer and shamanic practitioner. If you need custom tincture blends or are interested in a wildcrafting apprenticeship, he is the teacher extraordinaire:
Roger Wheelock and Gayle Ruth are shamanic practitioners and teachers in the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition. https://www.rainmother.com/ I am grateful to be able to take part in ceremony with them, and to support their love for the Peruvian people through the World Ayni Association.