Sometimes I find myself just looking at the plants in the garden. I look up at the trees. I notice a blade of grass, its shape, its sharpness and its bright green leaves.
I see and then I see more deeply.
When I first started studying herbalism, I would look at the plants to identify them or I would wonder if there was anything medicinal about this or that plant. What I didn’t realize was the plants were studying me also. And that as I breathed, the plants received my breath. And as the plants breathed, I received their breath. This communication guided me deeper into the invisible world of the plants.
I realize that I was open to it, even though I didn’t know it. I didn’t feel like I knew anything about utilizing medicinal herbs and I felt vulnerable and inadequate a lot of the time. Because of this openness to my not being very good at remembering, herbal actions or botanical names or what this plant did or that plant did, I was being prepared for my journey to become a shamanic herbalist.
When I learned to listen to the plants and what they had for me, I became confident and skillful.
I have been doing this for almost twenty years now. I have been listening, breathing and being present with the plants.
What I have discovered from doing this and teaching it, is that it doesn’t matter whether you know anything about the medicinal qualities of the plant to receive wisdom and healing. You can listen to a plant and hear a message of wisdom. You can harvest that plant and make an herbal preparation. You can utilize that herbal preparation on your food, as infusion, as tincture, in honey…..and what the plant had for you will be received by you.
This is called plant cunning. This is the very old way of being intimate with the plants. This is the way of exchanging energy with the plants. It isn’t medicinal.
Plant cunning is a way to contact the whole plant as a wisdom teacher and dance with it, sing with it, be present with it.
What you discover in working in this way with a plant, is that you become expansive and connected into the invisible worlds around you. You begin to experience a more expansive realm of presence.
This isn’t a fancy method. This you can do it with a blade of grass. You can do it with your kale plants.
There is a vast amount of wisdom that the plants are holding. They want us to connect with them and receive it. They are waiting.
Plant Cunning Exercise:
- Go outside and find a plant to which you are drawn.
- Notice your breath.
- Breathe seven breaths, breathing in the breath of the plant you have chosen and breathing out offering your breath.
- Ask the plant, “What have you for me?”
- Offer gratitude.
May it be in Beauty.