If one believes that there is an underlying force or energy that gives shape and form to the universe, it is easy to see that there would be correlations between things that have been shaped by similar permutations of this universal force. This force creates patterns that are found throughout nature in forms that include the Golden Ratio, the Golden Rectangle, Fibonacci Sequence patterns, Overbeck Jets, and Toroids.
Patterns in Nature Visible to the Human Eye
The Fibonacci sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3 , 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144…
It is created by adding 1 to itself and then adding the resultant sum to the previous number. i.e. 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, etc.
If you want to create a round structure filled with seeds with as few gaps as possible, base your turning on the Golden Ratio (aka Phi) which is 1.618.
In order to see these patterns (both seen and unseen), we must perceive on an intuitive level where connections can be made, freely and without inhibition. Here we can tap into deeper levels of experience to bring back symbols that bridge the gap between the conscious and unconscious minds as well as the spiritual and material dimensions. This is the magic place that we seek when working with the Doctrine of Signatures.
A careful and deep study of the natural world and its energetic patterns reveals many hidden secrets. Information is all around us waiting to be received. Working with the Doctrine of Signatures allows us to penetrate to deeper levels of understanding. It is the the overall feel of a plant and its energetic essence that gives us clues to its medicinal and psycho-spiritual properties. If we are able to experience plants in their totality, patterns based on their habitat, their form including shape, color, and texture, and their energetic qualities including temperature, taste, and elemental associations may begin to emerge.
Sometimes this type of perception occurs instantaneously (there is no time or space in the unconscious realms); other times, it can take a long time, even years. I have many ongoing hypotheses bubbling around inside my head. I continue to gather information and impressions each time I work with a plant or encounter it in the wild, knowing that someday I will may have a flash of insight that will reveal a new depth of understanding.
After first learning about the the Doctrine of Signatures, I sat in front of a goldenrod plant in the garden where I was working. At the time I knew nothing about the medicine of goldenrod. I carefully observed the the plant’s form for a few minutes and then closed my eyes. In my mind a saw a golden fountain of urine. I opened my eyes and saw the resemblance between my vision and the yellow flower clusters at the ends of the stalks. When I got home, I looked goldenrod up in a book and found that it was useful for healing infections and other conditions of the urinary tract. This experience inspired me to study the doctrine of signatures more deeply, and this continued exploration has deepened my understanding of plant medicine.
- studying the way all of the plants in the forest arrange themselves teaches us how to organize ourselves as humans
- trees shed lower branches when the are shaded out and not able to provide nourishment. We too can shed the parts that no longer serve us, but it takes time just like it does with the trees.
- big trees like Redcedar and redwood have shallow root systems. They stand tall by interweaving their roots with those of other trees. Connection and cooperation bring strength.
- plants with lots of oils (warmth of sun converted to plant constituent) that create photosynthetic reaction=light-bringers (e.g. Cow Parsnip, Angelica, Saint John's wort)
The flower heads reflect the opening of the third eye chakra, and Pacific dogwood opens one’s capacity for visions. Dogwoood brings light and illumination to the dark places within, and the trees grow in the shade of large conifers where they are able to achieve maximum photosynthesis with only one-third of full sunlight that other trees require.
Western redcedar grows tall and straight and is a supreme embodiment of uprightness. It facilitates our connection between heaven and earth, and as the tree of life, it emanates the vibratory frequency of life.
Devil's club is covered with spines and is one of the most protective plants in the forest. Developing a relationship with this plant creates a layer of spiritual protection and shows us how to beat the “devils” or negative thought forms away with its club. The pithy-centered stems make for a light wood, and this plant teaches the value of cultivating a free flowing central column of energy—with an unhindered connection between the sky and the earth—as the ultimate form of protection. The new, unfurling leaves which have the sharpest spines protect the delicate emerging flowers. This reflects the plant's ability to provide a safe space for vulnerable, reawakening parts of the self to unfurl.
To be continued...