Plant Teachers

Cascara Sagrada: Sacred Bark of Letting Go

Cascara Sagrada: Sacred Bark of Letting Go

I am sitting in a room with a male forest being. He is brown with strips of bark hanging from his clothes. He looks at me with a glimmer in his eye, "You know Cascara is good for stubborn blockages."

"Yes, I know"

"No, I mean stubborn blockages." As he emphasizes "blockages" I understand that he means mental, spiritual, and emotional blockages.

"Receive Your Blessing, Daughter of Heaven"

"Receive Your Blessing, Daughter of Heaven"

A familiar cough that comes when my heart unable to receive arising as I put first drops in my mouth; the taste, a wave of bitterness with white-capped apple skin sweetness. The medicine washes down through my chest smoothly pushing cough aside, dissipating and erasing its energy. Memories of a family, friends of my family, with two boys younger than me who tortured animals and a father who had to leave because he was abusive.

Devil’s Club’s Adaptogenic Effects for Trauma

Devil’s Club’s Adaptogenic Effects for Trauma

I walk through the woods searching for a good place to harvest Devil’s Club, Oplopanax horridum. I investigate the root connections looking for a spot where the stems have grown tall and fallen over making new root junctions. If you can find a mature root in between two well-rooted nodes, you can take the central piece while doing minimal harm to the above-ground portions of the plant. I make prayers and offerings and ask for permission to harvest. As I am cleaning and clipping the roots I’ve removed from the stand, I have a sense that something is not right.

The Dignity of Cottonwood

The Dignity of Cottonwood

During the plant meditation last night I experienced the presence of Cottonwood as an unshakeable, deeply grounded, completely firm, and noble being. I was immersed in a holy silence far removed from any thought or concern. I was aware of my body in that I felt my entire being becoming more and more solid--a heaviness that tuned me into the feeling of being a very large tree.

Plant Teachers in our Own Lands

Plant Teachers in our Own Lands

Working with plants on a spiritual level is a revolutionary act. In my mind and heart I perceive the fundamental disharmony of Western society to be the disconnect from the spiritual aspects of life. Many of us feel like we don’t belong on this planet or don’t deserve to be alive. As if we were parasites on the earth; taking but not giving back. Perhaps we feel guilty about the way this land was stolen or the way the original inhabitants of the land were treated.

Preface

Preface

The Cascadia bio-region in the Northwestern part of the United States is blessed with a wide variety of medicinal plants growing in many diverse habitats. Huge stands of Oregon Grape cover the deep forest floor. Juniper dots the high desert lands where Sagebrush dominates. Sea Watch Angelica clings to coastal bluffs.