Elder: Tree of Life and Death

Elder Sambucus cerulea

Songs: Elder Mother's Song Elder Mother Spiral

Parts Used: Flowers, Berry

Appearance/Habitat: Blue Elder grows mainly east of the Cascades preferring sun, Red Elder (Sambucus racemosa) grows in the shady understory west of the Cascades; thick stalked shrub with opposite, compound nutty smelling leaves, musky dank smelling flowers borne in umbels

Energetic Qualities: cooling, drying, stimulating, dispersing

Taste: sweet, musky, bitter

Elemental Associations: Air, Water

Actions: anti-viral, diaphoretic, bronchodilator, vasodilator, diuretic

blueelder1

Elder Indications-Physical Fever: opens the exterior, moves things to the surface! Flu: makes great combo with Yarrow and Mint! Remedy for the the very old and very young: sometimes a bluish cast to the skin for lack of oxygen! Edema!

Elder Indications-Psycho-spiritual connection to spirit realms! resolve fear of death and transformation! dissolve energetic boundaries! helps with letting go of fears and accepting change

Dosage: Psycho-spiritual...1-5 drops; Physical...5 drops-3 droppersful

Contraindications: the bark, leaves, and seeds can be very purgative and nauseating

red-elder

Aralia, Queen of the River Forest Wild

Aralia (aka CA Spikenard) Aralia californica

Song: Aralia's River Song

Parts Used: Root, Leaf, Berry

Appearance/Habitat: grows near water, like the banks of small streams; very large (up to 10’ tall) compound leaved herbaceous perennial in the Ginseng family with large, fleshy resin-filled roots that lie just just below the surface or under rocks; purple berries ripen in late summer, early fall

Energetic Qualities: Calming, Uplifting, Cooling

Taste: Pungent, Sweet

Elemental Associations: Water, Air

Actions: Adaptogenic, nutritive, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, expectorant

Aralia

Aralia Indications-Physical Lungs: “tonic and soothing expectorant” (M. Moore) Throat: esp. berries...soothing for sore throats Adaptogenic: helps moderate body’s response to stress

Aralia Indications-Psycho-spiritual strong and wild feminine reconnect with flow reduce stress of everyday life

Dosage: Psycho-spiritual...1-5 drops; Physical...5 drops-3 droppersful

Contraindications: None noted

aralia-berries

Songs of Devotion: Dogwood Ceremony 5.29.12

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MOTHER COME, ILLUMINATE (Scott)

Wacha heya hey Wacha hey hey ya

I sing your praises to all forest life

Wacha…

In the forest I receive your light

Wacha…

Mother, come illuminate

Wacha…

Shine, shine, shine, shine through me

Wacha…

Clear the path for me to see

Wacha…

Mother, come illuminate

 

Mother Forest, Holy Queen (Wesley)

Oh-oh-oh Mother Oh-oh-oh Queen

Oh-oh Queen of the Forest Oh-oh Please come to me Oh-oh Queen of the Forest Oh-oh Come into me

Your Beauty Shines in the Forest As the light descends through the trees Your Beauty shines in the Forest May your Beauty shine through me

Protect and guide this spirit Oh please watch over me

I am your Child You are my Queen

Oh-oh Bless these good tidings Oh-oh Please bless me

I am here to affirm affirm that you are the One I am here to affirm the One, the Holy Queen

Oh-oh-oh Mother Oh-oh-oh Queen

 

Mother of the Flowers (Kathryn)

Ixchel, Jurema (3x)

Mother of the flowers, Of the fruits and the seeds, Mother of the buds and branches You bring your remedies

Mother of the roots Deep inside of me Keeper of my health And my integrity

I call you here Into the darkness of this wound Into the seat of suffering Here I call you

Into the depths of these sorrows Where my spirit has fled Bring your leaves bring your flowers To my heart to mend

Ixchel, Jurema (3x)

 

Madrona (Scott)

Madrona, Madrona Minha Mãe

I'm shedding my skin For my new self to emerge

Madrona, Madrona Minha Mãe

Let go of what you don't need Shine in the purest bloom

Madrona, Madrona Minha Mãe

Reciprocal Illumination: Dogwood Ceremony 5.29.12

At last week's Plant Teacher Circle we paid homage to Dogwood, the Queen of the Northwest forests. This celebration culminated a month filled with ceremony, offerings, and devotion to this being who brings great illumination and healing to our lives. As many of you know, the Dogwoods have been plagued by a fungal disease that is damaging and killing them. When we asked Dogwood how we could help, she asked us to do ceremonies for her to help people remember her for the space that she holds and to strengthen her life force. In addition to honoring the Queen on this night, we took the opportunity to open our energetic channels and play with our ability to receive and work with visions... Some of what came through me:

"We are all worthy of receiving the bounty of life, the abundance of life in all its forms, and we are all here for a purpose—to do our part in the cosmic dance. The only thing that keeps us from doing this is our own feelings of unworthiness, our own feeling of not deserving. See if you can find those places within yourself as you witness the immense beauty of this being, Dogwood, the Queen of the Forest, and find a way to let that resonate within your own being so that you can love her even more and allow yourself to receive even more love."

On opening pathways to the visionary state..."We're going to call on this for a specific purpose...to number one be able to see the incredible beauty, the beauty that we can't even look at because it's so beautiful of the Queen of the Forest and what she represents. Whatever bit we can glimpse of her, open that and really see her in all of her glory and in this way we will bring healing to her. And if we are doing that we won't be able to help but see the beauty within ourselves. So we are going to call forth the beauty of every being of this creation, for ourselves, the Queen of the Forest, and each other. We are all here to witness each other in that beauty."

We were blessed with amazing singers and beautiful singing that reflected the words that were spoken above. Many thanks to those who participated! Please check out the two minute excerpt below. We had the opportunity to deeply commune with the beings of the forest and made a flower mandala to offer to the spirit of Dogwood. If you'd like to hear more of the songs devoted to Dogwood from this ceremony click here. Also, below is the story of how I met Dogwood. Enjoy!

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The Four Elements and Psycho-spiritual Plant Medicine 4 (Earth)

Earth represents matter, grounding, boundaries, structure, density, protection, trust, ancestors, tradition, knowledge, memory, nourishment, attraction/magnetism, and gravity. On the physical level it manifests in the bones, muscles, uterus, and digestive system; on the mental/emotional through focus, determination, stubbornness, respect for tradition, grounding, calmness, and trust. Plant Teachers: Cottonwood, Devil's Club, Yarrow, and Cascara Sagrada. Also...Ether (Dogwood), Center (Redcedar), and how to tap into this work. PDX Plant Medicine Gathering, Nov. '10.

The Four Elements and Psycho-spiritual Plant Medicine 3 (Water)

Water represents flow, the Moon, receptivity, universal medium, path of least resistance, dissolution, reflection, depths and clarity/murkiness. On the physical level it manifests in the blood, lymph, kidneys/bladder, and sweating; on the mental/emotional through emotions, the unconscious, receptivity. Plant Teachers: Peony, Aralia, Hawthorn, and Alder. PDX Plant Medicine Gathering, Nov. '10.

The Four Elements and Psycho-spiritual Plant Medicine 2 (Fire)

Fire represents energy, vitality, light, the Sun, will, joy, love, and movement upward leaving impurities to fall downward. On the physical level it manifests in the immune system, metabolic activity, sexual activity, and enzymes/digestive breakdown; on the mental/emotional through desire, will, devotion, passion, joyful expression, and illumination/understanding. Plant Teachers: Ephedra, Juniper, and Yerba Santa. PDX Plant Medicine Gathering, Nov. '10.

The Four Elements and Psycho-spiritual Plant Medicine 1 (Air)

Air represents spirit, wind, formlessness, force of change, chaos, song, sound, and movement in all directions. On the physical level it manifests in the nervous system, respiration, peristalsis, and vision; on the mental/emotional through thought, inspiration, and spiritual connection. Plant Teachers: Quaking Aspen, Pulsatilla, Silktassel, and Elder. PDX Plant Medicine Gathering, Nov. '10.

The Four Elements and Psycho-spiritual Plant Medicine (Intro)

Air, Fire, Water, and Earth interact, combine, dissolve, suppress, complement, and support each other, giving rise to the physical world and hinting at the spiritual realms as we know them. A study of the elements and how they relate to the physical and emotional processes in the human body and psyche can help us gain a better understanding of the imbalances that we encounter within ourselves and others. Working with the elements in this way can show us avenues for harmonious expressions of being. To illustrate this, we will look to the plants. In addition to talking about several plants that exemplify each element, we will sit in meditation with one of each that represents the essential qualities of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. PDX Plant Medicine Gathering, Nov. '10.

Psycho-spiritual Plant Medicine (NCNM)

The forging of deeper relationships with plants is a two-way path. In getting to know a plant better, one gains a more thorough understanding of the Self and its connection to the spiritual forces of Nature. As physical manifestations of the spirit forces of the land, plants have the potential of being our most profound teachers. When we open ourselves to receive these teachings, we not only heal ourselves, but we make these healing forces more available to the Earth and all of her inhabitants. NCNM Community Hour, Jan. '10

Reawakening the Spirits of the Forest

When we work with the plants to renew and strengthen these relationships through song, prayer, and vision, an even deeper level of healing is available, and as we bring light and healing to ourselves, we cannot help but illuminate the beings of the forest. 2010 Breitenbush Herbal Conference, Sep. '10

Juniper, Ephedra, and the Process of Initiation

These ancient desert plants call us away from our normal daily lives and invite us to reconnect with our ancestral roots. Their physical form and structure embody the energetic processes of transformation. When we invite them into our lives, they can help guide us on the path of awakening—assisting us in making transitions, helping us to transform obstacles that get in the way of finding and fulfilling our missions in life, and tying us into the spiritual matrix that sustains us on all levels. The Herb Shoppe, Jan. '10

Reawakening the Beings of the Forest

We have temporarily forgotten our connection to the spiritual beings that are the true power behind the medicinal plants that we "use." When we work with the plants to renew and strengthen these relationships through song, prayer, and vision, an even deeper level of healing is available, and as we bring light and healing to ourselves, we cannot help but illuminate the beings of the forest. We'll explore this topic and see how it relates to achieving a greater sense of peace, strength, and grounding in our lives. The Herb Shoppe, Dec. '09.

Psychological and Spiritual Plant Medicine

The forging of deeper relationships with plants is a two-way path. In getting to know a plant better, one gains a more thorough understanding of the Self and its connection to the spiritual forces of Nature. As physical manifestations of the spirit forces of the land, plants have the potential of being our most profound teachers. When we open ourselves to receive these teachings, we not only heal ourselves, but we make these healing forces more available to the Earth and all of her inhabitants. This talk includes Green Ephedra, Corydalis, Devil's Club, Ganoderma, and a little bit about Dogbane (Werewolf Root). Portland Plant Medicine Gathering, Nov. '09

Herbs for Psychological and Spiritual Development

The forging of deeper relationships with plants is a two-way path. In getting to know a plant better, one gains a more thorough understanding of the Self and its connection to the spiritual forces of Nature. Working with plants in this way can alleviate the sense of separateness that leads to many of our mental and emotional disturbances and allow our whole, multi-dimensional selves to emerge. This talk includes Devil's Club, Ligusticum, and Corydalis. The Herb Shoppe, June '09.

Devil's Club-Herb of Protection

Devil's Club, Oplopanax horridum, was worn as a protective amulet by Pacific Northwest shamans, but to truly learn, know, and implement a plant's power, it is not enough to merely adopt the customs of others. We must forge a personal relationship with the essence of each plant. Join me in getting to "know" this wonderful Plant Teacher and learn how it can help to protect your energetic boundaries and defend against the "devils" of the interior landscape. The Herb Shoppe, Mar. '09

Learning from Plant Teachers

Through the concepts of the Doctrine of Signatures, organoleptics, intuition, meditation and dreaming we can connect with plants on a physical and spiritual level. By "listening" in these ways we can learn how to communicate with the spirits of the plants so that we can understand them on a deeper level. Beyond 50 Radio, July '08