Our tradition of partnering with plants at The Gaia School of Healing begins in the heart.
In our community we practice merging our energies and consciousness with that of the plants in order to form intimate personal relationships with them as our teachers and guides. As we open our hearts to the plants, we become channels for their spirits and wisdom. We do this in order to help ourselves heal, and to support others on their path of healing. We use meditation and consciousness shifting practices to receive the energies, spirits, and voices of individual plant allies. These teachers guide us along the medicine path with humbleness and compassion, awakening the wisdom that lies within.
When I attended school for herbal medicine, I had already been in devoted relationship to the spirits of plants for years. They had become my confidants, my elders, and close friends. I had trained myself to communicate with plants in my garden during meditation and deeper states of shifted consciousness in order to connect more deeply to them. Though I had been working with plants spiritually, I knew nothing about their medicinal value and strangely had never considered taking them internally. As I was in partnership with their spirits as guides, I did not even think of their physical plant matter as what I was seeking (apart from some ceremonial uses such as ritual baths or incense).
After having trained in Reiki as a teenager, I began practicing giving energy to the plants in my garden. I discovered plants would give energy back to me in a reciprocal exchange when I gave to them. Their energy would flow into my hands, spill down into my heart, and then move through my whole being… lingering where I needed the most healing. During my early days studying plant medicine I would sit in meditation with the plants in each school’s medicinal gardens. I would greet their spirits, and invite them as my elders and honoured teachers to share with me what they wanted to. I practiced exchanging energy with them through my whole body, while in a dreamlike state of shifted consciousness. In merging my consciousness with the consciousness of the plant, the plant was then able to speak through me.
Often before hearing from my teachers what a plant’s medicine was, I would listen to the plant itself through my own being. It was an incredible confirmation every time I did this first on how much information I could receive directly from the plants themselves, without knowing anything in my own mind about a particular plant’s medicinal uses. (This was a time before the popularity of many plants such as echinacea, st. john’s wort, and kava, where popularised herbal medicine has now become more common knowledge). I have also found that while I may know some things about a plant, it will often tell me what I have not learned yet. I have practiced this in countries all over the world, with plants I previously knew nothing of. After receiving from the plants directly, I will research them to confirm the information I received, (mostly so I’m careful not to poison myself). Often the medicinal plants themselves will call out to me in a particular place, eager for someone who will listen. They will do this only if we will not use that knowledge to harm them or their communities with our greed.
From this practice over many years I’ve learned how the plants will not only relay to us their medicinal uses, but their memories through time, their instructions for working with them, how their medicine might be helpful for us personally, and how we can help support their community. Through merging our consciousness with theirs, we begin to hear what is happening in the ecosystem they are a part of, and how we might be able to help. I have had plants show me what is happening and needed in places that are far from where I currently am residing in space and time. As we work more deeply with them, the plants become guides for healing wounds we carry as a whole earth.
In merging with a plant through intimate relationship and communication, we are gifted some of each plant’s energy, intelligence, and medicine. Through meditation, offerings, energy exchange with live plants, prayer, tea ceremony, ritual, and guided journeys with plant spirits, we can meet and learn from these wise elders directly. When we drink a tea while inviting the spirit of a plant in, the medicine we receive is many, many times greater. Having witnessed this through thousands of students and clients over decades, I have learned of the power the spirits themselves possess for healing. The plants are quite aware that in order for the earth to heal, humans have to heal the damage within themselves. Plants are like the wise bodhisattva – aware, compassionate, giving, and open to helping the healing of the whole where the source of the deepest wounds reside.
We come to them with the desire to serve the healing of the earth, asking the spirits to guide us with their intelligence. We ask to be channels for the voices of the plants, sharing their wisdom and medicine with those who need it. We call their spirits to us, greeting them with love, and opening to receiving their instructions.
We allow the plants to choose what they share with us, knowing that as conscious beings they are learning each of us as well. We listen to them humbly and without grasping in want or greed. Over many years we build trust together, offering our love and devotion to their well being as well. The plants work with us in partnership for healing, and in merging with them, we gain wisdom needed for personal and collective transformation. We spread their seeds, plant and tend them, feeding other animals, and helping to heal the damage we have done.
In this partnership with the plant guides, we enter into a sacred responsibility to care for them as our elders, and to protect this sacred earth. We acknowledge the ways we harm others through our ignorance, and we ask the spirits for their compassion and guidance. As we journey with the plants, we awaken to the wisdom that our personal healing is greatly intertwined with the healing of the earth. We practice mindfulness, meditation, and prayers for self healing in order to awaken to the ways we are here to serve the healing of the whole. We meet our wounds and suffering with compassion, calling the plant spirits to guide us through these shadow realms with wisdom and courage. As we learn to travel through our own suffering with the spirits guiding us, we gain the ability to navigate with others through their suffering and illness with the plants at our sides.
Through my 25 years of conscious partnering with the spirits of plants, I have learned that they are eager and waiting for us to listen with open hearts. They are available to help us to heal not just ourselves, but to be instruments in the healing of Gaia.
May the spirits speak from within you…