Tribe de Mama Issue #4: Ritual
I am joyful to share with you a new article I wrote for TRIBE de MAMA Issue #4: RITUAL
Connecting With The Plant Kingdom Through Ritual
Words by Maggie Harrsen
From a shamanic perspective we are multi-dimensional beings, intimately connected to all of life ~ the oceans, animals, plants, our ancestors and the cosmos. We come to learn about ourselves by observing our environment and understanding the ways of nature. As human beings living in a modern world, may we also remember the ways of the ancient ones who came before us, the natives who lived close to the land and believed that everything which exists has a spirit.
When we look deeply into the traditional kingdoms of nature ~ mineral, plant, animal and human ~ we bring awareness to the filaments of light that connect us all. We begin to see that our wellbeing, our existence and our soul evolution is supported through this web of life. At every moment, we are able to go beyond the physical world and experience the truth of our nature.
One way we can align ourselves with the natural world is through the ancient wisdom and medicine of the plant kingdom. From the holy smoke of the palo santo tree to the cooling, succulent nature of the aloe vera leaf, we as human beings are cared for by these sentient ones. A ritual is any action undertaken with intention that grows in power through repetition and connection. We can explore and connect to the spirit of a plant through various rituals ::
1. Care for a living plant
2. Experience a shamanic journey
3. Burn herbs and resins
4. Prepare a flower essence
5. Regenerate the land
1. CARE FOR A LIVING PLANT
According to the Q’eros, the wisdom keepers of the Inca who live in the high Andes of Peru, caring for the natural world aligns us in ayni (or right relationship) with the forces of nature. Ayni is a cosmic law of reciprocity in the Andean tradition, a daily practice of living in balance by respecting all living things including nature, the environment and the spirit world. A basic example of ayni is the relationship between a human being and a plant. A human being inhales oxygen and exhales carbon dioxide; a plant inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen. This relationship is harmonious and follows ayni as it supports and gives life to both living beings.
Ritual :: Select a plant you are naturally drawn to and place it in the room where you sleep. Begin by developing a relationship with this living being through touch, through love, through nourishment. Allow yourself to give freely and feel the energy and healing vibrations that come your way. Communing with plant beings is a gentle practice to open your intuitive capacity and the energetic pathways by which you receive its medicine.
2. EXPERIENCE A SHAMANIC JOURNEY
Living within the plant kingdom are our teachers and spiritual allies. For this reason, in native communities when a person is unwell, the healer of the village will journey into the unseen realms to discover which plant spirit volunteers itself to restore harmony and vitality to the individual. The plants medicine may be transmitted in various ways. Perhaps taken orally as a tea, lozenge, or as a dried herb that the individual will carry.
Additionally, sometimes the energy of the plant may be called into a specific center within their body for healing. Each of us have the ability to connect to the spirit of a plant through the practice of a guided shamanic journey. Following the sound of a drum, representing the heartbeat of Mother Earth, we are guided into an altered state of consciousness where we can easily connect to the plant kingdom. Here, we are able to have direct experiences and revelations with these plant spirits without ingesting them in the physical world. A shamanic journey is a powerful, exploratory practice bringing forth healing, insight and vision.
Ritual :: To begin a Shamanic Journey first form your intention, a simple phrase calling in the plant spirit you wish to connect with. Begin to drum or play a piece of drumming music. State your intention three times and start by sensing which direction you are being called towards ~ perhaps you have a feeling of sinking down into the Earth or a feeling of floating up into the Sky. Allow yourself to be in a space of tranquility and just experience what presents itself, being aware that we receive spiritual information through four channels ~ visual, auditory, kinesthetic and cognitive.
3. BURN HERBS + RESINS
Through the burning of herbs and resins a plant comes to life with the support of the elementals fire and air to bring forth healing energy in the form of smoke, as it travels into the ether. We can use the aroma and sacred smoke of plants to support us in times of meditation, to clear our luminous energy body and the spaces we inhabit (a ritual the American Indian traditions call smudging).
Ritual :: Experiment with various plants in this form such as palo santo, white sage, cedar and copal. Select a single herb and burn it in a room of your home where you feel the energy may be stagnant. Select another herb, introduce the fire element and put it gently in a stone dish or sea shell and with both hands bring its healing smoke into your body and all of your energy centers.
4. PREPARE A FLOWER ESSENCE
A flower essence is a form of energy medicine. It’s a vibrational remedy of spring water infused with the essence of a wildflower through a preparation of sun steeping. The drops are taken orally to elicit a healing response within the body. The electromagnetic energy of the particular flower is capable of healing the various energy bodies that make up our subtle anatomy. In this case we are merging with the flower spirit from the inside out.
Ritual :: Follow Dr. Edward Bach’s recipe for the Sun Method, which involves floating delicate flower heads in a clear glass bowl filled with pure spring water. As you ingest the sacred energy medicine, the spirit of the flower often appears as a deva or teacher, guiding you into the universe that exists within. With their support, we learn how to heal ourselves, to grow, to awaken and to reach higher states of truth and consciousness.
5. REGENERATE THE LAND
These days many individuals are feeling called to live in sustainable environments that support all living beings and Mother Earth. There is an intuitive understanding that the land carries a unique vibration and is capable of raising our etheric energy, which in turn regenerates our physical body. When we look at nature in a holistic way, we see that the Earth is a living, self-sustaining organism that unites material, biological and spiritual elements. Knowing this truth, we are capable of healing the Earth by enlivening its soil and therefore the nourishment we eat. By doing so we are supporting the flow of energy radiating from the Cosmos (sun, moon and stars) through the Earth. It is then guided into the plants so that their vitality enhances the animal and human kingdoms, promoting our wellbeing and spiritual development.
Ritual :: Prepare clay pots with herbs and lettuces on your window ledge, create a vegetable garden in your backyard or offer your hands at an organic or biodynamic farm in your town. Working in union with the land is grounding for your physical body and restorative for your spirit. Get your hands in the soil and allow yourself to interact with all of the beings of nature. Smell, taste, touch, see and hear. Discover the beauty that emanates from you through the reflection of your environment.
Illustrated by Dora Foldes