This past weekend was the spring equinox and I got to spend it playing in the woods with my 12 amazing apprentices in the brand new First Ways Herbal Apprenticeship Program! We went on plant walks, sat in magical plant spirit meditation with cleavers (Gallum aparine), wild harvested stinging nettle together and turned it into pesto, made passionflower tincture, smoked mullein, and enjoyed transformative drum-infused fire ceremonies at the cozy Still Meadows Retreat Center together. It could not have been more magical! My beloved students said our time together was “like a 36-hour party packed with information.” It was one of the most enjoyable adventures of my life for sure! Over the course of the next six months, we’ll meet around the new and full moons for plant identification walks and meditations, and my students will challenge themselves to gain personal experience foraging or making medicines with 30 new plants! I will join them in this challenge through my blog.
One of the important messages that came through in our ceremonies was that in honoring the plants, we help heal the Earth. Healing energy is made of love. When we gift the plants our love and respect, we empower and heal them as they empower and heal us. Through doing this we gain greater connection, gratitude, respect, and love for the Earth. As we walk the medicine path with her, we find ourselves receiving her love and respect, too. To feel respected and loved by the Earth is an indescribably fulfilling and joyous feeling, the highest honor for a person walking this path. We honor the plants, the children of the Earth, and we allow ourselves to be honored by them, too. It’s amazing, amazing work. And as I told my apprentices, this kind of “work” is meant to be fun, arising from a sense of celebration and exploration. So if it ever isn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong.
Recently I also had the honor of writing an article about Usnea lichen, aka Old Man’s Beard, a potent lung medicine, for the Wild Edible Notebook, a high-quality publication electronically distributed by the very talented writer and foraging expert Erica Marciniec of WildFoodGirl.com. Everyone into edible plants should check her publication out; it’s dirt cheap at only $1.99/month to subscribe and packed with valuable info. You can preview the latest issue here.
More plant posts here on First Ways will be coming soon! In the meantime, now that the weather is very warm here in Portland, I am back to leading private plant identification hikes for groups and individuals in the Portland, Oregon, area. I love doing these fun walks in the wilderness and urban areas. I can come to your home and help you figure out what’s on your property, too! For more information and testimonials, visit my Private Hikes page here.
I have some upcoming public classes which are metaphysical/meditation-based coming up in April and May at New Renaissance Bookshop and The Float Shoppe, both lovely places in Portland, Oregon. One class is designed to empower you to love yourself more deeply; the other is a three-part mystical series for infusing yourself with the good vibes of Buddha, Kuan Yin, and Yogananda. For more information on these, please visit my spirit website PlantSpiritReiki.com That website is also the spot to find out more about receiving spirit healing work with me. I use plant spirit herbalism, Reiki, and sacred drumming to clear pain and help people feel amazing.
How has spring launched in your life?