The best healers that I know are those that have the longest standing relationship with the allies that they work with. For a shamanic practitioner, those allies will be their spirit guides, their power animals and any other divine beings that support them. For an herbalist or a cunning one, those allies will be the plants. The way that we deepen in our walk with herbs is by building relationship with them. The way we become better healers and provide greater service to those we serve is by doing the due diligence of building relationship with the plants; this is our work. Spirit does the rest. Truly.
How do we build relationship with plants? Well… how do we build relationship with anything? With people? With a new friend? The first thing I usually do with someone I want to get to know is smile at them… perhaps nervously or shyly but I give them a smile and then finally, work up the courage to go up and introduce myself. I look them in the eye and say “Hi. My name is Lauren. What’s your name?” And so begins the lifelong art of relationship building.
The same is true with plants. How do we get to know them? Spend time with them! Introduce yourself to them! Say hello! They can hear you whether you speak to them out loud or silently in your heart. They hear you either way.
The plants love when you touch them, respectfully and with permission of course, just like with all things. They love to be touched (think tree hugging).
Leave them gifts, plants LOVE gifts (don’t all things love gifts? Jewelry anyone?) The act of leaving gifts or giveaways to plants, nature or spirits is called “making offerings.”
What kinds of offerings do plants love? Anything that comes from your heart. Traditional offerings include tobacco or cornmeal, though my favorite thing is to leave them pinches of herbal blends that I have crafted myself. The herb Heather is one of my favorite offering herbs because it is sacred to my Celtic ancestry and lineage.
Plants also love songs, songs you know or songs you make up, perhaps they will even teach you songs that they know! They LOVE your hair or fingernails, anything that once contained your essence (make sure to remove your essence if you leave these things!). They love coins, and shiny things, even paper money. But mostly what they love, is when you bring the authentic light of your heart to them. They love when you say thank you and mean it. Look them in the eye when you leave them gifts and when you say thank you.
So it is with the plants.
Go be with them. Meet them on their turf and say hello, introduce yourself and leave them offerings. Sit and meditate with them and see if there is anything they would share with you. Trust the information that you feel they are responding to you with.
It’s happening, I promise! You are in deep conversation with the plants even if you can’t perceive it yet.
If the plants give you permission, pick them! Take them home, introduce them to your home, show them where and how you live. Give them a special place in your home, such as on your altar. Ask them to teach you their medicine when you place them on your altar. Dry them. Make them into a tea and drink it. Carry them around in your pocket. Meditate with them.
The plant spirits are squirming in their seats waiting for us to talk to them. Introduce yourself! This is how it begins. Trust yourself to be able to be in relationship with them- you can and you already are. Enjoy and embrace it! There is so much joy in this walk.
May your relationship with all things ever be unfolding in a beauty way.