Plants that feel and Speak
Chatting to plants is a regular occurrence, even for royalty, and some plant africionados play them music, taking care to choose something they like.
Edward Bach, famous for his Flower Remedies, attributed certain medicinal qualities to plants because the plants themselves told him what they were. An entire Western healing system is thus based on plant communication, and has inspired further plant-human exploration. meanwhile, in many cultures it is considered quite wrong to become a healer without first having had dreams or visions relating to the plants to be used. In other words, the spiritual realm is seen as the source of accurate information.
Cultures that are very much in touch with the earth and all that grows in it believe unreservedly that plants have a spirit. Obviously a plant is unable to speak, so to communicate with it we have to get in to the spiritual 'space' we share with it. If you want to know what a plant can do , go to the source and ask it.
To indigenous people s, that's the logical thing to do . There are variations on this cultural theme ; with some people believing the spirit of the individual plant conveys the information; or that each species of plant has a kind of 'overall' spirit which communicates; or that there are a variety of nature spirits; or that it is the voice of the creator that speaks. These are all variations on a theme: you can speak to, or through a plant.
The Yaqui people of northwestern Mexico have a oral tradition going back 4,000 years, to 2000 bc. Around AD 1500, because of the oppressive actions of the Spanish conquistadors, the Yaqui were forced to make their sacred traditions secret. Seven lineages were chosen to preserve them , through sacred oral and family traditions. Through many subsequent generations the sacred way of the Yaqui was kept alive underground, as the bullets flew overhead. Now that we are older and wiser, hopefully, the knowledge can re-emerge. Indeed, it is time for us to know it.
Cachora Guitemea is a man who carries this knowledge, passed to him by his father and mother. A Yaqui traditional spiritual healer, Cachora is a highly respected native American elder. It was, then a great privilege for me to be privately invited to spend a few days in the Mexican desert with Cachora to learn about sacred plant medicine.
We were accompanied by both our daughters and the mutual friend who introduced us. Although Cachora is over eighty and has white hair you would never guess his age - either from his appearance or from his extraordinary energy. His face is lit up with joy that defies time. And, despite his boyish love of jokes, you never forget that you are in the presence of great wisdom and positive intent.
Cachora teaches that we must respect plants. Permission must be sought from the plant before picking it, and if the plant is required for ceremonial purposes sacred chants and mantras are said aloud, in honor of the plant or tree. All plants have souls and spirits that guard and protect the species. It is not that every individual plant has its own, but that there is a species-spirit, which has a place within plant heirarchy, depending on the sacredness of the purpose the plant is put to.
Cachora is quite plain about the underlying principles of haling herbs. He says that healing takes place when a person connects into the plant spirit, becoming the plant, and understanding its personality. using spirit as the method of transference, the plant's energy or healing properties are transmitted to the person.
Once the spirit of a particular species has come to be known, and its use and purpose memorized, its strengths and weaknesses understood, then in times of ill-health, as body, mind and spirit are one, by calling on the spirit and taking into one's mind the spiritual essence of the plant, healing can take place.
Plant life must be respected and spoken to, says Cachora, for it is part of the universe, part of ourselves, our heritage. I understand this to mean that everyone evolved through a plant, and through the plant cycle of crystalline life - we are all part of the same consciousness pool. Getting to know plants involves looking at them closely, communicating with them with honesty and integrity, and with gentleness.
Human thought is the greatest obstacle to plant communication. You have to get beyond thought, into empathy and feeling, through focus and concentration. On this amazing journey I encountered a magnificent six-feet-high white sage bush, a grandfather of the species which, having seeded many generations of plants, was an elder in its own right. So vibrant was it that the leaves seemed to send showers of sparks, but I was rather taken aback when the large bush bowed its body to greet us. As there was not a hint of a breeze I turned to my friend beside me to verify what had happened. I could tell from her wide-open eyes that she could! Then the sage spoke to me, in a silent block of communication, clear and precise.
There are many indigenous peoples in the world who feel the spirit in nature , and work with it, Certain themes emerge. One such idea is that some plants should not be picked because they are too sacred. - too old and valuable to their 'tribe'. Just like us, plants need their wise elders. They say you should ask a plant if it is okay to pick it. A plant may say no, it may agree - and it is respectful to explain who the plant is for, and what is wrong with them. The plant will then know it is being needlessly sacrificed.
Another is the general idea that the spirit of the plant is a communal one, shared by the species as a whole, so that when you communicate with a plant you communicate with its species-spirit. When I spoke to the large sage bush I spoke to the spirit of the species, but through the wise old bush who happened to hold a great deal of communal species wisdom and could express more information more clearly.
Reference: Fragrant Heavens/ V. Worwood