Musings, Reflections, Spirituality, Plant Medicine

Of Dark Days and Shining Knights

Spiritual Resilience in the Age of Invisible War

 

 

“YAHUAH is my shepherd; I do not lack. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; he leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake. When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil. For You are with me; Your rod & your staff, they comfort me. You spread before me a table in the face of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup runs over. Only goodness and compassion follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the House of Yahuah, forever!” (Psalm 23)

 

It is to our detriment that we ever allowed Church to separate from State. That’s a dangerously controversial statement to be sure, because both have atrocious histories (and present realities) of controlling and traumatising the people, but rather, here I am using them as a symbol for Spirit and Matter. (I must also iterate that I am here talking of the Western experience. Many cultures around the world, including indigenous and First Nations people, as well as eastern cultures still acknowledge & pay due respect to the effect that Spirit has in our lives.) When church and state, spirit and matter, separated, we the people became consumed with the new paradigm of reducing everything to its material existence. We became consumed with material possession, seeing natural creation as a mechanical thing that could be broken down into parts and reassembled at will, and owned. As a collective, we forgot about Spirit. We forgot to keep telling our children the stories of how it informs our world. And some of us just downright don’t believe it exists.

I personally believe that in order to achieve optimum wellbeing, we need to also be spiritually healthy. When this aspect of our holographic being* is imbalanced, we become spiritually unhealthy, and very, very vulnerable. Because like it or not, we may have forgotten about the spiritual realm, but it hasn’t forgotten about us.

 

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Night by Edward Robert Hughes.

On being aware of our vulnerability

 

On the fourteenth day from the first new moon from today’s equinox, the Passover will be upon us. Far from only being a Jewish observance, believers and followers of Yahushua (gk: Jesus) recognise the preparation for this as a time of deep introspection and self-reflection on how our thoughts, and subsequent enacted  behaviours have impacted our lives, other people, and our spiritual journey, and whether we have allowed Divine Love to work with us and through us, over the course of the previous year.

 

As I write this, I am struck by the events of the first Passover, of the people sheltering together in their houses while the death angel passed over, and the similarity to the situation that many of us now find ourselves in.

We journey along, allowing this love to work in us, making us humble in order for it to come to our awareness that there is a pattern to these behaviours, which have then become roadblocks in our growth and character development. We seek to uncover their origin, bring it to the Light of Divine Love and work out healing them in order to move forward in our life. We forgive ourselves, we forgive each other, we are forgiven by Love, our hearts soften, and we move on. I’ve recently been led to explore my own birth imprints as the origin of some of my patterns of behaviour. It is quite an enlightening and empowering experience to see the patterns and their origins and then turn that on its head to identify how I can use them as a lesson and a gift to move forward. Ideally, we need to be self-reflecting on a continual basis throughout the year and checking whether our hearts are in alignment with Divine Love all the time. Because knowing our vulnerability and areas of weakness, and bringing them into the light serves as a powerful tool that we might add to our armoury in order to protect ourselves spiritually. Like I said, we may have forgotten about spirit, but it hasn’t forgotten about us. It’s not all flower faeries, angel wings, and pixie dust.  I am reminded of a particularly salient quote by my favourite novelist, Sir Terry Pratchett;

“… people didn’t seem to be able to remember what it was like with the elves around. Life was certainly more interesting then, but usually because it was shorter. And it was more colourful, if you liked the colour of blood.” (Lords & Ladies)

Dark humour aside, why am I talking about this?

As I’ve watched the way in which the drama around the novel virus SARS-Covid19 has unfolded, and have witnessed the entire world, particularly the western world (take note) succumb to mass hysteria and panic consumerism, it occurred to me that amidst all of the (often confused) advice about building up our physical immunity or preparing ourselves physically for extended periods of quarantine by stocking up on supplies, I’m not seeing a lot of talk about building up our spiritual immunity, or preparing ourselves spiritually. The local and global confusion, chaos, emotional manipulation and fear this has sparked tells me that this is not just a physical issue. Some of us, not just from looking at the anomalous numbers, have enough discerning sensitivity to understand that this is being fuelled by Something Else. And we’ve been warned about this for some time.

 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

 

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Saint George and the Dragon, Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1868, William Morris Gallery

Now whether you are a Bible believer or not is irrelevant, we see this influence considered in many ancient sacred texts, we see this awareness amongst indigenous people, and also because many other souls more sensitive to these matters have picked up on this particular nefarious zeitgeist. It is not superstition. It is real, and it is here.

Again we are warned,…in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the offspring of disobedience..” (Ephesians 2:2)

Note that the adversary to Divine Love is called ‘the prince (or ruler) of the power of the air’. How quickly does communication of all types fly across the world now? How quickly does the zeitgeist spread? I’m not saying not to use the airwaves to communicate with (obviously, I’m using them now), but perhaps be mindful of its power to influence. How immune to its influence are you? Repeatedly shared thoughts take form. We call that ‘going viral’. Perhaps consider the Hive-mind. Again, Terry Pratchett observes;

“It came crackling over the hills like an invisible fog. Movement without a body tired it, and it drifted very slowly. It wasn’t thinking now. It had been months since it had last thought, because the brain that was doing the thinking for it had died. They always died. So now it was naked again, and frightened.

It couldhide in one of those blobby white creatures that baa’d nervously as it crawled over the turf. But they had useless brains, capable of thinking only about grass and making other things that went baa. No. They would not do.

It needed, neededsomething better, a strong mind, a mind with power, a mind that could keep it safe. ..

It searched…..

 …And away on the hills something, a thing with no body and no mind but a terrible hunger and a bottomless fear, felt the power. It would have sniffed the air, if it had a nose.

It searched.

It found.

Such a strange mind, like a lot of minds inside one another, getting smaller and smaller! So strong! So close!

It changed direction slightly and went a little faster. As it moved, it made a noise like a swarm of flies.

The sheep, nervous for a moment about something they couldn’t see, hear, or smell, baa’d…

…and went back to chewing grass.” (A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett.)

 

[A side note to avoid causing offence: the Creator/ God the Father is Love, therefore if the use of the word ‘God’, ‘Creator’, the pronoun ‘His’ or ‘Father’, “Great Mystery’, or ‘Great Spirit’, or ‘Elohim’ offends you, please insert the word ‘Love’. I will use Divine Love where possible. This is the essence, the author, meaning, and goal of our existence.]

Again we have been told, that if we come into heart coherence or alignment with Divine Love..

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

On fear – we are told “Divine Love is not the author of confusion, but of peace..” (1 Corinthians 14:33).

On power – we are told “Divine Love gives power to the faint, & to those who have no might, He increases strength.” (Isaiah 40:9)

On love – this is the divine love ‘No one has greater love than this: that one should lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) I have previously posted on this Love here.

On self-control – a warning “And if you do not make good choices, towards the door is temptation with damaging consequences. It is lying in wait to pounce on you, but you must rule over it. (Genesis 4:7 amplified for people who baulk at the word ‘sin’ – which is an archery term that means ‘to miss the mark’.)

It is beyond the scope of this article to get into the finer theological and philosophical details of the debate about morality, or good vs evil, or even God, and the existence of such, and quite frankly I consider that a distraction. The point of this article is to let you know that enough of us ‘knowers’ from all walks of life throughout the entire course of human history, and during these times have confirmed this spiritual reality, and that you need to be aware of it, you need to be aware of your own vulnerabilities, and you need to get yourself into alignment with Divine Love. Only through this awareness can you then start to cultivate spiritual protection. Otherwise, it’s not going to be an entirely pleasant ride. More often than not, your spiritual wellbeing informs your physical wellbeing, but perhaps this is a mystery to be explained another day.

If you’ve managed to hear me out and have arrived at this point, thank you. If only because you’ve resonated with the scientifically-proven fact** (because that’s important to some people) that when we allow our hearts to be open and come into heart coherence with Divine Love, that Love then flows through us, and brings other people’s hearts of perception into coherence with ours. It has a flow on effect. It creates a collective unified consciousness of pure love and pure joy. A morphic resonance. Only these can overcome fear & confusion.

Believe it or not, we are in the midst of spiritual warfare. So, imagine if you will that you are a warrior. A successful warrior is aware of their weaknesses and vulnerabilities, makes sure that they have suitable armour to protect their most vulnerable organs and strengthen their core stability, and they gather about themselves the aid of powerful allies. In other words, they are proactive and they take responsibility for their own lives, their own growth and development as warriors, which in turn enables them to also watch out for their brothers at arms and stand in the gap for the most vulnerable. They are also aware of their enemy’s weakness. In this case, the adversary feeds on fear. But let’s now get down to the nitty gritty of what this armour looks like. We’ve already discussed the importance of being aware of our own weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and then working with them to turn them around. As Oscar Wilde once said, “I can resist all things except temptation.” That’s probably something to be aware of. Most of us are in the same boat. So, we should probably start counting the costs of that lack of resistance. What are your triggers? Rest assured, the denizens of spirit know what they are. Do you?

But Divine Love does not leave us lacking. He gives us a whole armoury.

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Joan of ARC by Charles Amable Lenoir

 

On putting on armour

 

“because of this, take up the complete armour of Elohim, so that you have power to withstand in the wicked day, and having done all to stand. Stand then, having girded your waist with Truth, and having put on the breastplate of Righteousness, and having fitted your feet with the preparation of the Good News of Peace; above all having taken up the Shield of Belief with which you shall quench all the burning arrows of the wicked one. Take also the helmet of deliverance, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of Elohim, praying at all times, with prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” (Ephesians 6:13-18)

Breaking this down in the least offensive way that I know how – because at the end of the day, the spirituality that informs my life is about relationship rather than religion. (I grew up in a draconian religion. Life with the elves was less guilt-stricken.) Let’s take a brief look at each item.

The helmet of deliverance – at its most simple, this is the peace of mind & relief that comes with the very humbled understanding that your most beloved brother, who loved you with a love never shown by a human before, died willingly so that you could have life. True, free, joy-filled, peaceful Life everlasting. Regardless of how your own family or friends, or the world treated you as you grew, imagine having someone value you and love you that much. That Love is real.

The breastplate of righteousness – sounds a bit religious, but righteousness simply means being right with, or in alignment with Divine Love. Think about it. A breastplate protects your heart.

Gird your waist with Truth – pretty self-explanatory. If something doesn’t jive with Divine Love, if it induces toxic shame, irrational fear, or unjustified guilt, it’s not the truth. We also typically wear a belt (or a girdle) around our waist, the area of our solar plexus – this is the centre of will & focus, of intestinal fortitude. Our driving force & inner fire. Seeking truth & pursuing it earnestly motivates us and keeps us on our toes.

Speaking of toes….

Fitting your feet with the preparation of the good news of peace – as much as we are at war, we really need to be bearers of peace, encouraging one another with the message that Divine Love reigns supreme.

The Shield of Belief – belief in Divine Love gives you the power of protection from the burning arrows of the one who is not fighting fairly, and who preys on our weaknesses. My shield is pretty big. I’ve been doing this for a long time.

The Sword of the Spirit – this is the Word of Divine Love. Every word inspired by Divine Love is an instruction of how, or how not to, come into alignment. It’s what we use to discern & test the spirits that come at us. And we do need to be continually discerning the spirits.

Prayer, meditation, fasting – used since time immemorial by all peoples to draw closer to the Divine Love and seek guidance, understanding, and wisdom. In order to build a relationship with Divine Love, you kind of do need to talk to Him, and you need to listen. It’s a two-way dialogue. Divine Love is also your commanding officer, giving you direction and overall protection. You won’t know that if you don’t engage with Him. Actually, if you attempt to put on the armour without knowing Who is in charge of your overall safety and direction, it won’t really work, and then you’re pretty much an open target. Sorry. Spirituality of any description really is about relationship. Is your relationship healthy? And how is that reflected in your other relationships?

“And what does Yahuah require of you but to do right, to love kindness & to walk humbly with your Elohim?” (Micah 6:8)

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Tristan and Isolde with the Potion by John William Waterhouse. 1916.

 

On engaging the allies

Plant people rejoice! Obviously our most powerful ally is Divine Love and He promises us protection and deliverance if we trust in Him***, yet in His compassion and joy in creating this verdant Earth, He also gave a particular charge to the green beings to aid us in our times of need. And because the green beings are also holographic, they ride in our medicine bundles to help us with our spiritual health as well. If only Achilles had remembered his. If you’ve ever read old English herbals, really old herbals, you’ll see an abundant evidence of this acknowledgment of and strong belief in Divine Providence as it moves seamlessly through notes of clinical observations and lived experience of working with the botanicals. For most of us herbalists and plantfolk still living in the hedgerows, the acknowledgement of Spirit is still paramount. Below, I will discuss several plant allies for spiritual protection that I have had personal experience with. There are numerous others and I encourage you to research on your own if this interests you. I often find that the simple act of gardening, or walking in nature and noticing the fractals, the repeating patterns of creation, and reconnecting with the earths energies also offers a chance to align oneself with Divine Love and original intent. With the plants I have worked with below, they can be used as flower essences, in smudges or incense, or taken internally as teas or tinctures. For working on the energetic/ spiritual level, I prefer drop doses of the tinctures – only 1-3 drops, once every 3 days, unless the situation is acute. In acute situations, once or twice per day is often enough.

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Yarrow (because Achilles, who should have known better) – in my recent reflections & venture into the void of internal darkness on the quest to find and heal the origins of my soul wounds, I journeyed with Yarrow. We had an interesting conversation. Yarrow staunches the bleeding of heart energy from wounds sustained from deep trauma. Trauma where one feels ‘cut to the bone’. Often, trauma in particular creates an energetic wound in our heart. It can then either bleed continuously, our life force being robbed by other people’s demands on us (real or imagined), or the wound can encase itself in scar tissue, essentially hardening our spiritual heart and blocking our ability to receive and give Divine Love (for scar tissue, we might want to work with Hawthorn or Rose). In cases where the heartwound still bleeds, a person emotionally, mentally, or spiritually disconnects, unable to feel safe in their own body, or safe in the knowledge that they are worthy of receiving Divine Love. Yarrow’s role here is to stand in the gap. To prevent further trauma, bleeding out or indiscriminately giving away of life energy. Yarrow is a warrior with feminine energy, encompassing both protection & nurturance. I saw Yarrow as the flaming sword that prevents us from re-entering Paradise. It says, that in order to come back to Paradise, we must first see to the wound that caused us to disconnect. My friend, Heidi Wedd, has done extensive work with Yarrow. Her account of it is here. I also find Yarrow a reliable ally for helping protect from and mitigate harmful electromagnetic frequencies. Yarrow also exhibits an anti-microbial action.

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Wood Betony woodcut by Leonard Fuchs 1549

Wood Betony– Culpeper attributes the use of Wood Betony in protection against witchcraft to Antonius Musa, physician to Augustus Caesar.  Many herbs have been used over the millennia as protection against witchcraft, and one might imagine witchcraft in this sense to mean malicious intent using paranormal means (which, given its historical pre-eminence as a virtue to be held in an herb, seems to be a problem that has plagued humanity since the beginning). Wood Betony is an herb that acts on the gut-brain axis. That is, it has particular affinity for afflictions of both the gut and the head, but especially when they are connected – such as with headaches after drinking too much alcohol. I personally find it useful for anxiety related gut issues. Of oft irrational fears of the unknown, or the supernatural. I’ve put forward the theory in the past, due to my own experience of sleep paralysis and a sometimes relentless parade of uninvited entities, that people who tend toward parasitic infestation in the gut, where their own protective microbiome is imbalanced, are more prone to attracting energetic or spiritual parasites. Wood Betony is a grounding herb, meaning that it helps people feel more anchored in their bodies, to the earth, & in listening to their innate gut instincts. It is suited to people with poor boundaries who are prone to ‘go off with the faeries’, or prone to be taken by them. Matthew Wood confirms this by its successful use in cases of ‘those who are being or threatened to be kidnapped by aliens, faeries, or supernatural beings’Herbalist, Sean Donohue uses it for people who don’t feel at home on earth.

 

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Fringed Lily. Thysanotus tuberosus. by Fanny Anne Charsley. 1867

Fringed Lily/ Fringed Violet– a delicately beautiful Australian native of the vast Lily family. Delicate because it’s flower only opens for one morning before it leaves this plane. Delicate because its petals are defined by a fine hair-like fringe. The signature of fine hairs or hair-like features on a plant can often reflect the cilia, or the filtering hairs in the body, such as those found in the lungs, but they can also reflect the state of the nervous system. Fringed Lily, typically taken as a flower essence, is for people whose auras remain wide open after birth. That is, the perimeter of their personal sovereign energy never seals. We might see this reflected in the physical process of the closing & natural sealing of the fontanelles of the newborn’s skull in the days and weeks after birth. People whose personal energy or aura remains stuck open, are more likely to ‘leave’ their body energetically during shock. For this reason, Fringed Lily is an excellent remedy to be taken immediately after anything that inflicts trauma, when the body is in a state of shock. Some people mentally or emotionally disassociate from themselves if the trauma thev have experienced becomes too overwhelming for the mind to process. This also means that we can leave ourselves wide open to impressions and influences that might not be in our best interest. It also makes us much more sensitive to the more subtle planes and nuances than our anchored peers. Fringed Lily may be used after the trauma and shock has already taken place, in order to seal the energy field and bring the person back into their body. I have personally found it useful for helping children born by Caesarean section (myself included). The very process of a c-section means that the child misses out on the physical massaging action of moving through the birth canal, of moulding the head and moving the fontanelles, of gently caressing the newborn senses awake. The child also misses out on receiving the flora from their mother to begin colonising their own microbiome in their tender newborn gut. Of course, if a c-section birth is inevitable, these actions may be mimicked through the use of gentle massage of the child’s head and body immediately after birth during the skin to skin in arms phase of bonding with mother. (There are also now probiotic strains available for newborns, but the mother can still share her flora with her babe through breastfeeding).  Ian White, the developer of the Australian Bush Flower Essences, recommends very gently massaging one drop of Fringed Lily essence into the baby’s head area during this time to help the newborns task of ‘coming into its body’ and sealing the aura.

 

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St. John’s Wort– The botanical name for St. Johns Wort, Hypericum, comes from the Greek which conveys the meaning of having ‘power over the image’.  It has a long association with Wood Betony, sharing its workings with the gut-brain axis, and also having a long history of use in protecting one against faeries, witchcraft, and evil spirits. It also has a special affinity for the head, as well as injuries in which the nerves have been severed. Where Wood Betony grounds the person who is given to flights of fancy and away from the body, St. Johns Wort is particularly strengthening to the solar plexus (it being a solar remedy and indeed when infusing it in oil we use the power of the sun to draw out its virtues), and the gut instinct. I’ve used it for people who have lost their drive. It strengthens a person’s sense of purpose, resolve, and gets them back on track.  Herbalist, Gail Faith Edwards writes, “The ancients believed St. Johns Wort imparted inner strength and protection for those engaged in spiritual work. The Greeks wrote that a mere whiff (of this not particularly aromatic herb) sends harmful spirits fleeing.”  St John’s Wort has been found to possess anti-viral activity.

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DIY smudge stick by M. Carnochan 2019.

There are herbs such as White Sage, Thuja, and Wormwood that would probably be very annoyed at me if I didn’t at least mention them as allies for protection. If you’re familiar with Native American ceremonial practices at all, then the act of Smudging, particularly with White Sage will be familiar. For those not familiar with smudging, it is a way of cleansing oneself of any negative energies picked up from others, or cleansing ones’ space using the smoke from a bundle of herbs that has been dried and then lit like incense and allowed to smoulder for this purpose. The herbs used are chosen particularly for their cleansing and purifying virtues. White Sage is one such perhaps more famous herb. Possibly because all of the nouveau-bohemians have latched onto it. I have only started working with this plant because I decided to grow it. I would advise that if you feel the call to work with white sage, that you also grow this plant, rather than harvest from what I read are dwindling communities in its native habitat or purchase from companies that also exploit the wild herb.

Many cultures all around the world, if not all of them, burn some sort of incense, or plant preparation, as a part of their spiritual ceremonies, to clean and purify, or sanctify the space to be used. Resins like Frankincense, myrrh (interesting that these were given as royal gifts), or from cedar, and pine are used. All of these possess some anti-microbial virtues on the physical plane and serve to inhibit infection and spread of disease. Other herbs with similar properties that might be considered for this are thyme, lavender, lemon myrtle, and eucalyptus. Hyssop is another noted cleansing herb of spiritual importance.

I wanted to make special mention of Thuja as a protective herb here as well. It is often used in smudge bundles, but it has also been used over the last century of experimentation that we have found ourselves in as a protection for the after-effects of vaccination. Whether you are pro, against, or somewhere in the middle is of no concern to me. I only mention this because of the simple fact that a vaccination bypasses the normal route of microbial attack on the body (and therefore the normal immune defence cascade) & it injects a foreign entity into your blood. The life of the flesh is in the blood. You might want to protect that.

 

Wormwood is another herb with a long history of use in dealing with parasites, both physical and metaphysical. Sean Donahue says that wormwood is ‘psychotherapy in a bottle’. He says that plants like Wormwood which are not only aromatic but also nauseatingly bitter, “can serve to root out deeply festering energetic infestations.”Sean recommends 1 drop/1x week of the tincture. I can confirm this is successful in dealing with the more stubborn energetic parasites. It appears to reconnect the lapses in nerve transmission that they take advantage of. It is often useful in combination with wood betony in this regard. Mugwort can be used in the same way but has more of an affinity for females, as does Angelica – another plant that serves to bring things into the light.  Wormwood, Mugwort (and other Artemeisas), and Angelica can all be used as smudges.

 

I’d like to end with sharing an experience that Matthew Wood had of working with Holly as an ally. This is of particular note, because as I said at the beginning of this article – we may have forgotten about the spirit realm, but it hasn’t forgotten about us. In fact, there are aspects of the spiritual realm, that which I am talking about protecting ourselves from here, that positively hate us. This adversarial spirit will go out of its way to divide us, to isolate us, to prey on our weakness, to make us doubt ourselves, and bring us down to its lower vibrational level. If allowed, it will incite in us a terror and a fear, and a hatred toward each other that reduces us to nothing but a long-forgotten cytoplasmic puddle. It hates us with a passion. Again, look at what is happening in the world just now. Matthew felt this thought-form and describes his experience in a post recently shared on Facebook. I have copied it here as he has written it (but if you would like to read his thoughts on this virus as a whole, please visit his page here.)

 

“Yesterday a friend and i drove into town (Santa Fe, where I have been teaching)—- from the countryside. As we drove in we felt assailed by a presence that kind of clouded our brains. As all of you know, any little tickle in the throat, cough, sneeze, or sore gland triggers awareness and maybe even fear for the minute or two it lasts. But it felt more like a psychic presence and we took a dose of Holly flower essence (Bach) each. Better. 

This is the Bach flower remedy for irrational hatred, fear, paranoia, and that seems the emotion of the hour and even months past. I have used for exhaustion from bacterial infection in Lyme co-infections on myself and two others, so I was expecting it might help in a viral infection with exhaustion. But we both agreed totally on our experience: it was not the virus but the mind state that was “infecting” the community at large and passing on to us or accompanying the virus on the emotional/psychic level. We need to be conscious that these irrational thoughts do not infect us. We ALL will be prone to them at some time or another, but the more we can rise above them the better we and the community will be.

On Dec. 21 or 22 I woke with a feeling of tachycardia, but I soon realized it was something else. My heart was being expanded and then some spirits said to me, “there is only one thing that is required for passing into the next spiritual world: an open heart.” Well “of course,” I thought. What else could be required? Not intelligence or dogma. And I lay there for an hour with my heart blasted open. 

A number of people have been having the same experience of their heart opening. 

After the recent “exposure” to the thought form I felt the virus hanging over me, face and chest, hating me and hating me. After half an hour I finally said, “why do you hate me so much?” It said, “I am everything that you hate.” So I now see this virus and its mindset/thoughtform as a precipitation of our own human hatred and paranoia. 

I believe holly clears this darkness, which opposes the heart and characterizes the present test for humanity — and Holly is helpful here. But love is better.

Addendum: use the bach remedy or leaves from the English Holly (widely planted) or American—the berries are toxic, not the leaves. Mild doses. tea or tincture.”

 

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You know, it’s been said that the greatest trick the devil ever played was to convince the world that he didn’t exist. This wasn’t the greatest trick. The greatest trick was making the people forget who they are and where they come from. In many ancient cultures, the most evil thing that could ever befall a person was the forgetting of his or her name. No other punishment  was greater than someone having their name wiped away from all living memory.  Don’t forget who you are, and where you came from. You were conceived in the mind of Divine Love before the earth even existed. Don’t let the powers that be take that knowledge away from you.

Stay strong, stay in the Light. Be Love.

In Peace.

Michelle x

 

*I refer to our whole organism – body, emotion, mind, spirit as a holographic being because all of these aspects are intersectional and interconnected. What affects one aspect, affects all others. It is also holographic due to its fractal nature. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, because the parts reflect the whole.

** https://www.heartmath.org

*** Psalm 91 – He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthings, Grassroots Healing, Musings, Reflections, Spirituality

The Mother Within

For Mum. Love you xo

 

“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you who love  her; rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her; That you may feed and be satisfied with the consolation of her breast, that you may drink deeply and be delighted with the abundance of her glory”…”behold I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like a flowing stream. Then you shall feed; On her sides shall you be carried and be dandled on her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

This is one of my favourite passages out of all the writings of the Prophets. It’s hard to imagine now of this troubled city, but it speaks of a time to come when a true, everlasting peace shall flow out of Jerusalem to bring comfort and healing to the whole world. The poetry evoking the maternal archetype is sublime. It touches that deepest part of ourselves, to that tiny baby that still exists deep in our core, who still craves the tenderness and comfort and nourishment that only a mother can give. The archetype is universal in its application, whether we experienced it with our own mothers or not, it gives us hope.

carnations
Carnations. My mums favourite. image source: Wikimedia commons.

The purpose of introducing this post with this quote is not to discuss or expound the belief system that it comes from, instead this central concept of drinking deeply of this outflowing comforting peace reminded me of an interesting parallel to that other, and equally archetypal mother we continue to carry within ourselves – the Extra-Cellular Matrix.

Today it is Mother’s Day here in Australia, so I thought it fitting to drop a post about a thought process that I recently shared on Facebook, that as Matthew Wood noted, makes the Extra-Cellular Matrix exceptionally human, and in my pattern-attuned mind, Divinely inspired. It came to me whilst listening to Matthew talk about the mucopolysaccharides in Marshmallow Root (which gives a cold infusion of the root a slimy, gel like consistency) and how in practice we might use it in ‘leaky gut syndrome’ because it is similar to the Matrix material which acts as something like a mortar in between the cells in the gut lining. I’ll explain what this means and revise what the ECM is as I share my thought process here in the fulness of its progression.

Which came first, the protein or the Matrix? For a long time, alternative health practitioners have said that dairy/milk is mucous forming^, it’s acidic (when pasteurised and homogenised), and it’s one of the top food allergens. Mainstream medicine and mainstream dieticians have always refuted these concepts, possibly dependant on where their funding came from. This post/thought process isn’t about the inherent good or badness of dairy in the diet, nor is it an invitation to debate whether breast really is best (it is), rather I am drawing correlations in regard to the role of the Extra-Cellular Matrix in the effects of milk on the human body – particularly the infant human body.

Many years ago, during a semester of Nutritional Biochemistry, I learned that babies are born with purposefully designed ‘leaky guts’. That is, their gut membrane is full of tiny little holes^^. These tiny perforations don’t seal up until the appearance of the first teeth. There’s an ingenious reason for this. Mother’s breast milk, especially the Colostrum of the first 2-3 days post-birth, is full of proteins such as antibodies and other immunity-founding components, as well as the macronutrients – fat, carbs, and protein. The ‘leaky gut’ of the baby allows these large proteins to move through and start establishing a good foundation for the immune system. Different microflora species, as well the food they need are also found in breast milk, and this – along with the flora received during the normal birth process – helps to establish the baby’s own gut microbiome. We now know that a healthy microbiome has far-reaching health affects – from our immunity to our mental health.

My understanding is that the emergence of the teeth signals that along with this sealing of the gut membrane, the baby is now ready for solids and other foreign proteins – found in other animal products and grains in particular. Introduction of these prior to this milestone confuses the fledgling immune system and sets up an immune response, which if coupled with other foreign intrusions (such as formaldehyde, aluminium, mercury, and recombinant DNA from bovine, porcine, and simian tissue, and aborted human foetal tissue – also known as Human diploid cells MRC-5), results in the development of allergies and food intolerances. But in learning about the ECM (extra-cellular matrix), I’ve now come to a slightly more developed understanding.

The ECM is the gel-like fluid that exists between the capillaries, the lymphatic vessels and the cells themselves. It consists of single-molecule width polymers such as glucosamine and hyaluronic acid. This ‘matrix’ receives nutrient and metabolic waste product like some central transport station which then organises where everything needs to go. Whereas once the cell theory (that is, the cell was an autonomous unit that regulated itself) dominated medical thought (and still does), researchers have since found that it is actually this Matrix that regulates all cell function, and acts as a unified whole throughout the body as an organ in its own right. Most recently it has been rediscovered by mainstream science and is now known as the Interstitium. By and large this is the organ that the treatment of alternative practitioners targets the most. And we were doing this intuitively long before the mainstream got wind of it.

I’ll let Matthew, referencing Alfred Pischinger, the doctor who brought the Interstitium to the fore, describe the Extra-cellular Matrix with his usual eloquence;

“It was Dr Alfred Pischinger (2007) who demonstrated that the pathology and biology based on the cell as the basic “unit of life” was a delusion resulting from superficial observation and disregard for the complexities of natural systems. His research on the extracellular matrix is still to be appreciated in conventional medicine, but Pischinger has shown that the basic functional unit of life is the capillary/matrix/cell. The cell in a multicellular organism does not control itself, like a person or an animal, but is controlled by the matrix, which determines when and what it east, when it releases waste products, whether it reproduces or migrates, ad how actively it contributes to the life of the organism as a whole. The matrix is fed and drained by the capillary bed (including the lymphatic capillaries), and therefore this triad is the basic unit of life. Changes in the cell are related to changes in its environment, and changes in this environment are related to changes in the circulation.“(Wood, et al. 2015. Traditional Western herbalism and Pulse Evaluation: A conversation.)

klimt 1905 mother and child
Gustav Klimt.1905. Mother and Child.

Now I have to wonder, as I examine breast milk more closely – yes, it seems to be the same consistency as ECM fluid – indeed most secretions in and from the body are composed of this fluid. With this in mind, I contemplate whether the importance of breast milk lies not so much in the immune proteins etc that it provides (although the love, comfort, and nutritional nourishment is paramount), does it – as an extension of the mother’s matrix – actually entrain the baby’s matrix? We might compare this with how the mother’s heart entrains the baby’s heart to beat at a regular rhythm, or the mothers breathing patterns entrain, or teaches the baby to breathe more slowly and evenly. This speaks to the instinct to carry our newborns around, or sleep next to them, keeping them close to our hearts, now sadly often over-ridden.

When we introduce milk from another animal before the appropriate time, does the baby’s body instead recognise that this matrix material simply does not carry the same ‘vibe’ as the mother’s matrix? After all, as I write this I have to conclude that amniotic fluid also has its origins in the matrix fluid, and given that the baby has spent some 40 weeks being bathed in this very personal imprint of his or her mother, I suspect that the similarities would be instantly recognised – at least on a sub-conscious or instinctive level.

This is important, because if we understand the incredible significance of this Interstitium, this Matrix (interestingly, from the Latin – also meaning ‘mother’), on the regulation of our bodies and our overall health, then surely we should come to a greater appreciation of how important this innately human liquid gold is to our children.

I think another fascinating tangent off this is that for women who, for whatever reason, can’t breastfeed, the historical record going back to the most ancient of annals tells us that until we felt the need to sterilise our experience of life, finding a wet-nurse seemed instinctive. The wet nurse was a surrogate nursing mother, and often this was another mother, relative, or a hired servant. Occasionally, in the most dire of circumstances or in the mythological realm, the wet-nurse was an animal. But even the thinking that the intelligence of the wet-nurse would be inherited by the nursling is telling. And to complete the continuum, I was recently discussing this thought process with my own Mum, and she mentioned that when I was a baby her doctor told her that the baby’s saliva is exactly the same as the Mother’s. Instinctively, during the introduction of solid foods and foreign proteins, many mothers throughout history in all cultures would chew the food first before giving it to the infant. This instinct began the process of digestion, reducing the food to a mush and therefore making it easier for the baby’s young digestive tract to recognize and accept. I’m not one to think that the ancients were clumsily fumbling around in a darkness filled with the cobwebs of superstition. I think that they knew and experienced life in its full expression, something that most of us might only dream abou

It is beyond the scope of this platform, as well as your attention to go as deep as the subject will allow here, so if you would like to know and understand more about the Extra-cellular Matrix, particularly in regard to how we work with it through herbal medicine, keep an eye out for Matthew Wood’s new book on the subject, publishing sometime in the next year. A preview of his work on it can be found at www.matthewwoodinstituteofherbalism.com

I find that the physical manifestations of the untainted creation are an expression of the spiritual, and so some of you may continue to run with this concept of a unifying Matrix and consider what upholds and sustains the universe and keeps the planets and the stars in their orbits, or Who binds the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion?

I will leave you to ponder.

 

 

Until next time,

Blessings be on the Mothers xo

 

 

 

 

Addendums and continuing thoughts:

 

^ A 2013 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that bioactive peptides in cow’s milk do indeed induce mucous production in the neonatal rat jejunum (small intestine). The response appears to be a protective mechanism. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/133/11/3499/4817930

 

^^ It is now recognised that mouth-like openings known as ‘tight junctions’ exist in the gut membrane. Opiate-like proteins (bioactive peptides) such as those found in Gluten stimulate the release of a hormone called Zonulin which controls the opening and closing of these tight junctions, and this stimulation can give rise to gluten-sensitivity as the continual consumption of gluten-containing products keep these tight junctions open via the constant release of Zonulin, which then leads to an inflammatory response due to the entrance of the large foreign proteins in Gluten products that bypass normal digestion. Mammalian milk, whether from a cow, dolphin, or human also contains similar bioactive peptides that act like opiates in the body. This opiate like effect is evidenced by the ‘punch-drunk’ expression of a baby satisfied after a full feed from her mother’s breast, and why babies have a tendency to fall asleep whilst feeding. Further research is perhaps needed to determine whether these tight junctions in the newborn gut are permanently open and kept open by the continual supply of Mothers milk, or the perforations exist between the cells themselves and the tight junctions are not yet in operation until the teeth erupt.

Grassroots Healing, Reflections

Loss, Grief, and Transitional Herbalism.

(Or The Life and Times of an Itinerant herbalist and her Well-Travelled Aloe.)

 

Some people have a T.A.R.D.I.S and a short-lived companion. I have an ever-growing entourage of books and pot plants and the steadfast loyalty of an Aloe vera named The Kraken that accompany me on numerous adventures around the small contained universe that is this vast sunburnt land.

As well as my husband and children, of course.

We are currently once more in Transition, that wonderful state of being neither here nor there, not entirely sure where we’ll end up but optimistic that our leaps of Faith will somehow land us on stable, solid ground. Seven or so weeks ago, we packed up our possessions, hired a dubious-looking removalist with which we reluctantly entrusted our stuff, and in two fully-loaded cars (including packed-in children) made the great journey north from Melbourne back to the Sydney basin. We have landed just north of Sydney, on the rugged sandstone headlands of the Central Coast. Our stuff arrived safely, although in somewhat lesser volume than what I had packed, largely because Husband went on a last minute unsupervised culling rampage. Thankfully, all of my books and plants were accounted for. And the children, of course. I can mark them all as Safe during The Great Exodus of 2018 on Facebook.

Moving house is said to be one of the most stressful experiences that the modern human in the Western world has to endure. I’ve endured this roughly around 30 times or more in just over 40 years. Once, when I was a teenager,  my parents even moved house while I was away on holiday. You think I would be used to it. I am not – particularly when children and multiple bookcases and acclimatized pot plants are involved. Although I enjoy the travel, the opportunity to live in various places, I don’t enjoy the upheaval. I don’t enjoy the attempt to settle and find some stability only to be uprooted again not long after. I also don’t enjoy the uncertainty of where we’ll be living. Will it be a tent, a mouse-infested shed, or simply couch surfing in someone’s living room? A garden would be nice. We had just over two years respite in a house we were only meant to live in for 6 months in Melbourne. It was wonderful, and it was finally our own space, but for the first 6 weeks of moving in, a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder appeared. Have you ever noticed how the body does that? You can be running on nothing but adrenaline in order just to get things done, but as soon as it’s over, you crash and burn. It feels completely disorienting. Focussing on gratitude helped me to settle down, establish new friendships, deepen older ones, acquire more plants, get the kids into a good rhythm, and get working again. Working with the plants is my passion and my coping mechanism, making medicine is my own personal healing regime as much as it is to facilitate healing in others. Melbourne was good to me in that regard. In spite of my constitutional aversion to the cold, autumn and winter were my busiest seasons. My Winter Immune Zoom Elixir was my most sought-after product.

Yet the winds of change blew once more, and we heard the call to bug out and move back to be closer to our family. We had six weeks to pack up and move on. I paced myself, made lists of what needed to be done and when, and managed to get the whole house sorted and packed, and I was feeling pretty confident. This was the first time we had to pack up a whole house full of our stuff in about five years. I could do it. For someone who doesn’t have great stress coping ability, I was feeling pretty calm about the whole thing. We were literally giving up everything we had settled into in Melbourne and jumping headfirst into the Void, but I could do this. I was grateful for the respite that we had been given. I was grateful that I had been able to move forward in my work and settle into a more stable form of practice. I was grateful for the opportunities that we had been given. So, I could do this. I had come to accept that we were sojourners. That some of us are given the job of traversing the globe sprinkling magical pixie dust here and there, hopefully bringing some form of encouragement to people’s lives only to then move on again. It was all going to be okay. But then a week before we had to move, I got an early morning phone call. My Nanna had died.

My Nanna – my paternal grandmother – and I were made of the same stock and we got on well. She was a voracious reader – I think she must have been the local newsagents most loyal customer. The latest copy of New Idea, Woman’s Day, and Woman’s Weekly, AND TV Week could always be found somewhere within reach at her house, although she would say that she got them for the puzzles and the crossword at the back, not so much for the celebrity gossip. She was a farmer’s wife, and always seemed to be working. Even when she watched Days of Our Lives and Young & the Restless late at night when everyone had gone to bed, she’d be ironing the clean laundry. Getting the VCR was probably one of the best days of her life.  She also loved her garden and was a quiet conservationist. When my aunt died at the age of 22, my Nanna began planting a forest of natives in her memory on an unused one acre paddock on the property. She started that project in 1986. Now the paddock is a dense woodland full of mature trees. Stepping into that forest that my Nanna planted is like stepping into another world. It has its own climate. It’s soothing, calming, and refreshing. It’s an amazing legacy and a testament to a woman with a quiet, yet strong determination to just get on with things and do the best that you can, and with the faith that everything will somehow work out.

Sadly, around  12 years ago, she was diagnosed with dementia. Ten years ago was probably the last time I had the opportunity to really converse with her, and for her to recognise who I was. The grief of her loss, partly for this reason, has been profound. Suffice it to say, that the last week of living in Melbourne, attempting to complete the packing, figuring out if I could get to the funeral, and say our goodbyes to dearly beloved friends was like wading through a gelatinous fog. I didn’t make it to the funeral. It was 1500kms away, moved forward to literally 3 days before we needed to be out of our house and when everything had already been booked, and would have cost over a thousand dollars in flights, only to be there for an hour and have to turn around to fly back and then drive north two days later. In short, I just wanted that week to be over.

So, we moved, and found ourselves back in familiar territory. Our possessions are back in storage, and we are couch-surfing in my in-laws living room.

Grief is interesting. We go through stages in our grief. First there’s a sort of foggy disbelief, then numbness, then anguish, and anger, and then at some point, acceptance. Sometimes it’s not so linear. Sometimes it’s all over the place. Different things trigger it. Random things. Stress and perimenopausal hormone shifts, and sometimes you think you’ve got a handle on it, but really there’s a huge swell building up behind the dam wall. And when it bursts,  in the flood of tears and emotion you realise that you’re not just grieving the loss of a loved one, or not having closure, but you’re grieving the loss of stability, the loss of income, the loss of some form of security, of a life that you had started to rebuild for your children, and for your own legacy. And it makes you feel a little redundant. Why am I here again? So in this current state of Transition, I am grieving more deeply than I have ever grieved before.

There are numerous herbs, flower essences, essential oils, and homoeopathics that one could use for grief. But I am reluctant to use these in ’fresh’ grief, although gentle nerve nourishing herbs and calming scents can be supportive, particularly when shock is involved, or the person has difficulty coping with stress in general. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and Milky oats (Avena sativa) are staples in my personal stress support toolbox.  If someone was having trouble expressing grief, or if the grief was old, suppressed and unresolved, the specific grief remedies are more appropriate, but by and large fresh grief needs to be expressed immediately and as it arises, and ideally in a loving and supportive, and therefore safe, environment. This can be around family and friends, and perhaps even a good support group, but it can also mean the physical environment.

I am fortunate that our current residence sits atop a hill in a very quiet community overlooking the ocean. There’s a large picture window at the back of the house that takes in this sweeping vista. The ocean and the beach are everchanging and no two days are the same. Some days the sea is as still as a millpond, other days, particularly if there is a storm brewing, the waves are rough, forming turbulent towers before they crash and pound into the shore. If I walk on the sand or gaze out the window, I can’t help but reflect on the analogy of the sea and our emotions. My grief has been as tumultuous as the stormy sea, and as calm as a clear, still summers day. But the first week we arrived here, it rained heavily, and it rained nonstop. The weather perfectly reflected the release that I needed to express. I find solace in this. We are fractals of a greater creation, connected to a greater consciousness.

“For everything there is a season …..”   

 

The three primary ‘negative’ emotions we experience are anger, grief, and fear. Where anger is very dynamic, an expression of the fire element, yang-like, and about pushing away, grief (or deep sadness) is more fluid and therefore an expression of the water element, has more of a yin quality, and is about the need to hold on but then being willing to let go. Grief has traditionally been associated with the lungs, and it might be of interest to note that people with long-standing unresolved grief issues also experience asthma or other chronic respiratory complaints. Oftentimes grief can be coupled with fear, (the energetics of which is somewhat neutral and lies between the outward movement of anger and the inward movement of grief, this gives rise to the ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ response) and this will often show up in kidney/adrenal issues. Our emotions are designed to move us, to motivate us to make a change. We can choose to respond to them by listening, reflecting, and acting (what is the emotion telling me about me and my needs?), we can choose to vent it, express it and let it out at other people as our targets, or we can choose to supress it, to bury it deep inside of us, ignore it and hopefully it will go away. In venting, we often project it onto other people and try to make them responsible for how we feel, but this isn’t really healthy and won’t help us find peace within ourselves. If we bury or supress and hide the emotion, we are largely in denial, but our bodies store it. To bury an emotion, we literally tense our muscles and hold our breath. To effectively listen to, reflect on, and act (ie: to respond appropriately, to allow our emotions to flow in grace) it helps to understand what the emotion is about.

In his rather extraordinary training program on Emotional Healing (which I am currently working through), American herbalist and natural healer Steven Horne discusses the significance of grief, it’s energetics, and it’s physiological and anatomical associations. He says that in order to understand grief we need to understand Love, or rather the various types of love (which I covered in my previous post). Love, like grief, has a very yin quality. It’s about drawing in, receiving, and expanding (or giving). But we don’t and can’t control that which we love. (The desire to control comes from a place of fear and sometimes anger, which drives love away.)  Grief then, is the recognition of this – as painful as it can be. Grief is actually about the process of letting go. In order to fully let go of that deep pain (whether fresh or supressed) we need to fully engage with it. Holding onto it only prolongs the pain and can lead to not only physical pathology (disease processes) but also to seeing ourselves as victims. This victimhood in turn sets us up for a feeling of powerlessness and the need to be rescued, manipulation of others to have this need met, and will attract further situations in which one plays this role. And in the long term, it can lead to bitterness if these needs aren’t met. This isn’t healthy either. Again, we look to the patterns inherent in nature and see that life flows in an ebb and flow of polarities. With inhalation comes the exhalation.

Steven gives some useful tools to facilitate the flow of grief and the process of letting go. I’d like to share them with you here, as I have found them quite useful in my own process;

  • If possible, find a safe space where you can be free to express your feelings without disturbing others (if you don’t feel free to express yourself in front of others or you don’t have any loved ones around who can hold the space for you). Turn off all distractions and just sit with your feelings. This is why I find solace in nature, whether it is in a secluded spot at the beach, or in a woodland. It allows you to focus and reflect more easily. The fresh air and negative ions also help with the next point..

 

  • Start with your breathing. Each emotion has a particular breathing pattern. The pattern of grief is a forced and shallow, difficult inhalation (like gasping for air, such as when one is sobbing), followed by a long, slow exhalation such as is heard when someone is sighing, wailing, or moaning. My children reminded me of the phenomena that excessive sighing is often a sign of unresolved grief. “Mum, you’re sighing again!” I sighed a LOT when we were packing up our house. One of the keynote symptoms of the homeopathic remedy Ignatia is excessive sighing, and this remedy is often given for unresolved and deep-seated grief. The normal breathing pattern follows inhalation, exhalation, rest, inhalation, exhalation, rest, and so on in a cycle that energetically reflects expansion, contraction, and equilibrium. We can shift our emotions and allow them to flow through us by tuning into the pattern that is expressed by our current emotion, and then allowing it to shift with awareness into a more balanced state. To do this with grief, we allow ourselves to fully tune in to the hurt that we are feeling and as we breathe in, feel that pain and acknowledge it, and then as we exhale, we seek to empty our lungs as fully as possible. Sigh with it and imagine the hurt and the pain flowing out of you. This will help to not only connect us with the feeling but also fully release it. When we empty our lungs fully, we release endorphins and interestingly, this occurs in both grief and laughter.

 

  • Express your pain. If you feel the urge to cry, don’t hold back. Grieving involves wailing, weeping, and sometimes even screaming. Again, these are all ways in which your body intuitively is attempting to let go. When we cry, stress hormones are also excreted in our tears. To hold onto these will also prolong pain and can lead to physical pathology.

 

  • Grieving takes time and you can’t rush it. There will be sunny days and there will be rainy days, but we can also use rituals to externalise what is happening internally. Creating a ‘letting go’ ritual may be helpful, particularly when we need some form of closure. To do this, we start by creating a symbol of what’s been lost, and then taking this symbol, letting it go somewhere.

 

It has also been said that because much of the pain of grief is about regret, because we didn’t fully appreciate what we had, experiencing grief fully allows us to be therefore fully in gratitude of all the blessings that we have now, as well what we had before. There is also a divine opportunity within grief because it has the capacity to open up our heart and allow us to surrender. To fully surrender to it empties that inner space and makes room for Light, Love and Joy. It doesn’t mean that we forget our loved ones, but it does mean that life goes on and with every ending, there is a new beginning. If we have lost a loved one, we might use their legacy to inspire the unfolding of our own.

In the time since we moved, several of our friends have also lost loved ones. This reflection on grief is as much for them as it is in expressing my own process. Grief, if we allow it to flow, is a deeply communal process, as much as it is a personal process. A burden or sorrow shared is lighter, the collective heart opens wider, the love with which it is shared grows deeper.  As much as I find solace and comfort in the cycles and patterns of nature reflected back to me of my own inner journeying, I also find solace in knowing that grief is a shared experience. Even the Divine knows grief. Out of all Scripture, perhaps the one that is most poignant and speaks the most to this process, simply says;

Yahusha* wept.  (John 11:35)

If we meditate on this, it is deeply profound. It is also deeply comforting.

 

When we moved here, it rained nonstop for the first week and a half. It ended around the time of the Spring equinox. Almost overnight, the jasmine blossomed, the wisteria exploded in a shower of purple, and a very special shoot emerged from a pot that was seemingly devoid of a plant. A pot I had with some far-off vision of a future hope brought with me on that long trip from Melbourne. Last summer I bought a young Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) plant. It was beautiful and green but come autumn, it suddenly died. I thought it was lost because of the schizophrenic climate that Melbourne is infamous for. Before I found out that it goes dormant in the autumn and winter, I did frantically check to see if the rhizome was in fact dead. I dug my fingers deep into the soil and felt a fleshy new bud. All was well. I’m not a cold climate person, and so I suppose that my plants – being, in my mind, subtle extensions of myself – would feel the same. By the end of winter, and when the almond and the English daisies and everything else was sprouting and blossoming, the new shoot hadn’t yet appeared. I despaired that I had lost the plant entirely. So, when it came time to take stock of my plants and pot them up for the journey ahead, I re-potted the rhizome in a smaller pot, hoping that perhaps God willing, it would come back to life and it would deal with the humidity that Sydney can experience. I think I may have even prayed over it.

My heart filled with insurmountable joy when I saw that tiny new shoot peering out of the bare soil. It almost exploded when the second shoot appeared a day later. Over the next week and a half, the tiny shoots grew with a fervour I’ve never seen in a plant before and within the space of about eight days, it went from two ½ an inch shoots to two 2ft tall elegantly unfurled and fully blossomed stems of verdant green. Eight is the number of renewal and new beginnings, but what struck me the most, is that the plant needed that deluge to begin again. Much like my grief. We are fractals of a greater creation, connected to a greater consciousness. My grieving process was being echoed by the creation itself. Grief is a deeply spiritual process, if we allow it. It reconnects us with Life, and the source of Life. And for this I am truly grateful.

One aspect of my grief was the sense of loss I felt around being able to practice, to have access to my already dwindling dispensary, to be able to make medicine, and ultimately to help people in need. I felt a bit redundant. But there will always be people in need no matter where one finds oneself. And there is always bench space somewhere for a jar or two of macerating tincture or culturing kefir. And I do have access to a stove to make deep decoctions. And on my sojourns, I’ve often found that the plants you need will be found growing around you when you need them most or appear through almost divinely inspired connections with others of like mind. I am practicing again, but I am in truth always practicing, whether it’s dealing with my child’s fever, another child’s wart, my husband’s ingrown fingernail, or coaching a friend through lifestyle changes, or dealing with my own stress. And sometimes a new client comes along, at just the right time, who just happens to need Solomon’s Seal.

 

Hope springs eternal.

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The following are various herbs, flower essences and essential oils that you may find useful in supporting your nervous system, helping you to express your grief, and allowing your heart to heal.

  • Nerve nourishing herbs (as teas or tinctures/glycerites, or added to baths)

lavender, skullcap, milky oats, ashwagandha, tulsi (holy basil), linden blossom, hawthorn blossom.

  • Flower essences for grief

Bleeding heart (for release, grief over an ended relationship or death of a loved one),

Borage (uplifts and gives the heart courage, a balm for grief),

Dandelion (helps with releasing stuck grief or emotional pain),

Fuschia (for helping to acknowledge and express grief that may have been repressed),

Golden Ear Drops (helps to release tears that may have been held back in childhood),

Honeysuckle (helps to let go of the past, to appreciate the here and now so life can go on),

Loveliesbleeding (for profound anguish and deep grief felt in isolation),

Sagebrush (helps to work through the pain and emptiness of any kind of loss),

Star of Bethlehem – calming after the shock of any death, loss, or tragedy.

Wild Rose (for people unable to accept the tragic events of life, when there is numbing or withdrawal during grief)

Yerba Santa (constricted feelings in the chest due to deeply internalised pain from repressed grief, often accompanied with melancholy)

 

  • To Help the Heart to Open and Heal

Rose (flower essence, herb, essential oil), Hawthorn (Flower essence or herb), California Wild Rose (Flower essence)

 

  • Essential Oils (to use in a diffuser, as a massage oil, or a roll-on on the pulse points, or adde to the bath)

 

Frankincense

Helichrysum

Honeysuckle

Jasmine

Lavender

Lemon Balm (Melissa)

Lily of the Valley ( a fragrance oil)

Rose

 

 

For those of you interested in exploring the significance of our emotions and how to heal them, whether supressed or vented, I highly recommend Steven Horne’s Emotional Healing Training Program. He has made it entirely free and is available to watch on Youtube. Search Steven Horne and click on his 2018 Emotional Healing Training playlist for all modules and lessons. There are four modules that cover the spiritual foundations of emotional healing, understanding emotions, understanding the heart, and tools and techniques to help us heal. He has also put together two gorgeous charts for ease in identifying stored emotions in the body and the relevant flower essences and essential oils to address them. These are available from his website www.treelite.com I am not affiliated in any way with his practice or school and I receive no kickbacks. I have been going through the program and have found it to be quite profound when incorporated into my own holistic practice with my clients as well as for myself. I am more than happy to pay it forward. We are all in this together.

 

Many blessings,

Michelle.

 

*Jesus. Yahusha is his Hebrew name, within which is the revealing and proclamation of the Father, our creators Name – Yahuah. The Son’s name literally means ‘Yahuah is our saviour’.