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.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grassroots Healing, Musings, Plant Medicine, Spirituality

On Being Called to Plant Seeds

I have taken on an apprentice. This is my second apprentice. The first quibbled over why my tea bag had a string and informative bit of card attached and his didn’t. I was attempting to teach him how to make a medicinally useful cup of tea. Suffice it to say, we didn’t get past that first lesson, mainly because sixteen is a fascinating age and so is their hair. My second apprentice is a little more eager, although the attention span is also a bit shorter, and she doesn’t actually like drinking herbal tea. Maybe because she’s nine or she’s going on 30. And the second-born hasn’t been engaged to be my third apprentice yet because he’s being called by volcanoes, and dinosaurs, and the ghosts of dinosaurs that were possibly consumed by volcanoes, who also code.

I am of course, talking about my children. As part of their home-school Science/Home Economics/Physical Education and Personal Development (insert other relevant compartmentalised Edubabble here) curriculum I thought I would start incorporating more formal botany, plant identification and herbal medicine lessons into their learning plan. I also had an overwhelming urge to pass on my knowledge so our tradition isn’t lost. I mean, after all, breast milk when they were babies and herbs as they grew and an inordinate supply of hugs, are the only medicine they’ve ever known when they have needed it. It should come naturally, right?  So, we’ve been using the excellent resource that is American herbalist, Kristine Brown’s Herbal Roots Zine – a monthly ‘zine subscription that focuses on a new herb each month. We have also owned the excellent Wildcraft board game since John & Kimberly from Learning Herbs first published it. And we use Jeannie Fulbright’s Exploring Creation with Botany, and Thomas J. Elpel’s Botany in a Day. And of course, we have lived in the bush, or nearby, ever since the kids were born (except that brief exile to suburbia in Melbourne, and that time we bummed around on Currumbin Beach for 8 weeks. Nevertheless, there are still medicinal weeds aplenty in these diverse places). The kids can identify most of the more common medicinals growing around us, wherever we have found ourselves.

Currently, my young Padawan is getting to know Dandelion. We’ve traipsed around our quiet little seaside community in search of it. She has learnt to identify and know the difference between lookalike species, she has harvested leaves and flowers, and dug roots, dried the leaves and sprinkled them in our dinner, picked the flowers to infuse in oil, pressed the plant and recorded interesting information about its virtues in her journal. Yet as I watch her colouring a picture of the Dandelion, I can’t help but wonder – has she heard the Dandelion’s song? You see, she knows the technical sort of details of the plant, but does she know its essence? It should come naturally right? I mean, after all, she has grown up knowing which herbs are what and what I have used them for, surely it would sort of rub off somehow, or maybe she’s inherited my passion.

But then, as is my wont, I pondered some more.

What do you do when the land climbs into your bones,

its green tendrils unfurl through your veins,

and it sings its blooms into your heart?

 

I was somewhat appalled recently when I discovered that a number of naturopaths using herbs have never seen the herbs they use in their original state (that is, as the whole living plant, or even a photo of it, not liquids in a brown bottle, or dried and crushed into equally non-descript pills), let alone be able to identify them if they happenchanced upon them in the wild. A profound sadness filled me. How could this be?! Actually, I felt quite traumatised by this. There is a deep wound here. A deep disconnect. And perhaps as affected as I was, not surprised because we are products of a reductionist society. But on reflection, it reminded me of a conversation I had not so long ago about the meaning of the seemingly unrelated word –Indigenous.  My friend and I were discussing this term in relation to the knowledge of our own Australian Indigenous herbal – or rather Bush Medicine – tradition, and how, it is a largely oral-based tradition that is well protected and not readily shared unless deep respect is earned by the seeker (ie; to people of European descent. Understandably). My friend and I, to the eye anyway, are both of European descent. I have Dutch, Scots/Celt, Scandinavian, & Jewish blood running through my veins, and there has been some speculation that there’s also a drop or two of Indigenous Australian blood in there as well, but whatever the case may be, here I am having been born here, my parents were both born here, as far as I am aware all of my grandparents were born here, and my great-grandparents – well therein is the diversity of where the different blood travelled from. I don’t know the lineage of my friend, but she was born here, she grew up in the bush and spent much of her life feeling strongly connected to it. I felt much the same. So, we began to wonder whether indigenous might also mean something beyond the meaning that we are politically familiar with.

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With all due to respect to our indigenous brothers and sisters and their history, which as a former archaeology/anthropology student and generally someone also experiencing the human condition, I deeply appreciate; this thought process isn’t about social justice or cultural appropriation. I believe herbal medicine transcends these by being the medicine of the people – whichever people you are and wherever in the world you find yourself putting down roots, and it saddens me that we’ve allowed the division from these very emotionally driven political ideas to permeate into our own solidarity as Plantfolk. This thought process is rather, about this thing called being indigenous as the Earth itself sees it – because if you go back far enough, we’ve all been sojourners coming from somewhere and going to and settling down somewhere else, and we’ve all been formed from the dust of the Earth. Some of us have just put down longer roots or sent out more entrepreneurial and aggressive runners. And this may be a bit of an esoteric idea for some, but in attempting to pass on my knowledge to my daughter, I realised that this is my calling, the plants have chosen me. It might not necessarily be hers, and I can’t make it so. Let me repeat that again; the plants have chosen me.

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The Australian Indigenous people do believe that it is the Land that chooses the people, not the other way around. Our descendants may have colonised it, pillaged it, raped it, but they did not own it. We use it for resources, but it only speaks to some of us. To the rest, it is a dead thing, and in my experience, when you treat things that are living as dead, as without soul or sentience, then it will only yield its gifts to you in kind. It’s the quick fix mindset, the extraction of isolated constituents all over again to produce pharmaceuticals that manipulate the body and produce uncomfortable and sometimes deadly side-effects. When there is no respect, you get none in return. You’ll also be seen as devoid of life. Devoid of heart. Which is what we have essentially become.

“For the intense longing of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the children of Elohim. For the creation was subjected to futility, not from choice, but because of Him who subjected it, in anticipation, that the creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage to corruption into the esteemed freedom of the children of Elohim. For we know that all creation groans together and suffers the pains as of childbirth until now.”  (The Scriptures. Romans 8:19-22)

I know this will be difficult for some people to comprehend, that the Land has chosen people. It is akin to the created becoming a god, is it not? But perhaps, think on it this way; In the beginning we had one job. To tend, to care for this extraordinary garden we call Earth. One job.

“We have a remarkable ability for forgetfulness, ingenuous methods for not being present, a delicious capacity for oblivion. It is not difficult for us to forget the shocks of childhood, our nature, our destiny, the divine, and all those tasks for which our soul came into this world. As Antonio Machado once asked: What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?”    (Robert Bly/Marion Woodman as quoted by Stephen Harrod Buhner. Becoming Vegetalista.)

We haven’t done the job. In fact, we forgot all about it. But the Earth knows what its purpose is, it hasn’t forgotten. The plants remind us of who we are and where we have come from, and where we are going, and this is why their medicine can touch us so deeply and profoundly. But in our busy lives of material distraction, we don’t see or feel or hear – except for some of us who were born with eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart that feels and so we hear the silver song and we follow the notes that lilt with the breeze, and we see the golden bark at the bottom of the Grandfather Tree and we feel it’s shimmer and know within our heart of hearts that faeries live here. We become indigenous, we become native, we remember – a kinnection between the earth and man, we speak for them that have no voice that humans might hear. And with our green tendrils we reach into the hearts of those who want to know the way home, and we plant a little seed. And so, the humans only have to tend that one little seed in the garden of their own soul. One job. It isn’t that difficult. But it might be a little painful…at first, because some of us need first to wake up and smell the roses.

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We are chosen, and the plants are our teachers. One day I will write a book on all of these that have taught me. And every year, when the time is right, my feet itch and the Land calls and my heart scouts the edges of the road less travelled, listening for the teacher. My own apprenticeship continues until the day I’m liberated into Light or my bones have returned to the Land and the seeds that have been scattered lovingly throughout my shroud sprout into a meadow of wildflowers.

“Nonetheless, the ecstatic journey has been part of human life for as long as humans have been. And the Earth really is intelligent and alive and aware and communicating with us every second of every day. And there really is a sacredness that flows through everything that, sometimes – usually when we least expect it – touches the soul of us and urges us to begin a journey that, as Mirabai once said, ecstatic human beings have taken for centuries. And for some of us the particular path we are called to take is the path of the vegetalista.

For those of us who take that path, the plants themselves become our teachers. They initiate us into (and surround us every day with) veriditas – a meaning-filled word created oddly enough by Hildegard of Bingen who was okay for a Christian I guess. She cleverly combined two Latin words: veritas and verde – truth and green. It’s a word that means -allatthesametime – the living intelligence of the green world and the sacredness that can be found there.” (Stephen Harrod Buhner. Becoming Vegetalista. )

And the sacredness is this; it is not the created that we worship, it is the created that reminds us, that seeks to work with us. It is the Creator who breathes Life into all, including Earth, a Divine signature; and each plant, each tree, each rock, each crystal, each body of water, each creature, speaks to that glory. Because Yahuah speaks the mysteries in the idiom of tangibles. He speaks in Golden Threads and Green Tongue, and He speaks in pomegranate and almond blossom, in olive, in oak, in cedar, and one day I might tell you the mystery of how the Blue Water Lily healed my root and navel.

“For since the creation of the world, His invisible qualities have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, both His everlasting power and Mightiness…”.     (The Scriptures. Romans 1:20)

Have you ever seen a forest in worship? Each tree, each plant raising its limbs toward the heavens in joy-filled praise?

 And sometimes, when the Pine has had enough of the zombies, it gives everyone the bird.  I don’t really blame it. Sometimes, brick walls are easier to talk to than people (because even the bricks remember that once they were earth).

So, I’m not entirely sure just yet if my daughter has felt this Veriditas entwine itself into her soul, if the earth has called her, or if in this green language, to her Yahuah will speak.

I plant the seed nonetheless, knowing that at least she can tell the difference between a dandelion and a cat’s ear, and that dandelions make a much nicer medicinally useful cup of tea.

 

 

Green blessings,

Michelle x

Grassroots Healing, Musings, Reflections, Spirituality

What is Love? (Baby, don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me, no more.)

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecy, and know all secrets and all knowledge, and if I have all belief, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am none at all. “

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Image Source: Michelle Carnochan

 

 

There is a lot of talk about love in this world. Numerous songs have been written about it, endless poems and stories, movies, and all manner of art have been inspired by it. We particularly like using the word to express our feelings toward each other, toward our favourite food, puppies, the latest fashion, the latest miracle product that everyone is using, and anything else that we fancy.

 

I really really love chocolate.

So why don’t you marry it?

 

We seem to have lost the meaning of Love. Yet every living thing from newborns to those passing on, and every stage of life in between needs it.  As much as there is a survival instinct within each and every cell of each and everything living thing, I believe there’s also an instinct for love. On some level, we all crave it. It makes us feel good, to give love as well as to receive it. Sometimes – all too oftentimes – this need, on both accounts, is unmet, perhaps due to ignorance, to previous hurt, or to anything that has closed our hearts. You see, in order to receive and to give love, we need to acknowledge that we also need to be vulnerable. We need to have an open heart. We need to be able to feel. Because Love is a verb. It’s an action, a way of being and doing and seeing and thinking and feeling, and living.  It is the fundamental principle, and the most radicle (and in today’s world – radical) foundation for optimum wellbeing. So with that in mind, I thought it would be a good place to start in an exploration of the holistic foundations to good health. Consider this Foundational Principle #1.

The ancient Greeks identified at least four types of love, and several expressions associated with love-like feelings. Although I have it on good authority from an authentic source that there is only one word for true love (agape). Nevertheless, I find all of the expressions attributed to love interesting because I found that they can be correlated with the five elements of air, water, fire, earth, and the quintessence or ether (or life force that animates and permeates all things). These are the same five elements that the ancients recognised as the basic building blocks of the entire universe, and which we explored in my previous post on the energetic architecture of our constitutions and tissue states. And like the interplay of the elements that make up our individual architecture, they can become a little imbalanced, some can become a little too dominant, or not engaged enough. But let’s explore these correlations a bit deeper.

 

Love is Elementary.

 

Eros (ἔρως)= Fire. Intense, primal, that initial spark of romantic love. Passionate. Can burn out quickly or become lustful if not supported by the other elements.

Storgè (στοργή) = Water. Kinship, organically flowing between family members, such as a parent and a child. The familiarity of family, and good friends.

Philia (φιλία) = Earth. Brotherly love, grounding. The deep and shared experience between friends. Denotes loyalty and comradeship.

Ludos = Air. Playful young affection. Euphoric. Laughter, banter, light, and carefree.

Agape (ἀγάπη)= Quintessence. Selfless, compassionate Love. Empathy for all beings. Godly, or the Highest form of Love.

Three other forms were also identified, two of which are expressions of imbalance in the elements;

Pragma = A Deep understanding and harmony between two people. Long-lasting love. Really a combination of Storge, Philia, and Agape, that develops out of Eros and Ludos.

Mania = Obsessive love. Stalking, jealousy, co-dependency. Unbalanced Eros.

Philautia = Love for oneself, taking care of oneself. If not kept in check, can lead to narcissism.

Let’s focus on the foundational concept of the Quintessence, the Vital Force that expresses itself through these bodies of ours, and enables us to function in the world. This is manifest in the Agape type of love. It is foundational, because we ALL need it, the world as we know it REALLY needs it. I believe, to that end, that it also represents the goal of optimum wellbeing – to have love for everyone, to have compassion on all living beings. I think, perhaps, that it should permeate all of the other types of love that we express and receive, keeping their elements in balance so we don’t become manic/obsessive or narcissistic, or led astray by lust. We become whole when we become Love. So let’s look at what that is, and what it isn’t. Some of you may recognise these.

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

Love is peace.

Love is joy.

Love is gentle.

Love is faithful.

Love isn’t envious.

Love is not proud.

Love is not full of itself.

Love does not behave indecently.

Love doesn’t seek things for itself.

Love is not provoked.

Love does not reckon with evil.

Love rejoices in truth.

Love covers all, believes all, expects all, endures all.

Love never fails.

Love does not murder.

Love does not have extra-covenantal/commitment affairs.

Love does not steal.

Love does not lie.

Love doesn’t want what someone else owns.

Love sets us free.

Love is merciful and forgiving.

Love makes recompense.

Love is fair toward both poor and rich, treating them both equally.

Love is hospitable to the native as well as the foreigner.

Love does not slander, or gossip.

Love does not take vengeance.

Love cares for the poor and the stranger.

Love is grateful.

Love picks up a wounded enemy out of the ditch and cares for them.

Love is dignified.

Love is integrity.

Love is humble.

Love is wise.

Love listens.

Love feels.

Love hears the still, small Voice inside.

Love heals.

Love is not confusing.

Love is uplifting.

Love is discerning, but does not discriminate.

Love is not idle.

Love is fruitful.

Love is laying down one’s life for a friend..

..…as well as for one’s enemy.

 

Love, agape love, is true love. It is the yardstick by which we should measure our relationships with others. It brought the universe into being, and it sustains it. Being born of it, we can access it if we turn back to it’s Source, and we can then work to cultivate it within ourselves, for ourselves and toward each other. The world doesn’t seem to know this love very well, but it really really needs it, so maybe we should start to focus on being that change we want to see in the world. Maybe we should put down our weapons, tone down our voices, stop listening to those that divide us, lift up our hearts and begin to simply be Love. Are you with me?