Garden old (2)

Repost from Summer 2009/gathering past essays for a book.  Stories from our garden “weedwalk” !

The June 7th workshop on the wild weeds/herbs–Your Magic Garden: From Muggles to Mugwort— was a success! There were 9 of us which is great for a personally sponsored event such as this and everyone was very excited, going home to scout out the wild weeds on their own property, after we went on a weed walk right here identifying and learning about 28 healing plants. Everyone was amused and somewhat intrigued by the greeningspirit notion and practice of sitting and listening/talking to the plants in an inter-species dialogue, a semi-shamanic skill.

This will be an ongoing series each month, everyone inspired in between to further investigate in their own way, in their own yards and neighborhoods.

Margie, a research Librarian, called yesterday to tell me she found a book at her library that she took out immediately . It is called The Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities. I will install Margie as our “dark arts” reference Mistress. (Margie has always been a forager, eating violet leaves, red clover blossoms, wood sorrel etc for her vitamins.) She really is a woman of good intent and a faithful Episcopalian but it’s good to be well-rounded.

Amidst a stand of lily-of-the-valley in her yard,Leyla discovered mugwort and is planning to make a tea from this herb of dreamers and wisewomen. Altho we do not use lily-of-the-valley in this country’s folkloric herbal tradition,  it is a premier cardiac ally, used by skilled practitioners in Europe. I suggest she honour this plant in spirit, for good-heartedness and kindness. Mugwort, however, is an herb of the wise elder woman and the herb of dreamers, as well as a digestive aid.

Julie who is once again set back and in pain with fibromyalgia is given over today to the simplest of tasks to mindfully and respectfully gather nettles for a tea, paying attention especially to the plant’s message to set up proper personal boundaries, even “stinging” when necessary to defend and preserve the sacred “time out” needed when you are depleted and in need of silence and stillness for healing.

Carolyn who is NOT a gardener but came along for the ride said the experience confirmed for her that she hates tromping through the woods and being outside where it’s buggy but that she really wants a puppy.

We don’t seem to be able to find Elaine, assuming that she is still out in her wild fields singing to the blackberry vines from whose berries she makes her famous blackberry cordial.

Helen, emerging Wildwoman, lives with a husband who is an engineer by profession. I am told that engineers love straight lines and linear thinking. Helen, who went right home with excitement to meet and greet her very own wild plant allies, is very frustrated to realize that her whole yard is “way too cultivated” and there is not a corner of wildness there having been put to order by her partner’s dedicated use of chemically engineered products of wild-weed eradication. She alerted me that she will be sneaking around my place after dark to dig up some wildness from here to bring over there and tuck in to un-obtrusive corners.

Martha has reported in:  She says that she found herself smiling throughout the whole weedwalk with great delight and excitement because she kept thinking “THIS is what I have been looking for! ” Having gone through a very major health crisis a number of years back, she has been concerned about keeping her body healthy and whole, yet still cautious about invasive medical techniques or relentless drug therapies that don’t allow much personal involvement and participation in keeping oneself healthy. She is looking forward to learning more about the nourishing and healing gifts of the plantword and the wild weeds.

Ruthanne, who herself has a magical mystique about her in every way, was very intrigued by the idea that there are plant “spirits” in the garden just waiting for communication with us, if we learn how to slow down and listen. I think she found it a very comforting concept that these faeries, devas or “friends” are here, with a very old wisdom to teach us new things.

I myself am re-reading The Medicine-Maker’s Handbook, an enchanting guide by an enchanting premier herbalist/educator, James Green. I am delighted by his warmth and humour and wealth of knowledge which is down-to-earth, accessible and full of love for both the plants and people.

Our second class in the series will be in July…and we hope to have some new attendees to share with! The theme for this class will be  on  “Communicating with 

From Christine, the Greening Spirit


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