with herbalist Susun Weed
I’d like to select and work with a green ally—can you recommend some simple exercises that can guide me through this process? Much thanks!
Choose a plant that grows very near to you. . . no more than a one-minute walk from your door. You don’t need to know the name of the plant, or anything about it. You will be sitting with your plant every day, so, if possible, choose one that grows in a quiet and lovely place . . . in a pot on your balcony is just fine . . . in a park is great . . . so is an alley. . . or a backyard.
You can read about the plant you’ve chosen if you do know the name, but it isn’t necessary. The point is to develop a special caring, nurturing, relationship with your green ally. The following six exercises can help you do this. They are from my latest correspondence course: ABC of Herbalism with Susun Weed, which focuses on ways to prepare and use 52 herbs and herbs for dealing with more than 20 health concerns. I also offer a year-long Green Ally Correspondence Course. For more information on my other correspondence courses visit me at www.susunweed.com.
First green ally exercise: Sit and breathe with your green ally for 3-10 minutes a day. You breathe out and the plant breathes in; the plant breathes out and you breathe in.
Second green ally exercise: Make a detailed drawing of your green ally, as accurate as you can make it. Then do a soft-focus, impressionistic drawing of your green ally. When the weather is too inclement to breathe with your green ally, breathe with your green ally’s picture.
Third green ally exercise: What part of your green ally is usually used? Are other parts helpful? Experiment by making several small tinctures, oils, and vinegars of the different parts of your plant. Ask to plant to help you discover new ways to use her.
Fourth green ally exercise: Observe the conditions that your green ally chooses to live in. Does your ally grow near to people (to be used) or far from them (to be left alone)? In a shady spot (cool) or a sunny one (warm)? In a wet area (moist) or an arid one (dry)? In rich soil or poor soil? Plants make alkaloids and glycosides in rich soils; resins and essential oils in poor soils.
Fifth green ally exercise: Write a story from the point of view of your green ally. Let your ally speak to you and through you. Listen for the voice of your ally in your dreams, in your day dreams, in your mind. Write down what she says.
If this is hard, try writing with a pen instead of on a computer; or try writing with your non-dominant hand. A warm-up exercise given to me by Jean Houston is to first write a page of praise of your ally, tell your ally how wonderful she is, and how much you like her.
Final green ally exercise: Introduce one or more friends to your green ally. Tell them what you know, what you feel, and what you think about your ally. If it is edible, feed them some.
photos: Wise Woman Spiral ©iStockphoto.com / Chuck Spidell | Eclipse ©2001 Wendy Wilkerson
posted on October 31, 2007 | tags: green allies