As we become more deeply involved in healing, we become aware that we are acting, not so much on own account, but as agents within a greater scheme. This is no more so than in the growth of Plant Spirit Medicine. Why? Because to understand this medicine (rather than just use the scripts), is to open your Heart. The two go together.
To heal with these plants, is to change lives and see people grow. Medicine that heals lives, as well as diseases, can potentially change the consciousness of a nation. We become involved in something beyond clinical practice. We are part of a movement.
Instead of looking at this from our own perspective, we could try to imagine it from that of the great life we live in. We would see the human consciousness developing, generation by generation. We would see conventional medicine dragging mankind out of the mire of infectious diseases, and early death from an array of hopeless conditions. We have much to be thankful for.
However, by the millennium, we are witnessing an explosion of newer diseases, especially cancer. We see ever more complex and expensive treatments developed – often prolonging the misery rather than healing. We would also know that nature has every remedy we need, to heal these conditions at source.
Modern diseases are of the mind. That is to say, the mind of humanity, which is always evolving. Our mental/emotional life, we share with the planet as a whole. We are born on it, and it nurtures us just as it does every life form. We could no more be without the remedy for our ills, than a plant without nutrient or a swallow without flies.
With these medicines we are privileged to be in the vanguard of change. We may not see as many patients as a family doctor, or earn their salary. We may see them use ‘our’ medicines without understanding them. But we must be mindful of the relentless responsibility they bear.
Ours is to know these medicines, and some of us to grow them. There will always be patients who don’t fit neatly into a conventional diagnosis. We will have our work cut out.
After using these herbs for a while, we start to move on spiritually. We are working with the human spirit and with nature. This brings its changes and opportunities. We begin to understand our place in the scheme of things, which brings renewed confidence.
So why did we decide to work with herbs in the first place? We see that it could have been no other way, because that is what we came into this life for. This is service.
Pain and Pleasure
Herbalism is a deep joy. But we are very unlikely to reach the end of our career without a few rough patches. Indeed, would we want to end up, still the same person who naively set out, full of expectation, in the first place?
It is not possible to achieve much progress, without developing our heart centre, since this is whence all healing comes. This can have a couple of side effects. The heart is the seat of our stamina, easily constraining the vitality of the base or sacral centres. When the heart is agitated, these centres often partially shut down, resulting in a whole range of possible symptoms.
Sometimes our herbs will help us journey through. Sometimes not – we simply have to live through the experience to be free. Alternatively, the heart may be highly energised, resulting in over zealousness or thinking we can run before we walk. This will almost certainly come with a fall.
So when life seems to be going the wrong way, or we have symptoms we can’t shift, we must consider the heart. One or more of the three heart herbs will always be useful, at least in moving on through the situation, if not very far.
If we suffer symptoms more of the upper three centres, we must look to Holly and Vervain in the same way. These are of our general spiritual growth, rather than healing per se.
Lastly, we are subject to disease and difficulty the same as anyone else, from normal causes. We treat these as such, and may suspect the above, if we are unsuccessful.
Heroes and Villains
It is easy to criticise conventional medicine for its shortcomings. But if we leave it at that, we would be shallow and ignorant. Firstly, let’s consider what it has given us.
We don’t have many of the infectious diseases that have decimated the population in the past.
We have amazing accident and emergency care.
We have free surgeries and hospitals, at least as a safety net, even if they can’t cure us.
Were we to go back in time to pre war Britain, we would be shocked. The astounding progress in medicine has come at a cost, but all progress is a learning curve. That is the way of things on earth.
We can now consider the shortcomings, but must ask ourselves where we could do better – if at all.
Conventional medicine rarely treats or understands the cause. But how often do we?
It has many side effects, often leading to more treatment.
It is becoming unsustainably expensive, specialist, and unwieldy.
It is now prolonging life needlessly, and tampering with the fabric of life, beyond its remit or understanding.
Herbal medicine at its deepest, corrects the cause and eases or removes the symptoms, thereby avoiding much of the above. But let’s be realistic – this is what we strive towards, each at our own pace. One purpose of this site is to greatly speed this reality, to all who would use herbs.
Healing the Masses
Until now, we have considered the path towards being the complete herbalist. But there will come a time when this is no longer viable, to deal with the world at large. Why? Because working in the traditional manner, we can only treat a drop in the ocean, out of the whole population.
In the Prescription list, we have given a ‘painting by numbers’ guide to treating many conditions. Hospiital departments could successfully treat most of their patients using this list, greatly reducing their future work load as they go. So where does this leave the herbalist?
Although this could potentially make a massive difference to a nation’s healthcare, it would largely be administered by people who don’t understand the medicine. They therefore need a supply. These medicines can only be supplied by a working herbalist, in full contact with plant spirits. These are also the only people who can treat mixed syndromes.
It would follow then, that success in the surgery, leads to the need for more herbalists. Also, one herbalist can only oversee the production of a limited amount of herbs, before it becomes unwieldy – in which case, they would then lose touch with spirit. At this point, another person is needed. So, the herbalist is still the foundation of further success in treating the population as a whole.
We are soon to be faced with the inevitable challenge of reducing our numbers. Can we be of any use? Do we have the means?
Plant spirits are part of the total consciousness of Mother Earth. We too, share in this sea of emotion. We have discussed the concept of resonance – that when we pose a question, the answer resonates to it. The question we will have to ask is ‘Can we resolve this crisis?’
The answer is Of course, if we listen.
We must then ask ‘How can we, as herbalists, do our part?’
Because we share in the same consciousness as plants share in, certain plants resonate to the question, simply by their presence. We become aware of them. We may then seek them, to know what part they can play.
We may outline their potential role as contraception, regulating fertility, and reducing the desire for children once one or two have been born.
Why do we have children? Simply because it is the most basic urge in Nature, for any species to survive. But we are not just any species – we have controlled our lives to overcome infant mortality, and survival of the fittest. If we could see the future, we might shrink from participating in it at all, but by having children, we commit them to it.
So what can we do as herbalists, to help them? We could consider three ways:
Our medicines to keep them vital.
Our medicines to help them chart their progress through life.
Our medicines to keep them sane.
The first is obvious, the second as we have indicated, is because moving through disease is often moving on in life. But we don’t always need to wait for someone to be sick to use herbs in this way.
Lastly, as the stresses of modern life get people down, we can do a lot to:-
affect the way they cope,
help them get an overview of where the solution lies,
empower them to make changes.
How can we be sure we have healed someone, and that the condition won’t return sooner or later? Can we look into the future, and know it will be gone?
To attempt this, we must understand what disease is, and its purpose. Imagine an infant, and her path to old age. We know it is very unlikely to be perfect health all the way – that health problems are part of the human story.
We can therefore see that proper healing of a condition, allows that person to continue their path unencumbered, whist incomplete treatment condemns them to carrying their burden to the next phase of life. We see this cumulative effect all the time.
Ultimately, overcoming disease is a step forward in our growth. It is what we are here for. So, any plant spirit which heals at origin, frees that person to move on. This is an opening.
Treatment and Karma
From the above, it might seem as if a timely dose of herbs could avoid the inconvenience of disease and the ensuing karma.
However, what we are really doing, is eliminating some of the pointless misery on the way to some degree of enlightenment. We have shown that herbs, at this level, change thoughts in order to heal. Therefore they also speed our journey over life’s hurdles, leaving more time and energy for creativity.
Settling the Dust
What is it we are trying to achieve for ourselves, when we leave behind our old practice, and rely on plant spirits? It is an unsettling time, because it requires a step up in consciousness. We may begin cautiously, but will eventually see no need to cling to our old treatments.
This requires an act of faith. The heart centre opens further, which in turn can cause ripples in our health or relationships. We need to settle.
Our hearts are now open to increased stimulus, from the spirit in which we all live. We dance to its tune, and can call upon it to calm our agitation.
Yearning. To yearn is to recognise a need, which has yet to be fulfilled. There is a time to every purpose under heaven, we are told. As such, we must sometimes bide our time with patience. For some of us, this is hard indeed!
We have mentioned elsewhere, Poise. This is the perfect balance betwixt striving and patience. To help us achieve poise, we may take Scarlet Pimpernel.
Seeing the Light
Although we are usually aware of what we are doing, there are times when we get stuck, or indecisive. Take Vervain.
Beginning to See
What is the difference between seeing and understanding? They are both steps toward Knowing. To Understand, is to translate information into our day to day way of thinking, so it is usable. To See, is to use the function of the inner eye, within the brow centre.
This gives us a view as seen by our soul. The soul is the real self, which has an agenda for this life. It can guide us more directly as we gain access to it, i.e. as we develop our heart and mind. We could imagine it lighting our path, so we don’t waste time lurching about.
Seeing therefore, is adding another dimension to our usual understanding. This is Knowing.
Knowing, is being one with a situation. There is no separate me who is regarding it. This comes about gradually as we progress. The path to knowing is to develop the heart and mind. In our websites we have given clues and suggestions along the path of healing. Healing is just one path to knowledge.
Breath is life. Whist we are aware of our need for oxygen, we need to understand that this is the physical plane effect, of what happens on other planes. We have only to relax and observe our breath, to feel a detachment from our normal state. We can refine this.
Inbreath is inspiration, we maintain connection with the life we live in. Outbreath releases. The breathing exercises we have dealt with enable these processes. We can use them when we are stuck.
Fitness depends on a well functioning energy body. This in turn depends on our emotional and mental state. It is of limited use stretching and exercising the body, if our mind is holding the nervous system tight, or depleting our stamina.
The healing path usually demands that at some time or other, we go through a period of reduced vitality, or even serious illness, during our development. This is challenging – we expect ourselves to be a model of good health, to practice what we preach. This is the meaning of the oft quoted (or misquoted) “Healer, heal thyself”.
These are times when we must listen to our heart, accept the changes, and do everything we can to facilitate them. This can be very, very frustrating. Patience is a quality of the heart. Impatience is a quality we encounter in ourselves, which we have no choice but to confront.
Until we learn to be patient, our heart is agitated, and we cannot hear. This can be a long journey for some, not because they are failing, but because they have much to learn. We heal via the heart. We can see from this, that we must heal our own heart to do so.
Difficulties on the Way
We must understand that most difficulties we encounter are part of the process, even if they don’t seem so at first. We may have to change our attitude, or mode of behaviour in other arenas, such as money, sex, drinking etc, to move on. We may have to change our relationships to people around us, or even let them go. All these confrontations take courage. Courage is the quality of the heart!
We have talked here about Knowing, Breathing and the Heart. They are the key elements in the journey of the healer. They will ease a journey that is struggling and shorten one that is long. The following plan may be of great help. As with all spiritual tools, it is only when they grab your attention and seem right, that it is time to use them. At other times they may seem irrelevant.
Sit quietly and centre in your solar plexus
Observe your breathing
Then centre in your brow and relax.
Stay there and ask to know, whatever you need to. Be still a while.
Observe your breathing a few breaths.
Centre in your heart. Be still, till it is time to get up.
This seemingly innocuous process will allow you to move through changes rapidly, when the time is right. Also, 1 dose Vervain and 1 dose Holly can be useful if you feel stuck.
Being in the Now
This means being centred in the present moment, unencumbered by the past, with faith in the future. Quite a tall order ! But to achieve this by some measure at least, would bring much peace and allow us to enjoy more of the above.
Centre in your Heart
Ask to be quietly poised between the past and the future
Observe your breathing a while
Repeat from time to time.
Opening the Heart
This opens us to Love, the fundamental energy of life. To give and receive love in equal measure, is to allow it to flow. We become a conduit for that energy, and therefore a better healer.
Centre in your heart
Tell yourself that your heart is open
Observe your breath
Centre in your brow and relax
Repeat another day.
This is enough to relax the Heart centre, as much as it is able at this particular time. Do whenever it seems appropriate.
Dealing with Expectation
The perfect healer is yet to be – yet we constantly expect better of ourselves. Occasionally we need to relax and enjoy a beer, in spite of our expectations. To this end, we can ask ourselves the question ‘Have I done everything I know, for my patients this week’?
If the answer is yes, enjoy the beer. If the answer is no, ask for what you need.