My Romance with Wild Plants
The enchantment of spring is upon me. This season of magic brings my spirit out of darkness and towards new beginnings of hope and rebirth. As the plants unfurl so does my soul. I am dazzled by it’s power over me. This winter felt heavy and dark and now with the arrival of spring I feel light and free. The rhythm of the Earth lives within me, I change with her.
This weekend I was honored to be invited to a most wonderful herb walk in the woods of Lac St. Antoine. Lac St. Antoine is 12 km from Wakefield Quebec and hosts a lovely community of people who love living in the serene landscape of the hills, lakes and streams. The beauty that surrounds them brings me to peace.
Linda Deere of the Iroquois tribe shared with us her knowledge of the wild plants that surround the area. From the beginning I got a sense that this tradition was not only founded on knowledge but a respect for the Earth. A deep rooted connection that's been verbally passed on from generation to generation since the beginning of time.
We gathered around a fire and began with a cleansing ceremony called smudging. If you are unfamiliar with smudging it's a cleansing ritual that cleanses the body and spirit from unwanted negative energy. It is believed that healing can begin once we are cleared from what does not serve us. In this ritual sweet grass a wild herb found in certain areas in North America was used. It was burned in a big shell and it's smoke was waved towards the person with an eagle's feather. While being smudged we brushed the smoke over our head, throat heart and under the feet. The head represents ridding of unwanted thought, the throat being truthful with our word, heart ridding it of fears and creating a space for understanding and love. The feet symbolizes where we are going.
Interestingly women who were in their moon cycle stepped away from the circle during this ceremony as they are considered to be in a cleansing state.
After smudging we were presented with a pinch of tobacco as an offering to the plant life. What an amazing lesson of giving and receiving.
At the beginning of the walk we were introduced to plantain, a plant that I am sure you are familiar with. It grows in your lawn, through the cracks in side walks, virtually everywhere you find grass. It`s also been known as the white man's foot as it was said to be found wherever the feet touch. It can be identified by it's 4-10 long smooth, thick, strong and fibrous leaves that has 3-7 or more ribbed veins. Linda applied some leaves onto Mia's psoriasis. In order to extract the medicine the leaves were pounded with a mortar and pestle. It can be used on cuts, skin rashes and more. It's also an edible plant and delicious in salads. It's rich in vit. B1 and riboflavin. The rest of the day we identified plants such as Wild Asparagus, Wild Garlic, Violets, Ginger, Burdock, Carolina Spring Beauty and more.
Walking through the woods made me think (I do that a lot, think). Most of the vegetables I eat are planted by man. Here in the forest grows thousands of plants that are here because they want to be. They are untreated by pesticides and if made into a tea or put into a salad have great nutritional and medicinal value. Mother earth really does provide for us!
The night of the walk I couldn't fall asleep as I had visions of dancing plants. Jen I know what you meant that night long ago!
It was an amazing day and I learned so much. I always leave herb walks inspired to learn more. Thank you Linda for your wisdom and presence. Also thanks to all who attended you all brought something to my day!
I could go on and on but it's 11:15 p.m. and I must go to bed. I hope that I said enough to get your curiosity going. Stay tuned as I will soon be blogging on how to make a plantain salve to have handy for those bites, cuts and scrapes our little ones always seem to get. I thank all of you who are reading my entries. I am having a lot of fun and I hope you are too!
Harvesting Wild Garlic
The Little Plant
In the heart of a seed
Buried deep so deep
A dear little plant lay fast asleep
“Wake!” said the voice of the raindrop bright
And the little plant heard and it rose to see.
What the wonderful outside world might be.
"We honor the winds , that bring the waters, to the sun, for providing heat that makes the plant life grow. " and excerpt from Linda's handout