Walking down an animal path from which there are no signs or parking, I unexpectedly find myself in a field of diverse wildflowers. I know which one to look for … the pungent Sagittarian colored one. There were many to choose from, but when you are going to take life it is important to have discretion.
The first discretion is to make sure whatever you are taking is in abundance; which it certainly was here.
The second discretion is to never take the strongest, healthiest individual.
But the main thing is to spiritually ask for which plant to take. To be organically guided to the plant of which you are about to create relationship with.
Walking further and further, I finally see the one. It is glowing in the sunlight and was in abundance.
I knelt down to gently touch this plant … “is it ok if I take you?”
I feel that it is.
And with tentative tears, with my trowel I begin to carefully remove the top layer of grass and moss to replace when I am done. Then I dig through the precious fertile soil to volcanic rock. This beautiful plant is tenacious with it’s fleshy roots growing between the rocks and expanding these spaces over the course of decades.
Like an archaeologist carefully peeling back layers of time never seen with human eyes I slowly move the ancient rocks as I forage for roots.
As soon as I remove one rock, there is another. I use my fingers to trace the direction of roots and feel I am touching the muscles, veins and sinew of the Earth. As I go deeper, I pull the stones out of the cool soil as if delivering a baby from a womb. I can only place rocks gently after such an experience.
Finally I have retrieved all the medicinal aromatic roots with dirt embedded in fragrant sap on my hands. I smell just like the plant of which I was searching. Now before me is a hole just large enough for me with rocks stacked around the edges. I can sit in this cool nest of rock and dirt where there was once another being.
As I dig roots I am taken back to an embodied memory of what our ancestors did daily. I connect to the wisdom of plant medicine and nourishment derived from nature. My mind quiets and I am present with my environment as the crow teases me upward. Naturally I chew on the bitter root as I dig with its alkaloid medicine evident upon my tongue. My conscious perception begins to change. My movement slows down. My peripheral vision expands and colors brighten. The animals stare me in the eye. I see things for how they truly are. Things I don’t usually see. I became different after digging and eating the roots of our ancestors. The altered state of consciousness was heightened beyond placebo such that it made me wonder if I had poisoned myself; this was not a plant known to have any psychoactive properties. I quickly realized that when you put your hands in the Earth, you become attuned to the subtleties around and within. All elements of Nature will change your awareness if you allow it. The wind, rain, snow, lichen, moss, soil, rivers, smoke, trees, animals, insects, fungi and of course plants. We owe our life to these people.
Before I leave my rock nest, I tell the plant of which I dug and the Earth of which I dug from:
“soon, I too will return to the soil”.
Words cannot describe my connection with Nature.