Several months ago I decided to take a one-day workshop in Botanical illustration at the Morton Arboretum. My intention in taking the class was to take advantage of some of the many opportunities the Arboretum offers, meet new people and do something different. Little did I know it was going to be a day full of Plant Spirit Medicine lessons. I went into the class and the teacher had a bucket of flowers in water. She told each of us to take one and begin drawing. We were all newbies, all learning how to draw, how to see, how to capture a flower in a drawing. The flower I chose was closed but you could still observe so much color and nuance. Or … so I thought. Then, it was time to really begin to “see.”
Once I began to work with the colored pencils to replicate the flower in front of me I soon realized that what my mind thought it saw was not actually what was really there. For example, looking at the stem of the flower, my mind said “Green” and I reached for the green pencil. But the green pencil didn’t “do it” for me. Once I focused and was present with the stem I discovered it wasn’t really Green but yellowish, whitish, even pinkish … Green? There was so much more to the green of the stem than to the “green” in the box of colored pencils.
The class was fun, beautiful, expertly taught, and in fact a huge reminder of many of the lessons in my own healing practice of Plant Spirit Medicine.
The healing focus of Plant Spirit Medicine
The flower demanded my close observation and focus and required me to be fully present with it in order to allow me to see its beauty and essence, and (possibly) be able to capture some of it on paper. In a similar way, the plant spirits call us healers to build relationship with them through full intention, full awareness and close observation. Without this full commitment and attention to the plants and our relationships with them … we can miss so much. This in turn also applies to our work in the healing treatment room. The same kind of attention, presence, awareness and focus is what allows us as healers to really listen, really see, really connect with our clients and what they need … then go to the spirits of the plants to ask for the medicine for that person.
It makes perfect sense. Botanical Art, Plant Spirit Medicine, and people are all about Nature: cycles, exchange, balance, breath, growth, nourishment … in short, true and dazzling … Beauty!