My roots as an herbalist are magical. I remember picking out the spot in the yard for my very first herb garden. I unintentionally chose an area with the worst soil. It was rocky, dry, hard to dig up. I toiled to prepare the space, and then my mom took me to the greenhouse to pick out the plants that would hopefully thrive in this space I prepared. Inspired by Scott Cunningham’s “Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs,” I picked foxglove, catnip, peppermint, sage, snapdragons, all with great hope in my heart. They did well without my intervention and were receptive to my openness. This was my first real experience connecting with plant spirits and getting to know them, learning their personalities. We’ve worked together energetically ever since, despite not having the option to tend a garden for much of my adult life.
Eventually I decided to take classes to learn more about working with plants medicinally, and to learn more about the human body so that I could ethically help people connect with plants. That’s what I do as an herbalist: I match plants with people. I’m a matchmaker. This isn’t all I do, of course. No matter the modality, it’s necessary to get to the root of the issue, so when I meet with folks we also talk about lifestyle, nutrition, and generally the way the person is experiencing their life. This helps me know which plants will likely be the best allies for the person and align with them energetically. When I talk (write?) about energies, I’m not referring to some intangible, nebulous ether. I’m talking about real, experienced states: dry, damp, hot, cold, stagnant, flowing, tense, relaxed. Depending on what we are dealing with, some plants are better suited to us than others.
Approaching Plant Spirits for Wellness
There’s a lot of false information about plants on the internet, so beware google when it comes to working with plants for wellness. Consider also that the way we approach plants matters. Approaching plants in a “this for that” mindset is the same as approaching them blind. It’s unwise to approach plants like we do biomedicine. Biomedicine is composed solely of chemical constituents with the purpose of treating symptoms. Plants are living spirits, whole beings, that interact with us holistically. (This isn’t a value judgment about either biomedicine or herbs, it’s just the reality of their differences).
I’ve often struggled with how to explain what I mean when I talk about holistic care, but really it’s quite simple. We are not machines, nor commodities. We are magical living beings surrounded by other magical living beings in a vast ecosystem which requires us to consistently adapt. Sometimes we become unbalanced in this because of all the moving parts. Plants can help us rebalance. They are allies and friends. Some of them can be very harsh teachers when approached carelessly. But they do have much to teach us, if we are willing to listen, and much to share, if we are willing to receive. The maxim “as above, so below” is not simply a magical ideal. It’s a reality of living. It is the simplest explanation for holism. As the root, so the leaves.
About the Author
Jessica Jascha is an herbalist, psychic, and writer in Minnesota. She provides herbal medicine consultations, tarot readings and spiritual mentorship, hosts the Moon Ritual Subscription, and teaches. You can find her at jaschabotanicals.com or on Facebook.
featured image via pixabay
*this blog post is not intended as medical advice and should not be taken as such.