Plant Spirit Healing
In our expanding domesticated Urban World, Plant Spirit Healing, offers a way back to balance with the natural world we have thought ourselves separate from. Many of our ancestors felt and experienced their connection to the plants, the animals and the land they were apart of. Scientists have been baffled by the answers they have received time and time again from the indigenous cultures of the Amazon on how they received their extensive knowledge of the plants they used without having access to the scientific models and facilities with which to experiment at the biological level. How could they be so accurate to know which plant out of the thousands around them cured specific illnesses and combining plants that without the combination would not have the desired effect. When asked they received the same answer time and time again…‘The plants told us”.
This most ancient way of Healing has been more recently pioneered in the West by Elliot Cowan and others such as my teacher, Pam Montgomery, bringing back the shamanic ways of working with plants to a western world that heavily lies upon modern medicine and scientific approaches. Scientists have recently been studying the sentience of plants in a variety of ways. One of those studies showed that plants are able to perceive light, they can see when a person is stood next to them and the colour of the shirt they are wearing. Plants may not have eyes but they are covered in photo receptor proteins which we have at the back of our retina’s. I’m not going to detail each of these tests but Plants have also been shown to be able to hear, smell and feel, many abilities that we would attribute to person hood. We tend to measure other species in relation to ourselves, usually whether something has a brain and how large that brain is but this does not account for intelligence.
At the core of this work is our ability to deeply listen to nature, to receive and communicate with the natural world, in this case with plants. Communication does not just happen on the verbal, neural level, it can be said that we possess three brains, the other two are the Heart and the Gut, both contain brain cells within them known as neurones. Everyone has had a gut feeling before… The Gut could be called our primal brain, (instinctual). The heart is our organ of perception, (emotional), The head, (knowledge) is our centre for constructing how something has happened or to work things out, we must bypass the thinking mind, creating a space inside of us, where the intelligence of nature can be heard.
Here’s what Eliot Cowan has to say:
Plant Spirit Medicine healers call upon the extraordinary healing power of the plant spirits. Plant Spirit Medicine differs from many forms of herbalism in the importance it places on the relationship between the plants, the healer and the client. PSM healers look at the whole person, seeing all they have to offer, leaving judgment and criticism behind. Only by seeing a person in this way can we come to the root of a person’s imbalance and use the appropriate plants to provide them with what they need for health in their body, mind, and spirit. The result is a deeply effective, deeply elegant form of healing.
With Plant Spirit Medicine, we return the person to balance and harmony, to their greatest sense of themselves. Our ancestors lived this way – an existence in which there is no illusion of separation from nature.