It was around 2009 when I had my first ‘intentional’ spiritual experience with a plant.
I am not professing to be an expert spirit guide or anything, but more an example of being open in the moment to whatever comes up. Simply, an innocent encounter that has impacted my creative life and journey. It literally planted a seed (no pun intended) in my subconscious for a future time; an intoxicating imprint on my soul that moves me right to the bones when I recollect it…
and so it goes
It all started when I was volunteering at Garth Organic, a hillside Permacuture garden hidden in the hills of North Wales. The experience of working there was one of the most enlightening decisions I have ever made: as it was the initial small steps to reclaiming my artist soul. One particular day in 2009, we were invited to spend an hour or so with a chosen plant that was residing within the garden space.
‘Choose a plant that speaks to you…’ the shaman(P) advised. ‘Sit with her quietly and study her shapes, smell, touch; listen to her; draw or paint her‘.
Therefore, I diligently obliged without the foggiest idea of what I was doing and why. I chose a (sister) Mullein plant. At the time, all I knew was that I could feel a connection to my chosen plant–a kindred spirit of some kind. I remember the sun beams warming my face; I remember noticing fur-like leaves and yellow eyes looking back at me; I remember her standing tall and proud next to a Hawthorn bush–that had an old rope, shaped into a heart, on the ground below.
So, I continued to follow the instructions from P until we were beckoned into the nearby hut (which housed a cosy old stove, lit in order to make mint tea). P took out a drum and started to beat a rhythmic tune. She described a journey that she would like to take us on, supported by the gentle drumming beats. I had no idea what to expect from one moment to the next. I remember my heart thumping in my chest, thinking that I was possibly out of my depth…
Very soon I nestled into the moment and opened my heart to a new experience. I remember seeing an image of a tree and a path with various items and animals along the way. I remember the ground was red, dry and weatherbeaten.. I remember going down a long tunnel to reach a clearing…and then.
There it was! A dancing flicker of a ‘sprite-like thing’. I could see it, but I could not hear what (s)he had to say. He seemed to be moving quickly and with urgency. To communicate his message, he jumped up and down utilising his hands as signals. He had bright yellow flame-like hair that peaked and quivered towards the sky . He was wearing a dark green tunic and leggings. He was jumping in earnest and possibly aware of my limited time on the journey. Momentarily, he looked up to the sky pointing with both hands and then on his return to the ground, he would point to the earth. Repeatedly jumping and pointing and jumping and pointing until I acknowledged the message. By now the drumming had intensified to indicate a retreat back up to the starting point. I said goodbye and thanked him and then swiftly returned to my usual reality.
As I re-told the journey to my group, I noticed P was smiling.
‘Stay grounded and be open and receptive to the light‘ I reflect back to P.
‘Welcome to the spirit of Mullein, what a gift to receive on your first journey‘ P added.
I knew, back then, it would be one of the most influential moments on my lifepath; though I had no idea how;)
so what does this mean?
I am not a plant spirit guide, I am an artist. But, I do understand and feel the connection to Nature. I am not concerned with knowing the literal botanical detail of every plant … My art and creative work simply evoke the feeling and experience that I have as I connect in with Nature. I am ignorant of many of the written plants details (my memory does not seem to be wired that way). Yet, I know how they help me to heal and how they communicate with me in subtle ways.
I know that if I stay open in the moment, my art is channeled from somewhere that I don’t need to understand. I notice that I adopt this ‘beginners mind’ approach with all my work and just see what comes up. I accept each new piece no matter what my personal judgement may be and I freely share them on social media. That is how my artwork evoles. Additionally, experiences of Nature are an essential part of my creativity and that is how I approach all of my art.
So, thank you dear Mullein plant for your special message and healing wisdom. I often need to ground myself so that I don’t get too spacey. I also need to be looking towards the light! It’s a perfect evolving balance of receptivity and groundedness.