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Plants have been our allies, our protectors, our food and medicine as long as there has been life on earth. The physical and spiritual presence of plants is deeply interconnected with our earthly existence throughout our lives. Photosynthesis helps create a breathable atmosphere. Plant life nourishes all animal existence. Plant mysteries and histories are interwoven into our psyches and our mythology, present in our relations with one another, with all spiritual beings, and with our dear home, Planet Earth.
Flowers and seeds, stems and leaves, roots and fruits feed us and clothe us, house and protect us, soothe our fevers and our fears and form the basis of our rituals and celebrations. Plant medicine has helped women and men to conceive life, to nurture life, and to die with grace and dignity.
Like the myriad varieties of plants on earth, each one of us has special abilites. Each of us resonates most harmoniously with specific plants and plant medicines. These plants are our allies, our spiritual guides and helpers. Our plant alliances nurture our physical and emotional bodies and assist us in our earthly and cosmic journeys.
The cycles of plant life provide a rhythm that shapes the seasons of our lives and informs our very language, so that plants serve us there as well, by helping us to connect to place, to the soil of our culture and to our spirit.
We say we are feeling grounded when we are centered and feeling connected to our environment and our spirit. We say we are feeling ungrounded when we feel disconnected from ourselves or from others.
We say we have put down roots when we have established ourselves and feel at home in our surroundings. When we move to a new land or a new job, we say we have found new soil in which to grow; we are transplants. We say that we are planting seeds for the future when we are germinating new ideas, cultivating new friends and relationships. We say we are branching out when we try something new. When we make big changes in our lives, when we have breakthroughs, we say that we are breaking new ground. As we incorporate these new ways into our lives our habits change and we say we are growing new roots.
The adage, "the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree", is about the continuum from one generation to the next. We use the word seed to connote sperm, descendants, continuity and new beginnings, or to connote the origins of events, families, emotions or other states of being.
We even name our children after plants and flowers. Babies and young children are sometimes called sprouts. We say that pubescent, blushing youth is budding when we describe their newfound sexuality, that they blush like the bloom of pink on a white rose; their budding new sexuality then flowers as they become young women and young men. To bloom is to flourish, to shine with life force in full early expression of a maturing life.
Our alliance with the plant world is so deeply rooted in our psyches that spiritual and religious traditions from the Neolithic era to the present reflect the imagery of growth, flowering, fruiting, sacrificial death, decay and rebirth that characterizes the cycle of plant life around the world.
Plants have always been our magical companions in our evolution here on earth, and will continue to evolve in their abilities to assist us to become more conscious, more kind, more loving in our relations.
Horticulture, is the cultivation of a garden, from the Latin 'hortus' for garden, and the Indo European word for culture. Gardening is the cultivation of the soul, not just the soil. When planting a seed, through our faith and love, we concentrate and focus the forces of the universe to prepare a suitable environment for the conception of new life. Through our faith and love and conscious partnership with the cosmic and earthly forces of nature, we nurture and fertilize the sprouting seed over time, until the growing plant reaches its full expression in flower or fruit.
Because soul gardening involves bringing into full consciousness an intuitive connection with plant allies, gardeners have a unique opportunity to work spiritually with each living being in the garden, and to establish a unique relationship with the plants we nurture. Each one of us has the ability to ask for and receive help from our plant allies.
It is easy and rewarding to find out what plants are your personal allies either through dreams or meditation. Before you go to sleep at night, or before a meditation, formulate the intent to meet your plant ally. Most likely they are already growing right around you in your backyard, or in a nearby park. It may take several attempts to make contact. You may see a plant or flower or fruit, or you may hear a voice telling you the name of your ally. You may see a color or smell a fragrance, and then during the session or later, perhaps while walking in the garden or a park, you may see a plant that reminds you of what you saw or smelled in your dream or during your meditation.
Once you have contacted your plant ally, you can sit quietly, and speak with the spirit of the plant. You can get to know your plant ally by brewing up a cup of herb tea or taking flower essences, but the most direct way is to live with a growing plant.
Plant seeds on a windowsill or in your garden. Grow herbs and flowers, make your own herb teas, and flower essences. Grow and eat more flowers and plants, like violets and dandelions, in your salads and other dishes, and thank them for their tireless service. Remember to leave wild places in your yard or farm for the plant spirits to play.
There are wonderful suppliers listed in this section, for seeds, flower essences, herbal teas and remedies, and valuable sources of information about plant medicine provided by practitioners who love and respect the power of plants. Use the many resources below, to find a doorway into this most ancient and venerable world of plant beings. A treasure and adventure awaits! I give thanks to all of my Plant Spirit friends.
copyright 2005 Jane Sherry
Selected Flower Essence, Aromatherapy & Herbal Medicine Links
The Flower Essence Society
“The Flower Essence Society (FES) is an international membership organization of health practitioners, researchers, students, and others interested in deepening knowledge of flower essence therapy. Originally founded in 1979 by Richard Katz, the society has been co-directed since 1980 by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz, who are married and professional partners.The Society promotes plant research and empirical clinical research on the therapeutic effects of flower essences, conducts training, certification programs, and seminars throughout the world as well as disseminating publications about flower essence and provides a communication & referral network for an estimated 50,000 active flower essence practitioners who are teaching, researching and practicing flower essence therapy in their healing work.”
The Flower Essence Society maintains a beautiful and informative website with an abundance of free research articles by & about practitioner research in the field and in depth case studies. You can make online donations at the website. You can also become a member in the society right online giving you access to an additional wealth of research essence profiles. Membership also includes access to the book, Flower Essence Repertory. The Repertory is a richly illustrated, cross referenced informative resource for anyone interested in Flower Essence therapies. Patricia and Richard also manage Flower Essence Services, which produces flower essences and herbal products at Terra Flora, their 17 acre biodynamic/organic garden and wildlife sanctuary in the northern Sierra Nevada foothills of Nevada City, California. Read more about Patricia and Richard. Learn how they have turned their visionary ideals into reality in creating a work environment that not only honors the earth, but honors their employees in their statement of Values & Actions below.
(Note: Jane Sherry & Curtis Lang, Satya Center Founders have been using the Flower Essence Services products for several years, and have found that they provide consistant, vital and exquisite flower essences and herbal products of a very high vibrational quality. They have a deep and profound effect personally and in their healing practice. FES very generously provides a discount for health practioners and their products are very affordable for the general public.
And, if you are interested in learning more about flower essences, reading up on groundbreaking research, flower profiles, flower affirmations, discounts on publications, practitioner referral network and member newsletters, I highly recommend investing a small amount of time and money in becoming a member of the Flower Essence Society. It costs only $25 per year, and is a valuable way to contribute your love and energy into healing yourself, your loved ones and our only home, Planet Earth.)
Flower Essence Society articles reprinted at Satya Center with their kind permission include:
Love-Lies-Bleeding and Francis of Assisi
Sunflower & Love-Lies-Bleeding: A Study in Spiritual Surrender
Developing Positive Sensitivity-Empathy: an asset, not a liability
Values & Actions
Flower Essences Connection to Nature's Transformative Power
Archived Articles: Flower Essence Society Archive
Rose Cottage Flower Essences
Rose Cottage Flower Essences have been created by Robina Hearle at her cottage in the midst of the Suffolk countryside. Robina offers flower essence consultations by telephone, by mail, by email or in person.
If you live in or near Suffolk then Physiotherapy, Reiki and Flower Essences are available from Robina at the Woodbridge Physiotherapy Practice. Other services available at the Practice are: Craniosacral Therapy, Sports Massage, Aromatherapy Massage, Chiropody, Podiatry, Reflexology and Counseling. Go to Robina's Website for more information.
Robina's Articles at Satya Center Include:
Putting Flower Essences on the Map
Isha Lerner- In Support of Awakening Consciousness in a Changing World
International Astrologer, Tarot consultant/Scholar, Flower Essence Teacher, Author & Creator of Flower Essences. Explore Isha's lovely and richly illustrated website to enter the enchanted world of flower essences. Get an online reading using her imaginative Flower Essence Deck, or send a flower essence e-card to someone you love or someone who needs healing. You can schedule sessions, purchase Isha's books, her decks or her line of flower essences. Read her monthly insights and life tips columns and sign up for her bulletins to learn what's new, read the latest insights and new articles. As Isha quotes on her website : "Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, "Grow, grow." (from the Talmud). Click on any of her flower essences for sale, and read about that particular flower and what it is used for in vibrational healing. Each plant/flower's latin name is given along with it's color, archetype, plant signature and healing properties. A beautiful and generous offering.
Dreaming Earth Botanicals
Joie Power Ph.D. practices as a Wellness Consultant, Healer, Reiki Master, and Personal Development coach. She is a retired neurobehavioral specialist with training in the neurological aspects of olfaction (smell) and emotional functioning, as well as psychoneuroimmunology, mind/body approaches, dreamwork, and aromatherapy; She provides consultation to individuals, physicians and holistic practitioners and is the founder and owner of Dreaming Earth Botanicals, producers of SomaTherapy(TM) Essential Oils. Check out the Dreaming Earth Botanicals website for aromatherapy products, articles and nebulizers. Dreaming Earth carries Therapeutic Grade SomaTherapy Essential Oils, aromatherapy blends, diffusers, massage oils, lotions and other aromatherapy products plus natural pest control and more - retail, wholesale and bulk. Dreaming Earth Botanicals is located in the heart of the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. They have been providing therapeutic grade SomaTherapy Essential Oils, massage and carrier oils, flower waters and aromatherapy products to the healing arts community since 1997.
(Jane Sherry, Founder of Satya Center says, "Dreaming Earth is one of my favorite suppliers and resources for information, essential oils and nebulizers!")
Joie's articles at SatyaCenter include:
Aromatherapy and Emotions
Tisserand is a wholesaler and retailer of very high quality essential oils started by Robert Tisserand, an aromatherapist (since 1969) who wrote the first book in english on aromatherapy, "The Art of Aromatherapy" first published in 1977 and now published in 10 languages. Robert has always been interested in aromatherapy as complementary medicine, believes in no animal testing whatsoever, uses absolutely no animal products in his product line, not even by-products like beeswax and has founded the Tisserand Institute in London, UK where they offer a Tisserand Diploma in Holistic Aromatherapy, as an accredited "six month, fast tract study route".
The website has a lovely short index of the properties of their essential oils, the ability to purchase products online and offer an oil of the month special which includes online recipes.
Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
"Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) goes back over 3,000 years. It grew out of the desire to maintain good health and from the need to treat various conditions and diseases. Over the centuries, the Chinese people learned the benefits of natural herbs, acupuncture, healthy food and proper diet, Tuina (massage),Taiji and Qigong. Today, Traditional Chinese Medicine is practiced in hospitals in China side by side with western medicine, and people receive great benefits from receiving both forms of medicine concurrently. We are delighted that this collaborative approach to medicine is now occurring in the USA."
At this site you can learn about the history of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and find practitioners in your area through their alumni directory. They have a college for the study of TCM as well as providing low cost health care. They also have a library which feature a couple of article abstracts on TCM.
Medboo is a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) website offering a distance training program on such courses as Basic Theory of TCM, Diagnosis of TCM, Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Herbology, Formulaes of TCM as well as Therapeutics of Herbal Medicines. They are also offering continuing clinical experience in China for nominal fees. There is information about what kinds of plants are used in TCM, what kinds of ailments are treated, how the medicines are prepared, herbal cooking, as well as articles about the history of acupuncture and TCM and an extensive list of basic theories and clinical reports on acupuncture. This site is considered by Dr. Michael Tierra to be one of the best TCM websites on the internet.
Michael Tierra's Planet Herbs
Michael Tierra offers "The East West Courses", "a unique combination of Western,Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese herbology. Many of the graduates of our 36 Lesson Professional Herb Course program have obtained professional membership status in the American Herbalists Guild (AHG). This is important since the AHG is the only professional clinical herbalists organization in North America." You can study locally in California or do a course in home study. Enroll online, by phone, email or regular mail. Michael Tierra is a well known herbalist trained in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Ayurvedic Medicine & Native American Medicine. He started the first wholistic healing school in California in 1976. The website offers a rich variety of articles on ayurveda, TCM & native herbalism, as well as profiles on individual herbs and various alternative therapies available to fight disorders and diseases such as AIDS, arthritis, cancer and the common cold.
Weleda International and Weleda USA
"The WELEDA range includes medicines, dietary preparations and personal care products. The medicines in particular serve a specific medical direction, often described as anthroposophical medicine. This direction was made possible through the life work of Dr. Rudolf Steiner. He and Dr. Ita Wegman characterize this medicine in their book Fundamentals of Therapy. Please see 'Links and Literature'
The main medicines in our List of Medicines are based on direct indications and descriptions of Rudolf Steiner. Added to them are further medicines made according to the wishes and suggestions of medical doctors active in the anthroposophical approach.
The same principles hold true for the medicine and personal care preparations in the choice of raw materials, as well as in their processing."
Iscador therapy, considered a "complementary"cancer treatment used in Europe since 1917, is made from the mistletoe plant and manufactured by Weleda, a company started in the early 20th century by spiritual scientist and educator Rudolf Steiner. This website has links to more information on the treatment of cancer using Iscador in conjunction with other treatments. Native Americans also used mistletoe for healing.
For more information on anthroposophical medicine or to find a practitioner in the USA, you can call the Fellowship Community in Spring Valley, New York for a referral. Or if you are in the greater New York area, make an appointment to see one of their physicians. (845-356-8494)
Satya Center Healing Resources
Satya Center has an alt.cancer section for more plant healing information and links for alternative cancer treatments, and an alt.healer directory for a list of respected alternative healers, available for plant medicine and other alternative treatments for a variety of mind, body and spiritual healing.
Native Herbal Medicine
American Botanical Council
American Botanical Council (ABC), the publisher of Herbalgram Magazine, is an online resource for herbal news & information. One of the most respected names in botanical research, ABC is a goldmine of information. They have some free articles on their homepage and have some of the latest news involving botanicals and many articles from the current issue of Herbalgram are also posted for free on the website . There are some other articles which are reprinted as part of their herbclip section. Learn about internships, continuing education programs and more! A rich site, worth exploring, and considering membership.Some of the content at the website, do require a password which you get along with a paid membership in the American Botanical Council. For $50, (from the website), an individual membership will entitle you to:
-subscription to our highly-acclaimed journal "HerbalGram"
-access to members-only information on our website (www.herbalgram.org)
-"HerbalGram" archives (updated quarterly)
-"Complete German Commission E Monographs" – 380 monographs
-"Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs" – 107 monographs
-Herbal Body Care database
-Botanical Booklet series – 15 herbs
-Herb Reference Guide – 26 herbs
-Common Herbs – 29 herbs
-News and information from ABC’s email newsletter "HerbalEGram"
-Free ½ hour research session with our education department
-40% discount on additional research from our education department
-10% discount on publications from our Herbal Education Catalog
Mountain Rose Herbs & Botanical.com
If you want to buy reliable, fresh and organic botanical products at very reasonable prices, we recommend Mountain Rose Herbs, who's ethical and sustainable business practices, set them high on SatyaCenter's list of businesses to support. They are business/voting members of the following organizations: Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, Oregon Tilth Certified Organic, Global Exchange, Organic Trade Association, Sustainable Harvest International, United Plant Savers, Herb Research Foundation, American Herbal Products Association & Co-Op America. They are involved in other projects and have affiliations with Mothers for Natural Law, Transfair USA & Organic Consumers Association. Mountain Rose Herbs is currently providing Sustainable Harvest logistical support and marketing information to better assist indigenous people throughout South America in the cultivation, harvesting and marketing of their crops, along with annual financial contributions. To get more involved or to receive timely updates please subscribe to their outstanding news service.")
Botanical.com is home of the electronic version of "A Modern Herbal" by Maud Grieve. Mrs. Grieves "A Modern Herbal" continues to be one of the most popular resources for herbal information.Written in the early part of the last century, the advice is both timely and historical. A great read. This site is a wealth of free information, providing access to plant and herb indices from the book, a poisons index, short medical dictionary, recipes for many things from cakes to creams for your hands. If I am unfamiliar with an herb, this is where I go online to find out what it is, and invariably it is listed! There are hundreds of useful articles at the site and regular columns by such luminaries as Susun Weed, herbalist and Pankaj Oudhia, an agricultural scientist doing herbal research. There's a free alternative health newsfeed and an excellent search engine to find things at the site.
Susun is a world reknown herbalist, lecturer, wise woman, writer and healer. Many years ago, when I first met Susun, she was still giving "weed walks" in the Woodstock, New York area. At that time, I was renting a little pink cottage in the woods, with a friend, and we had the great honor of having Susun come over and introduce us to our very 'own' weeds. I first saw the beautiful lobelia, aka pukeweed and many others growing wild around our pink cottage. My experience of the earth was never the same again, and after that, I learned to look around me with new appreciation for what was right underfoot.
From Susun's website: "Her worldwide teaching schedule encompasses herbal medicine, ethnobotany, pharmacognosy, psychology of healing, ecoherbalism, nutrition, and women's health issues and her venues include medical schools, hospital wellness centers, breast cancer centers, midwifery schools, naturopathic colleges, and shamanic training centers, as well as many conferences."
I was given a gift of her first book, "Healing Wise", which now 15 years later, is still a much consulted and much beloved book on my herbal library shelf. You can buy her books at her website, and I recommend all of them! If you're in the NY area, check out her Wise Woman Center, where you may want to take one of her enriching workshops or even consider her correspondence course in herbal medicine or a shamanic or herbal apprenticeship.
Read Susun's articles reprinted at Satya Center with Susun's kind permission:
Menopausal Years, the Wise Woman Way
Wise Woman Ways to Boost Your Energy
The Spirit and Practice of the Wise Woman Tradition
Breast Cancer? Breast Health The Wise Woman Way!
Can Breast Cancer Be Prevented?
Herbs That Ease Anxiety and Fear
Archived Articles: Susun Weed Archive
Gardening and Seed Sources
Satya Center has seed and gardening resources. Check out our farms & gardens page and our sustainable agriculture page. These are just a few ethical suppliers of non GMO (genetically modified organisms), open pollinated seeds. May your garden grow to heal you, your family and our only home, Planet Earth.
Abundant Life Seed Foundation
This foundation, now reorganized as the Organic Seed Alliance is a wonderful non profit organization from whom I have purchased heirloom and hard to find seed varieties in the past. In fact many of my perennial herb beds were started from their seeds. Sadly, last summer they had a fire in their seed warehouse.
“The fire destroyed our entire operations – most of our seed archive, a rare library of books, education and research materials, and the seed inventory of the both the catalog business and the World Seed Fund (WSF). We did have offsite backup of customer data, financials and of a small percentage of the seed archive." If you have seed you have purchased from Abundant Life that you would like to donate to rebuild the archive please give them a list of that seed, or if you want to join the Seed Growers Network, you can contact them at the address below. Or you can read more about them on this page here using this link.
Organic Seed Alliance
P.O. Box 772
Port Townsend, WA 98368
or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I ‘met’ these wonderful folks through a biodynamic mailing list I was on when I was a frustrated gardener living without a garden in NYC. I gardened virtually and learned a tremendous amount about biodynamic agriculture, Rudolf Steiner and gardening and farming in general (and also about mailing list culture, not unlike the ‘real’ world). Many of my favorite medicinal herb patches, flowers and vegetables came from Aurora Farm seed. Located in the Kootenay RiverValley in British Columbia, the farm has been a labor of love since 1989, with Barbara raising her two boys there, and then joined by Woody in 1998. You can read some wonderful stories about the farm and their cow Bessie, read about the “Soul Medicine Journeys” they offer (Barbara has a background in biology, medicine work, much training at Esalen in Big Sur as well as wilderness training) and their compost workshops. The website is full of beautiful pictures to really entice you either on a retreat with Barbara or if you ever wanted to work at a farm, this might be the place for you. Or you can find Barbara in Satya Center's own alt.healer directory listings.
“ Masanobu Fukuoka was born in 1913, of a family that has farmed the Southern Japan Islands for over 1,400 years. Educated as a microbiologist and soil scientist, he is now a Mahayana Buddhist who practices simple agriculture as a spiritual path. He is the father and master teacher, the Sensei of the art of Natural Farming.” (quote from Jim Bones’ beautiful seedball website).
Fukuoka said "The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings". Read his wonderful “The One Straw Revolution”.
Read the same interview with Fukuoka at another beautiful and interesting website Basho’s Pond, “a spiritual web-site that provides interfaith dialogue and teachings from all world wisdom traditions. We also provide links to other non-violent spiritually engaged websites in the tradition of M.K. Gandhi. Basho's Pond is a source of reliable information about retreat locations throughout the world.”
You can read a great story by Starhawk, “The Arrest of the Seedballs” about the police raiding the house of organizers who were gathering in Sacramento to protest “against the conference organized by Anne Veneman and the USDA to promote biotech and industrial agriculture to ministers from WTO countries, in the run-up to the Cancun ministerial scheduled for September”. They had prepared seed balls the day before in a well attended agriculture conference by both participants and media where they prepared organic seed balls, in the manner of Masanobu Fukuoka.
(All photos by Jane Sherry with the exception of Robina Hearle's portrait from her website)
Aromatherapy and Emotions
by Joie Power Ph.D.
Aromas effect mood and evoke memories. For example, Frankincense and Cypress have been said to aid in dispelling grief, while Ylang Ylang and Juniper are claimed to aid in coping with guilt.... more >>
Balancing and Supporting the Immune System
by Joie Power Ph.D.
We've got stress, environmental toxins, chronic illness & fatigue. Here are some powerful tools for establishing and maintaining wellness that any of us can and should access on our own. more >>
Building a Container for Rachel
by Trish Mooney for the Flower Essence Society
The first cycle of essences was chosen to soothe, anchor and protect Rachel. We wanted to enable her to experience being grounded in her body without sliding into depression or returning to a scattered, manic mode of behavior. more >>
by Rebecca Wood
Ahh, spring aromas wafting up from the warming earth. How I love foraging. In addition to the anticipation of the upcoming feast, there’s the thrill of the find, the pleasure of piling a basket with freely given gifts and a feeling of inter-relatedness that being outdoors engenders. Indeed, foraging is humankind’s oldest profession. more >>
Ease Those Bug Bites with Easy Herbs
by Susun Weed
Take a leaf from Susun S. Weed's storehouse of natural remedies. Soothe, heal, & prevent bites with safe herbal remedies that grow right where you live:north or south, east or west, city or country. The best natural remedies for insect bites are right underfoot. more >>
Flower Essence Formulas: Powerful Remedies for Times of Crisis
by Richard Katz
Flower essences were first developed during an earlier time of traumatic economic and social upheaval, the Great Depression of the 1930s. In the face of today’s challenges, these potent plant remedies can be important allies as we seek the wisdom, inner strength, emotional equanimity and resolve needed to meet a new world crisis. more >>
Flower Essence Society Archive
by Flower Essence Society
The Flower Essence Society (FES)is an international membership organization of health practitioners, researchers, students, and others interested in deepening knowledge of flower essence therapy. more >>
more articles >>