The first time I take a new herb class on an herb walk, I like to remind them that we have many ways to learn about plants. The botanical dissection and visual observation of plants is the usual method people use to categorize the plant. (Botanists are starting to use genetic material to categorize them.) Then there is commonly agreed upon material that one can get from lecture or books that tells us who that plant is to the human being. However, there are more intimate ways to get to know the true nature of our plant allies.
We can gain information from them by sensual methods using the senses of sight, tactile sensation, olfactory blissitudes, gustatory delights or by supersensory methods such as gut insights, heart knowing, instant knowledge, inner hearing, and plant angels/fairies to name a few.
The sensual methods:
Sight: Colors and shapes of the plant, where the plant chooses to grow in the environment are all visual cues that give us information about a plant. The location of flowers as well as size of flowers can tell us information about the plant. When they open their flowers is another message. The thickness or thinness of their leaves gives insight into their activities...
Tactile: Roughness, prickles, smoothness, velvetiness, mositure content, toughness or tenderness can all give you insight into the plant you are getting to know.
Olfactory: Your nose can lead you on remarkable plant journeys. There are scents that tantalize and cause euphoria as well as scents that smell nasty and nauseating. All scents are odiferous clues to the personality and activity of the plant. Scents will cause a reaction in your body. Pay attention to this as it is important information.
Taste: This can run from yummy to making you vomit. Tastes usually fall into categories of, sweet, sour, bitter, salty, acrid, pungent and astringent.
To use supersensory methods be in the now:
When getting to know your supersensory self there are times when you will question the information you are getting. If there is question in your heart, be careful. Always be careful with plants you don’t know. Some poisonous plants will try to lure you into their poisonous world and tasting them can be the death of you. Always make sure you know edibility of a plant before eating.
Gut insights: Sometimes you get gut feelings about things. You can get these about plants also. Learn to trust them, they are usually true. When a plant is dangerous for you to ingest, you will often notice a gut insight. Do not ignore it.
Heart Knowing: This is a type of wisdom that is heart based. Think of the times you have said to your self or someone else, “I know in my heart this is true.” Your heart does not mislead you. It is our heart that guides us best. It is our heart where love resides. Love is the greatest power and is that which connects us deeply to the plants and the planet.
Instant knowledge: This type of knowing is like a computer download into your mind. Suddenly spirit gives you this tremendous amount of information. It may seem to come directly from the plants, the plant angels or Spirit. Remember, Spirit has an infinite number of messengers and speaks in mysterious ways.
Inner hearing: This type of hearing is not usually one of directly hearing voices. It is as if you heard a voice but actually just got the message. If you are walking around your house and suddenly out of the blue, remember you forgot to water your house plants, listen closely. You will usually find they are screaming at you in their own non-oral way. It is somewhere between a feeling and an audible experience. The out-door plants will also communicate with you. They have stories to tell. They will take you places that their genetic material springs from. They will let you know about their personalities, their needs. I don’t always know if it is them, plant angels or spirit coming through but it does not really matter since ultimately it is all spirit.
Dreaming: The plants will visit you in your dreams, meditations and prayers if you ask them to. Invite them to visit.
Petting Plants: Besides talking to plants, signing to them, inviting them into your dreams, you can also pet plants. Some plants love to be petted. When you pet them, pet their energy field radiating around them, not them physically. Most of them like this and some love it. If you can not see the energy field around them, simply pet the air within about one - two inches away from their leaves. Get close to touching them, but don’t quite physically contact them. You will notice them perk up and some may lift their leaves upward. On some plants such as boston ferns it is quire noticeable. Their fronds lift upward into the air in delight.