26 June, 2015

Plant Spirit Shamanism: Mugwort

Artemisia Vulgaris, Mugwort (from WikiCommons)
Mugwort is one of the most common magical plants found in the Eastern United States. It grows in gardens, near wooded areas, around parking lots, everywhere!

To continue the theme of Plant Magic and communication this month, here are the insights from Mugwort:
  • I am very sacred to Artemis, and would like sweat as an offering (when I prodded further, she spoke about sweat as a physical offering from the body, exertion when engaged in nature walks, competition, etc.).
    • Mugwort tea is also sort of sweaty and frothy, so perhaps a sympathetic magical connection?
  • I can help to see the larger patterns of an issue, such as the Mythic Themes of a person's life, because I bypass the "logical" side of the brain and speak in symbols.
  • When compared to Clary Sage, I can find the pattern in disparate elements (Clary Sage is more linear and detail-oriented).
  • I can be used to enhance dreams and dream recall, because I am slightly psychoactive (she then informed me that all plants are psychoactive/psychosomatic in some way!).
At this time, Artemis herself jumped in, and spoke about how she uses it to see the larger patterns in life events. "Why do you think I stayed in the woods? I didn't want to be bothered by the 'petty crap'!"  The Morrighan also spoke up near the end of the Journey, and let me know that she enjoys working with Mugwort, too. "I like all the bitter yet psychoactive knowledge plants."

Have you ever made Mugwort tea? What sort of effect did it have on your dreams?

17 June, 2015

Plant Spirit Shamanism: Clary Sage

(see previous posts in the series on Plant Spirits here, here, here, here, and here!)

Clary Sage, a beautiful friend! (c) Lonely Coyote, 2015
In the ongoing heat and humidity of Summer, I am continuing my lessons with Spirits of the Plant World. My garden is a fun mix of planned-out areas and "bird-planted" areas (in which they scatter seed in the fertile earth). Some plants are edible, some are wild, some are hybridized, but all are magical!

Clary Sage:

I was first introduced to the magic of Clary Sage in an essential oil that was gifted to me, named "Concentration."  I loved the smell immediately, and felt the response in my brain-- I grounded fully into my body, and some of the ruminating thoughts and anxieties melted away so I could focus on one specific thing at a time. Ahhhhh what a feeling!

During the most recent Gryphons Grove shamanism class, I rattled and made my way to my own garden, to speak with the Spirit of Clary Sage. Here's what She told me:

"I work in a similar fashion to Rosemary, in that I cut through 'brain fog' and help with focus. Specifically, I help the 3rd eye focus in on spiritual vision, and support alertness and attention to detail. Although I can be eaten, I prefer to work with you as a magical plant, in a carrier oil. When working shamanically for others, place me on both the 3rd eye and the 'hidden eye.'"

"What's the 'hidden eye?'" I asked.

"The 'hidden eye' is located on the back of your neck, on the vertebrae that separate the spine from the brain stem. You don't have eyes in the back of your head, you have eyes in the back of your neck! By putting my oil on both 'eyes', the front and back of your body can work synergistically, so that nothing can sneak up on you during healing."

After her words, I took out my "Concentration" oil and put some on both places. There was a rush of energy, and practically felt my neurons firing in synch with each other!

I thanked her for her lessons, and returned to the classroom space. When I finally made it home that evening, I offered my thanks in person, along with water and blessings.

Have you ever worked with Clary Sage? Many either love or hate the strong scent-- how about you?

Stay tuned for more Plant Spirit Magic!

10 June, 2015

How do I find my own Helping Spirit?

 Finding a Helping Spirit is usually the first shamanic journey taught in any Drumming Group.*  Many people gravitate towards an Animal Spirit at first, to help them navigate the Otherworlds (although some meet deities or faires first). Different instructions are given in order to figure out who or what your Helping Spirit is, but here are a few tips that have helped me (phrased as if you were looking for your Animal Helper): 
  1. Asking the Spirits for the Animal Spirit most needed for your own healing at this time, to help you reach the next stage of your spiritual evolution (sometimes this is the Power Animal, sometimes it's not).  
  2. Looking for an animal that shows up at least 4 times in a Journey.  
  3. Seeing an animal in a Journey, and then seeing it on TV, in news articles, pictures on Facebook, etc.  
  4. Researching a beloved deity's Animal Spirit (like Freya and her cats, as well as all her Hawks) and then Journeying to that Spirit for assistance.  
  5. Picking up an Animal Spirits dictionary (such as this one by Steven Farmer, PhD) and flipping to a page randomly.  
  6. Hearing others' stories about their Animal Spirits, finding one you like, and then "choosing" it as your Animal Spirit to work with.

Number 6 is fun, because it puts the power in your hands. Almost all of the Spirits I've worked with and developed relationships, I've had to choose to work with them and find out about them. I know that the stereotype is "The Spirit chooses you!" but they find it incredibly flattering when one seeks them out!

*Drumming Groups are local shamanic journeying groups, and can sometimes be found on Meetup.com and Witchvox.com . If you are local to the Baltimore County area, and would like to join my Drumming Group, please send me an email!

09 June, 2015

Learning about Plant Spirits in Shamanism

 This past Sunday, I assisted with the Gryphons Grove class that focused on Plant Spirits and Helpers. A favorite of mine, I was excited to help drum and support the students in their journeys, as well as take a few journeys of my own.
(c) Lonely Coyote, 2015

In shamanic work, there is great importance (at least at the beginning of creating spiritual relationships) on asking the most effective questions. The Spirits communicate by using the language and symbols that already exist in our minds, and the most effective questions help us to bypass our Ego and get to the real knowledge.

When working with new Helping Spirits, I have three questions that I almost always ask:
  • Will you work with me in partnership for healing?
    • Respect the "No" if it is the true response!
  • What healing gifts do you bring to others?
    • Sometimes, I'll ask for the gift of a healing for myself, to help understand the gifts that the Helping Spirits possess.
  • What type of offering would you like for our work together?
    • I follow a Druid path, and fully believe in ghosti when establishing new relationships.
By asking these questions to some of the above-pictured Plant Spirits, I learned about a few specialized skills of the plants with whom I work quite regularly!

Lemon Balm:
(c) Wiki Commons
 "I am a 'Counseling Plant' that uplifts the spirit when people are battling depression, anxiety, and fear. I am helpful when humans needs to verbally process their own grief, and my lemony scent works with honey to create a wonderful calming and stabilizing effect. I can also be made into a healing tea!"

(see previous entry on Rosemary here)
(c) Wiki Commons
"If Lemon Balm battles depression and compassion fatigue by lifting mood, then I battle both by cutting through the murkiness of a "depression fog" and bringing focus and concentration."

As the summer months continue, I will be working more with the Animal and Plant Spirits of North America and Europe. Stay tuned for Clary Sage, Lavender, Violet, Mugwort, and others!