After a whirlwind spring of spending most of my free time gathering flowers, I took a break.
Nature did too.
Did you know we have phases where our native flowers flush up and die down before the next wave of wild color comes through?
I didn’t. I’m learning. Some things are unobvious unless we make a point to see them. Like abandoned lots in the city.
Do you actually notice the neglected places around town? Or have you visually screened them out?
For me, I screened them out. Because, eyesore!
But after being home more I began to feel a tug from the abandoned lot across the street. One evening I couldn’t stand it. So I walked over and explored.
Admist a cement foundation strewn with old floor tiles, cracked glass, and the debris of who knows what, there was a host of wild weeds studded about in the cracks and crevices, some waving tiny flower heads in the light evening wind. Some as tall as my chest. Some covering the flooring with leafy vigor.
A wide diversity, living side by side, in disturbed soil.
I spent time with these plants, and they seemed to puff up a bit energetically when I did, as if to say, back off, or, perhaps being pleased with being seen at all.
It was rather enchanting, really.
The pseudo invisibility of these places is part of their magic… they are left alone to do their wild cards. They are the borderland pockets between wild and civilized.
Their flower essences are becoming my personal go to’s for their direct, strong and immediate support.
And so, this blog post is for the unexpected ones… the wildflowers that grow in the startling places, the inhospitable places, the abandoned places, and the recovering places.
May we see their unexpected life thriving.
And know we can too.
As I research these plants and discover their essences for myself, I am learning that their strategic locations in these unhospitable environments actually serve a purpose.
They can be survivalists and opportunists with good food supplies for insects. Or, seasonal squatters and soil nutrient fixers.
They can also be energy anchors to stabilize a place.
And guardian plants, to keep out further disturbance until the land ‘heals’.
To illustrate ‘purpose’… story time! 🙂
This spring, I went on a guided plant walk at a state park.
Our group came upon a large patch of wild rose bushes on a previously disturbed hilly area. They were spindly, barely beginning to bud green.
Our knowledgeable guide said these were an invasive species, and were occupying space the natives needed to grow. Soon, work crews would come to clear them.
Ok, as a budding naturalist, I hear that. We want natives growing instead of common rose.
Yet it didn’t sit right with me. I didn’t know why.
I stayed back as the group wandered on, and silently gave the rose bushes a hello. Still groggy from their winter dreaming down in the roots, they were slow and fuzzy to respond. After a minute, I felt a hazy image float up from the underground.
In the image I saw them as habitat to small animals in all seasons, of holding space while the historically disturbed soil could recover, and providing nourishment in the form of rosehips to deer and nectar to winged ones in the process. Their roots were strong and networked and deep, anchoring the soil and mycelial communications with the surrounding woods.
It was a hello back, of their purposefulness. Every aspect of them serving, both above and below the dirt line.
Oh! They were on assignment!
You know, it could have been thistle, or poison ivy, or any number of other plants that could have moved in to guardian, and hold space, while nature repairs took place over time.
Why that particular one?
It never occurred to me that it would be unorganized.
With this project, I’m finding some plants growing in clusters in places where their flower essence makes sense, where it could be useful on a practical vibrational level.
But this is not news.
I first heard herbalist Stephen Harrod Buhner on a plant walk in Idaho talk about this in regards to St. John’s Wort growing en masse outside of an area where there was high alcoholism.
St. John’s wort as an internal medicine is traditionally known to help ease depression. Vibrationally, it’s a high frequency spiritual healing plant, useful for anchoring the safety and protection of a solo spirit in this wide world. Would not both of these things benefit a community dealing with addiction? Or, was it just the right soil and climate that caused that plant tribe to root and reproduce copiously there?
Habitat sound recorder, Bernie Kraus has a theory to corroborate this interconnectivity.
He has been recording the natural sounds of environments for decades. He notices that every species seeks to find it’s niche to vibrate in so that it’s sound is heard. That a species may even adapt it’s frequency a bit to fit into the symphony where there’s room. When those niches are occupied in harmony, a range of flowing frequencies is present. This is homeostasis of a communal sort. And it’s a measure of the health of place.
What if this isn’t just with sound, but also the energetics of life on any level?
Silently, rose had vibrated right into that spot.
Who is in charge of that? Is there something in charge of that?
I don’t know, but I suspect it’s the Devas.
Personally, I find that comforting.
Back to the forest.
I felt caught in a misfire between rose-dreaming and park service thinking. It’s an uncomfortable place to be.
Later, I talked to Joe and shared my observation.
He thought for a minute, then said, “You know, I never thought of it like that. That’s something to consider.”
Rose was being a guardian in the woods.
Yet, my favorite in this ‘guardian’ group is currently Horrid Thistle.
Chances are you’ve seen this plant. It is part warrior, part insect feast, part bug home. With its body stalk tall as my belly and covered with stiff spikes, what’s not love about this completely invasive plant that has bad-hair-day blooms and grows like a weed in disturbed soil? (And, the name! I’m such a sucker for an underdog.)
It grows in places that need to be left alone to recover. It’s plant code for ‘Do not disturb’.
Making this essence, I tried to put the cut flower face down on the water, and the surrounding spikes kept using the surface water tension to resist. I had to let go of my need to have it do what I wanted. This strong sense of Self and Self determination is part of the information of this plant.
Used topically as a flower essence, I’ve learned so far that this plant moves energy by clearing it all the way to the outer edge of the human energy field, where it can let go completely and be shaken off. It’s rather strong about this action, too. It supports reclaiming personal space, owning one’s space and right to be there.
It is proving useful for folks who are dissociating when confronted or in conflict; for those who are unable to stand in their truth and own their personal boundaries.
What’s not to like about that?!?
Is there room in the scientific world to consider plant consciousness and intelligence as part of plant selection and organization in a habitat?
Or does it need to stay anthropomorphizingly ‘Walt Disney’, or conceptually shamanic, in order to be understood?
It may be awhile before dominant Western culture comes over to this blend of science and spirit thinking. But when it does, it will be in good and ancient company.
To this day, there are peoples and cultures that still embody this blend… some of whose origination myths never had them leave the Garden of Eden.*
Thank goodness for them! We need folks holding the knowing and doing and dreaming of Eden, and the cooperation and co-creativity with nature that it represents.
Whether rooted in deep lineages or not, it is important that someone, some people, some cultures do – holding that knowing as real – until the rest of humanity can exit its denial and re-enter the Garden.
I know, I know.
But look here.
When we are exiles, we behave differently than if we have a place at the table.
It is up to us to recognize this. And respond.
Now that’s something to consider…
This post hopefully has cast seeds in a few places, perhaps in the abandoned lots of the mind. 😉
To close, here’s a page out of the wildflower-in-tough-places survival book… Maybe think of it the next time you wake up and find the world is (still) going crazy:
You can thrive in disturbed soil. Adapt to instability. Be comfortable with diversity around you. Make your growth/bloom a priority (and know that it will benefit those near you). Stand tall in your right to exist, and be where you are.
And, know the seeds within you contain a memory of peace with all life.
It’s good info for our time… held quietly all around us, in overlooked, undervalued spaces, by common plants.
All photos, text, illustrations copyright 2018 Megan Assaf
A Louisiana Flower Essence Project and it’s materials are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All material on this website is provided for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.