Plant Spirit Healing
The last forty years have seen a continual rise in people’s interest in traditional indigenous cultures that engage with the unseen forces of nature and the spirit beings that inhabit the astral / dreamtime dimension. This fascination with what is called shamanism is occurring in the Western world and seems to be a response to our malnourished spirits that long for connection with the greater web of life and the meaning that comes from that connection. This movement toward spirit is perhaps an evolutionary one, or maybe it is a return to our birthright. Our very DNA is encoded with a memory of a time when we all lived close to spirit and its individual manifestations.
Plant Spirit Healing is a way of life as well as a modality of healing because it helps us to become fully who we are, living according to our own true nature, following the path we are meant to walk. Coming to know our own true nature and living accordingly can be a life-long journey. The plants are our companions for life that guide, heal and help us along our journey. They will also assist with issues of intention and humility, reminding us that ultimately we are in service to the holy, the sacredness in all life.
Plants have a direct line to source energy, and it is this energy that causes healing to take place. This source energy is powerful and requires a container that can handle its magnitude and dynamism. The container of our bodies needs to be free of clutter and also needs to have the capacity to hold the enormous spiritual energy that moves through as we work with plant spirits. In the West we are now very conscious of needing to strengthen our bodies – the physical vessel – through exercise, breathing, and bodywork while eating good organic food and drinking pure water. However, we are lacking in our understanding that we also need to “clean house” internally; emptying closets of our psyche of worn-out beliefs, old patterns, negative thought processes, and unwarranted fears.
When working with Plant Spirit Healing, we focus on the energy body and on supporting the person to be all that they can be, fulfilling their own true nature. We address the source of dis-ease rather than merely treating a symptom. Symptoms are signposts to be used as guidelines but they are not the dis-ease. There may be many manifestations of illness in a person but they all come from the same source – a disruption in one’s energy body. When we are not at home with ourselves or not living according to our own true nature, the energy becomes contradictory causing mis-alignment or vulnerability.
The plant spirits can fill us full of all that is needed to live according to our own true nature, walking the path meant for us. Plant Spirit Healing is not about achieving perfection or perfect health – it is about becoming fully you. All that does not serve us as we becomes what we truly are falls away and the plants work to bring us back into balance with our complete selves.
Healing Trauma – Individual and Collective Transformation
Trauma is a fact of life. It has become so commonplace that most people don’t even realize its presence. Trauma is felt by everyone at some stage in our lives and doesn’t have to have resulted from the more obvious causes such as abuse or attack (shock trauma); accidents, injuries, surgery, medical and dental procedures, anesthesia, illnesses, inappropriate or harsh behavior by parents/teachers/peers, betrayal, robbery, financially hard times, pressure of societal/cultural expectations, fetal trauma, birth trauma, loss of a loved one, witnessing violence, etc., etc., can all cause a level of trauma in the system that can deeply effect the way we view and live in the world.
Throughout recorded and oral history, it has been the task of the shaman, or tribal healer, to help restore balance and health in individuals and communities where it has been disrupted. In contrast to Western medicine, which has taken its time in recognizing the debilitating impacts of trauma, shamanistic cultures have acknowledged such wounds for a very long time. Shamanistic cultures view illness and trauma as a problem for the entire community, not just the individual who manifests the symptoms. Consequently, people in shamanic societies seek healing as much for the good of the whole as for themselves. In the Amazon, the energy that results from a traumatic experience is called susto and this is one of the key areas of the work at the Temple.
Traumatic symptoms are not caused by the “triggering” of the event itself. They stem from the frozen residue of energy that has not been resolved and discharged; this energy remains trapped in the system where it can wreak havoc on our mind and body. However, we can remove this energy by working with the plants. The same energies that create the symptoms of trauma, when properly engaged can transform the trauma and propel us into new heights of healing, mastery, and even wisdom.
Held within the symptoms of trauma are the very energies, potentials, and resources necessary for their constructive transformation. Western medicine and culture typically blocks our innate healing process – by using drugs to suppress symptoms, by over-emphasizing adjustment or control or by denial or invalidation of emotions, feelings and sensations. This residual energy does not simply go away. It persists in the body, and forces the formation of a wide variety of symptoms e.g., anxiety, depression, sadness, disassociation, fear, panic, and other psychosomatic and behavioral problems. These symptoms are the way our mind and body gives us signals that there is undischarged residual energy that we need to address and clean. If we don’t deal with this energy and ignore the warning signs, dis-ease will then often manifest as a final warning system.
Trauma resolved is a great gift, returning us to the natural world of ebb and flow, harmony, love, and compassion. In order to release the energies caused by trauma, we need quietness, safety, and protection. We need caring and experienced healers to help us move through the release of the energies surrounded by the protection and support of Nature. We can then trust and honor the process that will bring us to completion and wholeness, and eventually peace. This is the environment that is offered during a healing workshop at the Temple.
Trauma has the potential to be one of the most significant forces for psychological, social, and spiritual awakening and evolution. How we handle trauma (as individuals, communities, and societies) greatly influences the quality of our lives. It ultimately affects how or even whether we will survive as a species.