Sunday, October 1, 2017

Plant Spirit Helpers

Aloe Vera
Plant spirits are one of the major allies of shamans for healing, seeing, dreaming, and empowerment. Shamans heal using their knowledge of plant spirits as well as the plant's medicinal properties. When the shaman does not know what plant medicine to use for a sick person, the spirit of the plant tells him. Plants, however, are more than their chemical components. They are intelligent beings that have the capacity to raise consciousness to a level where true healing can take place. Plants have always evolved before their animal counterparts and offer profound guidance regarding our own spiritual evolution.

In shamanic rituals, plants are commonly used in smudging. Smudging is a method of using smoke from burning herbs to purify a space in preparation for spiritual or inner work. The sacred smoke dispels any stagnant or unwanted energy and opens the energy channels of your body. Sage, cedar, and sweetgrass are traditionally used for smudging. Light the herbs in a fire-resistant receptacle and then blow out the flames. Then use a feather or your hands to fan the smoke around your body and home. I recommend cracking a window or door for ventilation and for releasing unwanted energies. Conclude the smudging by thanking the plant or tree spirit whose body made the cleansing possible.

For an in-depth look at the role of plant spirits in shamanic rituals, I highly recommend Plant Spirit Shamanism by Ross Heaven and Howard G. Charing. From their years of extensive shamanic work in the Amazon, Haiti, and Europe, Heaven and Charing present the core methods of plant shamanism used in healing rituals the world over: soul retrieval, spirit extraction, and sin eating. They explain the techniques shamans use to establish connections to plant spirits and provide practical exercises as well as a directory of traditional Amazonian and Caribbean healing plants and their common North American equivalents so readers can explore the world of plant spirits and make allies of their own.

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