“Chickweed, little star lady, underneath the potato plants!”, I sang this morning as I encountered Chickweed, Stellaria media, along my walk on the Appalachian Trail on Old South Mountain. Chickweed gave this song to me to sing to her several years ago. She likes the shady cool. She was my first plant ally when I began my Shamanic Herbal Apprenticeship. When I encounter Chickweed in person now, her song comes to me, and something else comes as well in my being. “Delicious! I want to eat you! May I?” I experience some blushing around how bold I am sometimes in my natural expression. I hear her giggle, her laugh like the flow of the stars and the tinkling of delicate little bells. I breathe with her and ask if I may have a bit of her to eat. She is so accepting and loving of me, and giving. I am so delighted by how she tastes and how I experience her gifts nourish and flow in my being through just eating one stem.
As my plant ally several years ago, she supported me in timely fashion in dissolving a sizable, persistent ovarian cyst, for which I had been recommended to have surgically removed. In my experience, some of Chickweed’s gifts lie in nourishing dark spaces within me, and dissolving barriers I’ve created within myself that were innovative when created, however are no longer needed. In her, I find a tenacious, generous, nourishing friend. After what is no longer needed is dissolved, she supports me and leads me to the support of other plants for creating something more nourishing for myself. She shows me her beauty, reflecting to me my own. She has a sharpness about her, and this morning I feel her encouraging me to write this article in rapid fashion, rather than dwelling in my perfectionist self. I find that I procrastinate with writing, allowing opportunities to share to slip by. Go for it “NOW!” she says, with her sweetness. She encourages me to share the practice below.
Would you like to connect with a plant ally? Here’s a way you may like to explore choosing and being chosen by a plant ally.
- Go to a plant or tree to which you feel drawn.
- Breathe seven breaths with the plant or tree. If you are breathing with a tree, place your dominant hand on the trunk of the tree. If you are breathing with a plant, be near the plant, touching gently if you like. As you breathe, experience yourself exchanging breath with the plant or tree.
- After you breathe, ask the plant or tree (the words spoken within yourself), “Are you my plant ally?” Listen and receive. In the practice of placing questions with the plants and trees, this is one occasion when asking a yes/no question rather than an open-ended question is powerful. If you receive a “yes”, this is your plant ally. If you receive a “no” or feel uncertain, you may wish to breathe again with this plant and ask “Who is my plant ally?”. Receive what is given. Give gratitude. If this is not your plant ally, you may wish to choose another tree or plant to practice this same practice with. I experience how breathing with the plants and trees nourishes me in patience and perseverance.
- When you and your plant ally have come together, you may like to breathe weekly or even daily with your plant ally. This practice of breathing seven breaths with a plant or tree, placing a question, receiving, and then giving gratitude is a beautiful way to connect. A powerful question to ask every day of a plant or tree ally is “What have you for me?”