The Rebel Herbalist
We are facing an unprecedented challenge in our lifetimes. We are navigating an unknown experience. We have been thrust into the wilderness. I have been grateful for the communities that I belong to who are working to hold an energy of peace and hope during these uncertain times. The Community for Holistic Integration has been hosting a daily Live video on our Facebook Group called #CHITogether. You can check out the back episodes by searching the group. There has been meditation, yoga nidra, plant walks, EFT/Tapping, essential oils classes, and more. The women's group I belong to is also offering Sunday night classes on meditation, relaxation, creating a new world, etc. These offerings are called Calling the Flame and are free via Zoom at 7pm every week. I will be teaching about the power of creating a Ritual Bath on our Zoom call tonight. Ritual bathing is a practice as ancient as human life. Water is soothing, balancing, cleansing and essential to our lives. We are all born from water, we all must drink water to live, we sweat water and cry saltwater tears. Taking a Ritual Bath is a way to turn an everyday activity into a magical act of focus and self love. Any time I embark on creating magic for myself I start with my intention. What am I trying to accomplish? For my Ritual Bath today, my intention was to connect my mind to vastness, my heart to love and my body to suppleness. With these energy invocations in mind I chose the herbal allies who would help me to access these qualities. For the vast openness of my mind, I chose mugwort and sage. For opening my heart to love, I chose rose hips and motherwort. For suppleness of my body, I chose candied ginger, sea salt, mullein and nettles. If you need help choosing plant allies, feel free to drop me an email or do a google search for the qualities you are looking for. You can also invest in some books to build your magical library, like Blackthorn's Botanical Magic or Rosemary Gladstar's books.
I added all of the plant material and a quarter cup of sea salt to a large pot on the stove, the equivalent of about a cup and a half of plant material. I then added two quarts of water and brought it to a boil. I boiled this mixture while stirring in a figure eight or infinity pattern, all the while visualizing the outcome I had in mind. I turned the heat down to a simmer and waited for the liquid to turn the golden brown color of tea, a sure sign that the water had taken on the essence of the plant materials.
Once the tea was ready, I strained it carefully using a wire mesh strainer into a heat-proof pitcher. I prepared my bath, lit my candles, dry brushed my skin, made sure my family knew better than to interrupt me, and added the tea mixture to my bath water.
The bath water immediately began its work on me. I felt uplifted, transported, relaxed. This wasn't a time to read or scroll Facebook. This was a time to deeply release and trust in the plant allies I had chosen to offer me the healing and balancing that I was seeking. It was a beautiful experience and left me feeling just the way I had asked to feel: vast, open and supple. The plant materials that I strained from the tea will now feed my magical garden. You can add them to your compost pile, or place them deliberately at the base of a tree with whom you have or are building a special relationship. You can also dig a hole in the Earth and plant them as an offering. I often do this in my herb garden.
Make sure that you write the herb blend that you used in your magical journal so that you can remember which allies you have worked with, and how effective their medicine is for the outcome you are seeking. If you don't have access to fresh or dried plant material, you can also use essential oils, gemstones, moon water, flower essences, and more to help charge the water of the Ritual Bath with the energies of your intention. You are only limited by your imagination. If you don't have access to a bathtub, you can make a foot-bath out of a rubbermaid container. You can also create a facial steam with a bowl of steeped herbs. There are so many ways for us to encounter the magic of plants and water. And don't forget the magic of the Tea Ceremony! For more about teas, check out my friend's business, The Witchwood Teahouse. If you are looking for gemstones in your healing, check out Wild Moon & Co. Our ancestors had so many ways of encountering the beauty and magic all around us. We are being invited to remember these indigenous ways of returning to the web of life. May you be healthy, may you be well, and may you come back to Life.