Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful,
for beauty is God’s handwriting — a wayside sacrament.
Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every flower,
and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
On Sunday, I shared some first steps to finding and getting to know your special Green Ally, based on an article by noted Herbal Wise Woman, Susun Weed.
After several days of spending some quality time together, just breathing with one another, try making a detailed, botanical kind of drawing of your green friend. You do not have to be a skilled artist; no one is going to critique your work. Perhaps, if this seems too difficult, you might want to simply draw, in as accurate detail as possible, one leaf, the stalk, or a blossom.
Give it your best effort. Your attention to the detail is the reward. Following with your hand the curves, creases, colors, and little blemishes creates an intimacy with your ally that is not readily possible any other way.
Once you have done this, then go into a dropped and open awareness (magical people will know this means a sort of soft-focus, alert but trance-like state). This time, sketch your Green Ally in an impressionistic kind of way. Instead of pinpoint accuracy, instead, open your psychic awareness, and draw a picture of the plant’s energy, the way it moves, its scent, its lines of growth and life. This is, in fact, very likely to look nothing like the way your eyes normally see it, but it may possibly be a much more accurate depiction.
As you draw your visual and then energetic portraits, continue breathing with your ally, and listen. Does your plant make suggestions? Can you feel him responding to your attentions? Allow your plant to prompt you in this work.
Then, when you’ve developed this energetic and aesthetic intimacy with your ally, it is appropriate to develop your intellectual knowledge of it.
First, begin to learn about its traditional role with humans as an ally. In other words, why is your plant ally cultivated? Is it used for anything – food, medicine, or perhaps the spiritual healing of beauty? What do humans consider to be the valuable parts – the roots, or the flowers, or its fruit? Or several? What are they used for?
Learn as much as you can, and if possible, purchase or find the materials or goods that are the result of cultivating your plant. For instance, pine trees are a valuable resource for humans – from turpentine to furniture, to the beautiful pine needle baskets that skilled artisans weave.
Experiment by making tinctures, oils, or art from your plant. Ask your plant to suggest some ways that can help you discover more about her.
Tomorrow, there will be more, so I hope you’ll spend some time today working in these ways with your new (or dear old) friend.