Plant Medicine Through the Wheel of the Year: Imbolc

We stand upon the threshold between late winter & early spring – marked by the time of Imbolc where seeds are beginning to stir within the belly of the Earth Mother. As the land slowly thaws and the sun lights up the sky a little longer with every passing day, the hope of spring and new life begins to awaken again after the long dormancy and dreaming of wintertime.

I love this time of year. There is a slowly emerging excitement – a feeling of quickening as tiny seedlings are just barely beginning to peek out of the soil and branches are beginning to swell with the thought of budding. We’re still in the bosom of winter – the hard freezes still come at night, making every new leaf shimmer with crystals that glitter with the tiniest rainbows. And yet a few brave blossoms dare to open – the Helibore, Witch Hazel, Snowdrops and Crocuses begin to light up the barren landscape with shades of hope, whispering that spring is indeed coming.

There is a magic and potency to these moments between seasons, to these thresholds that mark a distinct movement that is happening within the wheel of the year. However, in this fast paced modern world where our lives run on a different kind of clock & calendar than the rest of nature, it’s easy to lose touch with the subtle signs that portend the shifting of the seasons. For most of us, our attention is drawn to a million things every day – whether those are shiny distractions or the heaps of tasks and chores that make up our means for survival – there’s no doubt that we live in a time of overstimulation. Amid the hustle, the quiet movements of nature can become lost on us.

I don’t think this is due to a lack of caring – rather, we’re not wired anymore to need to pay attention to the world around us. Instead of relying on the return of certain plants and the migration of certain animals, we rely on whatever skills we can offer to contribute to the world, which in turn take care of our basic needs by way of a paycheck. However, our ancestors who lived in congruence with the land were dependent upon their sensory organs and their connection to nature to survive.

There’s so much more to discuss on this subject, but one thing I’ve felt and seen in others is that there’s a distinct feeling of loneliness and longing that comes from living in a way that’s disconnected from the source of life. Within each one of us is a deep yearning to reconnect, to feel that we’re a part of the Earth again and to weave ourselves back into the fabric of life. Paying attention to the small things like the songs of birds or the sprouting of a seedling can wake up an ancient connection to the land and the life that’s moving around us every day.

Beyond the feeling of connection that can be gained through listening to nature, there are also profound levels of healing we can access. On the psycho-spiritual levels we can find a greater sense of purpose and belonging as we deepen our connection to the natural world we are a part of.

On the physical level, aligning with the Earth’s cycles can unlock potent levels of vitality and wellbeing. Within every system of traditional medicine I’ve studied, following the rhythms of nature are essential to optimal health. In fact, the origins of disease can often be traced back to an imbalance within the natural flow of energy that make up the pattern of nature and life. In traditions like Ayurveda, the practitioner is seeking to restore balance to the ecological landscape of the human being using practices that are rooted in these fundamental patterns & cycles of nature.

To honor and align with this specific time of year, I’ve interviewed Southwest herbalist Darcey Blue on our podcast, The Plant Path, for a special Imbolc episode. In this podcast, Darcey shares ancestral wisdom to shed light on how we can connect more deeply with nature within and all around us through following the wheel of the year. She shares specific plant allies & practices which can help you to harmonize with the earth cycles and energies of this time of year around Imbolc. You can listen to the interview below:

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ABOUT OUR GUEST – DARCEY BLUE:

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Darcey Blue is the founder of Shamana Flora Apothecary and Whistling Stone Sacred Wildness. She is a Devotee of the Sacred Wild, an Earth Medicine guide, shamanic herbalist & wild crafter.

She has studied plant medicine & shamanic lifeways and practices for over 10 years in the United States and in Peru. She was trained as a Clinical Herbalist & Nutritionist at the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism under Paul Bergner, and studied under Rosemary Gladstar and Charlie Kane. Darcey is a Mesa Medicine Carrier, Wilderness First Responder, Earth Medicine & Nature Guide and Shamanic Herbalist.

It is her deep love of the wild Earth that fuels her passion for healing and teaching about sacred wilderness, spirit, deep connection and relationship with nature, and healing. She see Nature as her greatest ally and teacher, the Earth as her sanctuary, and seeding Sacred Wildness her purpose.

You can learn more about her products + offerings here: http://shamanaflora.bigcartel.com and you can find her online courses, including “Plant Medicine for Earth Cycles” which we talked about in this episode here: http://shamanaflora.bigcartel.com/category/wisdom

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ABOUT THE PLANT PATH PODCAST:

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The Plant Path provides unique perspectives for the modern practitioner of herbalism that doesn’t just want to “fix what’s broken” in the body, but seeks to serve others with deeper levels of healing and transformation with herbal medicines.

A unique synergy of clinical herbalism, alchemy, medical astrology, and herbal traditions from around the world, The Plant Path focuses on giving you a truly “wholistic” perspective on herbal medicine so you never fall into the trap of allopathic herbalism.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES FOR MAC

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Awakening of Spring by Michael Hiep

This is the beginning of many more episodes & blog posts to come where we’ll be sharing insights into harmonizing with the cycles of nature as we move throughout the year. I hope you enjoy the wisdom shared here and I look forward to offering more. If you have any of your own insights & experiences to share about your personal practice of living with the seasons, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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