Igniting the Light Within
Stepping into some of the warmest and longest days of the year, we’re arriving now at the Summer Solstice marking the first days of summer here in the northern hemisphere. Basking in the Suns warmth, it penetrates not only our souls but all the plants and forests around us, bringing an abundance of life, food and medicine to supply us for the coming year ahead. In old traditions, it is said that harvesting medicine on this sacred day will procure some of the strongest medicine of the year, bringing a strong igniting solar force within ourselves which will not only carry us on through physically, but also uplift our spirits for the next year ahead.
There are a few plants that are traditionally used around this time for ritual and celebration, but one delicate yet powerful little plant that distinctly bears great resemblance to the Sun is our one and only St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum). Flowering around this time of year, St. John’s Wort is a plant that corresponds quite strongly to the archetypal force of that hot beaming sphere high in the sky.
We see a signatures of the Sun as it prefers to grow in wide open spaces, on southern facing slopes, and in direct sunlight – for St. John’s Wort, the hotter and dryer, the better. The plant itself also displays strong solar signatures in the bright yellow coloration of the flower, which appears to be shining out light rays from its stamens. I always think it looks like light rays- like when you are walking through the forest and see the sun shining through the trees and see the distinct rays of light.
The physical actions and properties of St. John’s Wort (both physical and spiritual) also bear strong correspondences to the Sun. First, we see that it is predominantly a warming remedy with its volatile, balsamic flavor and warming energetics. It makes sense that it would be our primary remedy for melancholy and depression, for these types of imbalances could be seen as a deficiency of the solar force. As Matthew Becker states, “it brings a lot of the energy and warmth of the sun into your own body… it actually can warm your psyche” which truly summarizes how this plant works.
St. John’s Wort initiates us into the sphere of influence of the Sun, which represents the core of who we are, our gravitational center. The Sun is all about coming into direct contact with our essential self, being strong in that, and learning to shine our truth out into the world in a way that is of service and benefit to the whole.
For Those Who’ve Lost Touch
This remedy would help those who have lost touch with that essential part of the self, where darkness has crept into their psyche, and they have lost their confidence, their path, their purpose- they feel alone, isolated, and disconnected from Life. A certain heaviness weighs on them and they feel “down.”
St. John’s Wort functions to help to strengthen the inner Sun, to bring the light back into someone’s life. It feeds that inner light, fans and brightens the flame of consciousness, and where that light shines, the darkness dissipates. Rather than focusing on what’s wrong, what’s not working, and what is holding one back, this remedy teaches our minds to find the positive in every situation, to take our challenges and struggles and transform them into our teachings, our strength, and our power. In this way it is “above the apparition” (the meaning of the Greek word hypericon), and helps us to face our inner demons and conquer them.
I see the healing process of St. John’s Wort in a way that starts at the core of who we are, it finds the light of our consciousness and starts to feed it, to strengthen it. As that light brightens within the self, it begins to push the subconscious fears and traumas up and out so we can face them and deal with them. Progressively over time our inner light (which is simply our truth, purpose, and power) shines out from within and re-establishes the structural integrity of the astral body, healing any “punctures” to our etheric field so that we are no longer leaking our vital force out, nor are we susceptible to the malefic influences of others. We are not protected from the outside in, but rather from the inside out- we are filled with the truth of who we are so that there isn’t any more room for other people’s projections to enter.
Eventually this inner Sun radiates out into the world. We have faced our demons, overcome our traumas, healed our wounds, and transformed them into our teachings, strength, and personal power. We now have the will to act in accordance with our truth and to live our lives from the heart, to walk our true path and live out our life purpose. As this light shines out into the world, we become servants to that light, doing everything in our power to have a positive impact and influence upon the world, which at times can feel filled with greed, envy, war, and fear.
In this way, St. John’s Wort is a most important herbal remedy for herbalists, healers, and people striving to create positive change on this planet. For it assists us all in breaking through our own limiting thoughts and beliefs so we can get down to making this world a better place by anchoring ourselves in the Light as reflected through the Sun, and the little yellow flowers of St. John’s Wort.
Has this plant ever supported or uplifted you? We’d love to hear from you! Post in the comments below to share your story.
Wishing you a warm Summer Solstice from everyone here at the Evolutionary Herbalism Team!