This month in our Monthly Herbal Council at EMS of Herbs, we'll sit together to peek deeper into the practice of 'Plant Dieting', also called 'Sacred Plant Initiations'. Deepening our practice in relationship with the plants and Earth by drawing wisdom from ancient tools such as 'Plant Dieting' is the goal. These coined phrases encompass the paradoxical simple and profound act of working with or dedicating one's practice to one plant deeply by ingesting only that one plant for period of time. Consider 12 hours to 4 days as the window of time often considered.
We'll explore in council the why's and how's of this practice and how it embodies a feminine form of a 'Questing' in it's deepest expression based on how we prepare and move through it as a practice to deepen consciousness. Dedicated nourishment is woven into the practice here versus intense deprivation. So we'll speak to the elements of a 'Quest' through connecting, preparing, and retreating for self healing and growth.
Preparation is everything (wink wink) meaning you get out of it what you put into it. It's all connected to how we show up. And yes, 'dieting' means we ingest small amounts of just that one plant for a predetermined amount of time while engaging our supportive consciousness shifting tools.
My desire is for this to be informative and inspiring to deepening your practice of walking strong with the plants and to raise awareness around this ancient way that indigenous cultures put into practice as part of their sacred tending to life. It's worded as 'fasting on one plant'. It can be that, but it's so much more.
As an herbalist, or plant lover who turns to plants for healing support where possible, (the same thing), our work with the plants as medicine requires a dedication practice and creative fire to be tended regularly within us. Plant Initiations ~ Plant Dieting can be that bit of lighter fuel to make this fire within jump up for us.
While it may not be for everyone in this moment, I do believe eventually it is for all plant lovers seeking deeper connections and relationships with the plants and Earth. (Jen's take. Leave it at the door if it doesn't feel true for you.) Plus, the benefits of fasting are beautifully researched and gaining awareness and practice for healing all levels of our being. Yes, ancient practices consider spiritual are now proving to heal the physical. Imagine that!
- You're intuitive. You know it and want to engage this gift further for your walk with the plants, as a beginner or seasoned one, for understanding your unique gifts for personal, family, community and global expression.
- You desire exploring Earth Medicine based healing and spirituality that's grounded in personal growth, humor, and the simple act of showing up with more of your authentic self. And you know that no other spiritual practice can keep pace humans better than Nature.
- You're a curious beginner and first timer to the herbal world or are circling back around with a beginner-again mindfulness for a deeper walk on the spiral path of your relationship with plants.
- You're feeling a call to exploring how your relationships, energy, and soul growth can create healing change in the deepest places within you.
- You believe in the unexplained and so called magical forces of the plants and Earth and want to lean in closer for listening and engaging.
- You know devotional work is the foundation to building your relationships and knowledge with the plants.
- It's a soul call with no need for explanation.
As stated, preparation is the key. There can be a longer, steady preparatory movement into retreat and return. There can also be a more narrow window with a deep drop and return. Either way can be an incredibly informative experiential ride into unknown terrain where developing our unique skills will be called into action. You know you. Being guided by a space holder seasoned in Plant Initiations is available and resources will be shared for this. But there are those who know this a solo journey and trust their skill set to begin on their own. We'll speak to the creation of this as well.
What is plant dieting actually? To give the simplest explanation we partner with one plant that calls to us. It begins with the 'yes' in your heart. We then prepare. This includes exploring intentions for healing. Consider one circumstance you know you are seeking support with. Another way is to come to this from a place of deep trust that what comes up is what is needed.
An elixir or syrup is curated from this one plant you're called to and made in a sacred way. It can include and combination of honey, liquor, tinctures, vinegars, juices, infusions, decoctions, flower essences and even edible honey pastes. A little math to calculate how much you will need based on how long you plan to diet needs to be done (we'll cover this). Space and time are consulted, altars and sacred space worked, journey, meditation, artistic expression, song and sound, writing, dreaming, bathing, limpias, pilgrimages to sacred places, and much more can be woven in.
It can be a community experience (I've been with 25 people sometimes). It can be created with a partner, a sister circle, or on your own. The rules are loose in these many choices meaning the alchemist within rules here in weaving a ceremonial plant diet that supports you.
Yes, they come up. Considering all the choices above, and there are more, one can get overwhelmed and easily think 'I can't' but I will ask you to hold that in your right hand and set it down over there, by the side of the road. Thank you for considering coming to infuse with something new and different, or considering a new way to this, if you're already a seasoned plant dieter.
Then there's the idea of no food for a period of time. No coffee or tea. No Sugar. Yes, plenty of water and a supportive infusion can be taken in freely. What comes up when you close your eyes and feel into this? Mmmmm.... there's good medicine there. Light fare for those who medically cannot fast are often provided or outlined. This would be a good place to start to ease the apprehension of those who have never fasted before. It's like working a new muscle. It takes time.
Cautions? You bet with stronger herbs or poisonous plants but there are ways to work these beauties. We'll speak to this too.
Saying 'No' is completely fine. Remember, you know you best. As you feel into this idea of embarking on a plant dieting experience consider journaling to get behind the "no" and see if there's some medicine there for you sequestered in the shadow. How does your body feel and how can you partner with this from a place of just honestly looking for a place of loving self versus judging self. Maybe there's no more to the discussion. Maybe there is. Only you know you here.
I also consider stepping behind the 'Yes' too for mining the medicine we are seeking in saying yes. If you're sitting with curious intrigue laced with a little nervousness, this is a 'yes' for me. What say you?
Much Love, Jen
ElderMoon School of Herbs