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Nature Wisdom

With Pat Tuholske,
Naturalist

A Niche in Nature

In the early days of Europe, common folk placed wreaths or plant bundles on the door to identify their home in the same manner that house numbers are used today. Individual homes would display flowers, trees and grasses grown in the garden or gathered in nearby woods and meadows. Honor this ancient tradition and enhance your home with the plants most connected to your essence.

Go to nature and collect Evergreen Sprigs, Pinecones, Rose Hips, Sumac Berries, Acorns and Moss. Weave them into a wreath and hang near your front door to bless all who pass through. For bundles, gather a few branches, tie the stems together with a ribbon and hang in doorway, alcove or hearth for protection and purification during the long winter.

Each wreath and plant bundle tells a story of a niche in nature… a deep moment of connection with the spirit of place. Crafted from living elements of the landscape, they represent the cycle of the seasons and the web of life. Bringing nature indoors leads us to a richer life when we take the time to reflect on the wonder of the plant. Plants can be wise teachers and faithful friends, blessing the space they inhabit.

Create your own unique wreaths or colorful plant bundles to honor your home. Here’s some you can create from plants available in winter gardens, roadsides or local florists:

Bundle together a number of different grasses…Little Bluestem, Ryegrass, Pampas, River Oats, Bluegrass. Tie with raffia and display in a prominent place. Grasses sift away any unwanted influences and bring positive energy to body and mind.

On a small base of Grapevine or Straw, glue Rose Petals, Rose Hips, Ironweed, Witch Hazel, Yarrow, Mountain Mint, Sage and Feathers as a plant-based dream catcher. Hang above your bed to bring vivid dreams or in your meditation area to focus on goals. Strengthens your ability for self-exploration and creativity.

If you are fascinated by the mystical and invisible enchanted realms, make a fairy ring to honor the hidden worlds. Make or buy a circle of Grapevine and decorate with Acorns, Pine Cones, Ferns, Moss, Lichen and Grasses. Ancient lore knows the fairy ring as a passageway into the world of the nature spirits.

Bind together various tree branches with ribbon and hang in your home to receive the gifts of the trees… patience, serenity, strength and deep wisdom. Trees fully inhabit their realm, living out their destiny radiating wholeness. Collect branches with cones, colorful fall foliage, unusual seed pods or berries such as Birch, Pine, Sumac, Witch Hazel, Sycamore, Golden Rain Tree. The Cedar trees are loaded with berries this year and make beautiful bundles to grace your space.

Sweet Everlasting is easy to identify and gather this time of year. Native Americans called it Rabbit Tobacco and used it for smudging. It makes a full and fragrant cream-colored wreath. Add Lichen, Cones, Nuts and dried flowers as accents. I call it Circle of Hope as these plants help understand change and cultivate transformation.

A Memory Wreath can be easily started with a base of Grass, Straw, Grapevine or Sweet Everlasting. When Roses or a flower bouquet appear in your life, hang the flowers upside down before they begin to fade. When dry, glue onto your base. Also include everlastings like Yarrow, Globe Amaranth and Cones, Leaves and Nuts gathered from momentous places you have visited. The wreath becomes of living memory of your treasured encounters with beauty.

I have walked the Ozark woodlands and meadows for many seasons hunting the wisdom of the wild plant. This time of year, I gather Rose Hips, Grasses, Sweet Everlasting, Pinecones, Acorns, Buckeye, Cedar Tips and other wild offerings to weave into wreaths, wheels and bundles. It is my spiritual practice connecting me to my essence bringing peace, single-mindedness and deep healing.

As I continue to learn about life, nature’s ways seem more and more wise. Go to the trees, wildflowers, sky, rocks and waters as often as you can. The elements of nature help nourish and heal us.

See Pat Tuholske’s Wild Wreaths, Prayer Wheels and Bundles crafted from Ozark native plants at willowrainherbalgoods.com. Check out her “Nature Chronicles” for musings on the Human-Nature relationship online at pattuholske.com.

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