Nature Wisdom

With Pat Tuholske, Naturalist

Wreath as Prayer

I have walked the Ozark woodlands and meadows for many seasons hunting the wisdom of the wild plants. I gather goldenrod, sumac berries, rose hips, spangle grass, sweet everlasting, pinecones, acorns and other wild offerings to weave into wreaths. I have come to realize that wreath weaving is my spiritual practice. It is my prayer connecting me to nature, to my essence. It brings me peace, single mindedness and a deep healing.

My wild wreaths are visionary works of art woven of native grasses, wayside weeds, everlasting flowers, tree bark, lichens, seeds, cones and feathers. As I bind together these gifts of the wild, I envision each as a healing portal into nature… a pathway lit by the eternal flame of spirit.

These wild wreaths are the reflection of the helping spirits in nature. 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. It is a rewarding and sacred relationship.

Wreaths bless the space they inhabit. Tune into these wheels of plant energy and imagine sacred space around you and within you. Visualize a personal sanctuary and remember your wholeness and harmony. I value the wreath as a tool to understanding change and cultivating transformation. Wreaths are a symbol of the web of life… of all seasons and cycles of life.

These are a few of the wild plants I gather for wreaths. Their qualities are based on the healing elements of the plants, native lore, the language of flowers and my own experience:

Acorns and Oak Leaves – wisdom, strength and endurance
Bee Balm – awareness of interconnection to all life
Birch Bark – transitions, new beginnings and rebirth
Blue Sage – healing, wish fulfillment, and prosperity
Buckeye – brings good fortune
Cedar Tips and Berries – purification and protection
Fern – divination and “invisibility”
Globe Amaranth – unchangeable, constant, unfading love
Goldenrod – strengthens intuition and reveals the hidden treasure within the heart
Wild Grasses – sift away unwanted influences
Honey Locust – strong sense of destiny and fate
Ironweed – grounding and transformative
Lichen – contains the memories and stories of ancient earth
Linden Flowers – elemental wisdom and creativity.
Mountain Mint – calls in the good helping spirits and brings vivid dreams
Mugwort – mystical experience and inner enlightenment
Oregano – taps deep well of inner resources
Pine Needles and Cones – inner vision and long site
Rattlesnake Weed – healing power of snake; shedding the old and welcoming the new
Rose Hips – trust intuition; speak the truth; see the beauty
Sweet Everlasting – brings the soul home; restores, purifies and protects
Spruce Cones – awakens wonder and the ability to bounce back from adversity
Sumac – links inner and outer worlds to focus on goals
Willow – growth, flexibility and adapting to change
Witch Hazel – divination and magic
Yarrow – dream work and communication with spiritual allies

Wherever you are during the hectic holiday season, you will likely see a wreath. They are most visible now. Hunt out an evergreen wreath made of real greenery. The tree energy is still vital and alive within the greenery. Reach out to it. May its textures and scents soothe your body and soul. May each wreath you encounter warm the hearth of your heart. Know it is a secret portal into the world of nature and full of hidden messages and healing.

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