Nature Wisdom

With Pat Tuholske; Naturalist

Plant Spirit Wheel

For many seasons, I have walked woods, meadows and river bottoms seeking the wisdom of the wild plant. When a plant is found, I make an offering of thanks and then gather. An acorn may have fallen on the path, wild grass may be lining a trail, rose hips may be deep in the brambles. Regardless of where my plant hunt has taken me, prayers of gratitude are always made.

This was the path of our ancestors. They listened to the plants for counsel. Herbal skill was passed on from generation to generation. These healers kept the human race alive by applying the teachings they received from the plants. We owe our current wealth of herbal knowledge to their application of what they learned from the plants. And this is still the practice of some present-day indigenous healers.

Falling in love with the plant, in my early twenties I received my degree in horticulture. Immersing myself in the plant world, I’d found my passion. One day I closed the books. Feeling I was relying too much on the written words of someone else, I announced to the plants that I wanted to learn directly from them. I wanted them to be my teachers. At that moment, I felt a deeper connection and the spirits of the plants began to talk to me.
To depend your own relationship, go to the plants of the forest, field and landscape. Quiet your thoughts and critical thinking. One will choose to speak to you if you choose to listen. Learn about your plant and how you can use it. Respect its energy. Plants are powerful teachers and healers.

Collect Evergreen Sprigs, Grasses, Pinecones, Rose Hips, Acorns, Moss or any other plant that gets your attention. Be sure to say thank you. Bend the evergreens and grasses into a wheel wrapping with jute to hold the circular shape. Glue in cones, nuts and berries. Hang your Plant Spirit Wheel on door or hearth for purification, prayer and safekeeping during the winter season.

Some of the plants you will find surrounding you now in Nature and their qualities:

  • Acorns – contains the energy of the Oak for strength and stability.
  • Bittersweet – a portal to elemental wisdom and creativity.
  • Cedar – purification and protection; grounding and transformation.
  • Grasses – healing, clear sight, wish fulfillment, prosperity.
  • Holly – the power of peace.
  • Honey Locust Pods – fate and destiny.
  • Lichen – “Earth Flower” uses elemental energies to tenderly heal old wounds; like the stone, Lichen contains the memories and stories of ancient earth.
  • Moss – ancient plant belonging to the very beginnings of life; timeless knowledge straight from the earth.
  • Pine Needles and Cones – for appreciation of the spirits in Nature; brings deep sense of calm.
  • Rose Hips – health, vitality and beauty.
  • Spruce Cones – resilience and perseverance.
  • Sumac Berries – links inner and outer worlds.
  • Witch Hazel Pods – divination and protection.
  • Yew – resurrection, rebirth, faithfulness and piety.

May your Plant Spirit Wheel be a blessing to your home and hearth.

“Watching gardeners label their plants, I vow with all beings to practice the old horticulture and let the plants identify me” Robert Aitkin.

See Pat’s Wild Wreaths, Wheels, and Twig Art crafted from Ozark native plants at willowrainherbalgoods.com and at Green Door Art Gallery. Check out her Field Journal for her musings on the Human-Nature relationship.