Nature Wisdom

With Pat Tuholske; Naturalist

Stalking the Wild Plant

The woman hunts the forest, searching for the plant. Her feet have wandered these woods for many seasons seeking the wisdom of the plants. During her medicine walk, she calls out to the spirits who tend the plants that one may give of its power. 

With her green vision, she sees one plant flutter without wind. The plant flickers in the shadows and whispers a song. Plant spirit has spoken. The wise woman identifies the plant as one first learned as a child from a grandmother long ago on a herbal teaching walk. The plant offers its unique healing power.

An offering is made, thanks is given and the plant is tenderly harvested. Prayers of gratitude are made to the spirits. 

This was the path of our ancestors. They listened to the plants for guidance and counsel. Herbal skills were passed from generation to generation. We owe our current wealth of herbal knowledge to our forebear’s application of what they heard from the plants themselves. And this is still the practice of some present day indigenous healers.

Falling in love with the plant in my late teens, 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 others, I announced to the plants that I wanted to learn directly from them. I wished for them to be my teachers. At that moment, I felt a deeper connection and the spirits of the plants began to talk to me. 

 I respect the knowledge and medicinal herb research assembled over 50,000 years by indigenous healers. We cannot dismiss this valuable wisdom that has been collected by cultures all over the world. These healers kept the human race alive by applying the knowledge they received from the plants. 

Go to the plants of the forest, field and garden. 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 power. Plants are great teachers and healers. They treat more than our symptoms. They heal our soul.

“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.