I just returned home after hosting the Shamana Flora Spring Plant Medicine retreat at Wind Spirit Community. I am so filled up, I am so full of gratitude, and amazement.
13 beautiful sisters sat in circle with me, speaking deeply of their desire to connect and reconnect deeply with the plants, with the earth, and with their own spirits.
This retreat was just a tiny seed last autumn, when I got a call from spirit to act- an e mail from the event coordinator at Wind Spirit, asking if I was interested in doing a retreat with them in the spring. Strangely enough, I had been thinking about calling them that very week. So, I had to say yes, not quite knowing any details, but feeling that urge that comes from spirit guided living. Synchronicity and serendipity are ways that I find myself learning from the plants I call allies, and and are ways that the sacred spirit communicates to me often. So, it is, I sent out a call to the ethers, to bring a group of plant people together to share in the ways of sacred plant medicine and connection.
The land was lush with blooming fruit trees- oranges, peaches, cherries, grapefruits, and the desert plants in bloom on the hillsides surrounding us. We sat to attune to creosote bush- and made a group flower
essence- getting lost in the sea of 8 foot creosote bushes, and then sitting at the feet of the ocotillo to learn of its medicine of connecting us with root, and purpose, healthy emotional expression, and joy and creativity. It never ceases to amaze me- how once shown the way to open their heart perception to the plants communication, students can tune into a plant being, and in 3 min, gather and sense the healing energy of that plant, that can be verified from many other sources. These ladies were no less….so spot on.
An afternoon of medicine making mayhem- harvesting sweet white roses from the tombstone rose bush all aglow in the full moonlight, peach leaves, orange blossoms and peels, mulberry leaves, ocotillo bark and olive leaves.
Several women began weaving crowns of olive branches, roses and flowering creosote at breakfast on Saturday morning, so that we walked around all weekend adorned with the laurels of wisdom and sisterhood, ancient connection to ceremony. We all felt as goddesses- parading through the flowering and sweet smelling oasis.
We gathered again in the full moon light – around the fire for a primal ceremony to release what no longer served us in our healing journey, and to call in our highest intentions and desires. Beautiful women singing, drumming, swaying and holding space for each other, filling my heart with awe and inspiration. Feeling this deep unfolding within me….a recognition of a gift that I had left unrecognized thus far. I did not specify that this gathering be only for women, but that is how it arranged itself, and I feel deeply that medicine I hold of creating sacred space, and especially in connecting with the mysteries of the feminine. Falling down to earth in humble amazement. I didn’t quite know how much I was stepping into, how full and beautiful it was, how powerful it rocked old beliefs about who I could be off their wobbly legs. I am learning to embrace the unfolding of my gifts- by allowing myself to be guided by the whispers of my heart songs, and the magic that spirit orchestrates when we step out of our way.
Sweet beautiful voices singing together in the sauna, cleansing our spirits and bodies with the special cleansing plants and warm steam- creosote, desert rue, and hierba del pasmo. Reconnecting with ceremony and the healing that the spirit of plants offers us. In closing, holding onto the magic and healing we received from plants, from ceremony, and from each other, we created personal healing medicine bundles- to take with us along our unique journeys- a connection with a plant ally to help us and give us strength as we do our work of self transformation. We all sobbed through our closing circle as each woman shared her gratitudes with each of the others, for their courageousness, their laughter, their sharing, their friendships and connections.
It is hard to express in words the magic I felt as the group formed in those last weeks, with women who I’ve connected with years ago, to those who showed up out of what seemed the blue. The way that things just came together, without my getting attatched to the outcome or how it looked. How I leaned into my faith, and my heart, not my head. Sharing what deeply feeds me about the plants- instead of contriving some idea of what is expected. Each circle, each walk, each activity flowing with ease into the next. The heartfelt reflections of collegues, students, sisters- each telling me how much my sharing of heart, not head, moves them and helps them to go deeper into that. I don’t know how to express what just comes in tears and amazement as I recount all this – that which I have spent so many years hiding or being fearful of sharing, when finally I get out of my own way/head, and just step into that shining full moon light to be who I am becoming. Imperfect, beautiful, trembling, uncertain, but moving towards it anyway with delight and breathlessness, with a tinge of fear, and vulnerability. How we show up in our vulnerability, in our humanness, is medicine- for those we share with, and for ourselves. Allowing ourselves to be totally present to everything we are, and holding the shape of things to come, even if only in glimpses, during magical ceremonies.
See the magic we made! Shamana Flora retreat photos by Darcey Blue