07 December 2017
Gathering roots ~ giving death
By Judith Berger, excerpted from Herbal Rituals
When one gathers roots one is giving death. And so one must become the crone, carefully considering the effect of the act upon the environment.
One must uproot flippancy, hurry, or casualness from the ground of one’s own mind before taking trowel or spade in hand. Then one must, with certainty and clarity, be able to see as the crone sees, how this death will create the space for new life.
One must press one’s ears to the ground of mystery, listening for the voice of the plant which calls the root digger toward it to gather its flesh. Medicines made with such attentiveness often initiate healing in both the body and spirit.
The act of mindful root digging builds concentration and nurtures a deep respect for the plants who give their power for the sake of human healing.
Using small hand tools and attempting to pull the root out whole, though it increases the time spent gathering a single root, develops a patience and persistence which alters the rhythm out of which we dance our life.
An attitude of partnership with the plant and with unseen forces is required to separate an anchored root from its mother soil without violence. As our hands and trowel circle round and round to reveal and loosen the root, our eyes roam this hidden plant body as one would the shape and skin of a lover, to learn its ways and needs, the story of strength and vulnerability detailed in its scars.
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