The following is excerpted from Sacred Plant Initiations: Communicating with Plants for Healing and Higher Consciousness, published by Inner Traditions.
Hey! Magnificent Green Beings,
You who spread your mantle of Beauty
Over the surface of the Grandmother!
Beloved Ones I long to be with you,
To feel your presence, within and without,
To lose myself in your Greenness.
Let me travel in your cells as you travel in mine,
Welcoming you in as I give of myself,
Experiencing our Oneness.
In order to carry out your own plant initiation ceremonies you will want to have an authentic way to connect with the consciousness of plants. If this is new for you, this chapter presents simple methods to help you connect with the spirit of plants. If you are already experienced with plant communication, you can either skip this chapter or perhaps you may discover some additional ways to help deepen your plant relationships.
I feel at home in the plant world and many plants are close friends. Some of them are more acquaintances and some take longer to get to know than others. This is normal. Basically I relate to plants in the same kind of way that I relate to humans. Always remember that plants have consciousness. Treat them with respect. Talk to them. This does not have to be out loud, although they do respond to our voices. They are also much cleverer at telepathy than most humans! You may find it similar to the way you communicate with a beloved cat or dog or other animal.
Plants easily connect through feelings. Whatever you are feeling has an impact on the plants around you. If you approach them feeling love and gratitude, awe and wonder, they will certainly respond. These feelings cause your heart to open, and having an open heart is the easiest way I know to connect with plants. Simply relax and enjoy the beauty of the plants around you. If necessary in the beginning stages of your time with plants, tell yourself you are playing a game and pretend that you are communicating with the plants. Trick your mind and allow your imagination to lead you.
Exercise to Connect with the Spirit of a Living Plant
1. Relax and trust that you can indeed make a connection with a plant spirit. It is only the civilized human mind that tends to make things complicated. Not only is this easy, it’s fun!
2. Set a clear intention to connect with the spirit of a plant.
3. Go to where the plants are. Typically this will be outside, but you could also meet a plant indoors. It is often helpful to bring a notebook and pencil or crayons so you can record your findings and do some drawing. Repeat steps 1 and 2. Become aware of the beauty around you. Engender feelings of wonder and gratitude. Open your heart and become childlike. When your heart is open, the plants can easily attune to you. You will very likely feel a kind of magnetic pull to a certain plant or group of plants. They love it when we genuinely reach out to them, and they will usually beckon you. Let yourself be guided to whoever is calling. Sometimes there will be many plants calling at once and you have to make a decision who to go to!
4. Approach the plant, expressing your genuine appreciation. Plants respond to your thoughts and feelings, and they also respond to the sound of your voice if you speak out loud. Be aware that you are entering the energy field of this being. Plants, like humans, are surrounded by a biomagnetic energy field known as the aura. You may find that you can see, sense, or feel the plant’s auric field. Are you aware of the colors of its aura? Can you sense the energy around the plant? What is the flow of this energy? Don’t worry if you can’t sense anything initially. Simply know that this energy field exists. Become aware of sound and the general atmosphere around the plant. Are there bees humming or birds singing? Perhaps you can hear traffic noise or human voices. You are entering into the dreamtime of the plant, and whatever you perceive is part of that dream.
5. Introduce yourself to the plant, explain your intention, and ask permission to come closer and spend time with it, just as you would if meeting a human. Listen to how your heart feels to know if you have permission. This inner knowing is often more obvious than you may think. If you suddenly feel very cold, unwell, unhappy, or experience any sense that says “no” for you, then now is probably not the time to proceed with this plant. This could be for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you are approaching with the wrong attitude. Alternatively, it may simply not be the right timing due to any number of other factors. In most cases this is unlikely to occur, and you can proceed to enter into the field of consciousness of the plant.
6. Examine the plant with your outer senses, spending time experiencing each physical sense:
First, look at the appearance of the plant. Study the shapes, colors, number of petals, and formation of the leaves. How does it grow? Is it spreading or compact? Is it reaching out to the sun or resting in the shade? Does it have its feet in water or is it in a dry area? Is it a lone plant growing on its own or is it in a large group? Is it growing with plants of other species? What is its community? You may want to draw the plant at this stage. Making a detailed drawing requires that you really see the plant and pay attention to small details. All of this gives you information about the plant and helps you to connect with it and know it better.
Now connect with the plant through touch. Feel the texture. Does it remind you of anything? Touch the plant like a lover. Feel it through your fingertips, stroking and caressing it, patting it, or running your hand along the leaves or stem.
Smell the plant. What is its aroma and what does this invoke?
It may be appropriate (please be sure it’s not poisonous!) to taste a little of the plant. You can touch it with your tongue or lick the plant. You may even be invited to ingest some of the plant. How does it taste? What does the taste invoke? Is there a difference of taste in different parts of your mouth? How do you feel after swallowing?
Now listen to the plant. What can you hear? Are its leaves rustling in the breeze or do its seedpods rattle? What do the sounds remind you of or say to you? If you are able, put your ear against the plant’s stem, trunk, leaf, or flower. Close your eyes and listen deeply.
7. Pay attention to how your body feels. It may be that your body feels different when you are with the plant. Perhaps you experience physical sensations of some kind? If so, where in your body do you feel these sensations? How does your body respond to the plant? What can your body tell you?
8. Take your awareness deep inside yourself and become aware of your emotions. How are you feeling emotionally? Many times a plant will communicate through human emotions. Have your feelings changed since being with the plant?
9. Is there a word or phrase that comes to mind that sums up your sense of this plant? If so, remember this word, as it can be a helpful reminder of your experience and a shortcut to revisiting the plant.
10. Spend time with the plant, simply being. Let go of expectations and just enjoy the company of this amazing plant. Ask the plant to come to the empty space inside of you. Allow your mind to be a blank screen, and receive whatever is given. If your mind wanders, just allow thoughts to ripple away, and return yourself to your intention to connect with the plant. You might like to sing to the plant or play a musical instrument. If you are a visual type of person, you may see images of the plant spirit. This is likely to come in a form that has meaning for you personally. As humans, we often project human characteristics onto nature spirits and all of this is valuable, although it does not necessarily mean the plant spirits actually look as we see them. It may be that you have a conversation with the plant and can ask many questions. On the other hand, you might receive healing from the plant and you may or may not have any memory of this afterward. Anything can happen, and you can trust that whatever occurs is the perfect experience for you; nothing is right or wrong. There is no value in making judgments or comparisons. Accept whatever is given, and know that every day is different and everyone perceives differently. Honor your own experience.
11. Finally, when the time comes to return, give your thanks to the plant and leave a gift. This gift can be anything that is natural and nontoxic for the plant, the land, or local animals. It is a gift from your heart. I often use blessing herbs, such as lavender or rose petals, small stones or crystals, flower essences, a song, or a simple kiss.
Essentially, you are training yourself to tune in with the plant, to be on the same frequency. This is natural and easy. For most humans it takes practice simply because we have to undo the false conditioning that our minds have received since childhood. Listen to your heart, and trust your first impressions. You are making a new friend; get to know this being in every way possible. Let it become a true relationship of intimacy.
A Native American Method for Connecting with Plants
Another beautiful way of connecting with plants is inspired by Native American mystic Joseph Rael, also known as Beautiful Painted Arrow, a mixed Southern Ute and Picuris Pueblo Indian.*
1. Touch the plant and close your eyes as you focus on feeling the plant with your fingertips. Go deeper and deeper as you merge through touch—stroking, patting, caressing.
2. As you do this, listen carefully for the sound of the plant. Keep listening closely until you pick up the vibration. You may see images with your inner eye. You may receive an inner smell or taste. You can make a song from the vibration. Just let it come. Sing to the plant and with the plant.
3. Now, let your body move with this song. Dance to it. Let the vibration move throughout your body. Keep going until you feel you have merged with the sound and with the plant.