Plants are living beings. While they may function and communicate differently to us, that doesn’t make them any less intelligent. In fact, there is growing evidence that plants communicate in much more sophisticated ways than was first imagined.*
From my personal communications with the plant realm, I have realised that they have an awful lot to teach us, and the deeper I journey with them, the more I discover how little I know!
Herbs in particular are very accessible to conscious communication having worked in practical relationship with people for so long. One of the most fascinating teachings that I continue to receive from plants (especially in the herbal realm) is that they are evolving with us. Their properties are not static but are ever growing and changing in relationship with the environment, each other, and….. us! With new diseases, come new adaptations to help us heal. While learning knowledge from herbal elders of the past is important and very useful, with connected relationship and communication with plants, the depth of our wisdom and healing potency can grow exponentially in a much more sustainable way. Knowing a herb at a deep level means we need to use a whole lot less of it.
Anyone can listen and receive guidance from the plant realm. It’s not necessary to take a psychoactive plant, be initiated or travel to distant countries. You can start doing it now quietly in your own garden with the plants surrounding you.
Here are five central keys to get started:
Firstly you need to be open enough to believe that plants may have something to say! There’s no need to believe they can, but there is a need to be open to the possibility.
2. Mind as servant rather than Emperor!
One of the biggest blocks to communicating with plants is the mind and its judgments.
“I’m just making this up” or “It’s just my imagination” etc. are common thoughts that arise.
Acknowledging these thoughts with a “Thank you thoughts, I hear you, but right now I just want to try something out. We can analyse this process together later” or something similar, can be one way of relating with an overactive mind.
Allowing the loud voices of the mind to settle and quiet down may take a little time, but is a necessary part of deep listening (see article) . You’ll find the quieter guidance waiting to be heard below. Take control of your mind/computer, rather than allowing it to rule you! The mind is a very useful tool, but was not built to rule the show. That’s the hearts role.
3. Know your communication channels.
Plant spirits will communicate to us in any way they can. If the only way in is through your imagination (if you’re highly visual) then this may be the method. If you’re an auditory sort of person, then you may get words. If you’re more of a sensation type, you may feel the messages in your body. Others may feel emotions and feelings. And others still will get a clear knowing.
There are many ways in and none are more important than another. The more you practice, the more the others are likely to develop alongside your easiest channel.
Having the belief that you need to see a plant spirit or a fairy in the flesh is one of the biggest blocks to communication. Expecting information to come in certain ways is one of the most effective ways that the mind can close us down. The more you can open your mind to possibilities, the greater your ability to listen and receive.
Have you ever noticed that its hard to go deep into a conversation with a friend until you feel completely safe with them, that they are present and completely there for you? Maybe not if you’re an extrovert, but if you’re an introvert you may relate.
Plants are a little bit similar. To really connect, we need to be completely in the present moment. This implies a sense of timelessness – there is no time pressure, no thoughts of what is next, just pure presence. Inherent in this is a deep focus. Meditation or concentration practices are useful to develop this skill, so that we can still the mind long enough to be present.
5. Heart space.
Lastly, but probably most important of all is to come from a heart space. Nature vibrates at the resonance of our heart. Getting in tune with your heart as a sense organ is to place yourself in harmony and resonance with nature. From this place, communication is simple.
How? Gratitude and joy are the easiest feelings to get us into this space. Tuning into the beauty of the plant you’re connecting with or sharing gratitude for it in some way are doorways to the heart space. This opens us up to direct connection and from this space, communication can occur. From here, practice feeling the plant with your whole being. Use your heart to sense the feeling of the plant.
Plant communication is a practice. It can take a little time to develop and start to trust what you experience. It can be useful to tune into one plant and then shortly afterwards a completely different plant, so that you can feel the difference. Be playful with it. Don’t get too serious about your findings. In the beginning take them with a grain of salt and then explore. Often there will be some confirmation or synchronicity that happens around it.
Lastly, developing relationships with plants takes time. We can know lots of plants (just like people) superficially, or we can spend time really getting to know one or two. When we do this, a real bond can develop as we get closer and closer to the truth and core of a plant essence. This is where healing starts to happen. Not just healing on a personal level (though that happens too!) but at a collective level where the relationship between humans and the plant realm as a whole begins to heal.
* Tompkins, P. & Bird, C. The Secret Life of Plants, 1979; Wohlleben, P. The Hidden Life of Trees, 2016; Buhner, S.H. The Secret Teachings of Plants.