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I went to the park and while I was there, did a Reiki session on myself. I was lying on a beautiful moss covered rock surrounded by oak trees that overlooked the shaggy grass, blackberry bushes and small trees that cover the bottom half of the park. I began contemplating the plants surrounding me and an experience I had while waiting for food from the Miracle Center…

Standing with two other women beside the garden I breathe deeply as a waft of mint gently floats by. “Mmmm… smells so good.”

One of the women reaches down and touches the leaves of one of the small plants in the garden. “It’s mint, from here.”

Excitedly I look at the small plant with purple flowers on its top, similar to lavender. “It doesn’t look like a mint I’m familiar with; perhaps its spearmint?”

She shrugs, and points at a large bush behind the mint plants. “I think this is bay leaf.”

We both smelled the plant, and laughed because we could only smell mint now that we had rubbed our fingers along the mint leaves.

“I wonder if it is bay leaf. I don’t want to try it just in case its not.” She said.

Now as I lie on my rock in the park I contemplated that statement. A small bite of a leaf or a berry will not harm most healthy people. Yet I’ve also been told as a child not to try leaves or berries because some of them are deadly. Even now I often wonder what something is, and instinctively want to try the leaves or the fruit. I catch myself because of the fear that I might get sick.

Sure we might have a bit of a reaction, but it will not kill us. Herbs are known to help us, never to harm us unless we take them in a large amount. It is such a delight to try a mysterious plant that calls to me only to find when I taste it that I recognize it! My whole being lights up with joy!

Since when did a bite of a leaf become something that we avoid?

And if a small bite of a leaf or berry is indeed that powerful what are we doing trying to heal ourselves with pills? Those pills take a bit of the original plant and put it in an artificial form filled with other things that may or may not help us. Most of us don’t really know what is in that pill.

The whole part of the plant will help us in a natural form that compliments our bodies. It is not a foreign object that yes, our body can digest, but is it easy on our bodies?

Lying on the moss covered rock I looked around at the plants that have slowly become more and more my friends since moving out to the West Coast. My heart fills with love and gratitude for their healing energies and also their wisdom. It makes me sad to feel that their wisdom is being lost among the general populace.

Did you know that red roses can be used to stop bleeding? Their petals can be dried and ground into a powder that can be used on sore throats. They can also be used in a salve that will help heal rashes, sores and cuts. Pretty cool eh? They smell good too.

Everywhere I walk there are red roses blooming in Victoria. How many people will think of saving them for future use.

The Universe has given us a pharmacy right outside our doorstep. I’ve heard that saying before and its only in the past few months that I’ve really been able to experience it in action. I’ve begun to enjoy searching out the plants, identifying and naming them. Here in Victoria, when walking or biking I am able to point out the plants that I’ve learned and recite to myself what I’ve learned they can help with.

I feel proud and empowered when I experience a symptom of something and can walk out my door with nothing only to walk back in a few hours later with a herb that will relieve it. I’m not sure I will ever know all the herbs and their properties, but I would be happy with a working knowledge that remedies most common complaints.

For a time I was thinking to myself how amazing it would be if basic herbalism and gardening and other such skills were taught in the public school system. I stumbled into a program here in Victoria, called Lifecycles, which is doing just that. And I’m now a volunteer there! I’m super excited about it because I get to learn, and participate in teaching children about the planet. How cool is that?

There is still so much to learn and I am looking forward to my explorations. I am so grateful that Victoria has such a huge group of people that are involved in learning and teaching this medicine. The Ecovillage movement is rapidly growing here as more and more people are drawn to community living in balance with nature and organic foods.

Not only in Victoria is a movement of living closer to the Earth growing. In Russia in 2006 a law was passed giving a hectare of land to any willing family free of charge that can be passed down generationally. This was implemented in the hopes to reduce poverty and homelessness while providing more income for the families, from my understanding. It may have possibly been based on the plan from The Ringing Cedar Series.

I believe both of these movements will continue to grow as they feel to be a much needed step. They may not be perfect, but it is through taking a step that we get closer to something “perfect”.

My heart is happy to be witness to these positive steps of change that are occurring. YAY humanity!

I’m excited to continue delving into learning more about plants and how to preserve and grow food. I know the knowledge will come in handy someday… Perhaps when I’m living on my own plot of land on an Ecovillage or in a situation similar to Russia…? 🙂

Are there herbs that you regularly use? What for? Do you see the value of herbal medicine? What do you think of the law passed in Russia and Ecovillages?