“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”—John Muir, provided by quotegarden.com
Let us begin this course by stepping into the world of herbs through our imagination. Allow yourself to pause and take a few deep, full breaths. Now imagine standing at the edge of a beautiful garden full of herbs and flowers. Take off your shoes and stand next to this garden in the sunshine. Breathe in the Earth’s energy beneath your feet, and as you do this, notice the fragrant aroma of the many herbs and flowers in front of you. Let this fresh air fill every part of your body and lift your spirits. With each breath, you become more grounded and present. Now imagine walking toward the garden. There are small paths that go through the beds, which are filled with lovely plants. Notice what the plants around you look like. Maybe there are huge, bright flowers or low, bushy herbs. Feel any sensations that come up as you imagine this. Now bring your attention to the center of the garden, where this course sits waiting for you, inviting you to continue to delve into the world of herbs.
Continue to experience feelings of being in nature as we explore herbal knowledge. I invite you to periodically tune back into this image of a sun-filled garden during the time you spend with this course. It will add to your experiential communion with herbs and nature.
What is your relationship with the Earth like at this point in your life? Some of us may walk closely with the Earth’s energy and wisdom. We may love to be in nature and feel a sense of renewal every time we dedicate some of our time to being outdoors. There are also some of us who have never spent very much time connecting with nature. If you have not created a relationship with the Earth so far in your life, you are likely on the path of establishing such a connection. This course on herbs is an act of affirming the importance of the Earth’s wisdom.
In this time of technology, fast-paced cultures, and a quickly growing human population, many people are being called to reconnect with their deeper selves, the Earth, and Spirit. We can see that modern day society does not have all of the answers. It is not on a sustainable path of life that will be able to exist harmoniously with the rest of creation. There are traditional, indigenous cultures still alive throughout the world that live intimately with nature. They are a great source of wisdom, showing how we can live while valuing the Earth and all living beings. Although their exact ways of life may not be appealing for people who are used to modern-day comforts, their wisdom can still be heard and integrated within the modern world. Perhaps it is in the wisdom of living closely with the Earth that we can find greater happiness, health, and purpose in our lives.
There is a beautiful film called “Sacred Planet” in which people from traditional cultures speak about their beliefs of life that they have held for thousands of years before the onset of modern society. A strong, common thread holds the knowledge from these geologically separated cultures together as one. What it says is that everything in life is sacred: the plants, animals, stones, people, birds, and all other living beings. Traditional cultures have taught that if we respect the sacredness of all Earth’s creations, we will be able to live in harmony with the Earth. Although modern-day living habits often sever our mental connections to the Earth, we are always connected on the energetic level to the Earth we live on. Religious leaders have talked of our oneness, to Earth and beyond, for ages. Quantum physics has more recently shown this to be true according to scientific principles. We are a part of the Earth. The opportunity to remember and reconnect always exists.
How does one begin the process of reconnecting? Each person’s relationship with nature is unique. In this way, connecting to the Earth can have many forms, including meditation, nature walks, and using herbs. Intention is the first step. If we desire to connect more deeply with the Earth and herbs, the flow of life will create experiences for us to do so. This course is another step toward establishing an ever-deepening relationship with the Earth through the bountiful plants that grow from the Earth’s rich soils.
When we use herbs as healing remedies, we allow the energy of the herbs to come into our bodies. Through connecting to one herb, we are also relating to the elements of nature. The water (liquid), sunlight (fire), soil (earth), and carbon dioxide (air), which are necessary for herbs to grow, all enter into our bodies as we use an herbal remedy. If we hold true that the body, mind, and spirit are all one, the energy of herbs affects our minds, emotions, and spirits when we take them into our physical bodies. By using herbs, we reclaim our power over our health and affirm that nature is our best healer. We make a shift away from synthetic, pharmaceutical drugs back to the traditional way of healing through use of certain plants.
This is an excerpt from one of the 40 required bachelor’s courses in the University of Metaphysical Sciences curriculum.