PLANTS AS HEALERS, PLANTS AS GUIDES:
LIFE LESSONS FROM A PINE
©2009 by Pam Montgomery, maker of Sweetwater Sanctuary Essences
Editors’ note: The following is an excerpt from Plant Spirit Healing: A Guide to Working with Plant Consciousness, published by Inner Traditions in 2009. It is reprinted here with permission of the publisher. Although Plant Spirit Healing and the related Plant Spirit Medicine do not involve essences in tangible form, we consider them forms of vibrational healing, as they involve attunement to plants.
Most people who have any kind of a spiritual life have some form of guidance they rely on. Various religions have helping forces like saints in Catholicism, devas in Hinduism, or angels in Christianity. In the Native American tradition animal guides are present as helpers. A helping spirit guide is one who is available to you at all times to bring guidance and assistance of any nature. Plant spirits can serve as personal guides and helpers in this way. Plant spirit guides may come to you in a dream, or perhaps you are healed by a plant that then becomes your personal guide. You also may make a request for a personal plant spirit guide to come to you; pay attention to the plant that crosses your path either physically or otherwise. When you encounter the plant three times, it is the one you are seeking.
Plant Spirit Healing joins the conscious intelligence of plants and humans, generating profound healing through alignment with the vast network of Nature. We are a part of that organic web and when we ask sentient plant beings to communicate, guide and heal us we catalyze our innate potential to be who we truly are and live more fully engaged in our lives as we walk the path that is uniquely ours. Extending far beyond symptomatic healing, it addresses the roots of our physical, emotional and spiritual imbalances and the source of our dis-ease by raising our awareness and making broken hearts, exiled souls and malnourished spirits whole again. Beyond personal healing, Plant Spirit Healing offers a way for us to restore balance to the Earth through living in concert with spiritual ecology and planetary imperatives. The following are my notes on what occurred when I used Plant Spirit Healing techniques to attune to one of my most beloved trees, White Pine.
When I first moved to my property in Vermont, I needed to clear a few trees in the garden area. One huge White Pine towered above the upper garden, and I had intended to cut this tree down. Brian, the fellow I had doing the work for me, urged me not to cut this tree; he had a strong sense that it wanted to remain. This tree stands on the western border of the property and holds its branches out far, as if embracing a gateway into the directional dimension of west.
As I began to settle into this land and came to know the plant beings, the water and the mountain, the presence of this White Pine grew. One day in early spring, as I was preparing the garden for planting, a strong breeze stirred and I felt a soft brushing against my cheek, as if a hand was lightly caressing me. A strong smell of evergreen wafted through my nostrils, bringing the freshness that only a pine can emit. I could hear the air moving through the branches of White Pine and an ever so slight whisper came on the wind, “Please don’t forget me.”
I continued to work in the garden, ignoring these words coming on the breeze. Then I heard a mournful kind of crying, as if stricken with grief. This instantly brought me to attention. I stood up from my work and looked around, and, as my gaze fell upon White Pine, I was overcome with the grief that I had just heard expressed through the wailing that came on the wind. I stood before White Pine and tears began to roll down my face as I realized the source of my sadness. My heart opened to White Pine and a flood of emotion poured through me.
I felt the pain that White Pine was experiencing from my lack of attention to her and the residual of my previous intentions to cut her down. How could I have ever considered cutting down this most majestic of trees? I put my arms around White Pine and cried for forgiveness, and the whisper on the breeze came, “please don’t forget me.” I vowed that day to never forget White Pine, to treat her as if she were one of my best friends and to pay close attention to what she had to share with me.
Since that day I have received such incredible support from White Pine who has become one of my closest allies for my personal development. She is like a beacon of strength to me, constantly reminding me of my path-that of being a spokesperson for the green beings. Even today, as I sit writing, White Pine gives me the strength I need to continue, when at times I feel like the task is too overwhelming.
I walked out to White Pine this morning and I was reminded of others who have received blessings from her. There, on the soft bed of needles, was my apprentice, Charlotte’s prayer arrow from her vision journey while here last summer. I remember how she was held so gently by White Pine as she prayed and asked for a vision. Then there was Sara who dreamed of White Pine and, while perched like a great bird in her branches, gained a different perspective on life from that lofty place.
This morning White Pine gave me a vision of peace and tranquility under her branches. I saw the area underneath White Pine cleared of the underbrush with a beautiful meditative sanctuary and lovely altar under her bows, where anyone in need could come to sit and receive her strength and guidance. This is one of those occasions when a plant and/or a tree give you clear instructions to take action. What is apparent is that part of White Pine’s path is to provide a place for quiet reflection and guidance for myself and those that come here to Sweetwater Sanctuary. It is now my responsibility to carry out what White Pine has asked me to do. When I carry out her wishes, the trust increases and our relationship deepens. I give thanks to Brian who knew not to cut White Pine, to White Pine for reaching out to me, and for the tremendous blessing of such a great wise one as my personal ally.
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