THE MEDICINE JOURNEYS: NOURISHMENT AND RITUALS FROM THE PLANTS
Last weekend I spent in retreat with women, sisters, mothers, and healers, focusing on the Heart. Not the wounded heart, which is an inevitable part of living, we all acquire wounds and heartbreaks, but working with calling in the Empowered Heart. We worked with empowering our hearts through ceremony and plant medicines of many kinds.
Roses, especially the wild ones, but all roses really, are my favorite plant ally and medicine for the heart. The rose itself reminds me of a beautiful and fragrant wild heart, opening its petals fully and sweetly to the world, while protecting itself just enough with its thorns, not in scary threatening way, but enough to give you a prickly reminder if you overstep your bounds or mindlessly tromp through the briars without attention. The rose is a reflection of the perfect state of a wild, yet empowered heart, open, expressing itself fully, through beauty, aroma, petals and fruit, and teaches us to be sweet and open with a healthy measure of boundary and protection from those who would take advantage of such sweetness.
Here in the mountains of the southwest, wild roses bloom through the early summer, and now are nearly bare of leaves, but are flaunting abundant and gorgeous red hips, boasting a medicine full of nourishment for those who brave the thorns with awareness. And truly, for me, the occasional prick from a rose thorn, though momentarily painful, is a reminder for me about how life’s little lessons, pricks, can help us to stay aware, and aligned with our hearts and souls, if we choose to allow the prick to bring us back into attention and connection with our heart, from wherever the little thorn came from, it is an opportunity to check in with ourselves.
Roses nourish, uplift, calm and support the emotional and spiritual heart. I think of hawthorn as a more directly “protective” remedy for physical heart ailments, while rose supports the flowering, expression and vibration of an open, receptive yet protected heart. I think I must use roses almost everyday in some form- mixed into my daily tea, a little rose oil anointing of my heart, or a squirt of elixir now and again, just because. Tending our hearts in the spirit of wellness and empowerment is one of the ways we can call in the energy of a strong, full, clear and open heart. This is not to say we should ignore wounds or heartbreaks, because they happen, and have much to teach us as well, but when in a time of relative peace, aligning ourselves with empowered heart energy and positive vibrations, is a lot like speaking our affirmations daily. Let Rose be the affirmation of self love, wholeness, beautiful expression and healthy boundaries we give ourselves everyday.
Roses are the medicine for opening our hearts, for inviting self-love, and for open hearted connection with a beloved or friend. It is also a medicine for the acute care and pain of traumatic heartbreak, grief, and non traumatic emotional pain. I often reach for the rose elixir to address emotionally based panic/anxiety attacks. It works swiftly and sweetly. I can’t you how much rose I guzzled through my own despair and desolation and emotional hysterics after a particularly transformative and difficult break up, and everytime, just a few drops, or a squirt from the elixir bottle, I was immediately calmed, soothed, softened. Or the time my transmission died in the middle of the desert in the summer, 100 miles from home. I remember a friend had given me a tiny bottle of wild rose elixir to take home, and I sat on the curb waiting for a tow truck taking drop by drop of rose, helping me keep my cool, (literally to not overheat in the sun) and not to have an emotional meltdown of epic proportions.
Rose is also a cooling remedy (which in the middle of a cold, damp winter might not be what you are after), and I drink rose petal tea or blended into teas all summer long to keep my fire element balanced. If I ever feel like I’m getting hot and bothered, or have a client who tends to be red faced, stressed out, cranky and showing signs of internal heat, roses usually make their way into the bottle or tea blend. Or a spritz of rosewater in a glass of water, tea or bubble water always calms things down a notch. David Crow once likened the energy of roses to moonlight, blooming in the cool, silvery magical light of the moon, their sweet fragrance gentle and healing. Whenever I think of roses, I think of moon medicine, moon vibes, cycles, women, cooling, healing.
Then, I can’t forget the magic of anointing thyself with rose oil. A tiny bottle of rose attar or rose otto can be extremely expensive, as it takes a whole 60,000 rose blossoms to make 1 oz of distilled rose essential oil, but anointing the heart chakra, the palms of the hands (there is a ayurvedic marma point/meridian of the heart that ends right in the palm of the hand - beautiful how our hands touching in love is connecting to the love in our hearts,) temples, third eye, or even the yoni invites the gentle and powerful loving touch of the rose into our psyche and energetic field while we chant a prayer or mantra of self care and loving compassion as we gently massage and anoint ourselves with rose medicine. I’ve been known to also slather my whole body in rose scented or infused oil, or take a bath in a strong rose tea when I need a hefty dose of comfort, compassion and self TLC.
Rose is such a versatile little simple medicine, yet full of complexity and layers untold. Its simple to create your own little stash of rose elixir (recipe below), but also get some sweet smelling organic dried rose petals, and make some honey sweetened rose tea with a touch of cream, and find a little bottle of rose oil for those special moments when you want to really bathe your heart in the power of the rose.
>>> Rose Petal Elixir <<<
I love to use fresh wild roses and leaves for this, but any fragrant and organic roses will work, even dried ones.
1 pint jar
Fresh roses/petals to fill the jar, densely.
Fill the jar ⅔ full with dried organic roses (petals or buds)
~16 oz brandy or vodka
optional (¼-⅓ cup raw honey)
In your jar place honey (if you choose to sweeten your elixir, i like mine a little bit sweet, helps the medicine go in!), then fill the jar with roses of choice. Pour brandy or vodka over the roses until it comes to the top of the jar. Cap tightly and label. You may want to place the jar in the moonlight, near a rose quartz crystal, or sing to it, or say some prayers of loving kindness. Whatever your intention is with making your rose elixir, infuse into the medicine. After 4 weeks, you may strain the roses from the jar with a cheesecloth, squeeze every bit of goodness you can from them, (save them to add to a bath, or make homemade chocolate with them!) and place the sweet elixir into a dark glass bottle with a dropper. Label clearly.
Take the elixir as needed for emotional hysterics, anxiety, grief, heartache, self love, compassion, heart chakra nourishment, heart opening, and beauty. I find 5 drops is effective, and sometimes I need to take 1 or 2 or more droppersfull. It is a totally safe remedy that is hard to overdo. It may be a little drying and astringent, which the honey helps to balance.