(Click on photos to enlarge)
During the bright light of day, it is rare that we can truly "see" the Spirit of the Plant express itself within the very shape of the plant. However there are times of the day- night cycle, and times during certain weather conditions when the Spirit reveals itself much more clearly. One time of the day-night cycle we use a lot to see the Plant Spirit is dusk, when the Sun has set, or very early in the morning before the Sun rises, or at night, especially with a full moon. However it is very difficult to take photographs that accurately represent what we are seeing during these times with the camera we have. So we look for certain Weather conditions to take photographs to "capture" glimpses of the plant's Spirits!
As Paleros and as Tainos it is vital for us to build a relationship with the various plant Spirits that we utilize in our Spiritual Practices. There is a world of difference between going to a Botanica to purchase so called "fresh" leaves or dried herbs to make a Spiritual Bath, or going into our gardens, parks, forests and streams to find and directly interrelate to the whole plant or tree that gives us those leaves. Relying on the Botanica separates us from the source of the plants and we miss out on this direct experience, although we are well aware that many of us do not have the access to the plants directly due to location or mobility. We are fortunate to be able to be in a place to study these things in depths with direct access to the plants under all kinds of weather conditions and at all times of the cycle of day-night and the yearly cycle. We are able to see the plant grow from seed to seedling, to flowering plant, fruiting plant, to seed producing plant and also see its death and return to the Earth's soil.
This plant here is a Rhubarb plant that has large heart shaped leaves. Its stem is edible (delicious) but its leaves and roots are "toxic" although the root is a powerful medicine if used by a fully qualified herbalist. During the heavy rain storm the leaves become fountains or funnels. For those who have followed the various research concerning vibrations of water and how water absorbs the vibration of whatever is around it, you will realize here that if we were to collect the water that is flowing off this leaf, we would have a very special water that could be used for certain things Spiritually. (We do not recommend drinking this water).
When we look closely at these photos, we can begin to see the multiple Spirits that are showing us their faces within the surface of the leaf, as revealed by the water flowing over it. Some are old, some are young, some are almost like petroglyphs, others are more like animal faces, or faces that are not human, not animal, but clearly intelligent. It is at this point that we can begin to appreciate the multi-dimensionality of the plant that we may be using to create an important Spiritual Bath, or to utilize directly in the Fundamento or Nkisi. We can also gain a greater appreciation for the Spirit within the various plants that we may need to go to the Botanica to pick up.
When we take the time to study these things, and take the time to be outside with the plants under various conditions, and we take the time to go walking in the forest, or up the mountain or by the river, we are stimulating our Minds and Spirits to bring us further wisdom an understanding concerning the Plants that we use Spiritually, as well as the soils, Palos, stones and so on. We also come to understand that depending on where the plants and trees are growing, they will have a healthier or unhealthier vibration which also will have an impact on how we may use them or decide not to use them. This rhubarb is in a very diverse and lush garden which is not sprayed with any chemicals whatsoever. This rhubarb has a very different energy than a rhubarb that is grown for profit in a monoculture. Just as these have different levels of nutrients if we are to eat them, they also have different levels of spiritual "nutrients" when we use them. As Paleros, Paleras, and Tainos, these are vital considerations when we are going to use plants, as our work is about healing, therefore just a when a person who is physically sick needs high quality organic fresh food, a person who is spiritually sick needs high quality organic fresh plants for their Spirit!
We want to conclude with a true story: One day there was a conversation going on between a few people. One was a brujo who possessed various spiritual plants such as "chacruna" and "yage", which they had growing. The others were several women who had journeyed at great expense to south America to have experiences with the Shamans using exactly these plants. The Brujo pointed to the Chacruna and Yage and asked the women if they knew what the plants were. One women made a guess that they were "Peyote", which the Brujo thought was very funny as it is fairly common knowledge that Peyote is a cactus. None of the other women could tell the brujo what the plants were, however they talked over and over again about their experiences in the South with the "Ayahuasca", never even realizing that they were sitting in front of the very Plants themselves. This is the level of ignorance that can be found today, where we have situations that allow people to have experience with the Sacred Plants yet not even be able to recognize them when they are sitting in front of them.
This story is not to denigrate anyone because how many of us realistically can recognize all the plants we use if we found them growing in the forest? It is a wake up call for us to reclaim our medicinal power!