How many of you, when you look at how I describe myself, say to yourself “What the heck is plant alchemy?” Come on now, I know you do.
Alchemists were the scientists of the 16th century. They were a fascinating lot – a little scientific, a little more than a little out there. While they were the doctors and healers of their time, their obsession was transformation, most famously, the preoccupation of how to turn lead into gold.
Alchemy today embraces the science, art, and spirit of healing. So, as a plant alchemist, I stay up on the science of plant-based diets for health, and the advantages and disadvantages of eating in this way. I also embrace the art of plants – of growing, cooking and living with plants, learning from them as they are our ancestors. I love herbalists and Ayurveda practitioners, as well as clinical nutritionists and naturopaths. Then, there’s the energetics of plants and nature. I’ve been diving into how we can use plants as an entree into ecstatic healing, and the many medicinal plants, including the astounding array of psychoactive plants as well as the much less dramatic, available to us for health and healing.
So, that’s plant alchemy, and that’s what I do – the science art and spirit of green beings. It’s very very good work if you can get it.
Within plant alchemy, energy hygiene has made a big difference in my life and I teach it all the time. For years now I’ve been doing a daily smudge with paulo santo (a wood from South America) and I’ve fallen in love with the ritual and of course I love love that beautiful smell. The smudge, wherein I light a piece of wood, and scrub my energy body, is the greeting of the day “Hello tree, good morning stones, hi birds.” I then move my spine and undertake some fiery belly pranayama practice – stomach pumping, fire breath, a “take the whole thing and lift and throw it over your shoulder root lock” (or subtle version – a fine thread lifting version) – depending on my needs and the season. I give thanks, I make blessings, then move on with my day. In the shower, I have flowers or plant matter whenever possible, and as I shower I intentionally clear my energy field. Often, I will head outside to stomp around barefoot, grounding. All these practices – the daily fare of clearing and charging my energy field – are energy hygiene practices.
We modern humans can learn how to live our days in harmony with the earth and with nature. The earth and nature are changing, destabilized, and we feel it at our very cores. We can learn how to navigate that – how to ground ourselves when we need it, how to charge ourselves when we need it – by learning the skill of energy hygiene.