FEP16 Plant Attunement

We are often asked how we know what a flower essence does. In this episode, we share tips for developing for a personal relationship with Nature intelligence and communicating with plants directly. Plant attunement is a skill anyone can learn, and is useful whether you plan to make a flower essence or not.

Flower Essences discussed during the show:


Show Transcript

Rochana Felde [00:00:41] Welcome back to the Flower Essence Podcast. I’m Rochana Felde and I’m here again with Kathleen Aspenns. And today we’re going to be talking about plant attunement, sometimes called plant spirit communication. And what that means is the ways that we connect to the spirit of the plants to hear their messages. So there’s some really important concepts around this practice and we just wanted to chat about the ways that we both do it in our individual practices and compare notes and share it with you all. Hey, Kathleen. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:01:20] Yeah, I’m looking forward to this conversation. This is a concept and a practice that’s near and dear to my heart. And I have this conversation pretty routinely with people. I expect you do too when people ask about how you learn about flower essences and what an essence does. Well, this is it. This is talking to plants. 

Rochana Felde [00:01:41] Yeah. And it’s not like the kind of conversation that you would imagine between two humans. So there are a lot of little subtleties to it and preparations. And basically, you know, a state of mind that we cultivate when we do this work. So, you know, the first thing that is pretty much the most important piece is developing that relationship with the plant. Don’t you agree? 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:02:07] I do. I think the very first piece to me is, is that the whole idea that a plant has a consciousness, and a plant can and wants to communicate with you. There’s a lot of people who just walk right past and don’t recognize that’s even a possibility. So the moment that your eyes can open, that’s a thing they can actually do, that they want to communicate with us. Wow! It opens a whole doorway and a whole world. And then it’s a matter of learning the language and learning how to speak with them, and also learning your own inherent abilities of how you might get information, how you might get messages. But, let’s start, probably at the very beginning. 

Rochana Felde [00:02:49] Yeah, there’s a lot of pieces. Some of the terminology we use for this relationship is one of reciprocity, like a reciprocal relationship, also termed co creative partnership by some. And it’s the idea of, you know, you don’t just take from the plant without it. You know, first you mentioned recognizing it as an entity in an animistic viewpoint, and that it has a consciousness. But, you know, we don’t just want to go take from it. We don’t want to harvest from it without offering something in return. And it’s not just like, “OK, you know, I want to take this, here’s something back”. It’s, you know, “hey, let’s talk. Can I be your friend here? You know, my name is such and such. And here’s what I’m trying to do. And is it OK?” I’m asking permission from the plant. Is it okay to take something from that plant? So even with flower essences, it’s important, but it’s critical now, too, with herbalism, and all botanical medicines that are made from plants, and then especially wild crafting, which has seen a big renewed interest in wild crafting. And then there’s been a lot of unethical wild crafting and harvesting of plants that is starting to harm the populations of those plants. So it’s a big thing to be aware of right now. And and it’s just something that, you know, has to be part of the conversation. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:04:32] I completely agree. I think that we have been colonized with the idea that all the resources are just there for us to take. And learning how to start to develop manners, and become friends, and engage in community with the natural world is something that we have to unlearn a lot that we’ve already learned. So if we’re out walking and we see a beautiful patch of flowers or we see a beautiful patch of whatever it might be. You don’t automatically have permission just to take whatever you want. That’s really not good manners. And it’s especially important when you’re making spirit type medicines such as flower essences to have not just permission, but but full cooperation of the plants. And that really only develops when you have a relationship and relationship isn’t. “Hey, give me that.” It’s developed a little bit more over time. 

Rochana Felde [00:05:32] It’s really ingrained in the consciousness of our society to have this mindset of entitlement. It’s interesting that you mentioned that we’ve been colonized that way. I mean, many of us have generation upon generation of ancestors that were the colonizers. And we have in our DNA this feeling of just having a right to everything. I know that I’ve experienced it in myself many times and have had to check myself and really work on it in a conscious way. It takes constant work to decolonise ourselves and our own thinking with that mindset. It’s just crucial. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:06:18] Absolutely. It’s that consciousness raising. I think also on the flip side of that is the notion that our human interaction is only bad, it’s only negative, it’s only harmful. So someone might feel like, you know, that notion of you can only leave footprints. Well, that’s not really the way that indigenous people ever engaged with nature. They had regular and conscious and ongoing relationships with the plants and wildlife in their native ranges. So plants can really benefit from being harvested intelligently, correctly and well. And they will actually increase in health and vigor, and even the population will increase if the harvesting is done well. But like you are saying that over harvesting and wild crafting is really an issue right now because maybe too many people are trying to do it and they don’t know who else is working in that area. So it’s a bit of a balancing act. But I like to  think about both sides of that. We do have an inherent community around us and to engage in your community. So maybe engaging in your own garden and making essences with the plants that know you well. 

Rochana Felde [00:07:37] Yeah, I definitely agree with that. There is that other aspect of people thinking that everything every time we do anything with nature, we’re harming it. And that’s not true either. It doesn’t have to be true. There is a quote from Robin Wall Kimmerer, who wrote Braiding Sweet Grass, which is an excellent book, and maybe I’ll read that right now, because I think it’s it goes perfectly with this conversation. And she says, “Know the ways of the ones who take care of you so that you may take care of them. Introduce yourself, be accountable as the one who comes asking for life. Ask permission before taking abide by the answer. Never take the first. Never take the last. Take only what you need. Take only that which is given. Never take more than half. Leave some for others. Harvest in a way that minimizes harm. Use it respectfully. Never waste what you have taken. Share. Give thanks for what you have been given. Give a gift in reciprocity for what you have taken and sustain the ones who sustain you. And the earth will last forever.”. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:08:54] That’s really beautiful. 

Rochana Felde [00:08:55] Yeah. I highly recommend that book. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:08:58] I like what she says about taking no for an answer because a lot of times we get really invested in “I really want to make this essence or I really want to do whatever it is with the plant” and they have to be allowed to say no sometimes. And sometimes that may not be the answer we wanted to hear, but it’s the answer. Sorry. Try again another day, maybe. 

Rochana Felde [00:09:18] Yeah. Have you ever heard no from a plant? 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:09:22] Oh, heavens, yes. All the time. It could take me years. I was really intrigued with Schisandra, wanting to.. like, this is such a cool plant. I’d love to make an essence. It has such a long herbal tradition, and for years the plant went “Nope, nope, that’s not what we do. We’re here to do the berry thing. You know, this is how you use the medicine.” And, you know, finally, I guess I just, you know, was persistent enough. And finally, one day it went, OK, let’s try this new thing that you’ve got, this new idea that you’ve got and was able to make that essence with the with the Schisandra. And it’s been a really amazing and useful, incredibly helpful essence for a lot of people. But it took quite a few years of regular check ins and discussions with the plant until it was ready to work with me on this level. 

Rochana Felde [00:10:12] Yeah, I had a few of them also tell me that it wasn’t the right time or… I had an apple tree, which was funny because it was a grandmother, a beautiful old apple tree, she wanted me to wait and come to her three times before she would say yes. And I knew it from the beginning. So there was a process there. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:10:37] And that’s part of the dance, isn’t it? You have to be in their time, and sometimes it can make you crazy because you’re in your logical brain saying, “but this is the date I have to do it. And it’s sunny and I have time…” And the plant might be like, “no, not today dear. Try again another time”. And you know, they have a different sense of time than we do. You know, years can pass and you know, to them, it’s really not a big deal. And, what’s the rush? Little two legged human running around. 

Rochana Felde [00:11:08] Yeah, it is quite, quite the trick, especially being on the California coast with weather patterns and finding the right day, finding the right time. And then, you know, all the elements have to be put in place. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:11:22] And sometimes they have a preference to be made in circumstances that we might not think are ideal. And yet I’ve had times where I thought that I was having, you know, essentially a day off where, you know, the weather didn’t seem quite right or something just didn’t seem quite right. And so I sort of loitered my way into the garden. And then all of a sudden, I essentially had a plant sitting there, you know, tapping its watch, metaphorically speaking, saying, “hey, where you been?” “Oh, we’re going to make an essence today. Oh, OK. I guess we’re working today.” So the plants have their own knowing and own timeframe. And it’s just important for us to start to listen to that. Maybe we can talk about some of the ways that we can start to connect with plants. 

Rochana Felde [00:12:04] There is another piece about that co creative partnership that we’re talking about, because it is starting a partnership with the plant. And like you, I wait for them to call out to me. So for the most part, by the time that happens, you know, I know that they’re ready, and that I’m ready because I hear it. I see them and I hear them kind of calling. And, you know, that’s a little hard to explain. But we’ll go into more on that. So, there’s a book called Plant Spirit Healing by Pam Montgomery. And she writes that “Co creative partnership embraces both parties in the fullness of their beings and provides an environment where they can live according to their own true nature. When we step into co creativity with a plant, we are able to experience a partnership that arrives for balance to manifestation. We work toward coherence, which generates a state of optimal health. Developing your relationship into a co creative partnership is based on the ability to communicate effectively with the plant. When we talk about communication with plants, we return to the original understanding of communing or communion coming full circle to common union because the language is not the same as that which we use with humans. We must engage in a language that is communal with both plants and people. We must find the common union or common ground where both stand. This place of common union can be found in light, sound and breath, resulting in sensations and emotional feelings engendered by the vibratory frequency they carry “

Rochana Felde [00:13:50] So that’s where I go, the way of getting in coherence with the plant. And there’s several techniques that I use when I’m ready to sit down and work with the plant. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:14:04] Yeah, I like what she’s saying there. And I think that for me, the key word.. Certainly slowing down is essential. You’re never gonna hear anything from a plant when you’re driving by at 60 miles an hour. Well, almost never. But in order to do any sort of connecting work I think that the first step is not necessarily to assume that you’re going to get really complicated attunement information, or that  the way that you get information is going to be exactly the way anybody else does. I think a lot of people can be really disappointed early on because they’re hoping for, you know, huge big revelations. And that’s not really usually the language that plants are using. They’re using something that’s a more subtle kind of a language. So I think that it’s really useful to sort of dial back your expectations, maybe learn how to start to get yes or no answers. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:15:06] That’s a very good starting place in any kind of non human communication, learning how to use a pendulum so you can literally get a yes or no answer. And sometimes that can be a really nice way into connecting with your intuition. Your pendulum is just working with your intuition. There’s nothing magical about it. It’s just a way to connect into your intuition. But being able to do some forms of intuitive writing can be really a good way. That’s what works for me. Or getting in touch with your own sensations in your body. I like the way Steven Buhner talks about engaging in sensory noticing. For me, that’s the key, sitting with the plant and just engaging with the plant on that level, not even so much the logical noticing of what a botanist might do, which is also useful. But in order to really connect with the spirit of the plant, I find that sensory noticing… Just how does it make you feel, touching it or tasting it or smelling it? And then just starting to feel into how you’re feeling at the time, because different types of emotions will surface or different sensations in your body will surface. They may or may not be words, but all of those things are useful pieces of information when you’re starting to develop an essence description of a particular plant. 

Rochana Felde [00:16:34] One of my teachers, Beth Steinman, talks about looking at the plant like you’re in love, with loving eyes. And if you think about it, we’re using our heart as the organ of perception, not our mind, when we’re doing this communication. And then when you have a new relationship with someone, you look at them with these eyes and you notice all these details about them, and everything is beautiful, and you’re enthralled with what you’re seeing. And that’s really kind of the way to approach looking at a flower, and the plant as a whole, and then noticing all of the different little details about it and what is happening, what color they are. And are they fuzzy? Are they fuzzy or smooth, or there’s a million little tiny details, even using a magnifying glass to get in there and really see it with that loving observation. Not necessarily the scientific observation, though. I sort of do both in my practice, because I like to start with a little like.. OK, here’s a plant. It has five petals. It’s this color. And I write all that down to get it out of the way. Just to clear my head of that kind of categorization, you know, that it naturally wants to do, because that’s how my brain works. And once I clear that out of the way, I can get more into my heart with it. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:18:15] Yeah. And I think that also it’s important to remember that this occurs over time. You know, just like with the relationship with a human, you don’t have one 15 minute meeting with somebody and know them at all. You need to work with this over time, and go back and visit regularly and see what they’re like in the winter, and see what they’re like in the spring, and see what’s around them and all the little details and your relationship will enrich over time. One of the nice ways of getting to know a plant is to grow it and to have it in your garden, and visit it every day and really get a feel for how it lives and what it does. 

Rochana Felde [00:18:52] Yeah, absolutely key. Or being in a rural area where you can go on walks and and visit it many times. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:19:03] I think what you were saying about the the observation of the scientific details, the botanical details. It always reminds me of when I first sat down with a plant, I call it Purple Sage, which is a type of sage that has a purple flower. It’s one of the plants that’s used to make Dan Shen. And I sat down with my little notebook and  was very dutiful. And I was writing little observations and notes about what it was like. And then I sort of sat up and looked at it and as if it was a human just right in front of my face, basically grabbing me by the collar. “Now that you’ve observed me, would you like to hear what I have to say?” And I was really taken aback because, I mean, how rude was I? I just.. if I went to tea with you and I just sat there and wrote in my book that she’s wearing a purple sweater. And I never said a word to you, I mean, what bad manners. So I apologized, “OK, my bad. Yes, I’d  love to hear what you have to say.” Plants have very different personalities. So you don’t meet one, then have met them all. They all have really interesting qualities of character. 

Rochana Felde [00:20:19] So how else do you get started when you start meeting and working with a plant? 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:20:25] It’s a process of just seeing where you’re drawn. Like you were talking about earlier, that you don’t just decide “I’m going to make this essence” or decide that I’m going to start working with this plant, there’s a certain kind of attraction, where you’re just drawn in a certain direction on a regular basis and you’re noticing a plant that maybe doesn’t have something that’s particularly exciting, or super colorful or whatever. But you just kind of keep going there and you keep noticing it on a regular basis. And I think that’s a pretty good sign that there’s a plant that wants to communicate and connect with you. So starting to pay attention to those little cues and then making time to sit down with the notebook and pay attention and just be with the plant a little bit, maybe see what the leaves taste like if that’s appropriate and safe. Always check to make sure that you’re not eating a poisonous plant. And just spending some time with the plant. Breathing with the plant can be a really good exercise. I think that’s one Pam Montgomery talks about. But I’ll do that where I’ll just take a breath in. You know that they’re exhaling oxygen and inhaling carbon dioxide. And so that reciprocal gift of the breath, I think is something interesting to consider, that you’re offering them something they can breathe and they’re breathing something you can breathe. It’s kind of a fun activity. And you’re taking that into yourself, you taking that energy that qi into yourself, bringing it in. And in that way, you’re communing with the plant. Is that something you do? 

Rochana Felde [00:22:03] Oh, yeah. Green breath is one of the practices that Pam Montgomery teaches. And that’s a circular breathing process that’s pretty intense. You know, I don’t do that with every flower essence. I’ve done it a few times, but it is one of the ways to kind of.. there’s a lot of techniques to get yourself into what Sandra Ingerman calls non ordinary reality. She teaches a lot of shamanic work. And that’s one of the ways to get into non ordinary reality, which helps you tune in with the plant that you’re working with. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:22:47] Yeah, because it’s not it’s not just like tuning into a radio station or opening up a book. It’s a slower process. It’s not so fast. Plants are always reminding me not to be in such a rush. “Like, give me all the information, please, right now.” And it’s slow and it’s.. Take a break, wait for it a little bit. You have to be in plant time when you’re working with plant spirits. 

Rochana Felde [00:23:14] Ceremony is another way to kind of get into that space. And I do a little honoring of the directions before I start working with the plant. And I don’t think the plants care, but for me, it helps me get really centered and grounded, and into a space where I’m more receptive and feeling more a part of my environment. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:23:43] Yeah, I don’t have anything strictly ceremonial. It’s not part of my tradition in training, but I always do a prayer when I go into a place like that. I always intentionally open to the spirits of the garden and to the deva of flower essences, and to the elemental forces of earth, air, fire, water, and then love –  the mystery element. I think it’s important to connect to those different energies and intelligences. You might also think about connecting to Pan, to the spirit of Nature and then whatever beings who are guardians and guides and teachers for you. It’s always useful to bring everybody into that conversation. I think that’s prayer work that I do before I walk in nature. And I’m waiting to hear what they might have to say. Just to be open. Those are some ways that work for me. And then there are a lot of other possibilities. I think that one of the things that we were talking about was the dream. And I think that I’ve had a few really interesting dreams about plants and they may have been plants that I had met before. And then all of a sudden they appear in a dream. And that’s usually something to really pay attention to is when you dream about a plant. Is that something that you’ve experienced? 

Rochana Felde [00:25:12] Yeah, well, we talked about that before with what was it? It was that Fairy Lantern came to me in a dream not too long ago. And last night, funny enough, just remembering this, Willow came into my dreams. So that’s really interesting when that happens. And I thought I need to revisit my work with Willow right now. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:25:37] Interesting. So those are some possibilities for starting to develop your own relationship with a plant in particular or plants in general. Those are some nice ways. And we’ll put in the show notes some of the books that we’ve recommended. I know that Stephen Buhner’s books have really been influential to my thinking and to my process. And then we have some others, Pam Montgomery, and then the delightful Robin Wall Kimmerer, who’s just a gift to the world. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:26:10] And then getting into more of the right brain? Or the left brain? Doing some observation, whichever side of brain it is that’s more logical, getting into some real clear observations. I think that one of the ways that I love to deeply observe a plant is to draw it. To sit with a pencil and and be so observational that I’m making an image of that plant. And there’s something about drawing it, even if you’re not good at it, that it makes you really look in a way that you don’t normally look. If you’re just shooting a picture or you’ve just kind of looked at it.. You know, to draw it, you really have to sit with it and go “which way do those hairs emerge from the stem? And how are those leaves really shaped?” I think that’s a really good way. 

Rochana Felde [00:26:59] Yeah. I don’t draw that much. I guess that’s a good idea for the reasons that you’re talking about. I do a lot of journaling though, I get into a whole consciousness writing, kind of free form exercise, with it. So I start with what I’m noticing, and then I’m able to.. stuff starts coming out of what I’m writing, that I know, when I look back at it, I’ll have no idea how I thought that or where that came from. So, I mean, obviously, it’s coming from the spirit of the plant. So it’s really interesting for me to do that with the journal. It’s key in my process because I think, you know, everybody who does this kind of work or is any kind of intuitive work that they do, we don’t all approach it the same way. You know, some people are clairaudient. Some are clairvoyant. You know, some have the ability to hear things and some see things. And for me, there is a claircognizance that comes out, when I do automatic writing the information kind of downloads. I think that’s one of the main ways that I sort of perceive and receive the information. What about you? 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:28:26] Definitely the writing. It’s absolutely part of my practice, but you know, first I have to really settle in. It’s not like I just pop open my notebook and then out fabulousness comes. Not so much. You’ve got to really be with it for a little while, take some breaths, and be patient and don’t get frustrated the first time that you try it. And if you don’t get something amazing, well some days are just like that. And some days are just amazingly beautiful and all sorts of wonderful things come out. But like you, I too get a lot of good information when I just open to the spirit of the plant and just let it come through me. And I just try to get out of the way as much as I possibly can and let the words come in whatever form and whatever grammar. A lot of times it’s really a different energy. It’s not your voice. You can tell it’s not you writing something, you can tell that it’s coming through a filter or something. It’s coming through you, but it’s not you. So that’s for sure how I get a lot of my information, where the plants teach me what they are there for,  what the essences could be used for, and their area of expertise, as it were. I’m assuming that’s probably your case. 

Rochana Felde [00:29:40] Yeah, absolutely. I just ask them. When I get into a certain part of that flow, I don’t do it straight off the bat like you’re saying and all. And sometimes it can take a long time to get into that flow and sometimes I’ll get right in there. And the other part of that writing, though, is I’m just writing everything that’s happening. Like, did I feel a breeze on my face? You know, is the plant moving in the wind? Am I smelling anything? Are there bees on it? Bees are a great indicator, as are other wildlife, of the energy of plants and the flowers and when they’re ready (to make an essence). I think that bees and butterflies and hummingbirds, they kind of tell us which flowers to go to. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:30:32] Oh, sure. Yeah. And like you’re saying, when you’re making an essence, everything is part of the essence making. So the mood you are in in the morning when you woke up, that’s probably part of the essence making, and all the weird little things that might happen. What you were saying about the writing.. One of the funny things that I’ve noticed over the years is that when Mercury is retrograde, it’s really hard for me to get a clear signal. It’s sort of like I can write a little bit and then I lose the signal. So it’s always a little clunky for me during retrograde. 

Rochana Felde [00:31:03] I don’t know if I’ve attributed it to that specifically, although I can understand exactly why that would feel that way. Probably for me it depends on what its retrograde in at the time, and where the moon is too. But sometimes I’ll just kind of kick right out of it. It’s you know, it’s a practice just like any meditation or spiritual practice where you’re trying to do something that’s not controlled by the mind and then the mind wants to get back in there at any chance to kill you. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:31:39] Yeah, there’s good days, and those days that are not so good. So just be patient with yourself if you’re interested in learning how to do it. Just be patient. And it can be that you can spend an hour and get one interesting thing. And that’s great. Nothing wrong with that. “That’s plenty. Thanks. That’s good”. So don’t assume that you have to get tomes of information on a plant in order for you to be having an accurate reading situation or be learning something useful. You know, little steps. 

Rochana Felde [00:32:10] Yeah. Other techniques are singing or humming and trying to get in to coherence with the vibration of the plant or the moment. I think that’s really helpful, especially if the writing’s not coming, you know, and I’m just kind of like, I don’t know, and I just take a step back and try to feel how the plant is vibrating and then do some humming. And if it’s a practice that if you work with it, then you know each plant would have its own sort of music that you can kind of tune in to. So that’s another technique that some people use. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:32:52] That’s interesting. I hadn’t heard about doing it that way. I have on occasion heard, I’ve certainly heard the lore, that plants have a song and that they will teach you their song. And I’ve heard a few of them from time to time, but I never thought about doing it that other way. 

Rochana Felde [00:33:12] And there’s well, there’s some interesting work where people are recording plants now. And that’s just so interesting. I want to look into more of that. But the humming in itself, you know, those ohm sounds can get you on a frequency that’s a nature frequency. And then you kind of get into that wave with the plant and that feels good regardless of the outcome. It’s a healthy kind of good thing to do.  

Kathleen Aspenns [00:33:43] And it will be interesting to hear from listeners. You know, we’d love to hear from you. Like you can connect with us on Facebook or Instagram, and we’d love to hear what your ways of connecting to plants are, because we know you’re out there and you’re all plant people and love plants. So we’d love to hear some tips and tricks that you have too, because we have our own experiences and we have the ways that we’ve been taught. But I’m sure there’s quite a bit out there and to be really fun to know more. 

Rochana Felde [00:34:12] Yeah, I’ve done some ceremonial plant dieting, or dietas, as part of my training as well. And that’s an interesting way. It’s the ancient method of honoring and connecting with the plant and changing your own diet to cut out a few things like salt and meat so that you have more energetic space to experience the plant and then incorporating that plant anyway that’s possible into your diet, or taking its medicine, and doing that over a period of time. Sometimes it’s a few days, or a week, or some people even do it for a month or more as part of a healing practice. That’s a method that I used in the Earth Advocate Apprenticeship Program I did with Beth Steinman. And we did that every month with a plant that we focused on for the weekend and then did our journeys and our ceremonies with the plant to hear its messages. It’s a really powerful way to to tune in mind, body and soul with the spirit of that plant. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:35:29] Well, that’s really cool. What a neat experience. 

Rochana Felde [00:35:32] Yeah, definitely. So, of course, that’s not something that I do every time. It’s more of a special scenario. But having that practice…,. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:35:42] You know the skill that if you need to. 

Rochana Felde [00:35:45] And then like you said, just tasting it. That’s part of it, too. So as long as you’ve identified that plant properly, which is key even in touching it, you don’t want to touch poison oak or giant hog weed or nettles.  I mean, you don’t want to eat poison hemlock or you know.. There’s a lot of missteps you can take in the natural world if you don’t have a good amount of knowledge and training on what you’re dealing with. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:36:23] Yes. If you’re a novice get some education, get a guide, have somebody help you. It’s always worthwhile. And you don’t have to learn every plant in the world, you know, just start with a few. Start with the apple tree outside your door or that sort of thing. You know, you don’t have to reach too far in order to start developing a relationship with the natural world. I think we covered some ground here,are there any other pieces that you think are essential to this conversation about attunement? 

Rochana Felde [00:36:56] I think you started to go there about getting more of that left brain knowledge. We talked a lot about the non intellectual part of the process. And for me there is a research part that’s also part of it, because clues about that plant, its personality and, how we could use it as a flower essence are everywhere in folklore, in traditional uses, in culinary uses, aromatic, even scientific studies. So I’ll even read, you know, scientific essays just to get a clue for what’s happening with the energy of that plant that it can work for this thing that it’s being studied about. And I think it all plays in, in the end. Of course, I don’t do any of that research before I tune with the plant because I like to just start with a clean slate and not be biased in my thinking as much as possible. But after I’ve done that work, I go to town with the research and then see how that aligns and correlates with what I’ve received. And, you know, most of the time it’s like, wow, that’s amazing because, you know, it completely lines up with maybe this energetic aspect that I perceived, like the physical manifestation of that may make total sense in other ways that that plant is used. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:38:37] Yeah, I like everything you just said. And there’s a piece.. The book isn’t fully written yet. Right? So the more research we do, the more we learn and the more time we spend with the plants, the more they’ll tell us. So I love to research after I’ve done that initial attunement work. Like you, I like to have my slate as clear as I can manage it. And then sometimes there are not exactly conflicting perceptions, but you’re just not quite sure how the picture comes together with a particular plant. You’re thinking, OK, it’s used this way medicinally or herbally or culturally. And yet I got something that felt really different. And that doesn’t mean that you got something wrong. It might be that you saw it from a different angle.  And there’s some plants. It could take me years to really figure out the essence of a plant. But it always comes around, though. It might take a while, but it always comes around. So be patient with yourself instead of just throwing your notes up in the air or burning them and saying, oh, I got something horrible. Just wait. You know, just to see how that evolves, because you might find that… “Oh, I see how that relates to these other pieces”. I was just looking at it from, you know, one hundred and eighty degrees in another direction. 

Rochana Felde [00:40:05] Well, it’s like peeling back the layers of an onion. And so here you have your outermost layers, which you’re going to be your pure biochemical reactions, or the food uses, or things like that. And then every time you go further with that, I think it’s like a deeper layer you’re working with not just emotional layers and spiritual layers, but there’s different layers in that consciousness and you can just keep going with it. So it’s really interesting how that works. And then, yeah, it might not match up with another flower essence maker’s description. But then when you look at it as another sort of layer or aspect of that.. you know in herbalism, I am constantly asked what plant is good for such and such, you know, this plant for that condition. And plants are, as you know, they’re multi dimensional. First of all. And then the herbal medicine, they have many, many, many uses. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:41:22] They don’t want to be pigeonholed any more than we do. 

Rochana Felde [00:41:24]  Right. So it’s the same with flower essences. And then when you read a flower essence maker’s description, I mean, you only have so much room to write. You know, I know we all struggle with how do I best convey this in one paragraph? I  had this afternoon experience of complete wonder that I can hardly articulate. How to fit that onto a label, much less a FDA compliant label that. You know, you have to remember that they’re evolving along with us. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:41:58] Right. We’re all evolving together. And so they’re growing and changing and creating new layers in the same way that we are. That’s how I see it. 

Rochana Felde [00:42:08] Right. Absolutely. Yeah. And then, you and I both are makers. You have your line Flora of Asia. I don’t have a public line yet, but I make them for my private clients. And you don’t have to be a flower essence maker. I just wanted to point this out. I meant to do it in the beginning, to do all this work that we’re talking about. This, of course, we do it as producers of flower essences. But you don’t have to make a flower essence to do plant attunement, and to work with these energies, and and see what it’s all about. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:42:50] So the plants are happy to talk to you, whether you have a bowl or not. So I think that’s that’s a good starting point for plant attunement and for helping people understand what this whole process is like. And I think that as much as anything, it’s an individual relationship between you and the plants. So your relationship with the plants is going to be different than mine or yours, Ro. And it’s a wonderful evolving partnership with nature. 

Rochana Felde [00:43:21] Beautiful. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:43:22] So I think on that note, we’ll close up and we’ll look forward to talking next time on The Flower Essence Podcast. 

[00:44:00] This podcast is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. We are not physicians and do not diagnose, prescribe or treat medical conditions. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner regarding the suggestions and recommendations made by the hosts and guests of the Flower Essence Podcast. 

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FEP17 Tending The Heart

February 19, 2020