Have you found a plant that speaks to you? A plant that is calling you to work with it? Sometimes I feel this way but don't even know why. So I get to work and start exploring this plant and figure out what it's trying to say to me. To some of you this may seem silly but for me this is how my magic starts. So I want you to join a challenge with me...to explore a plant with me for 21 days and see if you gain something from the experience. This is a great way to explore and create some plant magic of your own.
Some side notes: During this time I recommend working with one herb at a time so you can tell how you react to it specifically. Keep in mind that everyone reacts differently so what works for you may not work for your friend. Also, you can have more than one plant ally and allies can change over time/seasons for individuals.
So here we go! Please share your experience: #plantmagic21
Day 1: Pick and Herb and set and Intention for this little experiment. I recommend getting a little journal for this project. It will be a great way to log your findings and to help you keep track of benefits/effects. Many resources suggest keeping a “health tracker” especially if using to help with a specific aliment.
Day 2: Learn the Latin name and folk names of your plant ally. Many herbs/plants have a multitude of names. Write this in your notebook and jazz it up if you feel the calling!
Day 3: Acquire Plant – if you have this plant growing in your back yard GREAT!!! If not go ahead and order yourself a few ounces for the upcoming challenge so you will have enough for a few experiments. If you do not know where to obtain this herb/plant locally I recommend you order it from a reputable source such as mountain rose herbs. I also happen to sell herbs in my shop!
Day 4: Habitat – learn about where your plant lives? What type of environment does it thrive in? Is there a certain season it likes best? Create a page in your notebook dedicated to this info.
Day 5: Harvest – Learn what parts of the plant can be harvested. Is there a certain time of year you should harvest a certain part of the plant? Does the plant need to be a certain age in order to harvest from it? Also make sure to practice the 1/3 rule if harvesting in the wild – only take 1/3 of what is available – leave the rest to re-pollenate and for the creatures to enjoy. Write your findings down.
Day 6: Research – may the research begin!!! Find out what kind of medicinal properties your plant holds. I always go with the rule of three. I find three reputable sources and begin looking into their benefits/contraindications. A lot of times I find my knowledge from my old school books (found in second hand book stores) and make sure all three resources share the same medicinal qualities. Feel free to use the resources of the internet but be mindful of where you’re looking. Add your findings to your journal.
Day 7: More Research – look up some the best ways to prepare this plant medicinally. You need to learn how to best extract the plant some prefer water, alcohol, oil, vinegar, or other menstruums. Also check and see if the plant is best used for internal or external use. Many times different parts of the plants can be used in different ways. Log your research!
Day 8: Get acquainted – learn about the spiritual and emotional benefits of your plant. Again, log your results. Also, you might want to journal on what this plant means to you. Maybe it reminds you of your grandmother’s perfume? Do you have any emotional attachment to the plant?
Day 9: The last layer – research the magical properties and astrological connections of the plant. There may be reasons you feel called to the plant due to these correlations. As always log your findings.
Day 10: Meet your Plant – may the magic begin…take your time studying the plant. How does it look? Feel? Smell? Taste?
Tasting – If you have access to the fresh version taste, smell, explore. If you are using a dried version of the plant then take about 1 teaspoon – 1 Tablespoon per cup, depending on what you are using. Keep in mind you need to steep roots, bark, and/or berries for a minimum of 15 mins. Flowers and leaves only need 5 – 10 minutes of steeping time. Think of it like a fine glass of wine. Steep it, smell it, sip it. Take notes in your notebook about your first impressions of the color, smell, taste. You can then experiment with adding a lemon and/or honey if you really cannot stand the taste. Also some brews taste better hot or cold, so test it out! I will say this: traditional medicine doesn’t taste good and you take that; a shot of tequila doesn’t exactly taste delightful but you can throw it down the hatch…this is medicine – it might not taste good but it could be good for you. Plus this is why I started making Tinctures in the first place. My LP (Life Partner) thought all my teas tasted like “warm cat urine” but I wanted him to benefit from my magic so hence the tincture line-up I created. Later in this challenge you will learn how to make your own tincture so know there can still be an oral relationship with this herb/plant even if it tastes horrible! LOL!
Day 11 – take a day off or get caught up! Thanks for playing along so far I hope you have been having fun!
Day 12 – Let’s make a tincture – You can make tinctures a variety of ways. I personally prefer to use vegetable glycerin but you can make it with vodka/rum (80 proof), or apple cider vinegar. A little goes a long way so all you need is a glass jar. You can use a quart or pint. Fill jar 1/3 of the way with dried plant matter or ½ the way with fresh plants. Pour enough boiling water on plant matter to dampen (do not soak them). Wait 10 mins. (I say a little pray of intention over the jar during this time) Fill the rest of the jar with your base liquid (alcohol/vinegar/glycerin). Place jar in dark, cool and dry place. You will need to shake/disturb jar daily for the next 6 weeks. 6 weeks is the average time for a tincture. Some herbs require longer. Label and date your jar. Strain through cheese cloth or nut bag and compost herbs. Store in glass container. Use dropper to measure desired amount. If using vinegar you will need to store in the fridge and it only has a shelf life of 6 months.
Day 13 – Pinky’s up! – make a tea and or concoction with your herb. Make the main ingredient your plant of choice but feel free to add a slice of citrus or honey. Sometimes if a plant is very strong it might need to be blended with something more soothing or easy on your palate such as chamomile or green tea (depending on the affects you are going for). If you add a few things make sure to write it down – that way if you like it you will know how you like it. As you sip your brew try your best to enjoy it. Take note of how it makes you feel. Do you notice any changes to your body? Your breathing? Your heartrate?
Day 14 – More of day 13. Over the next few days I want you to develop a ritual with this plant. So pick a time of day (again this will probably depend on what kind of effect you are going for here), figure out how to enjoy a brewed cup of your plant. (Play with drinking it hot vs cold, w or w/out citrus…) I would love if you found the time to meditate or journal while you sipped on your beverage!!! Again journal/log anything you noticed. Did you notice any effects during/after drinking the tea? A lot of times you will notice the benefits about 30 – 45 minutes after drinking your concoction.
Day 15 – Day 14 on repeat…do you know they say it takes 21 days for you to break a bad habit/get into a new routine/make a life style change? Once this little challenge is over I pray you take the time and replace it with something that serves you!!! If it be a new plant, a time to meditate, dancing, journaling…just do something that is going to serve you and your higher self!
Day 16 – Cheers – you know it! Pinky’s up! Let’s drink up another glass and journal about how this has made you feel, if you’ve noticed any changes/differences. Also, a friendly reminder to shake your tincture.
Day 17 – Meditate with your Plant – there are guided plant meditations on YouTube. You could also do this while enjoying some plant ally tea. Everyone meditates differently. Choose a way that works best for you.
Day 18 – Connect with Water – do what suits you and the herb best for the results you are trying to achieve. There are many ways you can connect to plants through water. Pick one of the following ways to explore today:
You can create a steam inhalant – pour boiling water over herbs in bowl. Place towel over head to trap steam and lean over bowl to inhale steam. There are many medicinal benefits to the lungs, sinuses, as well as to the skin and pores. A full immersion bath may also be beneficial. Add a small handful of herbs to 1 cup of Epson salt and enjoy a nice relaxing soak in the tub. *you can use a tea strainer if you don’t want the herbs floating around. You can also tie them in some cheesecloth. Create a hydrosol – steam a cup of plant matter like you would for a strong tea. Once it has brewed (I usually let it sit overnight). Then fill a spray bottle 2/3 way with brewed liquid. Fill the bottle with witch hazel. Depending on the benefits your plant produces you can use this as a spritz for your face/skin, room spray, smudge spray, or as a linen spray. You may also have found other ways during your initial research to combine water to your plant to create another form of magic! Play, be creative, and have fun! Sometimes these little rituals are fun (and beneficial) to the whole household.
Day 19 – Connect with Water take 2 – pick another way of exploring your plant’s magic. As always log any neat results or recipes you created so you can refer back if you loved them! And of course you could be doing this little experiment while you are sipping on your plant in tea form.
Day 20 – Connect how you like to best – of all the ways we have explored pick what you like best – and do that. Try to create a ritual of your own with the plant. If it be the way your brewed it into a tea or the way you have made a bath soak; you can make anything a ritual. It’s just about time, intention, and being special/sacred to you. Again, write your experience down in your journal
Day 21 – Celebrate! You are done and complete! I challenge you to have a little appreciation ceremony with this plant. What has it taught you? What have you gained? What changes have happened in the last 21 days? Journal your thoughts/feelings.
Keep in mind that your research at the beginning should indicate how long you should/can take the herb/plant for. Some plants such as Echinacea shouldn’t be taken for long periods of time. However, others like St. Johns’ Wart you might need in your system for 2 weeks or longer before noticing any effects. So keep that in mind when doing your experiments and give the plants time to do their magic.
Don’t forget about your tincture! I always set a reminder on my phone to shake it and then to strain it in 6 weeks. Different tinctures require different does and frequency amounts depending on treatment and intention. You should know this amount from your research at the beginning of this challenge.
Also, as a rule of thumb I usually switch up my herbs/vitamins/supplements/tinctures/teas every 30 – 90 days. I’m not really sure how to best explain this from a scientific stand point but I know my body responds well to a change every couple months/weeks. I find that as the seasons change my body/spirit need different things. I also feel called to different phases of the moon and that affects my desire for different plant magic. So go explore, play, embrace and know that everyone is different and you have to figure out what works best for you and your purpose.
I hope you enjoyed my way of bonding with your plant! Y'all know I LIVE for feedback so let me know how it goes!!!