Well it’s not just a case of Mugwort in my mind, it’s Mugwort in my heart and soul and quite frankly not leaving me alone.
She has that affect on people. You’ll know what I mean if you have ever worked with this plant or ventured near her growing,as she often does, by the side of the country road or meadow.
I’m not going to detail the botanical blessings of this delightful member of the Artemsia tribe, there are many other brilliant herbal blogs doing just that. The fact that she is an Artemsia should already give you a clue to the qualities and associations of this bitter moon-assisted, magical feminine ally.
Mugwort has a well deserved reputation for being a witch’s plant, a gate-way herb that stretches our doors of perception and awakens a new way of perceiving plants and being in the world. She will definitely help you experience plants differently whether you are new to the plant path or an old hand.
Mugwort is most often known as the Dreamer’s plant and does indeed stimulate the creative centres of our brains and induce technicolor dreams. The first time I tried Mugwort for this purpose, I felt as though I had just watched a full length feature film when I woke up the next morning. It was hardly a restful night.
However I have to admit that I was hooked and I now regularly work with Mugwort for my dreams and Shamanic journey vision work. Each year I harvest Mugwort and make Mugwort infused oil, to either use as an oil or then make into a salve. As I chop it up and get a whiff of the pungent smell, I know it is already starting to spread its magic. I also bundle up the stems together and dry them, creating my version of smudge sticks so that I can benefit from the Mugwort smoke in my sacred spaces too. It’s a brilliant local alternative to the imported white sage that we have all become rather addicted to in the UK. I also drink Mugwort tea if I have any of the herb available.
But what I really wanted to share with you was a spontaneous Mugwort journey and healing that was gifted to me last summer. This story shows how there are no hard and fast rules about working with plants, plant connections come at us from all angles and often when we least expect it.
So one afternoon last summer I was puzzling over something that had come up for me during the day. I couldn’t work out why I was feeling so triggered over an event that was so trivial. You know when you are asking yourself “What the xxxx is my problem?”.
I took my problem, with a cup of tea to my garden and sat there on the bench, mulling over the event. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the tall shoots and silvery leaves of Mugwort swaying in the wind as if waving to me. I continued in my thoughts and ignored the call of Mugwort. Except, darling Mugwort does not like to be ignored. She stood there in my line of sight, challenging me, was I ready for this?
I fell into a spontaneous trance, completely under the Mugwort spell. A memory of me at a young age came flooding back to me, of me hiding in the wardrobe, filled with shame. There it was, SHAME, a big huge scary shadow of SHAME that I had been carrying around with me and was the root of this issue that had led me into the garden. SHAME, I felt like roaring it into the world. It was time to be rid of it once and for all.
I felt the shame of that childhood moment ripple through my body and it was so disgusting and hideous that I felt sick. But Mugwort had me, firmly within her grip and wasn’t letting me go.
I began to dance with Mugwort, swaying gently at first, as if trying to move the memory out of my body. This movement seemed to go on forever and then something shifted and I found myself becoming an eagle. My arms spread out wide like enormous wings. As an eagle I flew around the garden. (Imagine the sight of this from a neighbour looking over their fence!). I felt free, I felt powerful, I was free of shame.
The dance and the singing seemed to go on for hours, the human part of me was worried about what my neighbours were thinking! It was exhausting but also liberating as the power of the plant brought to the surface the old memories that had been keeping me small and through the movement and song I released them.
The frenzy and the eagle dance of freedom felt never-ending and I finally collapsed quite exhausted curled into a little ball on the lawn. I was held and comforted by the earth, still with Mugwort in my line of sight. I landed on the earth safely and felt witnessed by all the green beings in the garden who surrounded me. (and by countless neighbours I dread to imagine!).
When I felt rested I gave Mugwort a curious glance out of the corner of my eye and crept back inside. But oh no, my journey wasn’t over yet. The spirit of Mugwort still had me in her grip. I glanced in the mirror as I entered our flat and Mugwort was there challenging me, whispering in my ear and bringing me out of the shadows. Had I really lost my mind that day? I felt empowered by the wise lady of the hedgerows and once again I began to dance.
This was not a dance to move energy through my body and shake it off, this was a dance of joy to attune my being to this new vibration of freedom. So I found myself dancing and singing, clapping my hands and leaping around the living room of the flat, singing my heart out with freedom, singing a song about my lack of shame about shame not belonging to me.
By this stage I was exhausted, my throat was hoarse and I was beginning to fade. I was still in a trance but my mind was kicking in asking me to help myself in some way. So in a moment of lucidity I put on a song, “I am light” by India Arie.
I played the song on repeat for as long as it took to bring me back into myself again.
I’ve never really looked at Mugwort in quite the same way since. Something in me was shifted forever that day in the garden so that something new could come in and shine in its place.
That day gave me a sense of what she is really capable of healing and bringing to light for each of us. Like all our teachers, Mugwort is a plant that deserves your full respect and appreciation when working with her.
Dabble at your peril and most of all enjoy your Mugwort dreams.
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