By Sharon Callahan
Written for Mt. Shasta Magazine - Spring 1995
Many of us who have come to live in Shasta, or who are drawn to visit The Mountain, are prompted by subtle remembrances of Lemuria, for Shasta was part of that "lost" continent. Any of us having Lemurian ancestry will be attracted to Shasta in part because of her abundant and highly conscious plant life.
The vibrational effects of flowers and flower essences were recognized and known deeply by the Lemurians. Herbs were used as food, and flower essences were taken as sacraments. The Lemurians collected the herbs and flowers wild, and communicated with them as spiritual friends. Each plant was known by its personality, or spiritual attribute. The Lemurians would visit a plant or tree in the same way that we visit a human friend when we need the reflection of that individual's particular quality of being.
Many people today are re-awakening this long dormant relationship between themselves and plants, simply for the tremendous joy of doing so, not to mention the healing benefits. Shasta is the ideal setting for the reuniting of the human and plant life streams, and I would encourage all visitors to Shasta to spend some time tuning in to the healing abundance of her plant life.
Developing an intimate, loving relationship to a plant in its natural setting, is far superior to buying it in a dried impersonal form from a store. It is similar to the difference between getting a letter from someone and seeing them in person! The environment in which a particular plant grows is instrumental in the understanding of its personality and its healing character. Does it lie discretely in the arm of a river bank beneath the protective overhanging branches of a larger species? Does it survive in the dry, rocky, windswept crevices of a high elevation? What do these characteristics reveal about the plant's personality and its healing gift? It is only through developing a personal relationship with herbs and flowers that we can open to the deeper lessons they offer.
Chinese herbs have traditionally been considered the most potent and effective healers, simply because their healing gifts have been understood and revered by the Chinese people for thousands of years. It is through the attention of the Chinese people that their herbs have evolved into the potent agents of healing they have come to be. Western herbs will attain the same status to the degree that we begin to interact with them in an interested, loving, and respectful manner.
Our Western herbs, for the most part, have not attained their exalted state...for to do so requires our participation with them. Their quiescence is due to lack of positive attention, just as one's mate may become unresponsive when neglected and unappreciated, or a musical instrument out of tune when left to gather dust in a closet. Flowers are here as co-creative agents of healing and spiritual expansion, and they await our participation in the process.
Mt. Shasta is home to many incredible healing flowers and herbs with distinct and wondrous personalities. They will become our best friends and teachers if we will but take the time to get to know and appreciate them. Where the development of discernment is concerned, we have help available from the following Shasta flowers and herbs:
COMFREY, a very plentiful Shasta plant, enjoys moist, sunny meadows abundant with bumblebees and electric blue dragonflies. It stands tall and erect, but its flowers relax gently in the direction of the earth. It withers quickly with insufficient water. When taken as a flower essence, Comfrey helps release tension stored in the nervous system and the subconscious mind. A healthy nervous system is very important to meditation practice because it enables a person to relax. The development of a calm receptive presence is what discernment requires of us, and it is easy to recognize how Comfrey's personality speaks of its gift as a nervous system tonic. Does not our own spine require erect flexibility to be healthy? Does not our nervous system need sufficient water to operate effectively?
Many animals suffer from nervous disorders and can be greatly helped by Comfrey essence. Comfrey is wonderfully helpful for animals suffering the effects of accident or shock.
FORGET-ME-NOT, which grows plentifully in lush meadows and along stream banks, assists in the release of negative thought patterns. Taken as an essence, it increases memory and the ability to learn from experience. It integrates the crown chakra and the conscious mind during meditation. The color of the flower is related to the pineal gland and the name suggests its association with memory. The ability to learn from the past is an important ingredient in developing discernment in present circumstances.
Forget-Me-Not is a wonderful essence for animals who as a result of abuse or neglect feel cut off from their source of nourishment. Forget-Me-Not restores the animal to a grace fill state in which they can once again derive their nourishment from the Supreme Source of all nourishment. Forget-Me-Not is wonderful for new-born animals and animals at the threshold of death. It helps them remember their celestial origins and makes all kinds of transitions easier. Forget-Me Not is found in the Anaflora Transition Formula.
RED CLOVER, a common Mt. Shasta resident herb, is useful in quieting the mind and emotions. It is especially good for individuals who get emotionally caught up in world events and disasters. It helps them to understand what lies behind these events. Many human beings are still heavily influenced by mass consciousness, and Red Clover can assist in disconnecting from negative human thought forms and re-connecting with our true nature, which is God. The ability to disconnect from mass consciousness is an important step in the development of discernment, for as long as we are swayed constantly by outer manifestation, we will be incapable of fostering the calm inner presence that discernment requires of us. I consider Red Clover to be one of my best plant friends, and a great teacher.
At Anaflora Red Clover is one of our most often used essences for animals and can be found in many of our formulas. Red Clover assists animals that are often swept away by fear and panic arising from the collective unconscious of animals in general and specific species of animals as well. Red Clover is a calming essence that addresses daily anxiety and deep level fear. It is also very useful when training an animal as it creates a calm centered inner and outer presence. For training, take Red Clover with your animal friend for best results.
SHASTA DAISY, assists in spiritualizing the intellect. When taken as an essence it facilitates the development of an un-scattered mind, and greatly enhances the power of intuition. It allows one to take in the entire scope of whatever is presenting itself, and facilitates holistic decision making. Its golden center surrounded by many spokes of white petals reminds one of the Tibetan Wheel Of Life with the golden God Presence at the center.
Shasta Daisy is a wonderful essence for animals during obedience training and any time a calm steady presence is desirable. Shasta Daisy is among the essences in the Anaflora Good Dog Formula.
LILAC, a familiar spring arrival in Shasta, is of aid to the spinal column. It assists in correcting posture by restoring flexibility to the spine. This rejuvenates the nervous system and greatly enhances meditative attunement. As meditative attunement becomes more integrated into our daily lives, our capacity of discernment will grow almost unnoticed.
Lilac is a wonderful essence for animals. It act as a nerve tonic and has proven useful in the treatment of epilepsy. If an animal is being treated with acupuncture Lilac essence will enhance the effects if given just before treatment.
MANZANITA is a very plentiful Mt. Shasta shrub. Itís essence brings emotional balance, and is especially helpful for those who have difficulty expressing their inner feelings. It promotes a calm, steady presence.
Manzanita is very useful for wild animals that must be confined or restrained for treatment, recovery or relocation. It allows them to experience and process their emotional feelings while staying calm as well. Manzanita is very useful for captive wild birds and birds that have become traumatized by flying into windows or being captured by cats.
When exploring your relationship to healing herbs and flowers, keep ever conscious of the fragility of our beautiful, sacred landscape. Use your awakening powers of discernment to assist you in recognizing whether a particular plant species is plentiful enough to be harvested. And please, never pull a plant up by its roots. Seeds must be ample enough for next year's propagation. Remember that insects, animals, and nature spirits use the herbs and flowers, too!
I have found that as my attunement to the plants, trees and flowers of Shasta increases over time, and as my relationship with them becomes more intimate, I am able to simply sit among them to receive their healing gifts. Sometimes I am able to go beyond relationship, which implies duality and separateness, and simply merge with the plant. In this way I become the plant with all of its spiritual properties and healing attributes. Just as in Lemurian times, we need only visit our friends of field and forest to come away rejuvenated, peaceful, and at one with Earth and Universe. Within this quality of being, discernment is not an issue....it is an aspect of our natural state.