Updates from the Undergrowth
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Meditating with Gentle Giants

Meditating with Gentle Giants

One of the many mothers of medicines

I love this little plant that is out right now in all its stunning beauty in my neck of the woods, named for the stars, the beautiful Chickweed, Stellaria media.

I hope you enjoy the 15 minute long meditation that was inspired from chickweed, as I sat in the field with her and called her in to guide and prompt me.

Hang on, this is an aspect of herbal medicine that might be confusing to some, and indeed still is not a linear process for myself, or simple, or even something I get right (see later), this whole assumed plant communication thing.

What do I actually mean when I say that I called the plant in to guide and prompt me? Am I talking about a conversation here?

The more you work with plants, be it growing them, harvesting them, processing them or even if it’s just observing1 them, the more you get a sense of their needs, personalities and, well, medicine. And of course it’s not real. but of course it is real. It’s not real as in they don’t exactly talk out loud. You can’t set up an interview on live tv or even with Joe Rogan but the feeling is real.

The experience is real.

And being able to trust what you experience is huge. Right now in our current western overculture we are being encouraged to safely trade in our experiences for information. Tech wise this is very much a supported feature. However I feel like this can create a lot of fear, a lot of self doubt and a lot of anxiety. Like what if the information is wrong??? And who the hell can we trust??? Surely a huge part of knowing who we are is having self trust and surely to have self trust we have to be able to listen to and trust our feelings?

So what is it, this plant communication? And how the hell can it help with self trust?

Often we feel things from the plants. We feel a connection. We feel their beingness along with ours. I was made acutely aware of this today although it wasn’t my plan. On my list was go on walk, make meditation for substack, perfect time to harvest lots of lovely chickweed. All was moving forward well until I got to the harvest chickweed part. Even though there was this wonderful dewy softness all around, the sun was shining and, as you can hear on the meditation, birds singing in the background. I checked in with the chickweed and was like (in my minds voice) “well are we good for the harvest?” and felt a “no”.

Because of course you don’t hear a no. The only times I hear the plants is when its my voice in my head translating the feelings I receive into language. In my voice. Well a voice that is mine but slightly different because its tuned into something other than me and is what I affectionately call the crazy voice. Most of my hero’s have been dismissed because of their own crazy voices. Although if I was nicer I might call it the voice of instinct or the limbic voice.


But even though I felt a clear no I ignored it. It’s easy to ignore your instincts or feelings, our cray cray voice is inherently so because what it suggests has no obvious reason. In this instance harvesting chickweed was on the list dammit and since I have been finding it hard to be motivated in Aries month of all places (so double damn) I wanted to adhere to the list. And not only that but chickweed is in its absolute prime. I even said that as I felt/heard the no, “well aren’t you amazing right now” I said as I ignored my feelings and gently harvested the chickweed, finding myself unable to pick the huge flowering plants, they were just so incredible and in full flowering promise, moving on to the smaller ones as I felt less intimidated picking them.

This patch is one that I come to often. I have relationship with it. I visit the chickweed and graze, just like a horse2, frequently. But every year or so I will do a large harvest, which was what I had planned on today. I like to make chickweed juice, which is very potent and like wheat grass you put a lot in to get a little out. I will then take the precious juice and freeze it in ice cube trays to have throughout the year. However last year I left one batch freezing in the tray and it languished there. I knew that I needed to put them into a ziplock bag so that they would be kept safely. But I didn’t listen to the limbic voice. And indeed one day I was tidying the freezer up, forgot, left the tray out in the sink to use for something else and wasted (horror) all the little chickweeds. We all have guilty stories of herbs harvested and gone to waste, like food. It weights on you and you vow to do better.

Maybe I’m feeling guilty about the ice cubes I say (out-loud) to the chickweed, while harvesting, as I am still feeling the no. (Its so funny because obviously I’m not comfortable harvesting but hey ho I just keep plodding on. I should find a mind icon to go with this feeling that pops up in huge stars saying “you are about to have a learning experience”.) My limbic system is screaming no and my superior logical mind is saying, its on the list, which we need to complete, and this is the perfect time, look at how stupendous the chickweed is! Its in its prime! Meanwhile thats also what I’m hearing/feeling from the chickweed. I’M IN MY PRIME RIGHT NOW.

Then I feel something like a bite and I jump away and my finger is bleeding all over. I have cut myself (actually the grass cut me) on some of the crab grass that is all around as I was pulling the chickweed out. Just like a nasty stingy painful paper cut. At this point I finally stop, apologise to the chickweed for not listening and not paying attention to myself in the process and knowing deep in my heart, that for some reason, known only to the chickweed, that it is their time to proliferate, thats all.

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There are many times throughout the year that I can harvest chickweed. And so I will. And I am thankful for chickweed for deepening my understanding of what a no feels like. For reminding me that I know what a no feels like in my body even though I don’t often receive them. That I might forget or misunderstand or want to be stubborn or am not wanting to listen. But I am open to the conversation. So that I will better trust myself to do what is right for me and that which I am in relationship with. So I am thankful for the chickweed, for its ongoing medicine in what it teachers me and for my ongoing practice that keeps me in connection with the plants!

And this experience is so in keeping with chickweed. Barely discernible, easily ignored, often trodden on, this tiny green giant is a tower house of medicine, is a star through and through and is available everywhere and often!!! Wowzer

I love not having to rewrite what is already written, here are some excellent articles about the “official” medicine of chickweed.

From the wonderful Henriette’s Herbal

With some great history we have A Modern Herbal

Here is a video on how to identify chickweed.

I was initially trepidatious to harvest chickweed as its a lot like little brown mushrooms - how do you tell them all apart? Chickweed is one of the many indistinguishable little green weeds alongside all the others. However they do have some defining characteristics that can give you a clear ID. especially the mohawk hairs that traverse in a Fibonacci sequence3 up the stalk of the plants. Meanwhile, if you are still nervous about identifying and harvesting by using apps or videos, hurrah! You have all rights to be. The best way to learn is to find a local herbalist/gardener/landscaper/farmer, someone who knows their stuff and ask them to show you. Once its an experience you will be able to trust your self more. You will be able to rely on past experience, your feelings and all your senses to help you put your knowledge into practice. And you might meet some great new folks!

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Observing plants is one of the most profound way to work with them.


Seriously I consider it part of the medicine. I take big clumps and put them in my mouth chewing just as a horse does, chomping in bits of chickweed. My eyes glaze over and I become horse. Don’t ask why I don’t know. (I don’t actually put my head to the ground as I want to make sure I’m just eating chickweed. Usually there are upward of 3 -8 little green herbs growing within each other - you can be daft and safe!)


mohawk fibonacci sequence? I mean how can you not be completely smitten?

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Updates from the Undergrowth
updates from the undergrowth Podcast
exploring how to be in relationship with myself, others and the environment through plant medicine and place.
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