The spirit of the weed
When the weeds grow on my grave
don’t break your hoe, baby!
Let them grow wild
wild like me, baby!
I put my hands in dirt last weekend. The weeds grew wild over the past two years while the garden has rested. It is deeply touching and sobering to dare to skin off the earth in the preparation of the soil for a plan different than the master plan of nature. It is a statement and a promise that the gardener makes to himself and to mother nature: I am going to make something different here. A garden is a structure, a plan for the pantry and the herbal pharmacy of the gardener. Weeds are the play of nature, the life force itself, the laugh of the wind, the sun, the earth and the water combined in a small seed coming from above dancing on the lip of the wind, to heal and enrich the soil. Before becoming the skin of the earth, the weeds are the grace of the sky, the spirit itself of regeneration. The weeds remind us that is natural to heal. This is what our bodies and psyches do every day, self repairing and maintaining homeostasis and harmony. And this is what earth does too. Have you ever seen an open wound, a bare soil area, that the weeds didn’t conquer yet? Bareness of the soil due to a wildfire or storm uprooted trees doesn’t last long: within days seedlings begin to grow and cover it. In a few months the scar is barely visible.
Freshly weeded soil in the preparation for the Garden of Eden
Every day the wind blows millions of dandelion seeds in the air. And their seedlings will get on the nerves of thousands of American lawn-keepers. We lost the sense of play and humor, as nation. What nature does is play with seeds. We want everything square and flat. We forgot the unpredictability of play and we learned to numb the pain coming from self suppression with pain killers and mood stabilizers. The pesticides market is as hot as the pain killers market. There is a war on dandelions that goes hand in hand with the war on the human psyche. The scientific name of the dandelion, taraxacum, comes from the Greek word taraxos, which means disorder, and akos, which means remedy. The ancient Greek chose a name resonating with the spirit of this weed. In Chinese medicine, dandelion is considered a restorative herb for the Liver. The Liver channel runs across the breast area and helps with many women health conditions such as mastitis, breast cancer etc. Our collective feminine psyche is as suppressed as our modern lawn maintenance design. Public policies indicate women to cut their breasts in the name of “preventing disease” instead of using mother nature to truly prevent disease. These policies are advertised through public persons willing to market them through the power of their own example. Who doesn’t remember Angelina Jolie’s public breast removal advertising campaign? By contrast, how many stories of avoiding disease by using nature’s resources have you read about in media? The new “green” is… a dead green. We maintain uniform lawns and eradicate dandelions while claiming to live in “green” habitats. Green are the lawns sprayed with pesticides but free of life-spreading pollinators! If we don’t reflect within first all the beautiful concepts we want to project outside, all we are doing is to create a fake empty story. This is why, within the habitat of the collective mind, we need the fresh naughty spirit of the stinging nettle to eradicate nonsense and purify minds and the use of language. The spirit of the stinging nettle, the excellent blood purifier, shows us we need to filter truth and authentic from pre-packaged concepts preferring the dark and unkept corners where the wild nettle of the mind can grow wild.
The stinging nettle
As a psychic symbol, the weed is the pure “I am”-ness: the joy of being, the play, or the grace, the gift coming from no where, or simply the effort we put every day of getting in touch with the part in us that can never be hurt - by meditation, contemplation, music, poetry and philosophy. When we access primordial states we go back to our wild nature and invite the Uni-verse to part take in healing our wounds. These primordial states are giving us the space to recharge and remember who we are in truth. It is a call for reintegration of the fragmented psyche. Disturbed lands, cracks in road asphalt are invaded by dandelions, plantagos, cannabis, mugwort, wormwood and such. Their abundance everywhere around represent the beginning of new existential stanzas, invocations of the universal wisdom to come and pour in our “cracks” healing, love or whatever we are looking for, allowing ourselves to receive the gift of a new, more meaningful life.
Many times we try too hard to engineer our life story. We scheme and we construct narratives and timelines and when our expectations are ruined, we loose trust in ourselves and even in life itself. We are stuck in the narrative. This is when the daring spirit of the weed comes in to restore truth. From the whole storyline, the weed is that “once upon a time, in a distant land…” part. The beginning contains all the parts, it is the dream of the whole, the DNA structure that will make a new being unfold. That’s the most powerful part of all the steps of the story. It is the grace falling from the sky that allows the story to take shape, the inspiration of the divine author himself that we forgot to open up to and receive. It’s the poetry within the narrative. And than any detail of the story becomes a simple gift of that openness. How many times have you been afraid to abandon yourself to love and loose control? How many time have you been afraid of the unknown? The weed of our psyche forces us into the unknown, in the dark corners of our subconscious that need repair. It is our self initiation rite in a new existential stanza. And no matter how afraid you might be, you know that without cutting your way through your fear, there is no self-knowledge and soul progress. Many people have been wounded to the point that they are afraid to abandon themselves like the seeds of wild weeds to the wind. They are so identified with their old wounds that they exiled themselves from that openness, that space within that allows growth from an authentic root, that regenerates and rebuilds. Instead, they take the pot. Or the gun. One of my patients, a flourishing hair salon owner, wife and mother of two, came to me to seek help for smoking cessation. She was smoking one cigarette per day, after work. Why? Because something was desperately missing from her life. The Wild. There was no room for the Wild in her life except for the one secret cigarette after work that was shaming her. Addiction and gun violence comes in when we exile the Wild from our psyche. Still, we are searching for it in secret, after work, at night, in pubs and brothels. We are desperately craving to access that part of our psyche totally innocent, unscarred and untamed, the healer within, Life itself that never ceased to search for itself, expressed as higher values such as love, blind naive trust in good, wisdom and freedom, in spite of anyone’s disapproval, including our own egos: when we access essential states we cease looking for any approval and we understand that to desire to be “accepted” and “fit in” is to doubt the wisdom that created us.
Pollinators attracting backyard in Jamaica, Queens, NY
Long Island, NY well-kept house lawn
As much as we need to garden in order to tap into the healing energies of the Garden of Eden, we also need to cultivate the Wild in our lives. I want you to pick a dandelion and play. This is what nature does. Blow the dandelion and enjoy the unpredictability of where the wind will take the seeds. Visualize the seeds healing all the “cracks” in your body and soul, and merge the flying seeds with the sun, the moon and the stars. In embracing the play, you become all the parts of the story at the same time: the seeds, the wind, the cracks, the sun, the moon and the stars, Life itself, manifesting, now.