“Talking to Your Plants”

By Lisa Anne Cleeves

Talking to your plants may be more significant than you think. They may just talk back…

I spend a lot of time with plants, and I have learned over the years that they are most certainly aware beings. They exhibit so many different behaviors, it is unclear to me why anyone would believe that they are inanimate. I do not blame you if you have never had a communication type of interaction with a plant. It is not something that we are raised to think about or understand, in today’s society. It took me many years of ‘unlearning’ to realize that plants had medicinal value, let-alone consciousness.

The first time I ever thought a plant tried to communicate with me was when I was on a slow winter walk through a patch of woods after heavy snow. It was about five years after I discovered (through a transcendental Spiritual experience) that I needed to begin ‘unlearning’ all of the things I had been raised with; namely my over-religious upbringing but also, I had to unlearn my full acceptance of our’ grocery store’ type of existence, where everything including nature is a product to be profited from.

Anyway, the scenery that day was magical, and the silence in the snow-covered woods was auspicious. I was walking along and all of a sudden, I was drawn to an old thorn tree at the intersection of one path and another. I was somehow captivated by it, and I sat there wondering if the tree had called to me. Even though I had never experienced plant communication before, it seemed apparent to me that it had just occurred. I ‘felt’ it, somewhere in my heart that it was a loving gesture of the tree. So, as I stopped to take in the delicious quiet and look with love upon the tree, I reflected for a few moments on how Joseph of Arimathea had planted the Holy Thorn tree in Glastonbury, England in what was once Druid Country. The original tree was hacked down in vandalism during wartime but the one that stands there today was a cutting of the original tree.

As I stood there in the winter landscape, looking closely at this thorn tree that had called to me, I was filled with peace, and I marinated in reverence of it and the teachings of the Druids and of the true message of Jesus, the Christ Conscious one.

Sometimes like above, my experiences with plant communication are mystical, mysterious, and awe-inspiring, but, I have also had ‘less glamorous’ experiences with plant communication. In fact, I have been scolded by them.

When my son was six months old, I was working outside in the garden, raking, and he was there with me in his stroller. I had been showing him different flowers and letting him hold one of each type. I wheeled him over to my beloved Black-eyed Susan plant and was showing him its amazing, vibrant blossoms. He was definitely interested in them, so I reached over to choose a flower to give to him. I asked the plant if I were able to have one, expressed my gratitude, and pulled off a flower. It came off quickly, but the stem had broken off in a less than ideal way. Hmmm…

Instead of being appreciative of it, for some reason, I chose a second one and reached in for the pull. This time the stem wouldn’t break, it held fast. It refused to come off. But that was the one I wanted, so I kept pulling. Well… it finally snapped out of the ground, dirt and all. As the roots were ripped free from the earth, I was showered with dirt all over my hair and face, and I flung backward, losing my balance. I took a step to recover but was disoriented from losing my balance and stepped on my garden rake (which somehow I left tines up. I don’t remember doing that!).

I stumbled backward again, two more awkward steps and then fell — square on my butt. I was in shock. Almost immediately, I felt shame set in, and I knew that I had been scolded by the plant. And more than that? I knew I had just been reprimanded by the Goddess. I felt the telepathy come through in a rush (as it always does once you realize that you are contacted with the Divine). I was embarrassed and felt her chastisement for me displaying my entitlement to her, and also my disregard for her will. I was shown that we humans demonstrate a lack of genuine gratitude and humility, always trying to take just a little more than what we have been given. Even worse, we are ruining things and causing damage in the process, like when I ripped the roots out of the ground with that pull… ouch. I was sure that my tripping on that rake was her way of slapping me around, trying to get my attention.

I am learning. I still am not capable of getting just the right balance between Spirit and ego without Divine help. I pray I intend, I do diligence and await signs and coincidences. At least I know well enough to have given over control. I take comfort in the fact that I am less likely to make mistakes because I give over to the Godd-ess all of my worries, all of my wants, my needs, and my plans. I turn over all of my decisions to Spirit, and I have never been left alone, in the dark. Spirit always guides me and makes itself known to me if I am willing to do the work, staying aligned with love, and work at embodying diligence in devotional service.

Many times with plants, the communications are just simple ‘everyday’ types of things, like the plant conveying to you what they perhaps need. These experiences are enjoyable, especially if you ‘get the message’ and can make any necessary changes with good result. This story is about the tenacity of my Morning Glory. I would put the Morning Glory securely training up the mailbox post and was confused to see it the next day, unraveled from where I had placed it. It would instead be way over, on another plant and climbing, which honestly was a reasonable distance for it to have traveled in the other direction, considering the general belief that plants are not conscious, that is. Clearly, it was an intentional journey.

Twice more on consecutive days, I put the morning glory back up the mailbox post because I was determined to have my way. But each next day the Morning Glory was again over on the other plant, and the last time, it was even more tightly wrapped around. It would have been tough for me to unravel it and put it back on the mailbox post without damaging it. It was tenacious. At that moment, looking down at it holding on for dear life, I understood clearly in my thoughts the subtle telepathy of the Morning Glory, the post was too hot to climb and would have caused it to suffer. It was apparent I had failed the plant.

So the next morning, I painted the mailbox post white, which I knew would keep the post cool. After that? It began thriving, vigorously climbing up the post and we were both very, very happy. Plants can tell us so much. Sometimes, what seems to be just our own realizations in our thoughts may actually be communications from our beloved plants. They are willing to share so much wisdom with us — if we are willing to spend time with them and learn their language.

I still make mistakes in the garden. Recently I was corrected by my Elder tree, I had cut a few coppiced poles. I hacked down three of her stalks, without asking, brutally, and quickly. I heard in my mind the reprimand, gently yet firmly reminding me that I need to show more appreciation and stay grounded in communication with my plants. I was asked if I would enjoy having a procedure done on me, without my consent or even prior knowledge. I felt ashamed of myself again and quickly turned to the tree, voicing from within my apologies. I knew I should have been more humble. I took some moments to become mindful of the gratitude I felt, vowing to remember to be more gentle-hearted when cutting and hacking things down. The Elder’s message to me was compassionate and gentle. A needed reminder to be humble, even when we are doing what we feel is ‘our right.’

I have even seen plants be artistic. Oh yes.

This spring just after Easter, I saved an Easter Lily from the curb in a wealthy neighborhood. It was still in fantastic shape. Unfortunately, it had to sit for a couple of weeks inside, waiting for the last frost of spring to pass. It didn’t like that very much. And when I planted it in my yard, it didn’t grow. It didn’t die either. It just hung on for a long time with no activity. After about a month, it began dropping its yellowing leaves, and one by one, it’s three stalks were turning yellow and dying. I thought I was losing the Lily, but when I went for a closer look, I discovered that I was mistaken.

The plant had sent up two new shoots! Now I could understand why it had let go of those older limbs. She had finally conjured beautiful new stalks, and when she did, she cut off her food supply to those older stalks and allowed them to turn brown and die. She sent up three new shoots in total and in turn, I pruned away all of her old dead material. Now, she is vibrant. She is beautiful and proud. She has chosen a very artful position on her plot in my garden. She has re-positioned herself in a very classy manner (and very Feng Shui, I might add!) and I can sense her pride. She is like a woman who has found her place, her new life and is putting forward her new best self.

There is no greater peace on earth than the peace that nature can provide for you. If you share your thoughts with her and listen carefully and pay attention, you may find that Mother Nature is sharing her thoughts with you, too. Lisa Anne Cleeves is a Nature lover, Permaculturist, a ‘budding’ Herbalist, Writer and a woman who lives for signs from Spirit to guide her way. Her foremost passion is communing with Spirit through the Natural World around her and she hopes you enjoy her writings; ‘Contemplations of a Grateful Hedgewitch’.

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