I am dealing with an outbreak of – oh joy – poison ivy. It is having fun hopping from finger to finger, and down my arm, in spots and clumps of spots. Hopefully, it won’t continue to spread. I haven’t had a case of it for over 30 years. The last time I did get it it was pretty horrendous. I know that the read out, symbolically, of poison ivy, is anger. It is an inflamed condition that is irritating and frustrating, red, itchy, and swollen, filled with a sticky fluid that can easily spread, just as anger can, hopping from person to person.
However, poison ivy also is a plant that is a Protector. It grows where land has been trampled, exploited, damaged, wounded, and destroyed. It comes in to keep people out, a stalwart guardian, saying:
“DO NOT ENTER HERE! THIS PLACE IS NOT SAFE FOR YOU. IT IS UNDER MY PROTECTION! LEAVE IT IN PEACE TO HEAL!”
Recently, I was sculpting an area behind our newly built outdoor shower house, wanting to pretty it up, as the embankment had been a bit damaged because of the construction. I was, not very mindfully, pulling up plants that I did not want there, and re-planting that area with plants I did want. Among the plants I pulled up is a plant called jewel weed because, when you put it under water and move it back and forth, it shines silver. Now, jewel weed is the natural counter agent to poison ivy. It grows where poison ivy does, and if you mash up the leaves and put it on the poison ivy bumps, it dries it up. So, even though it is a benefactor, a healing and helping plant in this way, it grows very prolifically, and I wanted it out of there. I was not tuning into any of the plants I was pulling up, or letting them know what I was doing. I made no connection, just seeing it as a job I wanted to do and wanting to just get it done.
Soon after, poison ivy began to erupt on my right hand, and my husband pointed out to me that there was, indeed, poison ivy growing in the area I had weeded. Interestingly enough, this poison ivy has not itched very much at all. It is as if it has just shown up in a way to catch my attention and make me mindful that I have it, yet not have me suffer too much with it. Nevertheless, I found myself very disturbed by it because of the past trauma I had experienced. So, there was fear in my space.
During our Nest building Weekend this past weekend, my friend Nancy Basket, a Cherokee elder and wise woman, was helping me pick beans in our garden for one of our meals. I pointed out to her the buckwheat plants that grow as “weeds” in the rows of our food plants, and asked her to pull them up whenever she saw them. Again, I was going about this as a pain in the ass job, and it was hot, and my back hurt bending over, etc. So, again, not very mindful, and a bit pissed off with how much buckwheat comes up everywhere. Nancy, on the other hand, was talking to the plants as she pulled them, telling them:
“Darlin”, you just can’t grow here, but you can grow somewhere else. Just not in the garden.” Very mindful.
I realized that I had not been going about this in a good way. And, remembering that poison ivy is a protector, and obviously the plants were needing protection from my unconscious and annoyed way of going about pulling them up a bit ruthlessly, I decided that I needed to talk to the spirit of the poison ivy plant, as it definitely seemed to be wanting my attention in no uncertain terms.
As I allowed myself to open to the journey, and the spirit of the poison ivy, I saw before me a tall being who looked as if it were made entirely of fire. It was red all over, with red eyes, and a face that was not clearly defined. It was very potent, and very intense, but not terrifying. It definitely carried an energy though, of Power. The kind of Power one wants to walk carefully around and be utterly respectful of. It told me, sternly, that it had come to me because I was not being respectful in the way I had been going about things. That I was coming from fear and overwhelm rather then being in the balance of my spirit.
I understood completely, and asked if it would be willing to leave my body, vowing that I would regain my balance, and work with this issue. Later, I also did a journey to speak with the Spirit of the jewel weed, and asked it to forgive me for pulling it up without explanation or kindness, thanking it profusely for the healing help it offers us, and explaining why I was sculpting certain areas where it had wanted to grow.
The poison ivy has begun to dry up, and it has not been an excruciating experience. Just enough of an experience to make me aware of what has been going on, and calling me to greater consciousness.
I have been seeing more clearly when I go into Fear instead of Love, and working with the Ho’oponopono technique to free myself of the fear that has been with me. It is buried very deeply, and I am excavating it and working to fill the space it has held within me with “the Peace that surpasseth understanding”. I am still in process with it, but seeing so clearly the threads of it woven within me, how deeply it has been woven with me, for a long, long time – a crucial step along the way to healing, to bring in the opposite of fear: Trust, Faith, Joy, Love. Freedom.