Talking to weeds: advice from the margins

In this post I will invite a few members of the plant realm to speak. They may not be the ones you would spontaneously engage with first, as most of us tend to gravitate to more ‘magical’ plants like healing herbs and such, but before you dismiss them, I would invite you to think a bit on the following idea:

We only form a small part of the web of life, and we are not the only ones who need healing. So does the Land itself. Now, the plants I will speak with, Nettle and Thistle, are plants that grow most abundantly on those places where the earth has recently been disturbed, and they will start to disappear as the eco-system is beginning to rebalance itself. They can, quite literally, be seen as the patches the Land applies to its wounds as it tries to heal…

Of course, we are parts of the Land we live on as well, so I thought it would be interesting to ask them about their perspective on us, on the state of human society and how to find healing for its wounds. This is what they had to share:


(The one for nettle was done shortly after the results of the European elections had been announced, results that were quite disconcerting for me, seeing the amount of people that had voted for parties that were racist or minimizing the current ecological issues)

This is Nettle

We greet you. We are missing you and your kind. Why are you no longer speaking to us? We are hoping for a chance to reconnect.

If you are prepared to listen, there is a story we could share with you. It is about the spirit of this place and how it is evolving.

We are sensitive to distress and tension. We can feel it. And so we are much more aware of what is going on in your society than you might think. We feel that you are not happy right now. That you feel ignored and frustrated. But you must know that you are not alone in this. This is how everybody feels. It is in the air.

Why are you not speaking up? Why are you not telling other people how you really feel inside? Is it for fear of disturbing the peace and the consensus? Or is it for fear that you might discover that you are really as alone as you feel? 

I understand that fear, but it is severely unproductive. It is what is causing your society to fall apart. You need to all express your feelings. You need to speak about this. Not just to the people you already agree with, but especially with the people who you expect to disagree with. For that way at least you will know how much common ground there is.

You people forget that you are all connected to each other whether you want or not. This place is your home. For all of you. It will be what you make of it together. And how do you expect there to be a sense of community if you are strangers to each other, if you are scared to connect to each other. You all sit in your houses and you pay attention to those who have exactly the same opinion as you, and the rest you ignore. You do not even try anymore. What is wrong with you people?

I will give you some advice if you are willing to take it. If you want to solve the problems in the world, there is no point in starting at the other side of the world. Start local. Become friends with your neighbors again. You claim that politicians and corporations take all the power, but that is because you give it to them. That is because you are all so divided that they can tell you all what to do. You have stopped thinking and have stopped being where you are. The real world is where your body is, not what happens on the other side of your tv screen.

Just my piece of advice. But then I am just a weed. Ignore me at your peril.


 

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This is thistle

People tend to dismiss me as a nuisance, as a weed, as something that has no right to exist. And so they do everything they can to remove me from their life and their sight.

Why do you think that is? Why are some of us dismissed while you will pay money for other plants to come and share your life with you? I would like to tell you a story that might clarify dome things to you.

There once was a time when the world was a physically dangerous place, and great skill and wisdom and a portion of luck was needed to survive in it beyond adulthood. That meant that natural selection was weeding out those who did not show a willingness to learn. At the same time it also meant that certain types of skills would guarantee one a better chance of survival than others. The skills of hunting and pathfinding and such seemed to be the ones everybody needed.

That is indeed how it is in a society when everybody is required to look after themselves and themselves alone. But there are a lot of disadvantages to this, if we compare it to a model where people work together and allow dome people with a different kind of talent an opportunity at survival as well. In such a society, there would be a place for explorers and artists, for dreamers and for people who were more open to spiritual work. They would enhance the life of the strong by giving them the gifts of beauty and laughter, of insights and better ways to do the work that otherwise would require often impossible amounts of manual labour.

A society that allows for this will thrive. Such a society will see its golden age. Unfortunately there always comes a time of crisis, when people get too used to being able to use the skills of the weak to their own advantage. That is when they will start asking questions about what they cost society, and why they do not contribute more. For on the surface it might indeed appear that these people are being given a treatment that they do not deserve, as they appear to be lazy. As this happens, we will see a gradual coarsening of society. As there is no linger that much room for creativity, the things that were known from the past will begin to be recycled indefinitely, so much so that there will come a point when people start to believe that this is the normal state of things. And they will start to be proud of the achievement of knowing about these few bits that remain as memories from the past, and consider that the core of their life. Go copy and save the little bits that are left.

These however are all signs of a society that is dying. They show anemia.

Do you recognize the signs in your own world? I bet you do. You are living in a time of decline, even though most people do not see the signs yet. That is where I come in. It is something that people are aware of, subconsciously. They do realize that something, somewhere is off, even when they do not fully grasp what that thing might be. But it makes them uncomfortable. It makes them look around them and desperately try to create an illusion of stability and beauty for themselves. That includes the need to be in control. But some plants are not willing to be controlled. They are not prepared to grow only where they are supposed to, but possess a will that is strong enough to allow them to take root in every tiny little crack, thereby bringing up a memory of shat people do not want to confront: that the world they are used to will not last.

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I am a messenger. See me as a tower plant. An indicator of the fact that things are going in the wrong direction. My preferred place to grow are areas of lands that have been disturbed and are out of balance. This is because if I was listened to, I could help to restore that balance. But that will only be possible if you are willing to face reality as it is. And it requires you to work with those that are despised by society in general. I am sending you an invitation. Will you open your eyes and learn to grow strong, or will you prefer to shut them and die?

 

Beith is a druid who likes to wander through the forest, inviting the trees to be her teachers in life. She also runs a personal blog about her druid journey, that can be found at wandering-the-woods.com. In real life she’s a mathematician, trying to walk the boundary between the rational and the irrational.

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