Plants and Spirituality
The Spirituality of Plants
Yo yo yo wassup Compton Health Bar Fam! You know CHB has yo’ back when it comes to all the herbal remedies you need: detoxing, inflammation, prenatal, hormones, stamina, general wellness with greens, you name it! Just add water and bam you are ready to go. With herbal mixologists here to guide you and help you navigate the choices, you can feel secure, knowing you are in caring hands. I personally think the magic of what makes CHB so relevant to our community is that, deep in our blood, la raza understands the magic healing potency of plants. Stay with me here, cause I’m about to blow your mind with a ton of examples.
Plants and Traditions
How many of y’all grew up with an Aloe Vera plant or a Snake Plant by the entryway of your house? Para repelar las malas vibras. Where did this knowledge come from? Is it simple superstition? Was it passed down from our indigenous ancestors, who were so in tune with nature? Do the spirits of our abuelitas whisper it in your ears?
Aight maybe you don’t have Aloe Vera or Lengue de Suegra (aka Espada de San Miguel) plants by the entrance to your house. But perhaps somewhere in your home, you have Ruda. Growing up, my mom had a beautiful rose garden that she tended to diligently. I used to dress up in a Snow White Costume and beg my parents to let me put on red lipstick. Dressed up, I would frolic around all the plants. (Yes…ya girl B Money frolicked before these mean streets made her hard AF. Deal with it.)
Tucked away between my mother’s flamboyantly colored flowers, was a ruda plant. There was no missing the unique scent. I can’t tell you how many times my dad me curo un earache with that plantita. He would gently wrap a ruda leaf in cotton and lovingly place it into my ear. How did he know to cure my earache in this way? I ask him now. He says his abue’ taught him. Who taught his abue’?? Our raza has known that plants can heal and nurture us for ages. It’s in our blood to bond with them on a spiritual level.
Plants Repel Bad Vibes and so Much More!
Here is another example of our raza’s intuition with plants and hierbas: Did you ever have a Rosemary bush in your home? Also known as Romero, there are so many varieties to this plant. Some have beautiful purple flowers to adorn the outside of your residence. Other plant varieties cascade.
You can pick some of the needles and make some bomb roasted potatoes with them, let me tell you. You can boil it, remove the herb from the pot, and let the water cool. From there, you can put the cool water into a spray bottle and spray it onto your scalp in the shower for long, luscious locks. This is a truly versatile plant.
Deeper than that, let me ask you this? Did you ever hear your tias or madrinas or your mom’s amigas say something like, “Santo Romero, Santo Romero, que salga lo malo y entre lo bueno.” Where did this saying come from? And why do so many Latinos have a romero plant in close proximity to their home? Again I ask you, is it silly superstition? Is it a fun tradition? Or is there a knowing in us that is so deep, it can be easy to shrug off?
What about smudging with sage? Did your fam ever do that sort of thing? One time, my suegrtia querida moved into a new home with her family. She did not like the vibes of the home. Unfortunately, she could not find the sage necessary to smudge the home. She was new to the neighborhood and did not know where she could buy sage. (Now she knows CHB can hook it up ayyye.)
Ever creative with her senora experience, my suega thought quickly and came up with an idea for an alternative option: she got a cigar and disassembled it. She put it into a fireproof bowl and burned the herbs from the puro. She went into each room with this bowl, repelling negative energy and welcoming good energy.
I was amazed, so I asked her, how did the heck did you know to do that? How resourceful to repurpose a cigar like that. She said she wasn’t sure how she thought of it. She just knew it would work. Was it her intuition? Is it in her Pipil blood? When she was a little girl, did she perhaps overhear her abuelita mentioning something like this? Perhaps the memory is so deep in her DNA she does not realize it is a memory.
Growing Plants at Home
While on the subject of sage, let me say that my gardener is such an asset to me. He has helped me plant a lemon tree, a veggie garden and so much more. He is professional and courteous and I cannot say enough good things about him. I gave him some cash y lo encarge to pick up some plants for my garden from me from a nursery.
He came back and said, I got you two sage plants. One for the front door and one for the back door. It’s good to keep these plants by the doors to keep bad vibes out of your home and welcome good vibes into your home. Spiritual plant medicine AF right there! How TF does he know this?! How does anyone know this? Also, when he told me, and I agreed, how did I immediately know deep down inside that he was absolutely right?
Fam, it’s in our blood, in our DNA, and in our spirit to understand the magic of what plants can offer us. For instance, I felt in my heart the necessity to grow leafy greens. (A girl needs her folic acid!) Every day, I check on the plants’ progress. And, I talk to them. That’s right. Studies show talking to plants can encourage their growth, so I go out and encourage them. I baby talk to them, ok? Don’t think I’m crazy. This quarantine has me wanting to talk to whoever I can. So there I go.
Almost every morning, I go outside to saludar mis plantitas. We have a bond by now. When they were ready to pick, I felt strangely guilty. I felt it in my heart say, “muchas gracias,” every time I picked a spinach or romaine leaf. I texted Dani, CHB’s founder and leader, about it. She encouraged what I was doing and offered me even more tips. I am paraphrasing her here: “whatever is in your heart in the moment, is usually the right thing to do. Yo hasta las chuleo lol.” It indeed feels right, and so I will continue my practice of sharing my gratitude with my plants when its time to harvest some yummy leafy greens.
During this quarantine, I encourage you all to get into planting anyway you can. You can tap into an ancient and intergenerational knowing deep within you. It can spiritually soothe or even heal you. Don’t overthink how or where to do it. If you have a backyard, take advantage of the space! If you don’t, you can use your windowsill! You can put soil in a dresser drawer and keep it by your back door. There are no limitations to this. There is no need to fear it either. Listen to your intuition.
Plants Build Community and Help us Connect
What do you want to grow? If you have family from el rancho, hit them up! Face Time, Facebook Messenger Video Chat, or a simple phone call. Ask them for tips. I am sure they will be happy to share. It can give you a way to connect during this time of social distancing. Plus, this quarantine is a great time to learn a new skill.
No pressure to learn a new skill during a pandemic of course. I feel like capitalism demands us to always produce, produce, produce, and stay busy. Only take it upon yourself to learn a new skill if you feel up to it and it is authentic to what your spirit wants.
Finally, you can allow a hobby like gardening to help soothe you during these stressful and unpredictable times. To me, gardening has been a welcome distracting to avoid worry and estres. It helps me to cope with the state of the world that we are in right now.
Do you already grow your own food? What do you love most about it? Do you ever barter? Like maybe you have a lemon tree, so you give your neighbors lemons and they give you guayabas from their own fruit tree? It feels nice to take advantage of the resources we have, doesn’t it? It’s self-sufficient and builds community in our hood. Especially these days, it’s nice to trade a helping hand with one another (via contactless pickup of course lol.) And, let’s be honest. If you have food growing at home, it’s probably safer than going to the store!
Conclusion: Plants and Spirituality
If gardening does not appeal to you, what is it that you feel is stopping you? Let’s discuss in the comments to stay connected during this time of social distancing. If you have liked to garden since even before the pandemic, what do you love most about it? And how did you get into it? We’d love to read and discuss further in the comments. Finally, what are your thoughts on plants and spirituality? Let us know! Until next time CHB fam. May you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.