Dreaming with Plants
By Atava Garcia Swiecicki, MA, RH (AHG)
Here at Ancestral Apothecary two of our favorite subjects to explore are medicinal plants and healing dreams. As an herbalist and a dreamer, it has been thrilling for me to discover the ways in which the world of plants and the world of dreams intersect.
I have trained myself and my students and clients to pay close attention to a plant that shows up in a dream. Plants that appear in dreams can be prescriptive, instructive or even direct transmitters of healing energy.
The language of plants is quiet and subtle, hard to hear over the roar of technological noise that bombards us in today’s modern world.
A major way that plants communicate with us is through dreams. Perhaps it is because in the sleeping state we are quiet and receptive to hearing their voices. When a plant shows up in a dream, it is important to listen to its message. Its presence in a dream may be symbolic but it may also be instructive or healing.
Prescriptive messages from plant dreams
Sometimes when a medicinal plant appears in our dream it is a signal for us to take this herbal remedy. Last fall I had a series of dreams about elderberry. Elderberry is a medicinal herb I know well. It grows where I live and I love to harvest the ripe blue berries in the fall to make elderberry cordial.
As an herb, elderberry is strongly anti-viral. It helps protect our cell walls against viral attack. That means it is a great remedy for preventing the common cold and a host of other common respiratory infections.
When I had my elderberry dreams last fall I noticed them with curiosity, but I did not heed the prescriptive advice of the dream. Due to my own blind spot, I didn’t take any elderberry cordial. I didn’t feel sick and it didn’t occur to me to take it.
A few days later I came down with a cold. The dream elderberries and the wisdom of my own body had detected the subtle signs of imbalance in my health and sent me advice. If I had started to take the elderberry cordial when I had the first elderberry dream, chances are I would have given my immune system the boost I needed to stave off the cold.
Plants and dreams know when we don’t
An herbal remedy can beckon you in your dream even if you don’t have a waking knowledge about the herb. A friend of mine from dream group once told the group that one morning she had simply awaken with a word in her mind. When she had this dream she had been struggling with chronic allergies & asthma and was getting sick a lot.
This friend is a woman of Chinese descent, and recognized the word to be in the Chinese language. As she did further research on this word, she discovered it was the name for a Chinese medicinal herb. After talking to her acupuncturist, she realized that this herb was the perfect remedy for her current respiratory condition. In this way, the wisdom of the plant, and possibly her own ancestors, guided her to the remedy that would help her regain her physical health.
Plants Heal Us in Dreams
A few months ago I was experiencing a lot of tension and discomfort in the area of my stomach/solar plexus. Around the same time I had recently made a big batch of chamomile tincture for my herbal apothecary.
One night I had this dream:
I am lying down and someone has placed a chamomile flower over my solar plexus. It is there to help push the blocked energy out. There is anger stuck in my stomach and the chamomile is helping to move it. I also need to yell to release the tension stored in my solar plexus. I know also that chamomile would be a good thing for me to take.
In this dream, I received a direct healing from the chamomile. As it was positioned on my solar plexus, it was helping to move stuck energy. Also, the chamomile spirit was giving me a two part healing prescription. First was to do some deep belly yelling to release the stored tension in my stomach. Second was to start taking the chamomile tincture in waking life.
This time, I had the wisdom to heed the advice of this dream. I took some time to yell into my pillows that morning and it felt great. I could feel the released energy buzzing in my solar plexus.
I also began to take the chamomile tincture. Chamomile is a great herbal ally for both the nervous and digestive systems. It helps to release stress and tension in the body and has a particular affinity for relaxing tension stored in the solar plexus. I loved the flavor and the feeling it gave me. For at least a month it was my favorite herbal ally. I carried it around and felt comforted to have it with me.
In time, thanks to the healing and prescription from chamomile, my stomach began to feel better.
Research and consult first
Many plants are medicinal and also many plants can be poisonous. Please always do your research first before deciding to ingest a plant that comes to you in a dream. Make sure it is safe and non-toxic. I’d also recommend that you consult with an herbalist, who will have a deeper understanding of the herb, its healing properties and its proper dosage.
However, you don’t need to ingest a plant to receive its healing. I often recommend to my clients and students to spend time with the plants they dream about. If you dream of an oak tree, go outside and find an oak tree to sit and meditate with. You can also simply put a piece of the plant on your altar or carry a bit of it in a pouch or medicine bag that you wear on your body.
How have plants showed up in your dreams?
Ready to learn more? Dreaming with plants is a topic covered in many of our classes here at Ancestral Apothecary. Upcoming classes include Herbal Allies and Dreamwork as a Spiritual and Healing Practice and Cecemmana.
Atava Garcia Swiecicki, MA, RH (AHG) is the founder of Ancestral Apothecary and loves dreaming with plants! She sees clients in Oakland and facilitates healing dreamwork sessions for individuals and groups . Her website is www.ancestralapothecary.com