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Cultural Awareness of Native Plants

Collection of native plants found on my walk.

Welcome all queens and brothers experiencing this beautiful full moon!

Recently there has been a lot of pain and suffering for our divine mother. She is being ignored more than ever and as a result her libraries are being burnt (quite literally) - her records are being destroyed. It's almost as though the human race has forgotten our roots are intertwined with her. We are and always have been deeply connected, when we hurt her, we hurt ourselves.

A big issue I have become aware of over the past year is the endangerment of native sacred plants due its to use by non-native people and large companies. It lead me to utilise the plant medicine of my surroundings in Australia, as well as plants that connect me to my heritage such as blue lotus flower native to Egypt.

Herbs such as white sage and palo santo are such blessings to ever hold within our hands, however they are sacred herbs that are native to particular land and cultures.

Burning sage or palo santo are both a beautiful, cleansing journey. But to take part of these rituals we must really connect and understand them on a soul level. When we culturally connect to a ritual, we call upon our ancestors for generational healing. It is a powerful tool to connect to our historical roots and can be truly empowering.

We must remind ourselves that cultural specific rituals are not a trend. As I meet new people over the years, I have gained understanding of what are their rituals and what are my own.

Sadly the main issue lies with businesses cultivating, buying and importing bulk of these sacred plants for their own benefit to make money. Perhaps it may make your products look more beautiful, but is this the type of energy you want to bring into your products? We as the consumers, should not be supporting these types of products.

White sage is commonly known within the spiritual and wider communities. Its use originated from the traditional smudging ceremony that Indigenous tribes in North America do to purify and cleanse the negative soul of a person or energy of objects / space. Burning herbs is a common ritual among many communities, as smoke is a purifier that captures lingering negative energy and ascends it into the sky as a way of release.

However the term itself ‘smudging’ comes directly from native cultural ceremonies. The frequent use of this term by non-natives can really decrease the cultural significance of this sacred ritual that has been around for thousands of years. White sage has always grown plentifully in the wild, until it became a business opportunity for large scale product companies. It’s highly desirable value and spiritual virtue it holds made it one of the most popular plants to harvest and make money off. This lead companies to harvest excessive amounts of the initial wild growing plant, now no longer to be found in the wild. The greed and ignorance of these companies have made the plant practically unattainable to the native cultures who the sacred plants and connected rituals originated from.

Their voices are being silenced. Their medicine and spirituality is being stolen. Their cultural heritage is being erased.

After native communities speaking out, large companies, small brands and consumers are still purchasing these products that impact their heritage and also the plant itself.

Something to also keep in mind when it comes to plant medicine, there is always a method to harvest any plant for its use to be sustainable. When white sage is picked, the root must be left and a prayer of thanks to the plant must be given. This is crucial or the spirituality of the plant wont be as enhanced as it would if harvested properly. I can guarantee you, these large companies are not initiating a connection and giving thanks to each plant they rip out of the ground.

Recently there has been a similar crisis with the holy sticks derived from Palo Santo trees used by Amazonian tribes. Sweet smelling palo santo is used very similarly to sage in ways of purifying energy and to channel connection with the universe and your higher potential - creative self. The sacred tree is now also endangered due to over harvesting from large scale companies and commercial deforestation.

We need to understand the impact we create when we don’t use the plants we have around us. Being a non native and buying these native plants from a new age business has a huge image on native cultures, it is supporting over harvest and blockage of plants to its tribes. The endangerment of these species is not worth making products seem more magical.

When purchasing these products, I feel we must ask ourselves these questions…

  • Is this plant of sentimental value to me or my relatives/ancestors?

  • Is this ritual I’m partaking in connected to me or my relatives/ancestors?

  • By using this plant am I depriving native cultures for my own use?

  • Have I locally and sustainably sourced this plant by hand, or has the supplier?

Burning plants are a part of all our rituals, and this is a beautiful experience we don’t need to take out of our lives. We simply need to

1. Ensure we are buying these sacred plants from an ethical supplier that don’t sell the plant separate from the ritual practice.

2. Find an ethical source for these plants that cultivate the plants sustainably. Do your research and find trusted suppliers.

3. Alternatively source your own plants!! Learn about what is growing around you and utilise them (remember to always thank them :-)) create your own ritual sticks to burn. The magic will be rooted in your heart… the moment you pick these plants their energy is enhanced as they have sacrificed themselves for you in preparation for your ritual.

Burning stick made out of plants in my garden: mealycup sage, sage, eucalyptus, silver spur flower, lavender and grevillea.

In Australia - the current home of my heart - we have some of the most beautiful and unique native plants. It is one of many traditions of Indigenous Australian tribes to gather and burn native plants for purification of undesirable energies, clearing room for new positive energies.

It's important to be aware of the cultures you connect to, the rituals you partake in are a roadmap of the cycles of your life and your ancestors lives, so they must really connect with you. They are a generational process that can truly help you understand your identity. You may feel a sense of association to multiple cultures, that can together help you build a central source of connection to yourself.

For me, I dig deeply into my roots of Greek and Egyptian heritage. Recently I have felt called upon the plants of my home Australia, feeling the need to initate them into my life and deepen my relationship with them.

A few distinctive plants to get to know as an Aussie are banksia, wattle, kangaroo paw, grevillea, waratah, lemon myrtle, bottle brush, eucalyptus, silver spur flower, fern, wax flower.

Other magical herbs to grow and use for burning are cedar, mealycup sage, sage, lavender, rosemary, pine, rose, camelia, and holy basil.

Please always remember to give love and respect all plants. You will only find true source of connection to them when foraged yourself. Stop purchasing products. Be the creator of all things around you. Call upon your brothers and sisters that grow out of the ground beneath you. Create your own medicine.


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