I recently was reminded of the fear many people have of eating the wildness of the world.
I had harvested some flowering rosemary for my students to offer folks at an upcoming event. I suggested they invite people to eat the flower of the rosemary plant – what a delight it is to pinch off the little periwinkle flowers and place them on your tongue! The delicate pedals dissolve in a wave of rosemary flavor! It is delicious, delightful and a beautiful new way to experience an old herbal ally.
To our surprise, few people were willing to try it! It seemed so strange to eat a flower. (Yes, not all flowers are edible).
I began pondering this fear of eating wildness and it took me back to one of my early experiences with plant medicine that changed me from the inside out.
Years ago, I decided to drink a cold infusion of dried Nettle every day for a couple of months to get to know the plant on a deeper level. At first, I only noticed how green and cooling she felt. A week into it, I began to notice how much nourishment I was receiving from this tea – I had more energy, felt more awake and alive. As I continued, my digestion improved, my skin cleared, and my nails became stronger. I even began taking on some of her personality! Nettles is nourishing like a mother, but also fierce, wild, and untamed! I was given more clarity about my boundaries, and I felt so wildly alive!
Nettles has been an ally of mine for many years and I feel as if she is now in my cells. Even without drinking her, I can now call her into my body and I feel the spirit of Nettles filling up my being.
Licking morning dew off of flowers has brought magic into my life. Eating wildness has awakened me.
As I sat with these thoughts, I remembered herbalist and Earth Poet Steven Buhner’s musings on the subject. He said it best:
“One of our greatest fears is to eat the wildness of the world.
Our mothers intuitively understood something essential: the green is poisonous to civilization. If we eat the wild, it begins to work inside us, altering us, changing us.
Soon, if we eat too much, we will no longer fit the suit that has been made for us. Our hair will begin to grow long and ragged. Our gait and how we hold our body will change. A wild light begins to gleam in our eyes. Our words start to sound strange, nonlinear, emotional. Unpractical. Poetic.
Once we have tasted this wildness, we begin to hunger for a food long denied us, and the more we eat of it the more we will awaken. It is no wonder that we are taught to close off our senses to Nature. Through these channels, the green paws of Nature enter into us, climb over us, search within us, find all our hiding places, burst us open, and blind the intellectual eye with hanging tendrils of green.
The terror is an illusion, of course. For most of our million years on this planet human beings have daily eaten the wild. It’s just that the linear mind knows what will happen if you eat it now.”