Drink the Heath
In herbal medicine, we take energetically-alive medicines and form a relationship with them, welcoming them into us. There is a relationship of intimate hospitality and exchange. We welcome the spirit of the plant within us, recognizing its intelligence, and understanding that it will add its intelligence to ours such that ours will become enhanced. It is a longer-term, and more affective relationship.
We introduce ourselves to herbs because we are simpletons, literally. We are living on diets and lives bleached of color and flavor, scent and tonality. It is true that we overcompensate for this with massive stimulation, but quantity does not make up for quality. We are quality-less or low in qualities, and lack colorful nutrition. Our diets and experiences are often very narrow, and even our modern biomedicine consists of isolated, simplified substances without texture, complexity, or depth. One thing we are doing when we drink herbal teas is taking in nuances of flavor and feeling that have been a part of our evolutionary experience for millions of years.
Humanity grew up in the forests and meadows. Our mythology expresses this by speaking of human beings as literally descending from trees given soulful qualities by the Gods. We have been gaining consciousness and individuation for millions of years while in interaction with the vital phytochemistry of the habitats that have surrounded us. When we drink teas, we are taking in evolutionary information and awakening dormant instincts just as much as we are taking in actual medicinal brews.
You can really enhance the vitalistic effects of herbs if you take time to sit down with your teas and open yourself to the full experience of welcoming them in. I know this way of speaking may sound a bit strange, but that is only because of the alienation effects of industrial culture under the influence of Christianity for a thousand years or so. Make a ritual of it, as it were. Sit down, brew your tea, and when you take your first sip, savor the sip. Close your eyes. Welcome it in. Allow your imagination to track the energetic sensations in your body, and go with it. If it is the right herb, it will begin reconfiguring your energetic shape immediately. You will feel it moving in and reweaving the cocoon of your ham where it has become misshapen, and restoring it to the shape natural to you. Herbs know the orlog. Bad experiences often misshape us and twist us from our connection to our original nature. Herbs can help restore this.
Breathe, and let yourself journey, in your energetic imagination. You may not go anywhere but within your body, or you may find yourself drawn to various vistas. Allow, and learn. The plant is not just healing you, but teaching you. There is much to learn, young one. The plants were here long before we were, and they took oaths to Baldur when he was still with us.
It doesn't have to be a dramatic thing. You can lie down after having some sips, close your eyes, and just let your imagination gently flow. It may simply feel like resting and daydreaming. If you are attuned to the flows of megin and hael (energy and life-force) in your body (or we could just say, in modern parlance, Qi : the words we use are really not important), you will begin feeling shifts in your meridians.
If you've ever experienced acupuncture, you know that you lie down on the table, the acupuncturist inserts needles, and then you just lay there for a half an hour to an hour and let the energy do its work. A good herbal session should go the same way. This doesn't mean you have to do this every time you take herbs ; you may be on the run and not have time. Nevertheless, if you can do this, it will enhance the experience, and an herbal session like this should have comparable energetic effects to a good acupuncture session. Remember, the herb is not just working physically or even physiologically, but energetically, and has the ability to affect the internal energy flows flowing within the meridians of the body. When you first swallow, there may be a few moments where it feels like the herb is searchign within your body to find the places it needs to go. You may literally feel this all over your body in all kinds of places you did not expect to have sensation.
Feelings may bubble up in the process, along with images. Allow these to happen, experience them, let them flow over and through you, and then release them. You may have things to learn from these experiences. Feelings and images may bring healings from past experiences that have yet to be processed. Herbs are very intelligent and know how to bring up what is in need of healing. If you need to cry, or to release some emotion, allow yourself to safely do so without hurting yourself or others.
It's much better if you let the tea stay in your mouth for a few moments before swallowing. Swish it around and let it mix with your saliva, and let it swirl over all your taste buds. They will instantly send messages to the brain, awakening untapped receptors, and begin the digestion and assimilation process long before swallowed.
We grew up as a species in the heath. As industrialized, depaganized folk, we have been deprived of the heath. Herbal teas are a way to literally drink the heath back into yourself.
This may be a part of every heathen's program of reheathenization.