Last year I started reading The Lost Language of Plants by Stephen Harrod Buhner right around this time of year. I enjoyed it so much that I had to save the rest of it for later, which ended up getting put of for a full year. So, now that I have finally finished it I am eager to start it all over again. This book allows our interaction with plants to become richer and deeper. The end of the book included essays by Carol McGrath, Sparrow, Rosemary Gladstar and John Seed.
I found this particular description in John Seed’s essay about The Bradley Method to be a beautiful and very helpful way to also develop your own inner flora while helping the Earth heal.
From I Call on the Spirit of Herbs by John Seed.
In Australia, two sisters by name of Bradley came up with an exciting technique by which we may slowly invite back the original biotic community from denuded and scarred landscapes.
Their method is essentially simple, unheroic. Nothing needs to be planted. All we have to do is to learn to distinguish the exotic from the native species right from when the tiny seedlings first emerge. Then we remove the exotics without treading on the natives.
This must be done painstakingly and methodically. And we must start from the strongest expression of native vigor in our management area. That is, let’s say there’s an erosion gully breaking our hearts, and we want to start the repairs there at once but any attempt to heal it is doomed. What we must first do is discover and begin from some least damaged spot. For example, in a park of introduced grasses, we find a corner that the mower couldn’t reach where a few annual weeds flourish. We begin from this corner and move out. Or perhaps among all the annuals, we spot a few pioneers and begin carefully clearing the exotics from around them.
Slowly at first, the pioneer natives emerge, creating shade, soil, microclimate, then the next stage in the succession, till finally, years into the process, the conditions are ripe for the reemergence of the climax species. We will never know whether the seeds were introduced by a bird flying by or perhaps lay dormant beneath the soil waiting for conditions that allow their germination. But years into the Bradley Method of an area, to our amazement, climax native trees begin to emerge, perhaps unseen for generations and unremembered.
With each succeeding season the process becomes more vigorous and robust. By the time the spreading cover of burgeoning native vegetation reaches the erosion gully, it takes it in its stride.
The Bradley Method is more than a handy tool that teaches us how to repair the simplification that we have wrought. It also provides us with an extremely useful metaphor for reclaiming our own native wisdom. Buried under millennia of conditioning, suppressed by inquisitions, ridicule, and doubt lie unimagined potentialities to re-inhabit our inter-being with the world, to fully participate in the world once again.
It’s no use to learn something new to accomplish this transformation, however. Merely to discard the false certainties of this age (of our “triumph” over nature), to weed out our anthropocentrism, is to create the conditions for healthy psyche to spring forth anew. We must learn only to discern and discard those exotic ideas that suppress our old ways of seeing to allow ancient knowing its place in the sun. Of course, we may wish to begin at once with the transformation of the CEO of some scumbag corporation. However, preaching to the choir is the way to go, strengthening and nurturing deep ecology wherever we see it emerge rather than attempting to transplant it into souls lacking the necessary nutrients and micro-climate.
In the Council of All Beings we practice in the ways of old, the generosity to lend our voice, to lend an ear, to spare a sigh, to hear the tale of the many nonhuman beings of Earth. Thus consciousness completes the cycle and ensures once again and again and again that this frontal lobe does not succeed in its fevered excitement to leap forward and out of matter altogether. We practice rooting ourselves in the wisdom of plant, allowing consciousness again and again to travel along, to open up the pathway to our source—through animal to plant, through plant to geology and sunlight, inviting the sunlight in the plants that fuels these fingers to dictate:
O humans, are you truly tired of our dance together?
Have we not served each other well through the endlessness of our journey? Remember humans, remember.
Remember humans, that you too are leaves on the tree of life. The sap of the tree pulses through your veins. Of course you can allow your being to glide down the stream. Invite yourself to slip back into and through the tree, into each other leaf and into the ground of being itself. All you need do is remember and slide juicy back into the flow.