Last Night’s Work With Mengloth
When Mengloth came to me this afternoon She said to me “You’re not much of an herbalist now. Best time to remedy that is now.” So off I went to the library, and picked up 17 books on herbs. I got through about a quarter of them by the time it came for me to leave. I took 4 books with me; 2 are medical professions’ guides, another is on growing and making herbal medicines in your back yard, and the other is about myths, legend, and herblore. She had me start copying down the medical information for the Nine Herbs of the Northern Tradition. Once I had to leave, I saved the file and sent it to myself. She told me to worry about it later, and left me alone for a few hours to relax.
When Mengloth came back to me this evening, She told me I would be taking in plant spirits to start with, since it wasn’t growing season yet. I asked Her how, and She gave me a kind of grin. She said “Better you start knowing the plant inside you so you know how to work with it outside of you.”
She then started giving me instructions. She first had me mix one part of Mugwort, Nettle, and Pine into about 12 oz. of cold water in a metal water bottle. She wanted me to make a cold kind of tea, and had me strain as much of the plant bits as I could. I used my colander and some bits of paper towel, and it worked well enough. When everything had finished straining the first time through, I poured it back into the metal water bottle and strained it again. After this, I poured the remainder into the bottle, and placed it on my altar. Nicole called, we talked, and the mixture sat on my altar, charging.
When we were done talking, I put the phone aside, and took a deep breath to focus myself back to the work at hand. Mengloth told me to take the cigarettes I’ve mentioned in a previous post and head outside with the tea. Once there, She told me to light up and blow smoke in the seven directions, thanking the spirit of each direction. Then, She had me uncap the tea, and blow the smoke into it. I asked Her why, and She responded: “You’ve now got all the Elements in that tea: the Earth of the herbs, the Air of the smoke, the Fire of the lighter, the Water of the tea. You’ve thanked all the spirits who’ve come to help take you in a new direction. Now drink it all.”
In taking that tea in, I took in the spirits of Mugwort, Nettle, Pine, and Tobacco under the guidance of Mengloth. At first, I wasn’t expecting the rush, the subtle power that they hold that crept from the tea into me bit by bit. It was a bit overwhelming at first, with the spirits at first mixing, carrying over me like a wave. They felt distinct from each other, Mugwort more bitter, Nettle more ‘biting’, Pine this crisp flavor, and the Tobacco’s bitter smoke threatening, unless I paid attention, to cover them all. Each had their own spirit, yet were mixed.
I asked Her why I couldn’t have just journeyed with my drum, and She chuckled, telling me “You need to know these plants, not just by fact, but by Them becoming one with you. Consider this your first lesson from me on plant spirits. You could have journeyed and met Them that way…but feel how your body reacts to Them. Feel how They move through you. Not all plants will work with you like this. These plants, and maybe others, will. If They do, you now know how to handle that.” With that, She instructed me to go inside and write about this, and “note whenever you work with a plant spirit what it does, how it reacts to you, and how you react to it.” Just by how ‘large’ the spirits felt, it felt like they might have been the overarching spirits of the plants. I’ll be taking more time to reflect on this experience; the taste of the tea and tobacco is still floating around in my throat despite brushing my teeth and drinking water. I can still feel the spirits moving through my body, through my hame (astral body) and throughout my soul. I can feel the Mugwort cleansing, the Nettle scraping and protecting me, biting the things keeping me back, the Pine protecting and encouraging my vitality, giving me a sense of refreshment, and the Tobacco pushes me to relax, to let meditation, visions, and words come.
The Tobacco catches me off-guard. I’ve had a real love/hate relationship with this plant. I know several religious systems use Tobacco as an herb for prayer, others for meditation, or visions. However, I’ve known this plant for about as long I’ve lived as a negative herb, one I never wanted to use or associate with, given how addicted my parents are to cigarettes. So when Mengloth asked me to work with Tobacco, She firmly shoved me out of my comfort zone. I wanted to use no more than maybe a cigarette a month, and always in service for a spirit. I did not want to associate positive things with Tobacco, least of all relaxation, considering the consequences my parents may have to face for smoking so long. As anxious thoughts like “Gods, I don’t want to get hooked!” and “It shouldn’t be so relaxing” what I guess I could call Grandfather Tobacco came up to me and said to me “Relax. You respect my boundaries and I will respect yours. You use my body in a sacred manner and I will do the same.” In a word, Gebo. I heard Mengloth whisper something to the effect of “Trust Him” and I shut my eyes, took a long drag, and felt my body relax, melt in the smoke for a moment or two. When I blew out the smoke, I could see the wisps form my inner anxieties, little face frozen in moments of worry and stress. I blew the remainder of the air in my lungs at them, and they simply disappeared.
When I was finished with the cigarette, I threw it in the trash. I despise it when people leave them lying on the ground when there are perfectly good trash cans around. I can’t sit here and say “I want to help people bridge to the spirits” if what I do is insulting to Them! If I buried it and the cigarette were biodegradable, that might be one thing. However, given I don’t know if Native Spirit is, throwing it away seems the better option for now.
After thanking the Mengloth and the spirits, I headed inside, where She asked me to write about this.