Oh rosemary, dew of the sea, how you came to me.
So long I dreamt alongside you and felt the draw of the palest blues and warmest lilacs of your sweet flowers. So long I have known your rigid little leaves who shine in the sun. As I brush past you, the aroma of wonder and wild heat seeps into my skin and conjures images of rocky hills of southern Spain where I slept among your kind. Dusty, desert, scrub where wild boars dared to roam and snuffle about our heads as we lay. Views of the sea with your shimmering beauty hazy in the heat. Oh Rosmarinus, ‘dew of the sea’, you call to me to open up my mind and feel the connection between the sea and the land, between idea and reality, between fire and water in expansion, temperance and grace.
Spending time with you is only a pleasure. Witnessing your struggle the first year I planted you, you weren’t happy with your lot. Resilient as ever, though, you powered through, calmly and carefully. Becoming lush and abundant even in the most uncomfortable-est of circumstances. You are the dream plant, the resilient wonder, the most gifting of scent and beauty. You are now my shining hedgerow in which bees live out their dreams, buzzing lazily away in the nectar of you.
So we, like the bees, spend time with you, listen to you, try and understand the greater magic you share. We start off with drawing. It enables us to relax tune in and ease away from the thoughts of daily life. The body softens as the eye focuses in and out, seeing you as a whole and then zooming in on tiny details. Thoughts come and go but after a while, mainly start to recede…
Starting with a very quick sketch of the whole plant, some words came to the page.
You can just see lines and scribbles really, but it was this time of making a few marks that called me into stillness and openness. I saw how rosemary was spreading stems up and out and also down and out and then up again. She was reaching for new ground, new air, new possibilities. Spreading herself so her flowers could bloom.
“old, watery, fiery energy, stillness, boundaries, lush, oily, giving, like a mother – still, and while she receives sustenance from the sun, she gives…”
She was an open plant full of nectar for the bees, she was an upright plant, with strength and beauty. She – and I don’t always use this pronoun for plants, perhaps ‘they’ is better as plants, but this one did feel strongly to me of the mother archetype – held herself, showed herself and was not afraid to simply be there as a part of it all. As it all.
After a while of nibbling the flowers and leaves and breathing and quietening, I did a few tiny sketches. One of the shadow a sprig cast onto the paper and one of the sprig itself. This is an exercise in gentle observation, trying to understand a little how the leaves form, how the flowers sit and how it grows. Also more time for quieting the mind and calming the heart.
So.. having drawn, we delved into listening and journeying as best we could. We had no drum to beat a rhythm and take us into a deeper state as it was also a play day with the kids and one very choleric boy was jumping off rooftops behind us, but we nibbled the plant, held a little in our hands, leaned against each other and closed our eyes.
Luma’s Journey (8 years old):
She was called to the fire and found many friends there, her goddess mother, Rosie, gave her a gift of a shell. A flat simple shell that when she held to her ear, still made the sounds of the sea. In those sounds she heard fae folk, she thinks they were mermaids talking to her. She said they told her, ‘be warned’. She felt she knew what that meant. She knew that people are dying and she must be prepared for death that may come, as in her words, ‘everyone dies sometime’. She felt the plant would help her prepare and help her if death came to someone close to her. She stands preparing with her plant ally.
Heartwarmingly for me, her goddess mother’s true name is Rosemary. Tears come to my eyes as I write this.
She said this plant made her feel gratitude (‘thankful’). She sat with rosemary by the still lake and felt the sunshine and quiet of her presence. When she felt the plant in her body, she described feeling feelings in her head, right at the top of her head and from there moving ‘to everywhere’ as it spread through her body, reaching ‘every bone and bit of my body’.
She came out of her journey and felt she loved the plant so much that she stuffed all the tiny leaves and flowers held into her leggings and tee. She said she wanted it with her always.
I went to the fire and met an elder woman with tanned skin and kind eyes. She welcomed me as ever. She must be one of my spirit guides or ancestors. She pulled back the forest and showed me the sea. As we looked in at the water together, I saw the threads. Millions of threads, connecting each and every thing, shore to shore, heart to heart, root to flower, waves to ripples. Threads of every hue, reds, purples, blues, greens, silvers… gentle and wild, calm and fierce, tethered and free. Simply connecting everything. Breathing life into all that is around.
She, the calm wise elder of the fire and wood, closed the portal and I left the fire with the gift of threads. As I sat down near the lake, I felt the elements of warmth, breeze and movement. As I felt the plant in my body I found my womb and gut throbbed then my head and then my heart. The whole of my core felt alive.
Emotionally I felt strong. I felt both inner and outer resilience. I felt worthy. I felt acceptance of myself that sometimes wobbles, but not now. I felt calm and together.
I felt the dew of the sea had allowed me a glimpse into connection and self-knowledge. I felt both my journey and Luma’s journey held magic and wonder. That we both were gifted something of the sea. We both felt good with this plant in our hearts. She armed with preparation and potential, me with fullness and fluidity, like the heaving seas.
So now comes the next part of the journey. To sit more with the plant, to read the old herbals, to write my own clinical experience of rosemary … to draw more and to refine. To expand and let go. To make a medicine pouch for Luma so she can carry rosemary. To thank Rosie for her gift. To thank rosemary for her gifts.
~*~ Part 2: Calling on Rosemary, coming soon ~*~