The connection humans have had with plants is an ancient and deep one. We have co-evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. Without them, we would cease to exist. Naturally embodying sensitivity, intuition and the inclination to nurture others, the feminine has had a special kinship with plants.
The 20th century has been a big game changer for women. Feminism has paved the way for equal education and opportunities (well kind of), has encouraged us to pursue careers, find love on our terms, have children when we are mentally and emotionally ready and be whomever we dream to be.
Advances in medical technology have given women the choice to control and choose when they have children. Whilst much of this has been revolutionary, it has dramatically changed the environment in which we operate in. It has also changed the relationship we have with ourselves as women. The conjured image of the modern empowered woman goes along the lines of a sharply assertive, multi-tasking, high achieving, boardroom conquering femme fatale who has complete control over, but very little understanding of her ovaries.
Despite all this modernity, our bodies still operate to the perennial ebb and flow of nature.
Our bodies remind us of this every month. Unlike men, women have a finely tuned barometer that is our menstrual cycles that communicates to us if we are not in harmony with ourselves. Left unnoticed, ignored or concealed by pharmaceutical interventions, these subtle disharmonies can manifest into more long-term problems.
When we do not nourish ourselves or block our ability to create and express our uniqueness, dis-ease manifests. Which can start a train of dominos for many women. Women often end up with a bag of unanswered questions and thirst to gain confidence in knowing how their body and fertility work with very little help from their primary healthcare providers.
Our healthcare system is amazing for so many reasons. I honour medicine and doctors for their tireless work in emergencies, communicable diseases and research. I work with many wonderful GPs, but the system is pressuring them to be brief and use a prescription pad rather than educate. It’s not the doctor’s fault, it’s the system, In this sense, modern medicine is failing us women in a fundamental way. It is not empowering or educating women to understand her body or her fertility.
Why women are collectively connecting back in….
Learning how to deeply nourish ourselves, find peace amidst the busy-ness and strengthen our resilience to face these new challenges is the kind of soul medicine needed for these times. I love that I’m seeing women refuse the shallow prescriptions and taking their own fertility and personal health into their hands.
“Menstruality” encapsulates the essence of this reclamation and I personally would love to see it become more widely used. Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer are the founders of “Red School” (and are amazing women, educators and writers) beautifully describe the term “menstruality”:
- Being cycle literate – being able to read your body for your contraception and conception needs.
- Inhabiting the ultimate self-care and inner guidance system.
- Wholeness and empowerment.
Why plants have so much to teach us…
Some of the greatest teachers of resilience, nourishment and cyclical return just so happen to be plants. Herbs have a gentle power that is attuned to the feminine spirit and has an impressive way of helping women’s health problems because of this natural affinity. You may not have thought that a morning cup of herbal tea could be an act of deep connection, but it most surely is.
You’re calling up an ancient tradition that bypasses textbooks, pharmaceutical drugs and being told what to do by professionals and experts, and takes you directly to nature’s gifts that work with your body and mind to heal, strengthen and take on all those opportunities and challenges with vigour.
Not only do these plants have remarkable healing qualities to share, but they also help us to reestablish a connection back to ourselves as women. They stir a very ancient, wise and wild element within us that is hard to define, but something that is important to heed. If you’re still with me down here I bet you know what I’m talking about. Perhaps not logically. But somewhere, down in your gut, down in your womb, you know it.