Friday, November 04, 2005

Pretty Parsley...a Plant Ally

I stood on the deck this morning and surveyed my garden. After a thorough watering last night, every leaf on every plant stood at attention, radiating health and abundance. I wondered which plant I should pick to write about, as they are, each and every one, important to me in some way. But I remembered my lesson from Rock. Which plant in my garden was as plentiful as the rock bodies that delineated my garden beds? And by a large margin, that plant would have to be Parsley.
Parsley entered my life at an early stage…my mother did not have enough chamomile to make a poultice for my earache when I was three, so she added Parsley. The scent that I remember wafting from the warm poultice still comforts me, although I realize it was an unorthodox use for Parsley. And still, for me, no meal is complete without Parsley added to it…her green herbal perfume calls to me as much as bacon, or frying onions calls to others…she stimulates my appetite.
Years ago, it was understood that only witches could grow Parsley. Her seed was reputed to go to the devil nine times and back before it would sprout, people said…it took a long time. For me, it sprouts everywhere. I don’t remember planting it, and yet I must have, since there were no plants in the garden when we moved here. However Parsley arrived, she makes herself welcome wherever she grows. She situated herself right beside the rose garden. In my research, I find that planting Parsley beside roses stimulates the health and scent of the rose. Parsley already knew that, of course, and where I used to grow tomatoes, beside the roses, she has taken over the whole bed. I couldn’t bear to tear Parsley out, and so she stayed, growing lushly beautiful, seeding now to continue her ownership of the bed.
There are many properties for Parsley, including protection and purification. Parsley is a diuretic and promotes lust (although I’m not sure if those two properties occur at the same time). The Romans believed wearing or nibbling on parsley sprigs would enable them to drink more wine, and not become inebriated. Raw Parsley cleanses the blood, dissolves sticky deposits in veins, maintains your blood vessels’ elasticity, facilitates removal of kidney and gallstones, treats deafness (and ear infections! My mother knew the old ways!). Chewing parsley relieves bad breath, and helps the digestion.
Parsley is full of nutrients, becoming one of nature’s preventative medicines. It is high in Vitamin B, potassium, and has high iron, chlorophyll, calcium, and phosphorus. It reduces the release of histamines. A powerful Herb!
As I stood and gazed at the myriad pockets of Parsley in my garden, I ran over what I had learned of her in my mind. I decided to pick flat leaf parsley as my Plant Helper, but it did not have the sheer energy and bounce of the curly Parsley. And I couldn’t see the being inside the specimen of flat leaf Italian parsley. I chose the brash, strongly scented curly Parsley instead. And in her, I felt the power she was known for.
I asked Parsley’s permission, and picked a bundle from amongst the umbels of seed and leaves. As soon as I picked from her, the familiar strong green scent enveloped me and a voice told me to sit under Tree, where I do most of my dreaming. When I am told to sit there, it is a force like no other…it is almost as if hands are propelling and pushing me until I sit down. There is no way to resist the force, and after attempting to resist once, I always sit. The only time I did resist, Tree never left me in peace…sitting there was all I could think about doing.
Thus I knew Parsley had something to tell me. I settled myself, and eventually found myself in a leafy green forest. Large green bugs flew and buzzed around me. The trunks of the trees were striped in burgundy and green. A golden light, tinged with green, shone all around. Above me were the familiar seed heads, dropping large seeds here and there on the forest floor. The air was cool and crisp, like a cold, fresh iceberg lettuce leaf…refreshing and reviving. I instantly realized I was in Parsley’s home place.
I walked between the tree trunks, marveling at how large they and the bugs all around me were, as compared to their true size on the mundane level. The bugs paid me no mind…they were busy with their own agenda. They seemed stolid and bumbling, intent on their work, which seemed to consist of alighting upon a leaf and picking it over, and then flying to another leaf, where the same exercise prevailed. I walked on, looking for the being that resided here.
I had a vague sense of a tall, turreted building, and then, suddenly, she was beside me. She was androgynous in looks, wearing a gossamer shirt over flaring white pants. Her face was not human at all. Her headpiece, all in silver, covered her hair. Her eyes were large, luminous and black. I do not recall a mouth, or ears. Her arms and legs were long and lithe, with three tapering fingers on each hand. She moved quickly, as quickly as the hummingbirds that loved to taste her blossoms in my garden. She was the parsley Deva.
The pale golden light engulfed Parsley, and followed her as she flitted about, telling me about herself. She has memories, she said, of a time long ago, when no household kitchen ever considered itself complete without her. Her memories reach far back in time, to a time when animals roamed the earth, and the golden sun filtered down and covered all who lived. She will lend me her memories, if I ask her for them. There are many that will be of benefit to me, Parsley said. She said she will lend me protection, as she has done for the roses in the garden, and has done for humankind for eons, if I wanted it.
All the while she told me these things, she moved…gracefully, looking airborne. She reminded me of Peter Pan, only dressed all in white. I felt comfort in her presence, and love of a different sort…a cooler love than what I’m used to…surrounded me. Her eyes, unblinking and luminous, conveyed her thoughts to me, and I realized I was to say something, although I had no idea what. Stumbling over my words, I thanked her for living in my yard, and asked for protection and knowledge of her memories to help me further on my path. She nodded, and disappeared.
I found myself back in my chair, under Tree. Blinking, I stared at the corrugated bark of our Tree, startled to be looking at the brown trunk, and not the wondrous spring green I had so recently been surrounded by. I looked at my yard, and the whole yard had a grey cast overshadowing it, as compared to the world Parsley lived in. No wonder Parsley fills me with wonder…her green beauty is one of the first plants to greet the new Spring season, and she lives throughout her life as green as she was when she first popped up from the soil. Her green strikes my heart the same way a certain pink…the colour of a New Dawn rose…does, and those two colours correspond with the heart chakra. Those two colours mean home, love and peace to me.
But it seemed very strange, when I returned from dreaming. This is the first time the colours surrounding me in the mundane world seemed to lose their brightness when I returned from a dream. It concerned me for a moment, before everything slowly regained its luster, and lost the dull, grey shadow hovering over my garden. It still worries me a little. It was as if I was looking at a photo that was over developed. And it took a few minutes for the light to return to my garden, although I felt no fear…a little anxiety, maybe. More a feeling of “let’s wait and see what happens” and when it changed again, I thought to ask you for help with this one.
This visit with Parsley took up most of my day. I cannot imagine how much time Shaman herbologists have to spend with the plant spirits in order to know them as well as they do and as many as they know. There are plants in my yard that I could shake hands with…the connection and knowledge of each other is that strong. Sometimes there will be instant knowledge, and I will just “know” what a plant requires from me, but this is the first time I saw a Deva. It is the first time I spoke with one. Her lessons will have to be mulled over and dreamed about…I am happy about the protection she offers me. I am happy that such a joyful, loving plant decided to take up residence right by my back door, amongst the roses and just outside the kitchen, reminding me of the heart chakra’s purpose each and every time I go outside.
This was one of my favourite lessons. I could do it over and over, each time with a different plant. It was extremely interesting, and what Parsley taught me has little to do with vitamins and the make-up of the plant. She is teaching me that she and I are one, and that her memories are mine, if I will only take them. Parsley is teaching me a little more about the Universe.

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