I believe, in the practice of
herbcraft, that it is very important to be in relationship
with with plants and the preparations you're using.
It is more or less universally acknowledged by people who
make their own medicines that they "work better" than
those purchased commercially (by commercially I mean "mass
produced", and am not so much referring to handcrafted
remedies made by diligent, intent-laden herbalists).
This is likely because of the intention put into the
remedies as they were being created. In gathering
herbs, your intentions define your integrity, and affect
how "open" the plants will be in helping you. In
medicine making, intention potentizes the remedies you
create. And in the use of herbs, whether by you or
in the making and giving of a remedy to another, intention
can have dramatic affects of the results obtained.
I don't think I could possibly
overstress the role of intention in herbcraft (or in life,
for that matter...). Intention is everything.
It is really important to understand that the way in which
we do things impacts what they will do for us. If
you are using an herbal remedy, you can make it work
better by consciously intending it to be effective.
Taking a moment before drinking a cup of tea or taking a
dose of tincture to ask for its nourishing and medicinal
virtues will increase both your body's ability to
assimilate and distribute the herb's medicine, and also
the herb's ability to send out its medicine power to you.
This phenomenon extends, as I mentioned, even into making
remedies for others.
I remember once that a friend of mine
was rotating his shoulder, and each time he did so, am
audible clicking could be heard. I had given him
some Solomon's Seal tincture a week or two before this,
and was kind've surprised it hadn't taken care of the
problem. I asked about whether it was helping, and
something in the reply I got made me believe that if the
tincture was being used, there wasn't a whole lot of
belief being given to it to help it do its thing. I
got the bottle, held it to my breast and offered it a
prayer, or made a request of it, or invoked its
medicine... whatever you want to call it, and then had my
friend take 5 drops. He did, and rotated the
shoulder and... no click.
Now, you would think that this'd be a
moment for an amazed reaction, and a startling realization
about the power of intent, wouldn't ya? Well, that's
not quite what happened. He simply couldn't believe
that had worked, and he proceeded to spend the next ten
minutes rotating his shoulder in every which direction,
till, finally, it clicked again.
So, two times in one afternoon, we see
how intent manifested its focus.
It should be noted as well that doing
things intentfully can qualitatively change their effect.
As an example, tobacco, smoked intentfully as an act of
prayer, is profoundly healing. And drinking coffee
will have a different affect on the body depending on how
it is consumed: if we wait till its just cool enough to
guzzle, and then gulp it down from our travel mug while
zipping in and out of traffic, the very manner in which we
are consuming it is reinforcing and potentizing its
stimulating affects on our body. But if, on the
other hand, we brew up a nice strong cup of mocha java
around a fire while out camping, and breathe deep the
aroma and savor the flavor of each slow mindful sip, the
affect of the coffee, while still being innately
stimulating, will be much more easily assimilated by the
body, and not affect us in such a jarring manner.
Really, this should be no surprise...
pretty much everyone knows that how consciously we eat our
food affects how we can digest and assimilate it.
The same goes for using herbs.
You can also use intention to access
the more etheric or spiritual virtues of herbs. If
you are using herbs in "spirit doses", you should be
consciously focusing on the aspect of the herb you want to
manifest. For example, if you are chewing Calamus
not to protect yourself from the sick people you're
surrounded by, but to deepen your perspective and
perception, you should be making that a conscious
intention. Or, perhaps you want to use Plantain as a
drawing agent, but for a fear you want to draw out of
yourself, and not a splinter. Again, make a
conscious request/prayer/invocation/spell/whatever... what
you call it is less important than that you do it.
So... when you make your tea later
today, or unscrew the dropper from your tincture bottle,
take a moment to inhale the aroma, soak in the hue and
savor (or consciously and intentfully grimace at) the
flavor, and offer your appreciation, intention and
gratitude for the medicine that together you make.