By May Wild
In the mutual relationship plants and I have fostered, they have graced me with the rekindling of a deeply rooted kinship in which they have been so generous in blessing me with the remembrance of their alchemy—their spiritual essence. One of my earliest and profound moments where this alchemical process woke me like a hypnic jerk was in working with Euphrasia Officinalis, or Eyebright.
I'm privileged to introduce you to this enlightening little plant, sharing some of its physiological wisdom as well as its spiritual essence through my personal story of connection.
Our plant friend, Eyebright, is native to Europe. Its medicinal engagement can be traced in literature as far back as the 14th century for ailments of the eyes such as infections, allergies and disease. This delicate little flower is most often found in alpine and subalpine grassy meadows, feasting on the roots of grass. White or lilac in color with a black center, yellow yolk and purple streaks, Eyebright resembles an inflamed eye—The Doctrine of Signatures. (Note: The Doctrine of Signatures is the natural philosophical thought that the outward appearance of a plant is a clue to what body part the plant assists).
Eyebright has long been praised for curing inflammation of the eyes and nasal passages. It has been reported to bring relief to runny, itchy, dry, sandy eyes, conjunctivitis, glaucoma, photophobia, swollen nasal passages, runny nose, coughs and promotes memory health. I personally celebrated the support of Euphrasia for eye allergies that made it impossible to go about basic activities of daily living...within 15 minutes of working with this plant ally in the form of a tincture, my eyes stopped itching and running and I could see clearer without feeling assaulted by the sun. I had never experienced this level of allergy relief and certainly never this quickly—I was simply astounded and kept this trusted companion close by the entirety of that allergy season.
As the next allergy season was approaching, I engaged with this plant ally in an alchemical process to co-create a supportive tincture for the path ahead by paying reverence to Eyebright's life and energy, giving gratitude for sharing its wisdom, praying with the essence of the plant and processing it on Sunday (since Euphrasia is a solar plant, its planet is the Sun). I prayed with gratitude, trust and love—asking for healthy, strong sight... uninhibited vision.
So, one may be as surprised and confused as I was when allergy season was upon me and eye allergies were even worse than the year before (didn't know that was possible). I began working with Eyebright, and it barely touched my eye allergies. I was so confused—shocked really. As I surrendered and allowed other plant intelligence to grace me for my allergy symptoms, another alchemical process was simultaneously occurring. I invoked Eyebright for wisdom. Having previously asked for healthy, strong sight and uninhibited vision, I asked when it “was not working,” “What I was missing, what was I not seeing, why did this plant ally no longer ‘work’???”
In an awe-inspiring moment, I felt the deep-rooted, undoubtable sense of self as the veils were peeled cleanly back in the most breathtaking experience of clarity and knowing. My heart, which I had been questioning, was validated and strengthened by the confidence. I could see clearly how and where my relations with others served the path and where they did not. I could see clearly where scarcity and fear of too much or too little really was playing a role in me genuinely doing the work from a place of nobility, reverence and generosity. Euphrasia's intrinsic nature is to support us so we have the clear vision, the confidence and self-awareness to take on the great work of our path. It benevolently illuminates like the energy of the Sun. So we can see clearly without the need of shaded veils of ego defense.
The spiritual essence of plants is alive and just waiting on us to remember, to reweave the web, to build the bridge. May we give reverence to the natural world and those that came before us, the ancient ones, as they are some of the greatest teachers. May we come back to the nature in us, that nature around us, and the nature of us with love, trust, curiosity, gratitude and generosity—the components of experiencing this world harmoniously.
Call it what you may—myth, magic, folklore—there are nuances in all languages. It resonates with my DNA to call this alchemical magic, The Nature of Things. It is all there, in abundance, just waiting on us to remember.
Through herbalism and land stewardship, May and her partner have curated an off-grid Sanctuary in the middle of the forest on Cherokee and Chickasaw land to rekindle the kinship of humans with the rest of the natural world and those that came before us, helping to remember our primal intelligence and connection. For more to the story and more info on herbal allies, find her at MossAndBonesApothecary.com.
Audio Credit: Voice-over by Eileen Bray.