Tripping With The Locals: Plant Spirit Praxis

In the horrifyingly likely case that pandemic-monium resumes this fall and “Thou shalt stay indoors” returns to its place on the third tablet as the awkward eleventh commandment, I thought it prudent to share some outdoor summer-shorts praxis. Obviously, I would never suggest anyone do anything illegal, so know your local (enforced) laws, because this involves mushrooms. However fungi are not the focus, but the vehicle, and there’s plenty of useful praxis here without entheogens and room for substitutions and experimentation (insert cannabis here.) But this technique is for connecting with plants, after all, and who better to help out with that process than our actual ancestors and the literal plant-internet?

Now, surely throughout your time spent roaming your local wilds there have been a few majestic members of the flora that have happened to catch your attention. These are the connections this praxis is meant to explore and strengthen. That pull to one plant over another is intuition, no matter how much logical mush you drown it in. This kind of attraction often plays out in the conscious mind disguised as a rational choice, but those explanations always come secondary to the impulse. The impulse is holy, trust it. Go and find a spot outdoors where you will be comfortable sitting for at least an hour and turn off your phone. Find a spot where there is some cozy sense of invitation, perhaps a spot where you notice a couple of your aforementioned favored local plants. If not, find some you like. You don’t need to know anything about them, not even their names. Sit and listen, observe. Do nothing else for that hour. Choose one or several plants growing within your view that you noticed feeling fond of in that hour and turn your phone back on, take some pictures, and identify them later. 

Get to researching their genetic history, evolution, life stages and cycles, soil, climate and terrain preferences, associated folktales and legends across cultures, myths and lore, planetary associations, magical properties, edibility, medicinal potency, leaf patterns, root structure, and pollinators. And anything else you can think of to learn about said plants. Learn their history, as far as we know, and explore how they are believed to have been carried to where they now reside, all the places that they dwell, as told both by modern science and the peoples with whom they have cohabitated and collaborated. Learn their journey, their story.

On another day, whenever feels right to you, go back to your sitting spot and spend an hour just existing with those plants without any potential for distraction. Bring an offering if you’re so inclined. Just be there. Talk to them if you wish, but mostly be receptive. Try to contain nothing in your mind. No-thought meditation tech is ideal here. Note your emotions as you hone-in on one plant and wait in a receptive state. Do this for all of the plants you studied, one after another, cycling through. Thank them for their company and bid them farewell and feel your gratitude towards them.

Note how knowing their story changed the way you saw them. Note how you felt about each one. Write down some descriptors for each plant and keep that list for later additions.

Whenever you are ready, return to your spot with offerings for the land, and mushrooms, water, and some post-journey fruit for yourself. Milk and honey, fresh fruit, bread, and juice are all excellent land-spirit offerings in my experience, but go with your instinct if it should protest. I recommend 1 – 2 grams for this because a microdose is not quite enough liftoff and a full dose is a bigger commitment (and may end up not being about the plants at all.) A threshold dose is still manageable but with ample boosting of connectivity from our fungi friends.

Essentially, repeat the second visit. Meditating on the way in to the experience is unbelievably beneficial, but once you’re centered, begin to silence your feelings and listen, listen, listen. Plants often project emotions instead of reciting prose, so that bit matters. See if a plant reaches out to you first. If not, send feelings of love and warmth and see what happens. You’re on your own at this point. Experiment.

Thank the spirits of place and record your notes while the experience is still fresh. Your revelations may blow away in a breeze like a dream in the morning lest you wait too long to record them. How did your experience align with what you learned about the plants in your studies? Were they feisty or friendly? Warm or cold? Was there texture, sound, or color? Regarding any details you add to your list from this third visit, be sure to thank the fungi for facilitating those insights.

I hope this is useful to a few of you beautiful wyrdos, you tormentors of the archons. As always, share in the comments. Be safe, shit crazy. ❤

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