What is a ritual? According to the dictionary; it is any established form of a ceremony, ritual observance, or an act or series of acts regularly repeated in a precise manner. One of my favorite rituals is that act of stepping out into the gardens in the evening to collect herbs for a night time tea. While my actions may not always be done in a precise manner, the intention and motions reflect great care and appreciation for the natural world and its beauty.
For every individual this will be something different. But what connects us is the art of participating in something meaningful that brings us, and hopefully through us, the art of sharing this action with others. It's joy. For us at the farm, its heading out into the garden in the early evening and plucking the freshest blooms from the gardens for an evening tea. This act of doing, and connecting with the plants, particularly in the last moments of daylight, beam such delicate and meaningful purpose into my evening. To spend time with the plants, to listen to what they are saying, what the earth, the birds, and the wind is saying… that is a part of this ritual. The quiet, meditative moments— breathing in deep, life-giving breaths, settling into a meditative state to fully engage my senses.
As I harvest the herbs for my evening tea, I reflect on the day. The tasks that I have accomplished, the people I have met, an inbox full of emails I combed through, or the chiming texts that constantly crave my attention. All of these moments of the day melt away as I listen to the buzzing bees that accompany me in the rows of chamomile and lemon balm. I drink in the sweetness of the evening dew that has settled upon the leaves of the calendula. The subtle scent of lingering roses, bee balm, and anise hyssop as the bees snuggle in upon their velvety leaves for the evening. These observations, these brief moments, a ritual. One that is never passed over and one that fills my heart with compassion and appreciation for the many gifts in front of me.
This ritual of returning to the garden to gather these vibrant plants for tea is one that helps ground me and provides a deeper connection to the plants. Placing them into my tea pot, the water ripples with their vibration, surrendering to their meaningful purpose. This act of creating an evening tea is such a simple one that it seems silly to overlook it as a powerful way to gain a deeper connection to the true life-giving power of the plants. If one wants to know the purest form of the plants, spend time sitting with them, mindfully and sustainably harvesting them, and begin to create your own herbal ritual. This may come in the form of an evening tea, walk, reading about them, or sitting briefly in a green space that is near your home.
As I was harvesting and walking the land I noticed for the first time in what feels like weeks, a sense of calm within. My heart and mind were at peace.
In the past, I’ve shared how powerful the medicine of plants can be by just being near them. Today, I was reminded of this. While these acts may not always be done in a precise manner, however the intention is the same. Seeking to connect with the plants on a deeper level. Spending time with them, either through the act of sowing, planting, harvesting, preserving, and producing thoughtful and meaningful teas or elixirs.When stepping out into the fields for harvesting an evening tea, I take a moment to close my eyes and listen. This is my time too deeply reflect on the day and listen to land, the plants, the birds, and insects. What lessons to they have for me? What message will I hear, and where will I be pulled to for gathering what is most needed at this time. The act of being still, eyes closed and being full absorbed in my surroundings. Fully allowing myself to accept the messages of the day.
As Victoria Zak writes, “The world is a garden to enjoy! Getting to know the herbs can bring a new view of nature to your life. It can make you wide-eyed and wondrous as a kid. That’s the beauty of herbs. They are positively inspirational.”
Though the act of stepping out into the garden, opening my heart, mind, and soul, my evening ritual fills me with a deeper compassion for the healing powers of the herbs and natural world, one tea-cup at a time.