Plant Spirit Medicine- book by Eliot Cowan

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Plant Spirit Medicine- book by Eliot Cowan

Postby simonwheeler » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:39 pm

This is a book particularly for those interested in health and in shamanism; however, if you are not, but accept “we are all connected” and that “everything that lives is holy”, let’s include you, too!

I read this a few months ago, but its principles are still “with me” even if some of the details are growing vague. The basic premise behind this book is that plants, too, have spirits and that we are able to communicate with them and form a beneficial relationship, especially in terms of health.

This is not the same as herbal medicine. Nor the same as Bach flower remedies- although there are obvious apparent overlaps.

The author describes how he came to Plant Spirit Medicine, his apprenticeship and his practice. Much of this has been in the Americas, although because he is dealing with spirit, geographical distance is not a barrier. Nevertheless he does say that “I very seldom attempt ‘long-distance’ healing and never with people I have not already worked with in person.”

Eliot Cowan originally trained in herbalism, then acupuncture but he describes what he does now as “a partnership with nature, much like gardening. Miracles bless our gardens in response to steady loving work. You don’t plant seeds today and expect a crop tomorrow…..I don’t treat people for only one or two sessions.”

If I quote more from this book it will give an indication of Cowan’s philosophy:
“Plants live in harmony with nature. One might even say that plants are nature. Out of this union comes their incredible generosity to us and to all their other fellow creatures.”
“…we need them but they don’t need us. We humans are utterly dependent on plants to cover all our needs: fuel, shelter, clothing, medicine, the petro-chemical cornucopia, and, of course, food. (Even meat is made of plants). In contrast, plant communities do just fine without people. We seem to offer plants nothing but suffering, destruction and the threat of extinction.”
“To think that plants are mere dumb creatures that do not know ecstasy is ignorance or tragic arrogant folly. All things enjoy ecstatic union with nature. Life without ecstasy is not true life and not worth living. Without ecstasy the soul becomes shrivelled and perverted, the mind becomes corrupt and the body suffers pain. Ecstatic union with nature is necessary for normal health.”

Based on the above, Cowan guides us through how we, too, might connect with plants, starting with the plants that are local to us. He then makes suggestions about what some may call “guided meditation”, others may determine to be a “shamanic journey”, with the intention of going on a plant pilgrimage that will allow and invite the spirit of plants to communicate in some way. This “dream material” (because it is us using the meditative state of consciousness) can then be interpreted- it may be self-explanatory or it may require much thought and contemplation. Results may not be clear for months or years- until that “Aha” moment.

He writes: “Plant spirit medicine is a magico-religious rite in which plant gods bestow their grace. How is that grace invoked? Some people use song, others use pills and potions, still others lay on hands, wave feathers, or dance. Who knows how many ways may be waiting to be discovered or rediscovered?
“Whatever method is used, the spirits are invited to help the patient enter the dream of nature; this has nothing to do with fighting illness. For us, there is no such thing as an herb that is good for arthritis or migraine or depression or cancer. Whatever medicine a plant spirit gives you, that’s what it will do for your patients…..if you want to use a plant for healing, you have to dream it or it won’t work for you. Rarely do two people have exactly the same dreams. Rarely do two people use the same plant in exactly the same way.”

“Disease is a call for help…….Healing can be a celebration of our connectedness and interdependence.”

This book tells the stories of Cowan’s learning about the dream world of plant spirit and medicine and how he used and uses that learning to heal others. He has a Plant Spirit Medicine HQ in New York state: details can be found here. There are practitioners of this form of healing across the world- including the UK. Here is the place to look.

If you are comfortable with the idea that healing is within us and intention is paramount; if you are able to use “active imagination”; if you are open to belief in things that are not easily seen or measurable…the chances are that not only are you “into” dowsing, but that you will enjoy reading this book. Reading it will not enable you to become an instant “plant medicine healer”, but it may well intrigue you, push the boundary of what you thought you knew, encourage you to see plants- and the world of nature- with fresh eyes, and maybe…like me…go out and buy some plant-identifier reference books for when you next go on a walk!

Plant Spirit Medicine by Eliot Cowan. Published by SwanRaven & Co, Columbus USA in 1995, 11th reprint2007.
ISBN-13 978-1-893183-11-7
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

www.simongordonwheeler.co.uk

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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine- book by Eliot Cowan

Postby ledgehammer » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:21 pm

Simon,

thanks for the recommendation, I have ordered and look forward to reading

Best wishes

Tom
The universe is a soul, trying to understand itself.... We each have the power to look inward at its immense beauty....
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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine- book by Eliot Cowan

Postby simonwheeler » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:25 pm

You're welcome. Hope you enjoy it. Please let us know...
:P
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

www.simongordonwheeler.co.uk

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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine- book by Eliot Cowan

Postby Helen-Healing » Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:03 am

The book sounds very interesting, Simon, but hardly new, I thought. So I googles a bit...

You might like to read this critique which does have its points!
Not trying to burst the bubble or anything, but every story has two sides! :mrgreen:
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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine- book by Eliot Cowan

Postby Helen-Healing » Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:11 am

Oh dear, I just read the draconian rules about posting here, and realise I'm not supposed to say anything negative!! :|
Oh well, just delete my reply then. :roll:
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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine- book by Eliot Cowan

Postby simonwheeler » Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:40 am

Sorry, Helen, if you thought the rules were "draconian"! The intention is to at least start off with "I recommend this because..." and then it's fair game...! So I'm pleased you have posted what you have...

I (obviously!!) am not deleting your post. As you say, there are two sides to every story...if not more. I've read through the link you included- so that means I've read the comments after the article, too. And as you may have seen, there's a link to a Youtube video in another section of this Forum. Which is here..

No- it's not new. The final few lines of my post show that- when it was first published and the edition I had read. Nevertheless, I would still recommend it as a worthwhile read! It certainly is not for everyone- hence the lists of conditionals I included in what I wrote. I also felt that it would be a good start to this new venture within the Forum.

Some books will consolidate our knowledge & understanding; some books will push those boundaries; some books will help us learn something brand new or point us in unexpected directions; some books will show us very little; some books will inspire, others frustrate and annoy. But what each book does is individual to each reader. Is that not part of the joy?!

So...feel free to add other viewpoints. Ultimately each individual must decide for themselves what is "right" (whatever that may mean!!) for them.
I'm looking forward to hearing what Tom ("ledgehammer") thinks about it.
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

www.simongordonwheeler.co.uk

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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine- book by Eliot Cowan

Postby Lyndon Ronstadt » Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:32 pm

Simon,
He has a Plant Spirit Medicine HQ in New York state:

Yeah, right. Come to me and I'll 'cure' you (in return for a slice of your wallet) with the knowledge that nature gives me for free. But don't expect me to teach you the secret, so you can cure yourselves.

Or am I a silly old cynic?

Helen, thanks for the link to the critique which seems to have been written more in sorrow than in cynicism.
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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine- book by Eliot Cowan

Postby simonwheeler » Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:25 am

Maybe it would be helpful if we can stick to writing comments about the book...when we have read it?
Thanks.
8)

(I have updated the "rules" to indicate this).
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

www.simongordonwheeler.co.uk

Simon
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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine- book by Eliot Cowan

Postby ledgehammer » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:21 pm

Hi,

I have finished the book,

take my naive perception with a pinch of salt ;-)

I really enjoyed the book, and confess I did not read any other reviews on the book, sorry Helen :-), I wanted to read it first to establish a viewpoint...

My stance on healing is a little different to most, having witnessed different methods which seemingly worked my current understanding is that we are potentially capable of healing ourselves. We are probably not aware that we can heal ourselves which is where healing techniques help.

I have to admit I was a little sceptical about the concept of plants having spirits and being contacted then used to heal certain illness's, It is something I hadn't approached - but I have an open mind :-)

On thinking about it deeper, my beliefs rotate around the idea of an infinite conciousness, to which there are levels and the plants would be a distinct entity in themselves, having experienced visions and dreams I have never found myself in the company of a plant spirit, but I have with animals and people and even places, so hey why not...

Eliot (with just one "l" and "t") has shared some experiences which are interesting to say the least, to a series of medical stories which are both interesting insightful. As with alternative medical techniques, identifing the cause is key to sucessfull treatment rather than a commercial machine designed to treat the symptons.

As with any of these things different things work for different people, I think the key is to gather knowledge to which nowadays is an easy task, find out what works for you and use it positively,

Best wishes

Tom
The universe is a soul, trying to understand itself.... We each have the power to look inward at its immense beauty....
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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine- book by Eliot Cowan

Postby simonwheeler » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:00 pm

Thank you for your insights, Tom. I think I tend to agree with you!

This is particularly important:
As with any of these things different things work for different people, I think the key is to gather knowledge to which nowadays is an easy task, find out what works for you and use it positively
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

www.simongordonwheeler.co.uk

Simon
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