The Herb Circle: Rosemary
I run a monthly plant-meet, where we sit in circle connecting with the plant and the plant spirit, using meditation and ritual, experiencing the plant in various ways, using various senses and making a body product or medicine in this sacred circle to continue working with through the moon month.
Last month in the Herb Circle we invited Rosemary to work with us for the moon month. We started by holding Rosemary in our hands, tuning into her energies and gifts. The palms of the hands are connected to the heart and being in the heart (instead of head) space is essential in connecting with our plant allies. I immediately felt a sensation of heat emanating from the core of my being out to the periphery. Rosemary is indeed a circulatory activator, a cardiac tonic and diffusive stimulant. She is helpful in the treatment of fever when the person feels cold and shivery as the diffusion action will drive blood to the periphery, opening the pores to release excess heat. The circulatory action is also helpful for the lymph and will act as a support to lymphatic herbs. This same action is beneficial in headaches, muscles aches, chilblains, improving memory, preventing hardening arteries and in strengthening the heart.
Throughout the month as I sat with Rosemary I started to vision her as a wise old lady with a purple rinse, gentle but strong, tall, sturdy and supportive, she is a no-nonsense being but will happily invite you in for cake and tea, listen to your woes, heat you, dry your tears and embolden you, enlivening your spirit, remind you of better times, of things you need to remember, and stimulate your interest in the world around you to give you confidence and a sense of purpose to go out and do what you need to do. She helps us to heal our boundaries whilst building our reserves. So she can help with things like the skin and the adrenals.
Rosemary has traditionally been used in times of grief, in marriage bouquets and as memory aids during times of study. Rosemary was thought of as a protector to keep bad dreams at bay, and keep illness away. It is in fact a very powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial (viruses, bacteria and fungi). You can burn Rosemary or boil it as a decoction letting the steam fill the air to clear any pathogens, so helpful in colds. If you look at Rosemary as she grows the stems become hard and woody as they age and she can become a very large sturdy bush, the leaves look like thorns suggesting that you stay away but they are soft to touch.
My neighbour visited and with her her daughter brought some head lice, but Rosemary told me to wash our hair with the rosemary salt scrub we had made and rinse with Rosemary tea. Rosemary is one of the plants indicated to keep head lice at bay.
The slightly bitter taste of Rosemary indicates that she is good for the liver aiding in the digestion of fats, sugars and stimulating the production of bile, reducing flatulence.
Full of aromatics and volatile oils, Rosemary smells amazing, warm, pungent and welcoming. She feels waxy and is highly flammable so makes a great saining stick and incense. Her smell transports you into an altered state so is great for ceremony, ritual or clearing but is also grounding, solid and nurturing.
There are various ways you can work with Rosemary to bring her into your life, including adding her to food, teas, vinegars, elixirs, tinctures, body scrubs, hair rinses... One of the group this month had a great idea of putting Rosemary in her water bottle and as I thought about it I remembered hearing that not drinking enough water, among other things, can actually cause your brain to shrink. So by putting Rosemary in your water you will hopefully remember to drink it, thus rehydrating your body and brain, stimulating your circulation, flushing the system and improving your brain and memory.
I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences of Rosemary.