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Assistant to the Plants




Sometimes people ask what title we have to offer ceremonies. Are we shamans or curanderos or some other term.... I might answer different depending on my mood, but my favorite answer is probably "I am an assistant to the plants."




It reminds me of a quote from Grandfather Wallace Black Elk talking about the chanupa pipe used for Lakota ceremonies:

"There are only 3 ways to walk with the sacred pipe.

You can walk ahead of it, and if you do that you are a dead man.

You can walk beside it, and if you do that you are an arrogant man full of pride.

Or you can walk behind it, and if you do that you are a humble man."


I could be a lot more humble. Especially in my daily life. But when I say I am an assistant to the plants it reminds me that the plants are truly the best healers, and I would be lost without everything they have taught me. They taught me to be happy, how to love more deeply, how to cultivate gratitude and how to treat others well. The plants have this ability to show us who we truly are - so we dont have to take someones word for it, but can see for ourselves how we are all related and all connected as one. In very tangible ways the plants show us how to heal ourselves through love and acceptance.


I am just an assistant. But I get to watch so many miracles just by being close to the plants and the people who come to heal with them. What a gift!


My chanupa pipe teacher Ron likes to say "Be wary of those who claim to be a pipe carrier. I dont carry the pipe, the pipe carries me!" I can sing to the plants all day, but I am not the one who carries the medicine - the plants are the medicine, and the plants carry me!

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