|Violets were mentioned frequently by Homer and Virgil. They were used by the Athenians 'to moderate anger,' to procure sleep and 'to comfort and strengthen the heart.' Pliny prescribes a liniment of Violet root and vinegar for gout and disorder of the spleen, and states that a garland or chaplet of Violets worn about the head will dispel the fumes of wine and prevent headache and dizziness. The ancient Britons used the flowers as a cosmetic, and in a Celtic poem they are recommended to be employed steeped in goats' milk to increase female beauty, and in the Anglo-Saxon translation of the Herbarium of Apuleius (tenth century), the herb V. purpureum is recommended 'for new wounds and eke for old' and for 'hardness of the maw.' via www.botanical.com|
My biggest plant teacher this week has been the humble Violet Leaf. In an effort to 'get myself back' after losing our familiar, Rory I have been striving and pushing and not surprisingly, exhausting myself. Grief is such a mystery, sometimes such a huge and deep cup of emotion and I am learning how to gently float up from the bottom without a constant companion who was walked beside me in my work and life for the last 16 years.
At the Full Moon Eclipse I realised I have been keeping my mind busy but it was now time to really open my heart to feel what has been lying beneath the grief. I was scared - what if it was a fathomless well of pain? How could I 'operate' in that space? At the same time I knew avoiding it was like trying to take a 'shortcut' to skip the deepest part of the forest.
Just before he died, Rory sent me an image to show me where he wanted to be buried - under a carpet of violets. He had always loved to lie in the violets on hot days. And so it was there that I was sitting when I let myself stop and feel. What arose was not violent or even very painful, it was a mournful howl like a wolf mother. It was a huge release and relief to let it out. I had to empty out my heart and soon it began to fill again. As my heart kept emptying, it kept opening. So that soon I could feel a space where the pain used to be and something else beginning to flow and fill it. I began to notice the gentle scent of Violet Leaf all around me. Such a comforting smell - damp and earthy and sweet. I began to notice I was sitting in what looked like a sea of hearts. The heart shaped leaf of the Violet has often been used to create tinctures and essences to bring peace and sleep and was also known as a flower associated with death.
I harvested some of the soft fuzzy green hearts around me to create an essence, placed some of the leaves in my bath that night and then gathered another handful to dry inside. The smell of drying Violet Leaves has woven through our whole house like a loving vine. It is the scent that woke me this morning. The green fertile earth is the best healer for loss and teaches us so much about the natural cycle of birth, death and rebirth. For all those feeling grief today I send you a green hug from Violet. If you have any growing nearby, place some leaves beside your bed - a green blanket for your heart x