Our weather seems to have jumped from February to May overnight, with the gloom and rain giving way to bright sunny days. It’s a welcome change, lifting our spirits and giving us a chance to catch up on garden work. All around us, the leaves are unfurling, flowers are opening, and the green energy of viriditas rises up from the underworld into the light.
This energy, the “force that through the green fuse drives the flower”, as Dylan Thomas put it, was called viriditas by the mystic and healer Hildegard of Bingen, and in it, she saw the greening power that all Nature carries within itself.
When we created our line of Spagyrics from entheogenic and shamanic plants, we named it after this idea, with a twist. We call these Initiatics Veriditas, combining Hildegard’s green vitality with the Latin word for Truth to express the intelligent and communicative power of Nature’s most vocal plants.
We originally created our Veriditas collection shortly after starting this work back in 1992. Since entheogens were some of the first plants that both of us worked with and learned from, we wanted them to be among the first plants we shared through our Spagyric art. Back then, the knowledge and use of these plants was not as accepted as it is now, but we felt that our Spagyric processing was a uniquely powerful way to access their intelligent spirits and connect them to the world of herbalism.
We got a lot of pushback from both the herbalist and entheogen communities for bridging two worlds that seemed so disparate, and it took some years of sharing them at festivals and events before the beauty of this synergy found an appreciative audience.
Now, over 30 years later, we are continually delighted by what these plants have to teach, and proud that we stuck to that path even when the way wasn’t clear. And, looking outside as the viriditas rises in our garden and the fields around it, we also naturally look inside, to the bottles of Veriditas Initiatics, each with something to say, waiting for us to listen and hear.
Two Favourites from Micah
My oldest plant ally of any kind is Calamus, and though it’s a bit embarrassing to admit I tried it as a teen because I read about it in “Legal Highs”, I don’t regret being led to this plant and the wisdom it’s brought me in the years since. In Ayurveda, Calamus is called Vacha, meaning “Truth”, and it is a plant that supports speech, communication, and openly sharing your Truth with both clarity and compassion.
I am most grateful for our Calamus Initiatic whenever I speak about plants, whether at our event booths, in interviews or lectures, or right now, speaking through my keyboard. It brings clarity to my mind and sharpens thoughts to be more precise and expressive, while also allowing an open flow of information to come through me from a higher place that is not my own intelligence.
Calamus is an excellent ally for energy workers of all kinds, where it can help healing energy come through you rather than from you, guarding against depletion and burnout. I have also found it to be a strong connecting plant, introducing me to other plants in visions and dreams, and acting as a go-between in a very Mercurial way.
Calamus combines well with Saffron to clear out blockages and increase the flow of subtle energy, and with Tulsi to soften difficult communications and keep speech loving and kind. I’m also looking forward to working with Calamus and our new Cornflower Initiatic to open up to more sacred flows of speech and sound.
The next plant I think of as formative in my life is Blue Waterlily, Nymphaea caerulea. This is a gorgeous flower of ponds and rivers from Africa and the east, and it was especially revered in Ancient Egypt, where it was depicted throughout their art. It is often shown being held up to the nose of both people and gods, showing how much beings of all kinds enjoy its fragrance.
I discovered Blue Waterlily’s incomparable scent when we bought several dozen of them to decorate our booth at an event. Before setup, we kept them in vases in our hotel room, where I was amazed to see them close and fold themselves down into the water at night, only to rise up an unfold at sunrise, filling the room with an intoxicating fragrance. Dreaming next to them all night, I found that when I would sniff them in our booth during the day, along with taking some of our Initiatic as I shared it with others, I could easily access dreamstates for insight into helping and healing the people who had come to our space.
This weaving back and forth of sleeping and waking is seen in Nymphaea’s journey in and out of the water each day, and it is its strongest initiatic gift, in my experience. Whenever I need to manifest something material from the etheric, or work on a waking world problem in the wisdom of the liminal, I rely on our Blue Waterlily Initiatic to bring me the wisdom of both worlds, unified in energy. Perhaps this is why the ancient Egyptian glyph of three Waterlilies- one open in the middle flanked by two buds- is the symbol for healer.
Blue Waterlily combines well with the other sacred waterflower, Lotus, with which it is often confused, although they are quite different botanically and energetically. It is also lovely combined with our Mayan Waterlily, which played a similar role in that civilization, and with our European Waterlily, either as pairs, or all together in our Waterlilies Somalixir.
Paul’s Plant Allies
Paul has always been interested in the sacred aspects of sound, from music and drumming to his latest explorations with gongs. When we first heard about Heimia, he was so excited to have a plant ally to open his connection with sound and vibration even more. Heimia is a plant of South America, where it is called Sinicuichi or “Sun opener” because of the golden tinge it gives the vision. But it is most well-known for its effects on hearing and sound.
Heimia is traditionally used to hear the voices of the ancestors, and for this use, it is most powerful when taken in a quiet, dark room and combined with meditation and stillness. After some time, it will seem as if a radio is on in a distant room, and with concentration and a clear mind, the mumbling sounds resolve into voices which can be communicated with. One variation of this practice that we both enjoy is taking Heimia outside near natural sources of white noise, such as the wind, rivers, or the ocean, and allowing voices to arise from those sounds.
In Paul’s work with our Sun Opener Initiatic, he has found that it brings an opening of the silence from within, and out of that space, hidden tones and frequencies arise and affect the meditator. As you attune to these normally imperceptible qualities of vibration, they become more coherent and can be used as a tool in magickal work.
Listening to how they flow and concentrate in different parts of the etheric field can show the energy of a place and how it is being affected by magickal or spiritual practice. This can be experienced as tones moving up and down in pitch as a ceremony progresses, or becoming more complex and harmonious as lab work comes together.
For those who work with Cannabis, it is an excellent partner to Heimia, which can help the sometimes random noise of its Lunar world become more clear and useful. Heimia also combines well with Paul’s next group of allies, the Caapis.
South America’s Ayahuasca brew is made up of two main poles of action: MAO inhibitors like the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, and herbs containing DMT, such as Mimosa. The vine’s chemistry lowers the brain’s chemical defenses against the psychoactive DMT, and this is an extraordinary insight from shamanic traditional experiential knowledge that most psychonauts today also follow in their ‘Huasca work.
Paul’s personal explorations with this dynamic has led him to work with Caapi alone to open the brain’s receptivity to its own endogenous DMT and to make the inner state more responsive to connection with the body’s native inner spiritual being, without input from other plants. And although chemistry-oriented writings will claim that Caapi is not visionary on its own, we (and many of our customers) would disagree with that based on years of work with it as a singular being.
It takes attention and inner quiet to observe the self with enough wisdom to note the changes that Caapi alone creates, but it is worth the practice to hear the voice of a plant usually only listened to in a group. For this work, Paul’s favourite is White Caapi, which we call the “happy Caapi” for its energy of cheer, humour, and kindness.