April 2006 Newsletter
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From Muck to Sunshine
For me few things herald spring like skunk cabbage in bloom. I begin checking our seasonal pond in early March, looking for signs of their leaves poking out of the mucky shallow water. A few weeks later the bright yellow modified leaves called spathes appear. I am drawn to put on my ditch boots, wade in, and engage in my annual ritual of greeting the skunk cabbage. It always brings joy to my soul.
Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanum), also know as swamp lantern, is native to swampy areas, wet meadows and wet forests of coastal Pacific North America. The skunk smell attracts insects that pollinate the tiny flowers packed on a central spike that is hooded by the large yellow spathes. Traditionally it was used to line berry picking baskets, drying racks and cooking pits. Rarely was it used for food or medicine because it contains needle-like crystals of calcium oxalate that can cause intense irritation and burning in the digestive tract.
On the flower essence level skunk cabbage says of itself:
Dig deep into yourself and give birth to the lantern of illumination. Creates sunshine from muck. I am the transformation of stagnant life force into bright sunshine.
Skunk cabbage flower essence addresses stagnant energy that can express as physical symptoms: being overweight, large intestine/colon problems and deep skin problems such as shingles, cancer and eczema. On the emotional level, if you feel stuck or stagnant in your life and personal growth process, skunk cabbage flower essence will give you the “kick in the pants” to get moving again.
Skunk Cabbage is a deep and fast acting flower essence. I strongly recommend that you consider using it in combination with at least one other flower essence. Comfrey, Devil’s Club, Mock Orange, Oregon Grape and Stinging Nettle flower essences support and balance the action of Skunk Cabbage flower essence.
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