SPIRIT OF OSHA ROOT
Living Your Truths, Wild and Free
Osha grows high up in the mountains near my home in New Mexico. Osha has long been an herbal remedy for the peoples living here, bringing relief from colds, flus, viruses and bacterial infections.
Osha is also fondly called Bear Root, so named in North American Native Peoples’ stories which describe the bears’ special affinity for this plant. Bears are known to eat Osha when they come out of hibernation to cleanse their digestive systems in preparation for spring foraging for food. Bears are also known to chew on the root and spew and rub the mashed plant and juices onto their fur. Bears are great teachers for us two-leggeds about the medicinal properties of this mountain plant.
Hand in hand with her effective gifts for physical healing, Osha has taught me about her wild essence and how she goes about living her life. This plant so beloved by the bears simply does not appreciate being taken from her natural habitat. She isn’t easily domesticated. She doesn’t grow well in farms, garden plots or containers.
Osha holds her ground with unwavering commitment to the truths held in her heart. She is unwilling to acquiese, to be controlled by someone else’s agenda and shaped into something other than who and what she really is. Osha only roots where she flourishes and thrives.
With respect for her own existence, she loves her unique and sacred purpose. Osha boldly claims her wildness and uncontainable aliveness, knowing just where she belongs in the intricate web of life. She’s deeply rooted all the while abundantly free.
Osha Root once instructed me during a spirit journey that I needed to get to know her as a living plant. It only then became clear that the primary way I knew Osha was as dried wildharvested roots. So if I was wandering around in the mountains, I could easily walk right by without recognizing this plant in her green leafy form. I would have no idea I was in the presence of my very dear friend.
The Spirit of Osha was calling me to see her, to know her holistically, to embrace and understand more fully who she really is. I realized our relationship was not truly being cultivated if I only saw her within a limited frame of reference and narrow point of view. This eye-opening and heart-expanding teaching from Osha has stayed with me for many years.
Among the diverse plants I share in ceremony and healing, Osha is the one to whom people are inevitably drawn. After encountering Osha Root, they passionately head off on a quest to gather some up in an herb store or wildharvest from the land.
When watching friends breath in the smudging with burning Bear Root or chew on bits of the root or sip Osha tea, I sense the Spirit of Osha Root sharing her healing medicines:
Remember your wildness.
Hold sacred your instinctual sense of home.
Cultivate relationships with those who really see you – all of you.
Root yourself only where you naturally flourish and thrive.