Ep.62 Plant Spirit Medicine with Patrick Hanaway | ReConnect with Plant Wisdom podcast

Ep.62 Plant Spirit Medicine with Patrick Hanaway

In this enlightening episode, Dr. Patrick Hanaway shares his transformative journey from conventional Western medicine to the profound wisdom of plant spirit medicine. Discover how he bridges the gap between these worlds, advocating for a symbiotic relationship with local flora that fosters deep healing through relationship Tune in to learn about the power of personal connections with nature and how they can lead to a balanced, technology-inclusive approach to health and well-being.

This episode is a call to awaken to the intricate web of life that binds us all, urging us to embrace a more compassionate and integrated path to wellness.

PATRICK HANAWAY, MD is a board-certified family physician trained at Washington University. Dr. Hanaway served as President of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine. For over 25 years he was worked with his wife, Dr. Lisa Lichtig, in clinical practice @ Family to Family: Your Home for Whole Health Care in Asheville, NC.

Patrick [U+utemai] was initiated in 2009 as a Mara’akame [indigenous healer] by the Wixarika [Huichol] people of the Sierra Madres in Mexico. He is chairperson of the Blue Deer Center in upstate NY. Patrick holds community fires, leads ceremonies and pilgrimage to sacred sites, and offers traditional healing sessions ‘around the fire’.

Blue Deer Center is a non-profit spiritual retreat, located in the New York Catskills in the United States. People come from all over the world to immerse in our programs of indigenous traditions by embracing the knowledge of the natural world.

Topics Covered about plant spirit medicine

  • Learning from unexpected sources, like tomato and cactus, leading to a redefinition of medicine and healing.
  • The importance of recognizing and resonating with the unique characteristics of a plant person, rather than seeking a generic or universal approach.
  • The importance of relationships with plants, recognizing their interconnectedness and the need to redefine our understanding of relationships.
  • Asking for help from plants and mushrooms to heal from stage four cancer.
  • The idea of disease as a catalyst for evolution, suggesting that it can take us towards new forms of evolution

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TRANSCRIPT OF EP.62 PLANT SPIRIT MEDICINE WITH PATRICK HANAWAY

Tigrilla Gardenia
Hello, hello, hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of reconnect with plant wisdom. It’s me tigrilla gardenia, and this is a really, really interesting episode. I have a great guest today. It’s one of those synchronicities of life where somebody just kind of drops in your lap and you’re you’re not really sure where it’s going to go, but in the end, it takes you to a fantastic place. We’re going to be interviewing Dr Patrick hanaway, and he, well, I could tell you all kinds of different things about him, but I’m just going to let you listen to it. I highly recommend you listen all the way to the end, because there are just so many nuggets of wisdom from both the western medicine world mixing with what happens when you really step into all of the different aspects of growing awareness of nature. So this is episode 62 plant spirit medicine. Enjoy.

Welcome to reconnect with plant wisdom. I’m your host, Tigrilla Gardenia. Nature inspired mentor and leadership coach. In this podcast, I share ancient and modern knowledge from biology to spirituality, about the wondrous ways in which plants can help you lead a naturally conscious life.

Here we are. Patrick Hanaway, I am so excited to be speaking with you today. I have to admit. I have to admit, I didn’t expect our original conversation to go as well as it did, but once you and I spoke, I knew I had to have you on the podcast. So for the audience, can you tell them who is? Patrick henway,

Patrick Hanaway
oh gosh, which hat do I put on? Which which mask do I put on in relation,

Tigrilla Gardenia
none of them are masks. None of them are masks. They’re all just different facets of you Exactly,

Patick Hanaway
exactly.

Well, you know, as a little kid growing up, I wanted to, I wanted to be involved in healing, you know. And from where I grew up, I thought that meant being a doctor, and so I put my energy into, you know, becoming a doctor, and got into medical school and and literally, after I got in, I’m like, do I want to do this? And I spent a couple of years searching to figure out, do I really want to do this? And, you know, and spent a lot of time in in nature and skiing and in Yellowstone National Park for six months and and went to medical school. And what I found out is it doesn’t have anything to do with healing. And after the first year, I’m like, I don’t, I’m really interested in nutrition and and and herbs and other things. I don’t think I should do this, but, you know, some friends counseled me that if I went through and I had those two letters after my name, that maybe it would afford some other opportunities in my life, and it has. So I did that, and and then. But medical school, really, for me was about learning about mind, body medicine and imagery and herbalism and traditional Chinese medicine and hands on therapies like chiropractic. And, you know, I kind of went through.

I got my my fix by about healing in that way. And, you know, so my, career has unfolded since that time, and been involved in the areas called integrative and, or functional medicine, holistic medicine and but I was always called to be able to find some deeper healing path. I didn’t know what that was, and I’ve had many different kinds of opportunities. But things really shifted for me when when I met my teacher, la Cowan, teaching about plant spirit medicine. And actually, the story goes that that I told my wife about it. She studied with him, she’s a doctor, and she came back at the end of of her time, and we were starting our practice in Asheville, North Carolina, and she said, You have to my birthday gift to you is you have to do this course. I’m like, I’m busy. I can’t do that. You have to do it. You have to receive my gift. Wives know best, yeah,

and it literally, you know, changed and shifted my life in many, many ways, and we can talk about that. But so I’ve become, you know, I’ve worked with the plant spirits journeying to them. I’ve worked I then, you know, my dreams led me to a vision quest that led me to a pilgrimage path with the veratica people, the Witch people in the Sierra Madre. Oh, wait, wait, wait, wait, we’re

Tigrilla Gardenia
gonna get there. We’re gonna get there. But I’m so curious. So at this point in your life, you are practicing traditional medicine, right, kind of with a little bit of an alternate approach,

Patrick Hanaway
yeah, well, I mean, I, I was practicing, you know, basic medicine, working with the Pueblo people in New Mexico, and then we moved to Alaska and worked with the Yupik people on the Bering Sea. So you never did traditional well. I mean, it was, it was being a Western doctor in those areas. And in fact, they didn’t want to teach me their medicines. They wanted to receive my Western medicines. And so I did that. But then, when we started our practice here in in North Carolina, it was one that was much more alternative or integrative, holistic, and really was not focused on, on on the what the on Western medicine approaches, allopathic medicine approaches,

Tigrilla Gardenia
Right? And why do you think your wife was like, so adamant that she wanted you to go take this class because her

Patrick Hanaway
life was changed by it? You know, we’d had a we’d had a deep connection spiritually and worked in a Buddh tradition, and that was very that was part of our coming together, and this, this path, opened up her heart even more, and she wanted to make sure that I was along with her for the ride. I

Tigrilla Gardenia
like it. So you go off, you go take this class. Was it a class, a workshop? So

Patrick Hanaway
it’s like five to seven days over eight different weeks throughout the year. So it was, like a year, a year long. Was probably, I think, I think it was 49 days. What a what a good number. But exactly, you know, it was, it was, you know, a lot of a lot of work over a year, as we were starting our practice, I’m like, I don’t know if I could really do this, but it sort of, it opened itself up. Life opened itself up to allow me to do it.

Tigrilla Gardenia
So tell me a little bit about what you encountered and why and what started to change.

Patrick Hanaway
Well, I’ll say, you know, I’m more, you know, nerdy and I, I’ve always been interested, always, always, you know, I always draw these five pointed stars on my hand, just as part. And then when I began to learn about five element, five phase Chinese medicine, like, oh, this makes so much sense. And I learned that. I learned some of that, and and some acupuncture. But it was, it was dabbling in it and when. And so the basis, one of the bases, of the plant spirit medicine approach, is looking at the five phases of the seasons and the unfolding. And it was taught in that way. And I was like, really, oh, this is really cool. And it was really into that. And it wasn’t actually as into journeying to the plants. But what, what occurred was, as I started to journey, I started to have these relationships, these friendships that developed with the plants that I just didn’t expect. And sort of my intellectual left brain was saying, Oh, that’s not really real. But my experience was, but things are happening, and when and when, these new friends that I have come to me when I’m treating someone and and I ask them for their help, the people get better, and their pulses change, and they have, you know. And honestly, I was kind of skeptical. I’m like, I don’t really know if this works, you know? But I’m doing it and it’s and things are changing. I’m like, this is kind of like a reverse placebo effect. Like, I’m not, I’m thinking, it’s not going to work, and it works.

Patrick Hanaway
There’s like, Oh, I better pay attention here. So that was, that was what really kind of caught my attention, if you will, I get

Tigrilla Gardenia
it. So lots of people talk about plant spirit medicine in many different types of contexts. So I’d love to hear your specific context, like for in the context, I keep saying the word context, context, context. It’s one of those words that you can tell that it’s going to be important for our discussion, but relating to what you started to study. Because you know, when you say plant spirit medicine, some, for some people, it’s going to go ayahuasca, and for other people, it’s, I’m going to go into the jungle and spend a week with a tree, hugging and, you know, drinking water and that’s purified by this tree, or that’s been connected. What was the plant spirit medicine journey that you embarked on?

Patrick Hanaway
So I first want to say, you know, in the language I use, I’ll just, we’ll call the the people who are working with special plants. We’ll call that plant medicine, you know. And there’s, there’s lineages and traditions of of of indigenous people, native people doing that around the world in many different ways. That’s not what I’m talking about. So what I’m talking about is about being able to journey to and develop a relationship with the specific spirits of the plants. Especially important to be able to do that with the local plants that live near me, that are part of my life. It’s it’s sometimes easiest to be able to journey to them when they’re flowering, to be able to get the, you know, sort of the full aspect, sometimes a journey at several different phases of the of the year, in of that of that plant. But especially if I can journey when they’re flowering, I can deepen my relationship. I make offerings to to the plant and ask for help and and support and and presence myself with it. And then go into a journeying into the plant and and listening to what it has to say, drawing, seeing what things come up spontaneously, and beginning to get an understanding of the relationship of, how is that plant offering its medicine? To me, it’s, it’s, it’s spirit medicine, because the same plant can have different kinds of medicines that it offers to different people. You know, like, we can look at things like Bach flower remedies, and there’s some, there’s some generalities, but there are actually individual relationships, just as my relationship with you, my relationship with another person, they’re different and unique. And what is brought out is, is, is something that is, is special. And so then, then when I see patients or clients, you know, I’m working with that, and I am giving them that plant spirit. There’s different ways to be do. Do that. It can be done through kind of potentizing it and making it into drops. It can be done energetically, you know, through through the presentation, I like to do it with my hands. You know, I find that that hands on healing and allowing the the spirit of that plant that is in me to transfer into the person and and then listen to them and see how the how the how changes are in their life. So that’s what plant spirit medicine is in the way I’m talking about it,

Tigrilla Gardenia
and I love that you’re talking about the plants that are all around us. I mean, like I said, when, when you, you just mentioned it beautifully when you’re talking about certain lineages, those plants were around right? So if I live in certain areas of South America, for example, of course, the different plants that go into an Ayahuasca elixir are there, they’re present and they’re part of that land, and therefore part of me. And there’s a relationship that’s happening. But that doesn’t negate what happens when I spend a lot of time with rosemary, or I spend a lot of time with Rose and all those things. I actually have a spirit wild plant quiz that is to help people start to unite to these wild plants. In the case of of dandelion, for example, and and and cattail or bulrush, these are plants that are everywhere, and these are plants that grow wild and that we can start to have relationships with in very distinct ways. I once did a plant spirit medicine type healing with dandelion. That was fantastic. It was two days. It was so intense. It was so wonderful to have this relationship with this plant that we see everywhere, that I see as I go along in my day. But then, like you said, to form that kind of almost like an introduction to the plants, like being able to say, Hello, I you know, nice to meet you. And then start to get to know not just the general characteristics like you mentioned, which I think is is something that we, you know, always is good to learn about and understand. But then go that step beyond and start to get to know the parts of you that resonate with me and therefore are exalted in our relationship together, kind of like when you’re having a conversation and you might have a friend who with you talks, I don’t know sports, and with somebody else talks theater. It doesn’t mean that they are not both theater and sports. It’s just that I resonate with that aspect of you, and so therefore I bring that part of you out more. And I think that’s what happens when we’re working with these plants in that way. And we think we have to go look for quote, unquote, special or look for the generic, when instead, we forget that there’s all these other layers of characteristics that only come out in relationship. Do you find that that’s that, that’s how, how they’ve come into your life? More it’s

Patrick Hanaway
absolutely true. And I remember studying herbology early on, and my teacher, taroni Low dog, you know, said, You know her grandfather, you know, work with five plants, you know, because he had that deep relationship, and they were able to be used. Now, his knowledge base was of hundreds of plants, but he primarily worked with five plants, because those were his best friends, and they could, they could be worked with to find where the imbalance was in people and help them along on the journey. And, you know, I think the people say whatever that means, but you know, if you have five to seven really good friends, you’re gonna have a healthy life, you know, like that’s you don’t want to, you don’t need 1000 friends on Facebook. You know, you don’t you, and you don’t want to just have one friend, but having a few friends that you can relate to, that help to bring out different aspects of you, and that help you to see the world in different ways. And so this so that is that’s true also. So in you know, my Compendium, there’s, you know, a number of different plants that I’ve journeyed to over time, and I’ve journeyed to play plants in different places, but it’s the plants that live around me, that I see every day, that I have the deepest healing relationship with.

Tigrilla Gardenia
And I think this is so important, especially because, you know, I live in community, right? And I think you’re showing a great example of the kind of sometimes misunderstandings we have about what it means to live in community. I remember when I first came to live in Damanhur, I was like, oh my goodness, I can’t, I can’t do this. You know, all these people so close to me, I’ll kill somebody. But like you said, you you have this circle of people around you that are your biggest mirrors, and they even change over time, right? Because as I mature and I grow and and different aspects of me emerge, then those people start to shift, those human people start to shift. And now, as I work with plants, I’m finding the same thing. I have an entire human community that’s much more, that’s much bigger, that allows me in different aspects, whether it’s because I’m taking a course or we’re studying something together. And we have all these different groups, these research groups and these work groups for the different projects, and each one of those allows me to see mirrors of myself and for me to learn more about them and about myself in that process. But that core group is always are the ones that I probably learned the most from and I find the same thing happens with the plant worlds. You know, I have a core group of friends that is, you know, Gary, the silver fur outside. And lately, into my group is tomato, which I don’t understand why, because I don’t eat tomatoes, but tomato has made a big entrance into my life, and is saying I am here, and you need to learn from me. And boy, am I being taught. And up until recently, spider plan had been my business partner, and the partner that I had worked with the most. And spider plan is being very clear right now to say I’m stepping back. I am stepping back from this relationship right now. And Noelle the cactus, the Christmas cactus, is coming in really strong, of like I am here now, and I know that you and spider plan have this like bond. You’ve done so much good together, but for the next part of your business, of our business growth, I’m here, and I want to step in. I have a few things and few tricks up my sleeve that I really want to share with you, and it’s been an extremely interesting experience to step deeper into that the work that you do, though, has a lineage behind it and an experience behind it. Can you tell us more about that? Because I’m super curious.

Patrick Hanaway
Well, you know, I just want to say, like, for me, it’s like chicory had been that, that, that, for me, just really connected and, and over the last year, I’m like, with chicory, you’re really not around very much anymore where you used to be. And, and some of that is because the land is changing and developing, and in a good way, you know. And now nettles has, has shown up. And nettles is just, I’d say, you know, nettles, yeah, there you are. And, you know, so, so I totally hear what you’re saying, and it’s about paying attention and listening to what’s shifting and changing and what’s coming into, you know, the presence, and even this year, mushrooms are really, really jumping out at me, which is interesting, as we’ll talk about later in my my journey with with cancer and the role of mushrooms there, but the lineage, what happened was, is that, you know, many, many peoples in the world have been listening and talking to the plants, and that’s how they’ve learned that their medicines and that their foods and what they can do with them. You know, we we have and there’s just like there’s 12,000 plants that are edible, but in our culture, you know, we only eat, like 200 of them, and 75% 75% of our calories and protein come from 12 plants. You know, 60% of it comes from, from rice and corn and and wheat. You know, it’s sort of like, wow, how did we limit ourselves so much from the incredible diversity that’s there? But Elliot was a farmer, and then he he learned traditional Chinese medicine from a five phase perspective, the so called warsley school. So the difference in the Worsley school from what might be called a principal Chinese medicine is that the interrelationship of the five phases that move from fire to Earth to metal to water to wood is actually based upon a spiritual connection to the earth, and that being in balance, in that in that phase, is what is, is what we work towards within the Dow. So he took that and he was teaching that in London, and he and he spoke with his teacher, and he said, It seems like anything that we do with acupuncture needles, you could do with plants? And the teacher said, yes, it’s absolutely true. And then he said, but anything you can do with plants, you can do 1000 times better with local plants to where to where you live, you know? And it’s like in that that struck Elliot and he he left and went back to farming, but also went back to really deepening his relationship with the plants. And so he really just remembered the way in which peoples in the past have deepened and developed the relationship with plants like you and I are talking about here. So you know, that’s really the lineage of it. It’s a remembering, and then he’s taught that to 1000s of people and written a book, and, you know, it taught me and and started the blue deer Center as a retreat place in the Catskills to help bring forth this medicine and to connect to and to connect to the earth and the spirits that are there all the time around us,

Tigrilla Gardenia
yeah, and it’s all really about those relationships. I’m glad that you, you sort of brought it into that, because I think lately, I’ve been working very closely with different plants to help expand our definitions of relationships, you know, starting with just even some of the relationships that we see in nature, you know, outside of ourselves, outside of our human models that we’ve forgotten. You know, commensalisms and how to turn parasitisms and predation into something beautiful again, and all these different aspects. But there seems to be also this unfolding of the understanding that relationships go way deeper and broader than even what we have been conditioned to experience as humans, and therefore what we can see in nature. The more I work with plants, the more I understand that relationships is a word that I’ve only just started to define, that I’m only starting to come into a comprehension of what a relationship can look like that it’s almost like an archetype that’s missing, which is what we talk about a lot in Damanhur. And from a dominarian perspective, we say how the relationships connected to the archetypes connected to relationships can only be refound with the plant world, because they remember, can have been experiencing these and we have lost those relationships

Patrick Hanaway
Exactly. And I think even some of the words that we use, you know, of parasitism or predation or mutualism are concepts rather that, because we don’t know how to put them into a framework, and then, and then we put them into good and bad categories, you know, whereas the, you know, that wrathful archetype or that Trickster archetype, they’re there. They’re there in all the sacred stories. You know, it’s just in our culture, it’s like, oh, we want everything to be rainbows and unicorns, but it’s like, well, it’s not always like that. And that’s how when we’re challenged, it’s how we learn and how we can see different ways of relating to all of the beauty that are our fellow people, people, as in the big term, people, persons, you know, every, every living being. And there’s, there’s different gifts that we have to share with each other than we have and we that we can learn from. So I think that you talking about it in that way of looking at the plants and the interrelationships that are going on, that they have, and then the interrelationships that we have, or I have, with them, you know, that expands the view of what we mean when we’re talking about relationship. It’s not like, you know, kissing and holding hands and skipping down the trail, that’s one kind of relationship, but there’s so many more, and we and we have to learn in order to be able. And the beauty is, the plants want to teach us like they’re right there, and they’re so giving, you know, they give us medicine, they give us food, they give us oxygen. They give us, you know, so many aspects as well as beauty, you know. So I mean, there’s I could, I could go on, but they, they’re so giving and and we just need to open ourselves up and present ourselves, and when we do that, and we offer gratitude, and even the small amount of exchange they’re right there to be able to say, let me help you here,

Tigrilla Gardenia
Patrick, there’s so many good things here, but we have to take a little break and introduce one of our Eco conscious business partners, because it’s thanks to them that we get to have conversations like this. The first time I connected with a plant and actually received a response. I got chills. It is such an invigorating sensation when you break through like that and realize just how connected we are and that we are nature as a nature inspired mentor myself, I was super excited to stumble upon the shift network and its mission to empower a global network of evolutionary change agents talk about my kind of movement. There are so many inspiring thought leaders, healers, empaths and other visionaries all under one roof, each with an individual and collective mission to help you reawaken and CO create a just and prosperous world. Now. Check out the show notes. Click on the link and learn more about the shift network. Consider enrolling even in a course or two. They are the perfect complement to your evolving, naturally conscious life. I hope you enjoy what you find in the shift network, and come back to the naturally conscious community and let us know all about what you’re learning and exploring. You’re totally speaking my language. That’s exactly I mean, how the more

I work with plants, the more I allow myself to sort of enter into my plantness and reawaken that inner plant Ness, the more these concepts, like you said, we still don’t have the words our vocabulary is so limited, but you start to feel it. You feel that it’s different. You feel that it has a different experience. And oftentimes when I’m when I’m doing having these types of conversations, or when I’m doing a botanical tarot card reading of some sort, I struggle to find the right words. But I’m finding that more and more the feelings are in my body, the the expressions are coming out, and I’m finding myself needing to use body more in order to give them a shape. And in that aspect, you mentioned a little while ago something that I wanted to kind of circle back on, if you don’t mind. But you know, we have these major also life transformations that help us better understand these relationships. You kind of mentioned the big word that a lot of people unfortunately have in their lives, which is like the big C word, the cancer word, and you just sort of glossed over it. But I’m curious as to how this journey being a doctor, a traditional Western medicine doctor, then stepping deeper into this aspect, and then it seems like something shifted and happened. And I’m so curious how all of this sort of tied together and where, how did the plants step in to help you with cancer?

Patrick Hanaway
Well, in several different ways. So five and a half years ago, you know, treat Dakota to Dakota elders. You know, at my house teaching, we had about 180 or 100 people, and, you know, I’m sitting in in bed one night with my hand right here and also, and I’m like, Huh, that’s, that’s hard. Oh, that’s not painful. Okay, you know, medically hard, painful things are not, not painful. It wasn’t painful. I couldn’t feel anything. I’m like, okay, that’s not inflammation. I said, Oh, I’ll wait a day and see if it changes. It didn’t change. And then, you know, five days later, I was diagnosed with stage four cancer of the head and neck and and, you know, kind of look at that, and it’s like, wow. I’m, you know, 59 years old, and you know, everything’s going well and and what’s happening here. And so there were a lot of things that happened, and I’ll just speak to a couple of them. One of them was that I was actually, I’ve mentioned that I’m initiated as a traditional healer called a Mara kami in the language of the veratica people, the Witch people in the Sierra madres. And I was fasting that month for pilgrimage to be able to go down to the sacred desert and and this was in the middle of my fasting, and I meet with the doctors, and they’re like, you know, you should do this, this, this. And I’m like, you know, before I do anything is okay if I just, like, go down to the sacred desert and do my pilgrimage.

And they’re like, Yeah, you know, you got, you got a couple weeks. And so I did that and and you know what I found there was both with the shamanic treatments that I received, but the the opening that I received from from the plants in the desert, that helped me to recognize I need to ask for help. And that was the big thing. So you know, all, all of what unfolded for the next three months after that, was a deepening of asking for help, asking for help from the plants, asking for help from the from the mushrooms, to be able to help support my immune system. Now, I would say, if I didn’t have stage four cancer, I probably would have not have done the Western medical stuff as well, but I did, because, you know, when they say stage four, it’s kind of like, Oh, it’s right in your face. It’s like, you, you know, there’s a very good chance you will not be alive a few years from now. So I did what made sense, and it focused on nutrition in the in the plants and foods that went into me and and then, and then something unique happened. So there was a there were days that were like, I don’t know if I can keep doing this and, and, but I have to get outside. I don’t even know, you know, I was so fatigued and, but I have to be outside. And I would go outside, and there’s a little spring on the land where we live.

And I would just walk down to it and just start playing in the spring. And just like watching, feeling the water flow, moving it, helping it to flow, and being with the trees, the willow that was right there, and and I just would spend time there. And it would spend like hours there, just sitting, you know, and being with the spring, and not not thinking about anything, just being with the spring and and I noticed things began to shift in my way of both seeing the world and also in the way of relating to myself, and what I also began to feel was the incredible amount of spirits beings, however we wanted to find them just pouring into me, and they would pour in like right through The top of my head and move through my body, and I felt at peace, and, you know, and part of that journey was also a deep, a deep connection with Chaga, as you know, in helping me, you know, and I was, I was drinking Chaga, you know, Like 456, cups every day. You know, just like there was a crock pot of Chaga always on in that that Chaga had been gifted to me by a by a friend in in northern Michigan, who who created a beautiful mandala of the of the chaga and then sent it to me. And so it’s like all those aspects, and I just feel, even as I’m talking about it right now, like, like the the cells in my body remember, you know, and they’re, they’re vibrating in that. So that was a transformation, unexpected and, you know, and quite difficult. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, but I also found that several years later, in the sweat lodge, I was giving thanks to cancer for for helping me find my life back, you know, where I gotten a little bit too much in my head and too much in my my mind and my ego, and It was just connecting me back to the earth, and it’s made a big difference for me in my life.

Tigrilla Gardenia
It’s it’s such a beautiful story for so many different points. I mean the water, the willow, I mean, what does Willow traditionally do? I mean willow pulls from that water. It it cleans. Soil is a plant that is just so important and powerful in that. The Chaga, I think you know these these other types of beings, these fungi that are are here and are also working so deeply with us, and we’re only just starting to recognize that potency. But more than anything you said a few things that I just.

I just want to tap on, because I want everybody to really think about them and hear them. You talked about how this process all started with asking for help. and I think we often, in our human terms think about asking for help.

1st of all, we do it reluctantly, reluctantly. many times. We don’t expect the help to actually come. But we also don’t do it in a way of know how to explain it. It’s almost like there’s this. there’s this deep. Ask this, these deep, deeper way of more kind of like you said earlier about when you were talking about your wife, this heart cracking way of asking for help. It’s that I’m standing here before you in a desire to not just take from you, because I think that’s also our fear sometimes in asking for help is like am I taking? But in in reciprocity of of I am part of you. I am part of nature, I am part plants, I am part fungi. I am here, and that help that I’m asking is not so much help heal me, but is help me learn what I’m supposed to do with this? Help me see the path forward, help me get to the place where this does become, in whatever way it becomes, in my highest and in my best good, and that I am.

I am in my purpose and in my place, through this, and and for some that might mean. you know, restoring, going back to what we are. You know what we were before in what we have considered historically to be health. in others it it might mean a transition right to another phase. But I get to that other phase in this life and death process that that comes from a place of beauty and bounty, not from limitation and suffering, and it could mean something completely different. It could be.

you know, an entire step forward. We were just finishing up the book, Bio Civilizations in our plant Wisdom book Club and bio Civilizations gets to. I’m not gonna take give it all away. But but in one section he talks about nature as as doctors, and it’s very, very interesting in how the author kind of explore explores this idea of what does it mean to be to to be a natural doctor from the perspective of how nature creates doctors. Not just that nature heals, but literally. There are, you know, species and functions that are connected to healing others, including ants that do surgery, and such and such. But one of the things that he talks about, which I think is extremely powerful is that we, as humans, sort of look at disease. We look at disease from the perspective of I, either on the one side, heal and go back to my original state or to die.

We forget that that that illness can also take us toward evolution. I mean, when we think about many of the species on the planet. A lot of them are mutations, or some kind of disease that came in, or something that we would think of in the form of disease that then got. you know, englobed, and was, you know, in endosymbiosis, or was brought into, and that the and then from there the being was there able to kind of evolve into something new and and involve new characteristics. And so I think that when you allow, like you said what we consider today to be disease, or, diversely, you know, from the context of what I know. And you ask that openness of help me. You’re not just saying, Heal me, you’re saying, Help me go in and evolve into what I’m supposed to be. Take me where this is supposed to take me, and allow me to experience it so fully that, whatever the outcome is.

I go back to where I was before in the perspective of I am, you know, my body heals into that, whether I am pass or whether I move into some other shape, form, or what that might be, let it all feel like it’s a movement forward, an evolution, a place that is new and different. And I think that that can only happen really only happen when we recognize our place in nature, and we recognize ourselves as nature, and and share that experience with the like. You said the people with a capital P. The persons around us human and other kin. I don’t. It’s such a fine line, but I feel like it’s so important for us.

Patrick Hanaway
Thanks for elaborating on that. And in my experience was one where it just came to me. It’s like you have to ask for help from all of the beings. or you will die. you know. And it was just like, Okay, it’s like, it’s unequivocal. And you know, I began that that very moment. you know, as the as the dawn broke on that day I began to to do that, and and have felt it, and have felt it ever since. and and and sometimes I forget. you know, and and I and I move away from it, and it’s like, Oh, man, how could I forget a lesson

where my life is at stake? And yet I forget, and then I and then I begin to remember again. And that’s the whole thing for me. It’s about. It’s about. There is no perfection.

it is, it is? There’s imbalance and rebalance. And how do I? How do I work to do that, you know, like, because that’s that’s what creates the dynamic movement in life. It’s like, Oh, I’m off! Oh, I’m back on. I’m I’m off off. Oh, no, you know. But that that’s movement. And when we look at traditional healing systems, you know, that’s what they focus on. They don’t focus on, you know, sort of the static diagnosis they they focus on. Oh, there’s there’s imbalance. How do we bring it back into balance and allow that movement of life that’s sort of weaving of the the tapestry of our life, you know we’re not trying to go back and fix the mistake in the tapestry from back in the day. We’re just trying to weave it now so that it is imbalance and beauty.

Recognizing that that we’ll do our best.

Tigrilla Gardenia
That’s I’m so glad you said that those are actually one of my 1st podcast, episodes that I did was exactly that discussion. The idea that we need to stop thinking that the answer to life is balance. But it is instead flow. It’s moving from that state of imbalance and balance, and being able to manage how that moves, because balance gives us the ability to integrate, to, to kind of solidify to bring things into the current moment. But imbalance is what allows us to grow and move into different directions.

And speaking of imbalance in this work, it sounds like you’ve also moved now from student to teacher. Did I? Did I get that right?

Patrick Hanaway
Yeah, it has unfolded in that way. And it’s sort of like sometimes looking like, how did that happen?

But what’s what’s emerged, you know, for me is that you know I’ve been. I’ve been involved with this center, where my teacher, Elliot, was blue deer, and he was leading pilgrimage, and he then asked me, as he was getting older, he asked me to begin to learn how to do that, and as as fate would have it. you know, his teacher left a lot for him to figure out by listening to the world. It wasn’t. It’s not a didactic kind of teaching.

And so he gave me some some framework for that. But then oh, my gosh, I I just you know it was a weekend valentines weekend, if you will, in 2022. And we sat down, and I said, you know. Okay, well, I’d like to kind of. I have these questions related to formal training, and he he taught me some songs, and he said, We’ll get to the rest of that, you know. That’s detail. We’ll get to that. And that was on Friday, and on Monday he was flying home and had a stroke and ended up dying 2 weeks later. And so it’s like, Oh, my gosh! You know there like there’s this.

this deep well of wisdom and knowledge, and you know I I been with it for a long time, but now you know, how does that carry forward? And so I’ve been asked to carry that forward through the center called Blue Deer, and through taking people on pilgrimage into the sacred sites in Mexico, of the of the or Vedotica people and continuing to deepen my understanding there and then also, how do we carry on? You know these teachings about plant spirit, medicine? And there are peep many people who have been taught. And so we we’ve we’ve created a course to to be able to embody both the legacy, but bringing in other wisdom elders to talk about the the role of plant spirits, and how we work with the plant spirits. and and how we listen to life, how how the aliveness of the world cause it’s not just about plants plants. I I sort of feel like they’re they’re a portal through which we can begin to have. I call them a gateway? They’re like a gateway in the in the Weachel tradition. They use the term Nedika, you know, that’s going through or sipapu in the, in the Anasazi culture of the of the Pueblo people.

you know, there’s so many different ways. But plants are that. And and so that’s what we’re doing as a means of being able to help carry that on. And you know I’m not him. It happens in a different way. I’ve got my own. my own personality, my own perspective, and my own baggage, all of which make me human.

Tigrilla Gardenia
Well, we’ll definitely include everything in the show notes, with information about blue deer and the course and and the work that you’re doing today, as we start to kind of wrap up because I’ve like these are those types of conversations where we can just go down little rabbit holes. We’re trying really hard. We’re doing a really good job and not going down the rabbit hole of specific plants and specific lessons. I can see us both holding it back. It’s like, no, if not, this would be 4 h.

But but I’m curious. Are there any kind of last of all, the things we’ve talked about? Are there any kind of last thoughts? Something that you feel is really important right now to share with those that are listening and who are embarking on their own journey with plant-spirit medicine.

Patrick Hanaway
Yeah, I think. You know what what arises to me is actually expressed in the course by by one of the one of the teachers. In it’s that there is hope. We we live in a time where it feels like God. We’ve just screwed this all up, and you know it’s going to go to hell in a handbasket. and and the earth is fine will be fine without us. No, the earth and all the plant people. They they want to be in relationship to us. you know, and we have to be. As we open ourselves up, there is actually possibility and hope for transformation to occur.

So let’s let’s listen. Let’s do our work. Nuts not become nihilistic, you know, and feel like, Oh, we it’s it’s beyond the possibility of of rebalancing. It’s just going to be a different balance than it was before, or a different you know we’re so far imbalanced that this sacrifices will, I’m sure, be be large, but there is possibilities to be able to bring us back in deeper relationship to the living world and all of the all the peoples who are in it. listening to them and connecting with them. And it’s. And in fact, it’s it’s necessary, like we have to do. It’s the only possibility that I can see.

AI is not a possibility of doing it, trying to trying to engineer more solutions, not going to be the way to do it. listening to the peoples of the world. you know, of all the as you said, the the big P peoples. You know all the personages that are there. That’s the opportunity. And, in fact, it’s the requirement for us to be able to continue to live as human peoples on this earth.

Tigrilla Gardenia
And that’s so beautiful. And it’s so true. And it’s not. The technology can’t be our friend and our ally and something we work with. But if you create these algorithms using the same models that got us into the problems you’re just gonna perpetuate the problems. That’s it’s it’s inevitable to perpetuate the problems. Instead, if you step, I keep saying to people, if we step out of our humanness just for a second. Enter into some of these other species. the plantness into the fungi nas into the bacteria nests. I mean. These are the resilient beings that have continuously lived on this planet world building, right? Not world destroying. And so yes, they know when to destroy, because there’s always decomposers. There’s always a cycle exactly. And and what we’re learning more and more as we work with all of these other beings is how to be a part of the cycle rather than trying to control the cycle and move the cycle forward in our own way. And that will then allow us to use things like technology. And AI, I mean, I have a tech background. I understand how it can be useful for us, but only when I have a different mindset. Otherwise, I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve always done, and that’s going to give me the results on a bigger scale than I’ve that I’ve already created right now in my human body. So so I that’s it’s such an important lesson. I’m so glad that you mentioned that.

Patick Hanaway
Yeah. And it’s it’s it’s a tool. It’s a useful tool. There are many different useful tools, but it is not a way of relating to the world that will help us to become integrated in whole. And that’s what exactly. That’s what we’re going for.

Tigrilla Gardenia
Exactly, totally totally agree. Beautiful words, and to end by. Thank you so much for this conversation. It has been amazing, and I am so excited about the work that you’re all doing, and your own personal journey, and you know wait! I have to ask this question, though. And the wife. how is she integrating all of that?

Patrick Hanaway
Oh, same, you know she’s Lisa. Her name is Lisa, and you know. And she she took a path that was really focused on moms and babies and and kids in relationship to it. So she’s delivered, you know thousands of babies, and, you know, works with moms and helps them to. You know the heart of birth and connect into that through, you know, connecting with birth and and sometimes with birth. Trauma, you know, to be able to be more deeply connected, and that’s where her path has gone, and she, like me also is initiated as as a mark home. And so she does that that work as well.

Tigrilla Gardenia
Beautiful. That makes me very happy. So I am really excited. We’re going to put everything in the show notes so that people can find out about you, about the course and about all the other amazing things that the Center has to offer. Thank you again, Patrick, for this time, and thank you to all of you that have listened all the way to the end. I hope that we can continue these conversations in the naturally conscious community.

Please let us know what you think. Leave us a review. Leave us a comment and share this with your friends, because this is the type of thinking that is going to, as Patrick said, bring hope to the world and help us move into a new paradigm, one of co-creation rather than a kind of co-destruction right now, which is where we’re heading. If we don’t make changes soon. Alright! Thank you so much. Everyone. Remember, resist the urge to hold back your emerging green brilliance.


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Ancient and modern knowledge from biology to spirituality about the wondrous ways plants help you lead a Naturally Conscious life.

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