Devil's Club at Fall Creek

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There's a place up in the hills called Fall Creek where we go with Lucy Brook to swim sometimes. You walk down the creek from one hole to another and along the way there's this most amazing ancient Devil's Club. Lucy took a photo of me standing in awe that became this painting that she now owns. Lovely full circle of a 45 year friendship.

This is the Strength VIII card in Lane's Greenwitch Tarot:

Usually this card depicts a woman who has made friends with a beast, often a lion. Not taming in any violent, “power-over” sense but winning over with love. Befriending. I didn’t have any paintings like that – or at least none that I wanted to display. But then I came across this quote in Tarot scholar RachaelPollock’s "Tarot for the Soul": “Strength comes out when the Devil is at play.” The plant here is Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridus) – a powerful one I’ve long been called to that grows in the Pacific Northwest temperate rainforests and is very sacred to the First Peoples. It is not a plant you can snuggle up to as its stems and leaves are covered in wickedly teeny hairlike prickers that can get under your skin and become infected. Yet, when a well-known herbalist asked a native elder what it was used for medicinally, she is reported to have said, “Everything,” with a scornful look at his question. Here, the journeyer, feeling very small, looks at a huge ancient specimen at the top of a stream bank in our local temperate rainforest.She realizes it has clues to and cures for what is deviling her. It takes great strength to confront one’s fears and challenges, and strength to take the seriously bitter medicine such as that of Devil’s Club. Be very conscious in your connection with this plant as its casual misuse can be considered cultural appropriation.

What is deviling you? What are the herbs and plants of your home place? Which ones are reaching out to befriend you so they can help you look honestly at your fears of the hurdles in front of you? Can you digest the tonic your soul craves? Where do you find and how do you evidence and use the immense strength and sweetness that is your birthright? Devils Club Essence is asking to help you find strength for your process.