Welcome To The Peace Garden!
Imagine yourself in a lush meadow surrounded by a forest of red cedar, fir, and alder, with shrubs of Indian plum and trailing blackberry vines. The meadow itself is an herb garden, and as you walk the paths your feet step on a ground cover of wild thyme. The tangy scent spikes the air. Your hand brushes against the silver stalks of lavender, and this gentle fragrance interlaces with that of the thyme, of mint, and even with that of the cedar and fir growing nearby. This is a place where both forest and garden mingle, where both can be at peace with each other.
The forest and the garden speak to you. The great cedar, just at the garden's edge, invites you to gather a handful of its newest needles, the light green fronds. The fir tree asks you to gather some of its needles, and a few of those brown buds at the base of the needles. You place them in a pot of water you carry. Now the lavender whispers to you, and the new leaves of the wild rose. You gather these leaves, as well as a stalk of mint (for mint will not be ignored). Nearby, a small fire burns in a cleared area lined with stones. You place the pot on the stones, and settle yourself on a mossy rock. You notice a gently bubbling stream. at the edges, and a stump with already cracked nuts on its surface (you can decorate with them or eat them!). The sun warms the air with garden and forest fragrances, even as the water in the pot begins to simmer. Time drapes like a gauze veil, sleepy around your shoulders. But eventually the tea is ready, and you notice a ladle and teacup by the fire circle.
Have they always been there? The wind trembles a melody through the forest branches. The music - and its message - is there for you to enjoy as you sip your forest-garden tea, your Peace Tea.
Peace Tea watercolor art by Jane
Create Your Own Peace Tea.
Pluck a loosely packed cupful of some of any or one of these herbs (see below) -- they are all edible, but make sure that the plants are pesticide and chemical-free, not alongside a road, and are healthy and have plenty of leaves and blossoms to spare. Newer leaves are best, releasing their flavor more readily. If you have allergies, I suggest that you do some research before making tea with flowers.
Before you pick, you might want make your intention known to the plant and "ask" if its all right to take some of its leaves or petals. Then listen with your heart. If you feel some sort of discord or tension, then leave the plant alone. If you feel an openness, then go ahead and gently pick. Be sure to thank the plant for the gift of itself! You might want to offer a gift to it in return, such as a song, or water for its roots, or corn meal (an ancient offering). My 6-year-old daughter Gwynne suggests: "If you really want to share things with yourself and your plant friends, give a few drips of your tea to the plant."
fir or pine needles
apple, rose, lavender, mint, blackberry strawberry, or raspberry blossoms and/or young leaves
a simple good wish for yourself and the world, like "harmony", "kindness", "beauty, or "peace"
Place the leaves & petals in a quart of water. Bring just below boiling, then turn it down and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Placing your hands around your teapot or cup, take a moment (short or long) to infuse the tea with your wish. Now, taste your tea! Add honey if you wish. Remember those plants who shared themselves as you enjoy their essence! Offer your tea back to the plants from which it came, or to other plants you know and love!