Roses still bloom on shrubs that my grandparents planted decades ago.
Playing in the garden today, I went from rose bush to rose bush, intoxicated with the notion of creating with my friend Rosa spp. I finally settled with one dark pink bush with lovely unfurling blooms. The blooms had that lovely rose scent, but light--not thick like soap. So, with mason jar in hand, I plucked a bloom, separated the petals into the jar. I added a few sprigs of lavender and a single bit of cedar leaflet from the garden, and some bits of dried satsuma peel to the mix (I can hardly ever confine myself to a single herb when I create with plants!). After that, I filled the jar halfway with filtered water and set it out in the sun for the rest of the day.
Meanwhile, I nibbled a rose petal, inhaling that delicate scent of grace, and my mouth drying. Astringent. Is experience I have of Rose in my mouth warming? Cooling? Neutral? My first thought was neutral--such an unromantic word for such a heavenly flower. But a second nibble seemed to fill me with the faintest of sense of warm. Certainly I feel warmed in spirit when I am with Rose, so I go with that sense. That's my experience today of Rose.
Tonight I strain out the petals and peel. A faint citrusy fragrance as I twirl the water, and that waft of rose. The water is a pale yellow-orange. Perhaps a slight rose blush to the color, perhaps not. I sip and taste ... lemon! But further swallows separate the flavors. Rose, certainly. Orange/citrus -- ever so slight. Perhaps I can distinguish the lavender. Cedar, I can't taste, but the ancient mother sense of cedar is in the mix for me. I wonder: if I infuse just the smallest bit of cedar in one jar of water, and then later have one of my daughters fill three cups: two with plain water and one with the faintest-bit-of-cedar water, would I be able to sense with assurance the cup that held the spirit of cedar? An experiment for sometime soon!
Back to my rose sun tea:
Really, the smell and taste verges on soap. But if I separate myself, just the smallest bit, I return to my grandmother's rose garden in my heart and mind, the garden from which I plucked these herbs. My garden. That grace of rose resumes, and it is as if sunlight infuses my spirit. Can it be that this infusion is cleansing my spirit? That's the feeling gentling through me!
Kiva Rose has an enticing recipe for Wild Rose Elixer on her blog. What I created today is perhaps a gaudy relative of hers.
I plucked a rose bloom, separated the petals into a small mason jar, filling it. Then I filled the jar the rest of the way with kirschwasser--cherry brandy--which is the only brandy I have in the house, bought for who knows what recipe years ago, and barely used in all that time. Wild roses are ever more subtle than this cultivated bloom I used. And cherry brandy! Well, perhaps the cherry part of the brandy will add another medicinal quality to the mix. I'll have to research just what kirsch is, how it's made. And what are the medicinal qualities of cherry?
Okay, Wikipedia tells me that kirschwasser is made from distilled, fermented morello cherries (a sour cultivar), with the pits (stones) included. Perusing Herbalpedia 2007 tells me that cherry, a member of the Rose family, is useful for respiratory and arthritic problems. I'm reminded that cherry bark is often used in herbal cough syrups. Hm!
How might the respiratory assistance qualities of Cherry support those of Rose? From a plant spirit medicine perspective, I consider the heart-opening nature of Rose, its nature for me as a spirit balm and its protective, fierce, and wild nature (think of Rose's thorns, and how even domesticated Roses like the ones in my garden, can snag and entangle you when you are unaware). I think of the hearty nature of Cherry, the bold bright or sour flavor that we delight in so much as children and as adults, if we leave off our fastidious natures (spitting out pits, dribbling cherry juice, staining our fingers ....). When I consider Cherry I think of generosity, friendliness, invitation, frolic. So perhaps this Rose-Cherry Brandy Elixer may support in uplifting my heart, and soothing away those things that choke me up -- coughs, inflexibility in my thoughts and emotions. Perhaps this gregarious elixer with support an ease and flexibility in my being, and encourage a gentle and freeing wildness to emerge ... These are my fancies right now. We'll see in just what way this elixer nourishes my well-being in future weeks.