When I was a child my mother regularly muscle tested us for food sensitives, seeing how our bodies energetically reacted to the food in our hands. You're likely familiar with muscle testing if you frequent a naturopath or homeopath.
I saw a woman do this at a market recently; she was picking up different foods and cosmetics, holding them to her chest, raising her knee and trying to press it down with her free hand, noticing the difference in resistance. We had a good chuckle together as we discussed practicing these techniques in public.
I've done this not only with food but with other small and large choices over the years... feeling into into my body and listening for my its response. Does it feel warm or cold? Do I sense a clear yes or no? Sometimes I close my eyes, hold a question in my mind and feel if I sway forward (yes) or backwards (no).
Our bodies often give us signs, and if we learn to listen we may find our intuition is stronger than we ever knew and our footing on this foggy path made a little more certain.
What does your body tell you?
Sometimes we need a little help though, a little nudge to ease us into trusting even ourselves.
We can lean into that deep listening or intuition through practices of connection and stillness. Through breathing, meditation and other restorative practices
We can also bring in a herbs here like Mugwort, the ultimate herb for lucid dreaming and connection. Often tucked into pillows with a few sprigs of lavender or infused in oil and rubbed on the temples for deep dreaming. Mugwort was also smoked for the same purposes or to open space for connection through meditation or ceremony.
Yarrow is also a common herb used in energetic protection and balancing our feminine, intuitive nature. It's said to elicit visionary experiences while being protective and nurturing.
Hibiscus makes a wonderful ruby-colored infusion. It allows us to accept our sensitive side. By picking up on the subtle energies around us, we will know much more easily when we should move on. This herb can heal past wounds, promote forgiveness and is said to open up connection to our 'inner knowing'.
Lavender is a spiritual herb that relaxes our mind and quiets the ego voice. It is beautiful when used before sleep or meditation, as it resonates with the third eye chakra~ which is our centre of clairvoyance. This can promote psychic visions and intuitive insights. This herb can also help cast away any fears about embracing your spiritual gifts.
Rose is an ancient heart medicine. It attracts compassion, understanding, healing, and of course love. When using this herb, the prickles in our hearts may soften and allow for love to flow in and out more readily. Something that may be very helpful in trusting ourselves and hearing others.
The Elder tree has a long history connected with ancient mysticism. Even farmers would refer to the spirit of this tree as the “Elder Mother.” The flower has a powerful energy that awakens our intuition and opens our chakras. It is often viewed as the wise mother, the protector, the one who holds our stories.
Angelica is known to clear the pathways to divine guidance. Used as a tea, tincture or flower essence, this is a strong feminine and other worldly plant. Its flowers sway in the wind, large and exultant like an angel, barely holding onto the earth.
Tobacco, while not supportive when smoked regularly, is a sacred plant of reverence and tuning into the messages of our guides. Often given as an offering to other people and plants, it's also long been used to smoke to clear a space and set an intention while opening up to the messages of loved ones. This is safest offered to the ground, in a fire or taken internally as a flower essence.
Ghost Pipe is for trusting the deep journeying of the soul, helping us to approach the mysteries of the other side and intuition while showing us the root of our pain and discomfort. Best used as a flower essence.
Other herbs for building intuition are Hawthorn, Passion Flower and Wormwood (avoid internal use of wormwood unless in tiny amounts or as a flower essence).
Herbal infusions are a simple and delicious way to utilize herbs, especially when using them for energetic purposes. Making tea is a ritual of its own and one that can be so sacred. I studied tea making in Japan for a year and was always in awe watching the slow and deliberate movements of my teachers. We can bring the sacred into our own tea making practice by doing things slowly and with intention; whispering to the leaves as we gently scoop them into the pot, signing to them as they infuse and giving thanks as we sip. All of the above herbs are wonderful in infusions, although yarrrow and mugwort can be quite bitter, so go light on those.
Herbal smoking blends are not just made with tobacco or cannabis. I love smoking herbal cigarette on a warm summer night when the frogs are chirping and the stars are out or before going into a deep meditation. Preparing a herbal cigarette or packing a pipe forces us to be present, lighting it and watching the smoke swirl in clouds in front of us brings us into our bodies. Herbs can be absorbed via their smoke in our lungs and have often been used in ceremonial practices around the world. Herbal smoking blends are best made with a base of mullein and/or raspberry leaf with a sprinkling of herbs listed above. Our Visioning Herbal Smoking Blend is a tasty combination of mullein, raspberry, lavender, passionflower and mugwort.
Flower essences are a wonderful and safe way to access the energetics of a plant. As gentle as they are on the body, be prepared for big shifts! Flower essences are powerful, especially when used consistently. Often taken a few drops at a time, a little bottle can last quite some time. Use them individually or as a blend. Our Visioning essence blend uses several of the herbs listed above to help shift us on a subtle level to be more open and aware of those messages coming to us. Check out our Visioning Flower Essence with ghost pipe, reishi, angelica and tobacco.
Candle lit Herbal baths are a wonderful way to use herbs for building intuition. The combination of the herbs being absorbed into the skin and the steam in the lungs along with the calming ritual of a bath and the gentle flickering of candles combine in a beautiful way. Add some Rose and Hibiscus Bath Salts to the tub or throw several of these herbs into a cloth bag and let it infuse in the tub before getting in. Alternatively, brew up a pot of tea, pour yourself a cup and let the rest steep while the bath runs. Add the stronger infusion to the tub while you drink the last of your cup. Close your eyes and let your attention come into your body, from your toes up to the top of your head. Ask yourself a question and see what your body says.
Sitting with herbs can be just as powerful (or even more so) as ingesting, smoking or steeping in them. Growing these herbs or finding them in wild provides the opportunity to sit with them, smell them, taste them and speak to them. This may stray into the 'woo' for you, but don't knock it till you've tried it, and quite honestly, can you think of a better way to practice your intuition than speaking with plants?!
With two people ~ Have one person hold their dominant arm straight out from their body. Press down on that arm while they resist the pressure and notice the strength it takes to push it down.
Place a product or food item in their other hand (they need not know what the item is, it can be inside a container or not). Now press on the outstretched arm again and notice if the arm remains strong as before, or if it has lost some or most of its resistance.
Take note of those items that decrease the subject's strength. These are items that may potentially be negatively impacting them. This can be done easily with children 5yrs and up, but you can use an in-between person to test on those younger.
With one person ~ With a thought held in your mind, stand shoulder width apart, arms down at your sides. Close your eyes or hold them at a soft gaze. After holding a yes/no question in your mind for several seconds (this can start with 20-30 sec, but will be much quicker after some practice) and notice if you begin to sway forwards (yes) or backwards (no). You can imagine this as a leaning towards or leaning away from action.
Alternatively, make an 'o' with one hand, linking the thumb to your index finger. Interlace the opposite hand with another 'o' shape. Pull them apart against eachother swiftly with just enough pressure that they still hold. Note the strength used. Ask a yes/no question. Staying strong is a yes where as if they slip apart, it's a no. Start with clear questions and even begin with "show me a yes, ok. Now show me a no".