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Violets & the hidden, wild rivers of the body~


The Violets are in full bloom over here at the Barn! And every three or so days, I spend about two hours among them, tenderly harvesting the brightest blooms and healthiest heart-shaped leaves for this year's elixir and teas. Being sure that when I look back at the sprawling patch after harvest, it looks mostly untouched, as if I haven't disturbed them at all.

A little about the medicine of Violets ~

Viola sororia grow in clusters of luminous purple flowers with white wooly throats and green heart-shaped leaves. Also called meadow violet, wooly blue violet, hooded violet, wood violet, and (thanks to Sappho, my favorite) the lesbian flower. Native to so-called North America, they spread rhizomically, grow in communities, and have secret second flowers, which grow hidden underground never opening their petals to the sunlight.

These pale white, almost otherworldly looking subterranean flowers develop fully below the surface of the soil and have no need of a pollinator. They produce viable seeds on their own and self-sow directly into the dark underground they live within. Those vibrant purple above-ground blooms are not used for reproduction, only pleasure, beauty, canopy for the unrevealed, but very much alive and flourishing, below.

These subterranean flowers are called Cleistogamous flowers. I've seen them, with their oval, almost-pink faces pointed down as if in a posture of prayer, but I've never photographed them. They fill me with reverence and to protect that feeling, and the kind of ceremonial privacy I feel in their presence, I won't share a found image, instead, I'll leave it up to you to search for an image or, maybe, you'd like to simply reach out through your senses, your imagination, to their underground world and leave them in their soft darkness as I've chosen to do.

When sitting with Violets, what I sense most are those subterranean flowers. A cool fluidity meets me. Something unlocks in the underground and I am met with a calm, cooling breeze. A kind of easeful power. An underworld magnetism. I feel as if I’ve just gained access to a hidden wild stream.

Violets help to ease the emotional and sensual hearts in times of acute grief, invite in calm discernment, open the portal to underworld energy, and nourish the shadow self. They help move the waters of the body as they work to soften and clear lymphatic, hepatic, and emotional blockages of all kinds. Violet has long been a remedy to treat headaches, especially those due to tension, sadness, constitutional dryness, or lack of sleep. And have also been helpful in the treatment of sore, swollen lymph glands during acute viral infections such as the flu.