Energetics is basically a tool which assists the practitioner or the lay herbalist in gaining a better understanding of the actions of plants and how they can best be applied to the patterns of imbalance which manifest within people.
Energetics can be applied to both plants as well as humans. Plant Energetics is about using our senses to understand what sort of influence or “action” a plant will have within the body or how the body will respond to a particular plant. Human energetics relates to observable patterns which manifest within the body or are visible on the surface. By observing the various patterns the herbalist is able to gain insight into the state of balance or imbalance within the body.
Humans are incredibly complex creatures which are constantly evolving. Unfortunately, as our lives have become more complex we have lost touch with the basic physiological tools that have enabled our survival. This is not to say that humans will eventually become extinct, or that we no longer posses these tools, but rather our tools have been dulled and have lost their edge.
We as a society have created other tools that take the place of our once sharp instincts and senses. As primitive man relied on all of his senses to warn him of danger, we in a modern society rely on technology to do the work for us. Artificial fragrances and deodorants mask the smell of our own natural aroma. The taste of real food has been masked or “enhanced” by the addition of artificial flavors. And, the “conventional” practitioner relies most heavily on technology as opposed to their senses in their “diagnosis” and “treatment” of “diseases”.
Our senses are vital to our health and well being. For instance our sense of smell allows us to detect pheromones which are excreted by other humans in response to stress and arousal. We smell our food to determine its freshness or to detect a putrid smell when it has gone bad. Besides our five basic senses we also have other senses such as thermoception which allows us to detect variations in temperature which inevitably may help to prevent one from getting burned or frost bitten.
To better understand plants and their influence within the body and the reaction of the body to these plants we must re-engage the use of our senses; this includes observing, smelling, touching and tasting the plants. Our senses are also crucial as herbalists in assessing the states of disharmony within someone we are working with and determining the appropriate remedy(s).
By using our senses to study plants we see their colors, we observe the environments they grow in, we taste their flavors, we touch their leaves, we feel their warmth and we hear their wisdom. Our senses help to reveal what these plants are communicating.
When working with others the herbalist must also engage their senses as an aid to determining underlying imbalances. We observe the client and note the subtleties of their complexion and expressions, we feel the speed of their pulse, the texture and temperature of the skin, observe the tongue and we listen to and hear their stories.
In the next segment in this series on energetics I will begin to discuss how to re-engage your senses to start gaining a better understanding of the plants and people you are working with.