Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Making nettle wine

Some time ago I had a dream in which I was told: learn to make wine. I knew as soon as I woke up that this was a shamanic teaching, and not an instruction for everyday reality. I already enjoy wine from Good Libations, a U Brew here on Cortes Island run by a dear friend who must have wine yeast as a spirit helper--his knowledge and sensitivity is that spirit-directed. I was lamenting that most wine-making fruits and berries appear much later in the year, and then I discovered a recipe for making nettle wine. My island home has lots of nettles in open areas where the ground has been disturbed and this seemed the perfect fit since I love their pay attention energy.

Yet how is this a shamanic teaching? I drew a Journey Oracle card asking for guidance and this image and phrase appeared. For me, it is a difficult picture from a difficult time of year: the January full moon. On the same day that I received this message of Mother inside looking out I read this passage in "Voices of the First Day" a book by Robert Lawlor that I loved many years ago and am rediscovering again: [Willy Whitefeather, a man of the Cherokee tribe, after playing a melody on his flute for the stones of a red canyon, said]..."the stones have silicone crystals inside them, through which they listen. They are like lonely old people, standing and waiting to be sung to. Our people have always sung songs of admiration to the qualities of strength, beauty and endurance that stones bring into the world....They are tired and lonely now because the white world has become so blind and selfish. Thy live in a hollow, unsung world."

I put these two messages together, and understood to bring to the plants what I learned from my years studying with Martin Prechtel: the gift of a bead made by my hands to the nettle patch, and the gift of eloquence made by my voice to all the plant tops before I cut them. So my first lesson about making nettle wine is to really see the nettles, and to really receive the enormity of what they are giving, that I might bring the seed of my dream into fruition in this reality.