I’ve spent these past days gathering in and processing seeds from the herbal apiary. Saving seed has become a vital part of my working year on the land as I expand the garden to meet the medicine demands of my family, clients and the appetite of the bees.
The creation of seed is awe inspiring – it is the final act in the cycle where the life-force, unique essence and genetic patterning of each herb becomes focused into a tiny space and stored away in a beautiful and unique protective casing. Held safely within, is the essential information needed for a replica herb to emerge next cycle. As guardian of the plants in the herbal apiary, I see it as my duty to understand the value and uniqueness of each seed. It is my job to gather, sort and store them diligently and to help spread them widely.
My time gathering has proved rewarding ~ not only as I saved lots of seed for next year but because I am reminded of how much I rely on the garden to reveal to me new insights about the way things are. With clocks changing and the old, familiar dark of autumn setting in, the act of gathering in the seeds tunes me into the deeper messages of this transitory time – to go into the dark carrying only what is essential.
Just as the plants focus and conserve their energy into they unique seed, we too can use this time to focus on what we are choosing to carry with us into the dark. Seed urges us to conserve and protect our energy – to go into winter with what feels truly aligned for us. Now is the time to gather in, store and protect all that we will want to breathe new energy and life into next spring. If we’re carrying something we don’t want or need, then now as autumn falls is the optimum time to let it go. Once the inessential has been released, the seed of a new something has the space to appear. Something more essential to us, or more closely related to our essence, can start to form as a seed in the dark during the winter months.
As autumn sets in, head out to gather seeds from your most favourite plants and ponder what this time is asking from you.
What is it I want to carry with me into the winter? What feels essential to me now?
Is there anything I want to let go of? What might I need to release now to conserve my energy and invite in the slower pace of winter?
You might want to dry and store your seeds through the winter as a reminder of your commitment to your most essential self. Protect the seeds in an envelope and write on it what you are choosing to take into the dark with you this winter. Keep them somewhere dark, cool and protected. Come spring, scatter them into the returning light on the land as you commit to breathing renewed life into all that that you have lovingly held essential to you throughout the winter dark x
IMAGES ~ Fennel seed (top), Marshmallow seed (middle), Mugwort seed (bottom)