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Wood Sorrel and Swan Medicine

Updated: Feb 16, 2020

White, winter, and snow. Right now, I am staying put and am going strain a tincture.

Oxalis, commonly known as Wood Sorrel, comes in many varieties. The one I've chosen to work with grows along the path to my house. It has three heart-shaped leaves and cheery yellow flowers. The seed pods look like Okra. It's often mistaken as a clover, but it is not in the clover family Fabaceae. It has its own family, Oxalidaceae.

It is pleasantly sour. I credit herbalist Lise Wolff for brining this herb into my repertoire. Lise has mentioned that it is a very sunny, happy little herb, which I completely agree with. And I decided I wanted to know more.

When I created the tincture, I used what I had: Oxalis stricta. I used the aerial parts: leaves, flowers, seed pods, and stems. I like to create with animal medicine, and Swan decided to be a part of this tincture. I use a folk method: this tincture was a loose 1:1 ratio of brandy to herb.

After about four months (time flies!), I strained it out. I tasted the herb: sour! If you could get a Skittle plant without cheating and using fruit, this would be it. And it's hard to avoid being cheerful when something tastes so nice. Oxalis immediately went to work on my stomach and intestines, allowing them to relax, which enabled me to breath deeper. It then proceeded to my esophagus and heart region, warming it up. These properties are outlined in Oxalis's signatures: cheerful yellow flowers and yellow for the systems it works on (the visceral parts of our body). The green, heart-shaped for the heart and the color of the heart chakra. The leaves also look like little lungs.

Something unexpected happened: warmth in my shoulders and neck. I think I have to credit Swan for allowing this to happen. Perhaps relaxing the middle body allowed blood flow to the upper body. Still, the signature look of the swan is the curve of the half-heart shaped neck. And swans are one of the animals that find life-mates. Put two and two together and you create a heart. And it wasn't until just now that I now know why Swan decided to be part of this picture. There is truly a heart-centered emotion in this plant and with Swan Medicine.

I tuned in a little more with this plant and it was definitely moistening. Stimulating to the salivary glands (that's the sour taste for you) and to digestion. Lots of gurgles and bubbles and downward flow.

There is also something about alignment. I saw a curve of light. And the curve would straighten out. Perhaps it is a physical alignment. Perhaps it is being in alignment with what brings you joy. Or peace.

Also present was the sun. And rays. And perhaps something to do with the nerves of the eyes or the macula. I don't always know how the images fit in right away. I am learning to trust these impressions.

I had sampled a little of the greens from the tincture, then decided to strain it. During the process, I dropped a heavy glass jar onto a green ceramic bowl and broke it. When a vessel breaks, I pay attention. Sometimes, a vessel needs to break so healing can enter. Sometimes, our old vessel does not fit the new that is coming in. And sometimes, we need to release. There is a transformative energy that happened with this tincture process. Perhaps it was a sign that this is the medicine for now. Stepping forward into something new. Letting go of what weighs you down. Or that Swan says: Transform. It was a lesson from Swan that I have forgotten.

Oxalis was the right choice for this white, Swan colored day.

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