The Quaking Aspen tree has totem medicine or lessons and gifts that it can give us. This medicine can come to you on a daily or regular basis or it can also be a part of your birth totems in the Native American tradition. Quaking Aspens get their name from the leaves that flutter in a breeze and can be found in the colder climates of North America.
If the Aspen is a part of your birth totems, you were born under the Rest and Cleansing Moon which fall between January 20th and February 18.
Physical medicine comes from the leaves, bark and buds of this lovely tree. This member of the Tall People gives us these to be used as a tonic or a tea to aide with liver and digestive problems. Other uses of the Quaking Aspen are as a relaxant, for faintness, for hay fever, for internal organs and as an astringent. If used daily it can help with skin conditions such as eczema, ulcers and burns.
Powder scraped from the bark of a Quaking Aspen is sometimes used as a deodorant. It has also been said that this powder can be used to help with cataracts.
Teas and tonics can help with respiratory problems such as congestion, hay fever, asthma and bronchitis. Quaking Aspen teas and tonics can also help in reducing toxicity in our bodies and congestion of the digestive system. Native Americans also used teas from the Quaking Aspen as a substitute for quinine.
As a spiritual totem the bell like song of the Quaking Aspen increases your sense of play and belief in magic much like the Otter who shares in the birth totem medicine under the Rest and Cleansing Moon.
In the Native American view, the Tall People (trees) give us many gifts and lessons to help us in our daily lives. The Quaking Aspen is just one of many.
~ Mitakuye Oyasin ~ We are all related
Had you thought of the Peony as a possible totem in your life? Remember that a Native American totem can come in the form of an animal, a mineral, or a plant. We sometimes forget about the lessons or medicine that we can learn from our friends the plants of Mother Earth.
I don’t know about where you live but in my part of the world, the peony is a most lovely flowering plant that blooms during May. Whenever I encounter a flowering peony, I am taken back to my Grandmother’s home in a memory that makes me smile. As a child I was so drawn to her peonies every spring. They were simply breathtaking and I did not realize at the time that they may have attracted me as a totem. After doing some research for this post, I do have to wonder. I seemed to be drawn to writing about them today so my inner voice is telling me to learn something from this wondrous plant.
In past times when the old ways were followed more closely, many times the seeds of the peony were dried and then carved with something meaningful and then worn around the neck to ward off evil spirits and to provide protection for traveling.
It is believed that when you have peonies planted around your home that they will offer protection and also good health to any of the people who live in the household.
Besides protection and good health, what other lessons does the peony as a plant totem teach us? Well, just as a peony plant starts out small and then has the ability to grow into a large plant…so do we as humans. We all have the potential to grow in our spirit and be a success at what we attempt.
We are reminded by the peony totem to nurture ourselves physically and emotionally along with nurturing our hopes and dreams. When we do, we allow ourselves to flourish and blossom in our day to day journey.
One way to remind ourselves about the lessons of the plant totem, Peony, is to keep a reminder for the times of the year that this lovely plant is not in our vision but can still teach us to bloom forth with the strong and positive energy of the Peony and allow ourselves to become what we are destined to be.
~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related
Blue Camas is the plant totem associated with the Frogs Return Moon which falls between April 20 and May 19 each year. The totem lesson is to learn to sustain ourselves and others. This pretty little flower is also sometimes called Indian Hyacinth.
Native Americans used Blue Camas as a food. It was a very important food in their diets. Only the Camas with the blue flowers should be used! The yellow or greenish white flowers are deadly with poison.
A food staple, blue camas can be used to make pancakes, molasses and a sugar substitute. It has sustained people for thousands of years. Some reports find Blue Camas to be helpful in balancing blood sugar levels.
Many of the First People ate this plant raw, roasted it, boiled it, and fried it. They also dried it for storing and ground it for different uses.
As a totem this plant teaches us about creating movement when stagnation has set in. It gives us the message of providing sustenance and reminds us of the importance of discrimination in all walks of life.
I have not seen the Blue Camas plant in my area but I would love to as it is the plant totem of my birth and it sounds wonderfully sweet. Some of my research shows that a substitute plant totem for this moon would be wild clover. I’ll have to see if I can find some additional information about the clover and perhaps post about it another day.
~ Mitakuye Oyasin ~ We are all related