Listening to the Wild
By Emerson Gale
On March 10th I spoke with Sally J. Mark, “Sal” about how to share the truth of plant sentience. Initially, I wanted to interview her to learn about the Music of the Plants devices from Damanhur,www.musicoftheplants.com for which she has been facilitating workshops around the country. Sal helped me realize that the devices are musical instruments for the plant to sing through and that they represent a bridge between the intuitive and scientific realms. She shared that plants vibrate at much higher rates than humans and thus this circuitry is a way for the plants to share their music with us in our audible range. The resulting sound cannot be translated into our musical knowledge, but rather offers an opportunity to “step into the world of the plant.” The device helps allow auditory contact to add to the other sensory methods of sight, taste, smell and touch which comprise a body of ways “allowing us to receive the plants’ medicine.” Sal observed how plants are “mistresses and masters of adaptation,” and we have so much to learn from them through this variety of sensorial channels. She shared that this process involves a journeying from the brain into the heart in order to connect with the sonic intelligence of the plants. Sal passionately spoke of the need to find the rightful place the heart deserves and to “put it on the throne” so we can remember who we are “and what we are doing here on Mother Earth.”
I asked Sally about her personal connection with nature and how it has evolved over the years. She shared how she was put under the old-growth Tingle trees in Western Australia after she was born and how this enabled her to receive the ancient Tingle transmissions. She reflected that she was thus born into awareness of the innate gift to be in constant communion with nature. Sal then disclosed that because of dramatic changes in her home life she was told that she was never going to return to the Tingle forest. She shared that Type 1 diabetes manifested in her body at this time – a fact directly tied to the disruption of her intimate connection with the ancient Tingle trees she had grown up with. Sal noted how this situation is emblematic of our need to step up to be tree doctors (‘tree whispering’). Acknowledging the sentience of plants such as our dear tree species is a vital aspect of how we are “needing to heal our psycho-spiritual disconnects from plants.”
I asked Sal how she recommends we get to know plants better? “All plants have their unique signature…they get in contact with us when they want to communicate with us," she said, adding that it is our job to keep our senses awake to the synchronicities which provide informative signals from plants. Sally shared about her personal, evolving relationship with the plant world: “my connection with plants is a love affair with spirit…with the wisdom keepers…receiving the information of how I can live in a good way on the planet...The trees are teaching me to heal myself…they are my elders,” Sal shared a vivid anecdote of how a large old growth Douglas Fir near where she resides at Cedar Circle has taught her many useful lessons. “They can have an amazing sense of humor!” she exclaimed. She noted how responsive this tree has been to her dialogue with it and has helped her further develop her sense of ‘clear knowing’ in communicating with trees.
At this point in the conversation I asked Sally a question that has been on my mind: how do we distinguish between psychological projection and authentic receiving? Sally suggested feeling the “difference between acting straight away and sitting with something.” If she has doubts, she sits with the plant longer and soon it becomes clear where the messaging came from. To this end, Sal shared that “plants are like human beings…projecting on them is like projecting on other humans.” We need to develop “a place where we choose to trust” and “we have to listen…we need to feed the inspiration that comes from the plants and the trees and also to remember to say thank you." Receiving a message 3 times signals that we should be paying attention to that message. We need to “allow the plants to help us with our spiritual evolution, as they are embedded within our sense of interconnectedness.”
Sally pointed out that by tuning into a particular member of a species, it bridges our access to members of that species elsewhere. By connecting with the sentience of plants at the species-level we open ourselves to an even more interwoven and nuanced relationship with these beings.