By Lillian Edwards
Inspiration - The unseen force that births an urge within us to create. It speaks to that which fills our beings with visions and feelings that feed and direct our forward movement in some way. A bright idea. An exciting new endeavor. The impulse to explore some intriguing dimension of reality through artistic expression. Not only do I love the personal experience of being inspired, I am enamored by this word’s etymology, which tells a story of roots, ancient and deep, planted firmly into the rich soil of the wondrous connection between plants and humans. The Latin word, inspirare, means “to breath in air, to inhale.” And who are the ones who gift us every one of our breaths? The plants.
Each “inspiration” of mine, is an exhalation of theirs. This intimate exchange bathes my brain in life-giving oxygen, and fills my mind with visions for art pieces to come. Its takes only one brief look at the body of my botanical works of art, to pick up on the theme. My muses, the green ones, are consistently the subjects of my black and white drawings. And beyond the infinite wellspring of visual creativity that they inspire me to express, the plants are also the guiding forces who inform my spiritual journey.
Through their pure vibration of love, the plants help me harmonize with the true Nature of my being. In their presence, I feel my life is utterly supported. I go to the plants to seek guidance, wisdom, and healing. Through my work as a plant spirit healer, I get to share these gifts from the plants with others. I see the plants as a direct source of Spirit, an experience affirmed and reflected, once again, by the reality that we humans have been weaving with language for eons. The word spirit shares the very same root as the vital principle and life-giving essence that moves me to make art. The primary definition for the word spirit in the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology is “breath of life” and the word’s Latin root, spiritus, means “breathing, breath, air, life, soul, pride, courage.” Who are the ones we can turn to when our spirits are malnourished, off balance, or out of alignment? The plants. With this in mind, a pattern I’ve observed is no surprise: When communing with plant intelligence, in the very moment of making conscious contact with the plant spirit, I involuntarily take the biggest, deepest breath I’ve taken all day.
My relationship to the plants, art, and healing, is multifaceted, and yet each crystalline plane reflects the others, shaping the whole of who I am. The breath that animates my physical body, allows my hand to dip a calligraphy pen into a jar of India ink. My plant spirit healing practice is supported by my art, because through the process of illustrating, I deepen my relationships to my plant allies. Creating a piece of artwork is a journey of discovery and transformation. I never know where I’ll end up, or what will emerge in the process. What I do know, though, is that when I am illustrating a plant, I invite the spirit of the plant to be present and then I surrender into receptivity. When I allow myself to enter into the creative flow-state, all sorts of channels to my higher/wider/deeper-self emerge. So much so, that now I keep my journal at my side to catch the ideas and insights streaming in. I see the layers of meaning as adding to my understanding of the plant spirits, who are present and sharing themselves and their medicines with me.
The mediums I work with mostly are India ink, calligraphy pens, and paper. My detail oriented self gets joyfully lost in the line work, while the contrast of black and white gives way to designs that, to me, are pleasingly graphic and elegant. I love the permanent, irreversible nature of working with pens and ink. It forces me to slow down, to be present and mindful, and sink into Nature’s pace. There is no “messing up”, but rather a creation of something perfectly imperfect, a quality I see beautifully expressed in the natural world around me.
I’m grateful for the plants in my life, and the hands I’ve been given, tools to feed Spirit with creations of reverence and praise. To celebrate these infinitely nourishing relationships feels like the smallest act of reciprocity, in exchange for all that they so generously and abundantly give to me. The intention I hold in my heart is for my offerings of art and healing to breathe new life into people’s relationships with plants, and inspire others to see the green ones not only as the origin of the oxygen that keeps us alive, but also an ever-present, benevolent source of love and connection that supports our spirits’ thriving.
To see more of Lillian’s art and learn more about her, follow her on Instagram, @earthprayer