Gather Althea seeds under the full moon
And rub them on your thighs and genitals
—sometimes you need an aphrodesiac
to fall back in love with yourself.
Plant aloe on the grave you’ve made for yourself
— the crypt of books and sweaters and melted wax
under your bed—
to promote a peaceful existence until the deceased is reborn
in the spring.
Suck on Amaranth seeds and place a photo of yourself
on your alter to mend the heart you break the most
— your own.
Wrap anemone flowers in a red cloth and wear pinned to your jacket
to prevent disease.
The Maturing flower is ideal nesting place for faeries
and new ideas.
Carve poppets from the roots of the ash tree
to remind yourself of all of the power
you hold inside
even when you are in hibernation.
Wands made from avocado wood make potent all-purpose instruments,
so plant an avocado pit in a jar in your front window
after you make your favourite breakfast on a cold Sunday morning.
When it grows or when it doesn’t grow
you know that you have at least nurtured possibility.
Rub a dried bean on warts during the waning Moon
but remember to soak in a bath of lavender and lemongrass
because your warts are still a part of you
and any little thing that needs you to survive
Crush a bleeding heart flower.
If the juice is red, you have a heart full of love for yourself.
If it is white, you need to carve out that heart and make it beat again.
Plant periwinkle on the grave of your childhood; tie it to
a scroll torn from a page of your teenage diary
to keep that part of yourself burning.
Burn dried angelica leaves when you’re run out of words
— at the very least you can describe the smell.
When you need to disappear, turn yourself into a laurel tree,
and when the person you are hiding from makes a stew
he will take from you bay leaves
which he will forget to remove before dinner
and his throat will be cut.
When your heart beats deep in the gashes in your gums
where you chew to stop the worrying
make tea from lemon balm
— it will also calm your stomach
and ease the bleeding.
Rub fresh mint leaves on your temples
to soothe the endless headaches,
the constant cramping of neck muscles and
the tension of thrusting your tongue into the roof of your mouth
because leaving the house hurts,
When you feel like the darkness inside you
might escape next time you have to take the bus
knot together mugwort to form a belt
tie your torso to your legs
so that you can’t float away.
When the news is too much
log out of twitter
and braid sage into your hair
and place valerian under your tongue before bed
— this will ease the strain on your heart
until you have the strength to log back into the world.
Chew blackberry leaves when your gums bleed
Drink Dandelion tea when you need courage to get out of bed
or into it.
When in doubt, do not ingest any herbs
or potions that were used as early anaesthetics
and stay away from psychoactives and coffee.
(A departure from the usual “Adventures in Grad School” programming, but a necessary one.)