Francisca Santibañez is an herbalist, ritualist, wellness guide, medicine maker, educator, artist, plant medicine specialist, and founder of Plant Spirit Talk.
Francisca believes that plants have a divine purpose that is much greater than existing solely for human pleasure and can offer their own plant medicine.
Plants heal, they teach you to be grounded in this earth instead of following divisive indoctrination, and they hold imprints from our ancestors; if you sit with them long enough, plants can lead you home.
While in her work connecting with the divine through plant medicine. The plants themselves redirected Francisca to the work she does today which is more energetic and based on her ancestral wisdom and inheritance. It was because of this ancestral work that I first started working with Francisca on my own ancestral healing journey which recently culminated in a life changing calling and trip to Puerto Rico.
In episode 394 you’ll learn how an injury redirected the course of Francisca’s life and then you’ll join our juicy conversation on the wisdom you can gain from plants and plant medicine and the connections you can create with your ancestors as you learn to renegotiate the potential callings on your life.
In episode 394 of the Embodied Podcast we discuss:
- [3:43] The co-creative energy of the divine
- [4:38] Francisca’s journey – how she began her work with plant medicine and ancestral healing
- [7:51] Treating the root cause of pain, not just the pain
- [9:56] The type of plants Francisca works with
- [11:09] The intelligence of plants
- [12:14] How to commune with plants as highly wise beings that are still connected to the earth
- [13:16] The higher destiny of plants – they are here for more than just human enjoyment
- [14:49] Francisca’s definition of a healer and how you can access the healer part of you
- [17:25] Getting your mind out of the way so you can return to your body
- [19:02] Your ability and your responsibility to heal
- [19:33] What to do if you do not like the life you are living
- [21:15] Understanding your ancestors when you have multiple cultural heritages
- [21:40] Learning from your lineage
- [24:49] Elizabeth’s “show me” prayer
- [29:10] Ways to physically connect with your ancestors
- [30:16[ Using spices to connect to your ancestors and lymphatic brain
- [31:42] What you can learn from “weeds”
- [32:41] Why the same type of plant feels different in a different geographical location
- [33:42] Type of plants that feel like family to Francisca
- [34:30] The main teaching you can learn from plants
- [37:08] The secret to abundance
- [38:33] Specific type of ancestors that Elizabeth calls on
- [39:09] Staying away from the paradigm of “good vs bad”
- [40:35] Calling on “resourced” ancestors
- [41:11] The responsibility of calling on future ancestors
- [44:15] How Francisca shares this deep work with her son
- [48:12] Sacred agreements that we have with our ancestors
- [50:28] The power and agency that comes from being connected to spirit and energetic forms
- [51:38] Renegotiating contracts with ancestors and “God”
- [52:40] Creating sacred exchanges that are mutually beneficial
- [53:12] Combining endless possibilities with boundaries
- [55:58] Elizabeth’s connection to her ancestors and to Puerto Rico
Resources mentioned by Elizabeth in episode 394 “Plant Medicine and Ancestral Healing with Francisca Santibañez”:
- Connect with Francisa Santibañez at plantspirittalk.com and on instagram @plantspirittalk
- Email Francisca Santibañez at [email protected]
- Download a FREE Sacred Embodiment ritual resources
- Join The Wild Soul Sacred Body Membership
- Email us with questions or feedback
- Don’t miss an episode of The Embodied Podcast
Quotes from this Week’s Episode of the Embodied Podcast:
“I’ve always been completely entranced with the plants. These are my earliest memories.” [04:49:40] Francisca Santibañez
“‘It’s all about resonance. Plants, as energetic beings, communicate and receive us through a meeting of frequency and vibration. The plants are essentially highly wise beings that haven’t forgotten how to be part of the earth.” [12:22:85] Francisca Santibañez
“Realizing that I get in my own way all the time and that in order for me to really be able to connect at this vibrational level is going to mean that I need to get out of the way, my mind needs to get out of the way, I need to return to my body.” [17:25:02] Francisca Santibañez
“It’s simply about recognizing that we have the responsibility, we have the ability and the responsibility to heal our lives….we dreamed ourselves to being.” [19:02:73] Francisca Santibañez
“We are wearing our inheritances, there is nowhere to look out when we are doing ancestral work.” [21:40:26] Francisca Santibañez
“I would really pay close attention to what’s growing around you and consider that maybe some of these plants have a story to tell you about you.” [32:12:28] Francisca Santibañez
“Until we really start to value the life of others around us, it’s going to be really hard for us to value our own lives.” [37:08:03] Francisca Santibañez
“It’s not just about your children that you’re birthing, it’s all the children, even if we don’t have children, there still going to be feeling the reverberation of our actions, even our emotional and mental contributions they are going to receive because it’s impacting what’s being created right now.” [42:58:20] Francisca Santibañez
How was this episode for you?
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About the Embodied Podcast with Elizabeth DiAlto
Since 2013 I’ve been developing a body of work that helps women embody self-love, healing, and wholeness. We do this by focusing on the four levels of consciousness – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
In practical terms, this looks like exploring tools and practices to help you tune into the deep wisdom of the body and the knowing of the heart, which I believe are gateways to our souls. Then we cultivate a new relationship with our minds that allows the mind to serve this wisdom and knowledge and soul connection, rather than override it, which is what many of us were taught.
If you’ve been doing self-help or spiritual development work for a while, these are the types of foundational things that often people overlook in pursuit of fancier concepts that often aren’t practical or sustainable. Here, we will focus on building these strong foundations so you can honestly and thoroughly embody self-love. If you’re feeling it, subscribe to the show, and leave us a review wherever you listen from. You can also keep up with show updates and community discussion on Instagram here.
Transcript for Episode 394 “Plant Medicine and Ancestral Healing with Francisca Santibañez“:
– What’s up, everybody? Welcome to episode number 394 of the Embodied Podcast. I am your host, Elizabeth DiAlto. And today, I have with me Francisca Santibañez. And some of you have heard me mention Francisca before in other episodes where I have talked about the ancestral healing work I did at the end of 2020 and into the beginning of 2021. Francisca was my guide. And so, today, we are talking about plants, and ancestors, and connecting to the divine through our many different lineages and through nature and all the different ways that are available to us. This is such a deep and important conversation for anyone who’s interested in connecting not only to the lands that they inhabit, but their native lands, whether you live in them or not, communing with nature, communing with your ancestors, getting that medicine, getting that wisdom, getting that healing. I loved this chat so, so much. Links to everything that we talked about are on the show notes page at untameyourself.com/394. And I hope you love this one as much as I did. Alrighty. Francisca, I’m so happy you’re here.
– Thank you so much for having me.
– So I was posting something, actually, online the other day because I recently visited Puerto Rico and had this whole ancestor experience, so of course I’m getting all these messages like, “Who’s the person you did your ancestor work with?” And I’m like, “She will be on the podcast in a couple of weeks. Just hang tight, everybody.”
– Yes. Such a beautiful journey that we took, and such an honor to be seen.
– Oh my goodness. So this season, I’m asking people, it’s kind of like a three-prong question. So I’ll just hit you with all three and then take it in whatever order or direction you want to. But I’ve been asking people, what do you call God? How do you commune with God? And what’s your relationship to that right now?
– That’s such a beautiful question. Thank you for asking. I think more and more, I see God in everything. I see God in, of course, in the work with the plants, and really, in the ways that we have embodied in this Earth with all this wisdom. To me, my relationship with God or the divine, it’s really through my feeling body, and just realizing that this is what connects me to this experience of being alive to all of existence. And yeah, it’s like my relationship with the Earth is such that I feel like I got to feel for her. And to me, I often feel most connected to God through this concept of Pachamama, which is the Earth, and it’s really beyond the Earth, is existence, and that I get to be part of that. So it’s both personal and collective, and yeah, and I see it in very relationship and every interpersonal exchange.
– Are you still living on that amazing property?
– I am, yes.
– So, everybody, when I’m met Francisca, my friend Monisha, who was on the podcast many years ago, she’ll be on again at some point, had introduced me. Monisha had just done some ancestral work with Francisca, and it was high pandemic time. I was in Oakland, and Sebastopol was like an hour-ish away, on this land. And so, I was actually able to go and see you because we could be outside and it wasn’t high quarantine time at the moment. And this land was just so alive. So I love what you said earlier about you relate to God, you feel it in your feeling body. I so agree with that because everything is alive, everything is animated, and like, who do you think is animating it?
– Exactly. And the fact that it’s not just an external force, it’s that this force is within us and dreaming itself to be over and over again. And we’re all interwoven and in this connectivity in this communication that is unspoken. I mean, very little of it is actually spoken or seen, but it’s constant. We’re in this constant exchange that is co-creative energy. It’s what creates existence.
– Amazing. Are those your wind chimes in the background?
– They are.
– They’re so beautiful. No, I love it. I love it so much. I was like, thinking about, again, kind of like taking me back to how magical your whole property was for so many reasons. Okay, so tell us, ’cause I’m sure people will be interested in this, and also, I’m very nosy and I want to know, what was the path? How did you get into doing this work with the plants, work with the ancestors? Did you grow up like that? How did this happen?
– That’s a great question. And let’s see here. So, I’ve always been completely entranced with the plants. Those are my earliest memories. I was born in Brazil. I don’t remember all that much. There was a lot going on in my early childhood, a lot of trauma too that kind of has kept a lot of my memories kind of blurry. But I do remember very, very clearly and crisp, my interactions with the flowers. Hibiscus, a lot of the eucalyptus trees, and all the things that were around us in São Paulo. It’s a huge city. Very industrialized, but it is a green city. There’s concrete and greens growing everywhere because of the humidity and climate there. I just knew that there was something really special with the plants. And when I was a teenager, I started to just dabble on just collecting plants. I didn’t know what to do with them, I would just love to collect branches that I found. I started to just work with herbs and make teas and things like that. I couldn’t fathom though, that this could actually be a life path at that time. And it wasn’t until much, much later when I was like, in my 30s, in my early, early 30s that I got myself in a situation where I hurt myself. I had a work-related injury. And at the same time, I was diagnosed with glaucoma a couple years prior, and my whole health just started to crumble. I was really stopped in my traffic, was unable to work. At the time, I was working a job in the corporate world. It was in health, but still corporate. Not really fully resonant, but it made me stop doing that. And I had to go through my own healing journey. Because of the nature of my injury, I had three discs erupt, my back. I was working with chiropractors, physical therapists, allopathic doctors, just everyone in that system were trying to help me. And they were treating my pain with a lot of painkillers. I’m grateful for those. At the time, they were certainly necessary, but at the same time, they weren’t really getting down to the root of the issue. And it really wasn’t until I met a naturopath that they started to recommend that I work with plants and that I work with supplements, mostly to strengthen my body enough to heal. And going on that journey of feeling the shift within my body of just dealing with that acute crisis of the pain management to actually get to a place where we were dealing with the pain and we were actually going even deeper to address the root cause of the issues, it was strengthening me, enough for me to really do the healing. And it was with plant medicines. And that’s when I started to kind of remember my connection with plants. And it’s what led me to see an herbalist and work closely with an herbalist, and eventually make that big decision to go into herbal medicine and do a clinical program through the Berkeley Herbal Center that gave me the clinical aspects of herbalism that I work with some today. That’s when the doors opened. It wasn’t until later though, while working with plants, that the plants themselves redirected me to do the kind of work that I do now that is more energetic and based on my ancestral wisdom, ancestral inheritances.
– I want to clarify for people, when you say plant medicine, are you including psychedelics with that, or no? And I ask only because often now when you hear plant medicine, people are talking about mushrooms, ayahuasca, whatever.
– That also came through. What I was sharing just now about my healing of my back injury, I was mostly working with adaptogens and with medicinal herbs, non-psychedelic at the time, that were helping me cope with the trauma of the injury. And the stress in my body helped me to get to a place where I was relaxed enough to activate my healing abilities within my body. The psychedelic medicine came a little bit around that time, but a little bit later, and that’s actually what incited me to really follow the path with the plants. They were a part of that.
– Everything’s a little network. It’s all connected.
– It’s all connected, yes.
– I don’t why that’s really made me want to cry right now. Okay, so can we talk about the intelligence of plants? I feel like there are all these, this verse is that, and not people that listen to this podcast, especially for a while, because I’m always getting up in the nuance of things, but there’s like, traditional medicine or like, naturopathic, or this or that, and plants are so, like, they’re in everything. Because even pharmaceuticals, they use plants, chemicals come from plants. So many things that people taught, like, this is toxic, that’s this. But also, there’s natural shit in there. And so, you can’t get away from the intelligence. So I’m just curious of anything that you want to say about that.
– Wow, that’s so big.
– I can’t help it. You know how I am.
– Intelligence of plants, gosh. I woke up thinking about this this morning. I was thinking about how is it that we get to commune and we get to exchange with plants. What is that language that we were speaking of earlier? And just really realizing that it’s all about resonance. I think that plants are, as energetic beings, this is how they communicate and how they receive us, is through a meeting of frequency and vibration. And the plants are essentially, I mean, they’re highly wise beings that haven’t forgotten how to be of the Earth. They haven’t received all the indoctrinations that we have that have removed us away from what it means to be of the Earth, to be embodied. And that is what they hold with us and share with us. I wouldn’t say hold for us because I think that they have a much bigger destiny than just to be of service to humans.
– Which I think is something really important to always consider when working with plants, is that they have their own becoming. And so, when we work with plants, when we choose to especially hold them as these wise sentient beings that have not forgotten. We get to receive that memory, that ancient memory that our bodies, it’s not that we don’t know it, it’s just that we have lost touch with it or don’t remember. And it’s a resonance thing. So it’s like they get to hold that space for us until we remember, until we remember how to function in a certain way, or to walk in a certain pathway. And they do that both like, at a cellular level, as well as emotionally, psychically. At all different levels, they’re just holding that imprint for us. And that’s why in this lineages, with the Amazonian lineages that I follow, they’re considered, that every plant is considered to be a master, a master plant as in being a teacher plant. And I was thinking also about this whole notion around healers, what does it mean to be a healer, or even the plants as a healer versus teacher, and so on? And realizing that, really, a healer is somebody who knows their own capacity and abilities to heal, and can hold that for others because we all have it and we don’t always remember. And a healer is somebody who knows that within themselves, that they know that they can heal their lives with that capacity, And that can also hold space for others to remember that for themselves.
– This is amazing. So this morning, I was actually re-listening to the podcast interview that went up this week with a colleague of mine, Lindsay Marino, and she’s a psychic medium. And I was doing all those Akashic records readings when we were working together. And there’s a lot of overlap between the mediumship work and working in the Akashic records. And one of the things her and I were talking about that you’re touching on here too, and it just feels so important to always be harping on, which people are like, “Oh, here she goes on the broken record about trust again,” because I’m always talking about it. Self trust, especially being so important. I took to reading the Akashic records so quickly because I’d already been doing my own embodiment work and facilitating healing work for years before, Six years before I even started working in the records. So I already had so much practice trusting myself and my ability to facilitate other people’s healing. I say that, facilitate, ’cause I’m not healing anyone. I’m just there holding space, giving people maps, and that we all know we’re healing ourselves. So I just took to it faster than other people ’cause I didn’t have to get over that hump of, can I trust this and can I trust myself?
– Yes, that’s so beautiful.
– Thank you. And that said, I’m curious for you, what was that trust process for you with trusting the plan, like you said earlier? ‘Cause the communication is so nonverbal and we’re so programmed as people to need to be verbal need to articulate, How did your trust process with all of that emerge or unfold?
– What a juicy question. The work with the plants as I have followed in this lineage has been a lot about humbling myself in the way of realizing that I get in my own way all the time. And that in order for me to really be able to connect at this vibrational level is going to mean that I need to get out of the way. My mind needs to get out of the way and need to return to my body. The whole process of learning from a plant when we do diet work, which is basically an apprenticeship, direct apprenticeship with a plant, and we’re dedicating a set amount of time to just sit with that plant and learn from that plant, it requires that we get over ourselves in so many ways, and that we step into, we have to be able to step into that responsibility of holding medicine, of holding that healing power, that healing capacity. It’s the only way that we’re actually going to be able to, again, resonate to meet heart to heart, vibration to vibration, because that’s the vibration that they hold. They hold that knowing that wisdom within them. And in order for us to truly be able to connect, and to transmit, and to exchange, it means that we have to step into that role of healer. It’s not about ego, it’s not about anything like that. It’s actually simply about recognizing that we have that responsibility, we have that ability and responsibility to heal our lives. We dreamed ourselves to being right here right now, literally. This is what we are experiencing today is really what has, we came to manifest. Yesterday, last year, three years ago, this is the dream that we created. And if we don’t like the life we’re living, then we need to change the dream.
– Yeah. Okay, so this brings me, I wanted to ask you, you said the inheritances. And this was so major for me when we were working together, especially as like a multi-ethnic, multiracial person, to be like, “Okay, well, I got all these different ancestors from all these different places,” and I’m still working through that. And it’s interesting, I want to share something with you and see what you think about it. We’ll jump all over the place on this one ’cause there’s so much here. My friend, Asha, she was born in Venezuela, and her mother was Venezuelan, her dad was Indian. And she looks very Indian. And when we were talking about this, I was asking her, ’cause I always love asking other multiracial, multi-ethnic people like, “How do you work with your ancestors when you got so many?” ‘Cause it feels like there’s a crowd and you’re like, “Ah!” Or at least that’s how I feel. Let me not put that on other people. And she had a really interesting take on it, which was, for me, it’s like, how do I look? It’s almost like my presentation kind of gives me a hint, kind of gives me a clue as to what I really came to embody in this lifetime of all the things that are on my particular menu. And which was funny, ’cause for her, she looks quite Indian. But for me, I’m very ethnically ambiguous, and I’m like, “Well, I love that, but I kinda look like I’m a mixed up thing of all the things.”
– I hear you and I feel you, absolutely.
– So I’m curious, what’s your take on that?
– I have the same experience. People often just project all kinds of speculations around what I could be.
– Right, right.
– And at the same time, I think that there is something very real about that. It’s like we are wearing our inheritances. There is nowhere to look out when we’re doing ancestral work. Even if we want to not think about it, disconnect, or we feel like we might be starting off our own experiences, this is my life, therefore I’m creating my own experience, the fact is that we are embodying a whole lineage of stories, of gifts, of traumas, of liabilities, of everything is actually in our bodies. Whether we choose to assume those inheritance or not is up to us. The more that we become aware of what we are holding, I think the better that we can support ourselves, and again, create that dream. Speaking of dreams, I do believe we are our ancestors’ dream, that they dreamed us into being and that that’s part of our inheritance too. We inherited their dreams. And sometimes they’re not the dreams. Sometimes we inherit some really scary dreams. And that’s where things can get really interesting and even magical.
– I saw this meme recently that said, “It ran in the family until it ran into me.” And I was like, “Oh.” I loved it so much.
– I love that. We’ve got to change that bad dream once we see it. We get to create a new story.
– Again, I loved the inheritances thing so much when you and I talked about it because I think we can be, and especially, again, you and I were working together at the end of 2020, into the beginning of 2021 where people were freaking out that we’re still in this damn pandemic, and it’s so much easier, I think sometimes, to focus on trauma and forget that there’s also this medicinal inheritance. There is medicine that we carry, that we have, that we can share. That shifted so much for me to be like, “Oh.” Some things have come so naturally to me and I haven’t known how I knew them or what to do. And working in the Akashic records helped me to be like, “Okay, cool. Some of this is probably coming from past lives.” And then working with you, I was like, “Oh, some of this is coming from my ancestors.” And then I got a lot more interesting in communing with that and being like, “Hey, y’all, what’s the medicine?” I like how you’re talking about the dream. What’s your dream? What do you want me to do? Show me, show me, show. I love that show me prayer. And my prayer, which I can share now, ’cause we’re out of our container, it was just I just want to live to my soul’s highest potential. I want to embody, I want as much as my soul to be able to come through as possible. And the ancestors are part of that whole soul situation. It’s so much.
– Absolutely. Yes, exactly. For me, I have found that it’s really important to actually, when we start the journey of addressing some of those harder pieces of our ancestry, it’s really important to go and resource into those spaces. And that’s why I think it’s important to reclaim some of those, the wisdom and the connections with the well ancestors and those that are resourced so we can go in to face the challenges and remember the medicine that we actually inherited so much. What got us here, what got us to even be alive here right now is a history of resilience and overcoming really hard things. And that that’s part of our DNA, part of our gifts. And each lineage holds a very particular imprint of that. And also, within that, this is where the plants come in. It’s like our ancestors also held very particular relationships with land and with the whole ecology and support network. And especially when we are about to address a really tragic, tragic events that may have happened, so many ways that trauma can show up, it can be extremely helpful and resourceful to reconnect with some of those ancestral relationships with either land or the plants. Because again, the imprint of those relationships is part of the inheritance of what we hold. And that’s what the plants have shown me. I wasn’t planning on doing ancestral work and this path. But as it turns out, it’s extremely ancestral because this is everything we are. What we inherited at birth is what we get to work with in this lifetime. And we still get to give it our own magic, make our own contributions to that line. However, we’re not separate from it.
– And it’s so amazing to me that even through plants, especially, it’s like we can travel even if we can’t physically. ‘Cause especially, again, as a person with different lineages, some of which are European, I’m not going to Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Ireland, and spending deep amounts of time. That’s just not how my life is built. But that was one of the things that called me to Miami. I was like, “I can at least be around Puerto Ricans and Caribbean, Latin culture, and a similar environment, like the tropics, the ocean.” And being here, I can’t even tell you the difference, and I wanted to ask you about this too. Just the difference between the connection and feeling supported by my environment being here, being in an ancestral environment, even though, obviously, my family’s not from Miami, they’re not native to here, but having that at least adjacent similarity of this sun, this water, these plants, trees, everything here. So unbelievable, the things that have opened up in my life, even just having more proximity and connection to what I actually come from.
– No doubt. I’m so, so happy for you, yes.
– So sorry, there was a question in that. I’ve just been in a little awe ’cause I went to Puerto Rico last week. And so, then I went and I was like, there there, and I was soaking that in a way I never had when I’ve been there before. I guess I kind of want to ask this twofold, anything that you could offer by way of, say there are people who are like, “I’m never gonna be able to go to where I’m from,” or “It’s gonna be a really long time until I can get there.” Instead of physically connecting with the place, or the land, or whatever, how might they do that via plants?
– Yeah, great question. I think one of the most accessible and immediate ways is foods. And with the foods, the spices. Spices is one of those areas where we have a lot of access to plants from many, many different places. And bringing them into our nourishment, and especially consciously bringing them into our nourishment, especially when we can work with them on a regular basis, it’s something that I believe that it starts to activate those ancient memories.
– A thousand percent happened for me, yes.
– It’s what I love about spices, as aromatic plants, is that they work with your limbic brain. That is where we hold our memories and our emotions. And I believe that that’s also where we hold a lot of our ancient memories, a lot of our ancestral memories. And so, the smell, just to have that direct experience and transmission from the plants through smell, through taste, there’s something so profound in that that we can travel there just from a bite. And again, what I love about it is that it’s accessible for most. Most places, we can find either ethnic markets. Many of these spices have made it to mainstream places. Nowadays, you can find a lot of spices in most places.
– And essential oils. There’s a freaking essential oil for almost everything anyone can want to. The rosemary was such a big one for me. I have the essential oil. I always have some rosemary on the altar, I love it. I had it on the window sills when I was living in Oakland.
– Many of these plants are so accessible, yes. And the thing about it too is that I have also found, I think the spices is one of my favorites because I love the sensuous piece of it, but there is a lot that we can find in weeds, so called weeds, the common plants that voluntarily grow around us. Because many of these plants here in the States, they’re transplanted. Many of them come from different places as part of the history of this place. Because as people migrated here, they also brought with them their plants, seeds and things. I would really pay close attention to what’s growing around you, and consider that maybe some of these plants have a story to tell you about you.
– The other part of that question before I move on to another thing is the, I’m just curious of your own experience, not necessarily anything prescriptive, unless you have anything to offer, of the different feeling of different plant in different places.
– In what way?
– For me, I noticed, okay, there’s palm trees in Miami, there’s palm trees in California. And in California, I had no connection to the palm trees, and in Miami, I do. So I’m curious, is it energetic signatures, or place, or is it the actual land? When you go to different places, I know you’ve done some traveling, you’ve lived in different places, the connection, does it feel different to you? Does it always feel the same place to place?
– To the plants in particular. I have to say, there are certain plants that I intentionally grow near me because they’re my family, they’re directly my family’s plants. And to me, whether I’m here or in South America, I feel the same closeness. One of them being rue, which I have growing right by my door. And at the same time, it’s really interesting. I think this is such a big question, and especially for people that have migrated. This idea of the feeling of home, this yearning and longing for feeling like we are home is something that I’ve been in that inquiry for a long time, and this is part of what led me to do in the ancestral work. And I think that one of main teachings that the plants have shared is that for one thing, it’s like we, as humans, we have feet, which plants don’t, and we get to move around. And this is part of our legacy, part of our gifts, and part of our responsibility is to be moving around, and that we can find home. The only true home that we have is our body. And the other piece, as far as that question around the signature of plants, like I said, I form certain close relationships with plants that I like to have around me that I know that are native or abundant in the south. And at the same time, plants get to be individuals just like we do. It’s like they are in relationship with the whole environment. They’re carrying this history, the feeling of the whole environment and all of the communities of plants that are around them. So as you were saying, of course it’s gonna have a very different feel in Miami as it does in LA to be around palm trees because there is a whole different history and story being played out around them. And they’re not just a palm tree, it’s all interconnected.
– Yeah, I love this because I think we’re so arrogant as humans, so species centric, if you will, that we’re the most important species on the planet, and therefore, we destroy everything, and colonize everything, and take over everything, and ruin everything. It’s just so arrogant. And I love this, sacredness, this reverence, you have this reverence that I love so much, that I hope people are really feeling and perhaps being inspired to cultivate some of their own in relationship to things that we think about and just walk. Even when I’m stepping in grass, I’m like, “Sorry,” ’cause I’m stepping on it.
– Thank you so much for that reflection. I think that once we start to really awaken to the fact that everything is alive around us. And it’s interesting, we had a class on worth, and value, and self-esteem, and all of that subject, and I think one of the things that came up is that until we really start to value the life of others around us, it’s gonna be really hard for us to value our own lives.
– Yes, yes.
– The more that we value others, the more that we can actually find the value in ourselves. And to me, that is the secret to abundance, that is the secret to life, to health, it’s realizing that every single being, every single aspect, every part has its innate value, and we all have something really precious to exchange with one another. And so, yeah, it’s amazing when you start shifting to think that way, your relationship with yourself changes.
– Big time. So you mentioned a little while ago, well ancestors. It’s interesting. I’ve heard some people talk about this almost from this fear place like, “You gotta be careful ’cause some of your ancestors don’t have good intentions,” or whatever. And it’s funny, ’cause I always use more words that are necessary, so when I connect with my ancestors, I am saying, “Beloved, benevolent, healthy, healed, and whole ancestors.” I’m like, “Let me just cover all the bases.” So I’m not letting anyone slip in there who’s not on the program for liberation. How do you frame that for people, so it’s not from a fearful place, but from an honest place that there’s a range available?
– I try my best in general to kind of stay away from the paradigm of seeing good and bad, and just view this work more as those that are available to support, as you said, us in our liberation and our healing, and those that are not there yet. And to be really clear and have right boundaries in that way, that you’re specifically calling for those that are resourced and those that are aligned with the dream that you’re creating now. Because many of the things that we want, we’ve already had that we want to shift. A lot of the healing, when it comes to healing, it’s remembering or recovering parts, pieces, things, that we lost at some point. Lost touch with connection, and we’re trying to bring that back to ourselves, the fragmented parts. And there are those in our lineage that had those parts before they got lost, before that trauma happened. And those are the ones that I like to work with. And I don’t even have to know their names. I don’t know their names. I don’t know who they were, what they were like, where they were from. And I know that somewhere deep in there, there’s a part, there’s someone that holds that wholeness for our lineage. And those are the ones that I call, the resourced ones. And it’s interesting, because in the same way, I don’t know if we did much work with the future ancestors. Did we do? No, we didn’t get there. In the same way that we could call, and ask, and welcome the resources from those from the past, we can also work with the future ancestors. And I believe that it’s actually our responsibility to engage them because they’re gonna inherit our dream. Everything that we are creating right now, they’re going to inherit down the line. And so, to really make room to listen to what it is that they need from us now so that they can live in a good way, they can inherit a good place, a viable planet and all those things. We all have a part to play in that, and it’s our responsibility to be both in connection with the ancient ancestors and also with the future ones to hear what they need from us to dream for them.
– It’s funny, ’cause I have one niece, and I probably only will always have one niece, my brother doesn’t want more kids, I certainly don’t want children. And so, I’m like, “Damn, Ruby’s gonna get a lot because she’s the only one.” And I’m so excited to have her. I thank my brother all the time. I’m like, “Thanks for making us one baby in this family.” So we have someone to give our treasures to. I don’t just mean whatever wealth, physical, monetarily, whatever we make, accumulate here, because for me, it’s so healing, to be able to have this little person, and to be able to be for her what no one was for me. That wasn’t their assignment or whatever, that wasn’t the dream for the generations that raised me. But I’m like, “Ooh, I hope Ruby wants this, ’cause I got so much to give.”
– That’s so precious. And at the same time, it’s not just Ruby that’s going to inherit what you’re creating, it’s everyone that’s yet to come. That’s the thing, is that it’s not just your children that you’re birthing, it’s like, all the children. Even if we don’t have children, they’re still going to be feeling the reverberations of our actions. Even our emotional and mental contributions, they’re going to receive because it’s impacting what’s being created right now.
– Another thing I love about being here, I have friends with kids, a range of ages, and I’m like, “I get to be a bunch of people’s auntie now.”
– That’s so lovely. That’s the way. As they say, it takes a village, but really, it’s our responsibility to contribute to every kid. To just to keep that in mind that it’s beyond just our own direct lineage, but it’s like everybody is inheriting the world that we’re all co-creating, we’re not separate like that.
– I don’t know whose quote it is, but this saying that “There’s no such thing as other people’s children,” I love that.
– So this is cool, ’cause you have a kid.
– I do.
– How do you bring this stuff to your own child in a way that is, I mean, I don’t even need to clarify that. Does that feel important to you? Do you wait till they ask? What does that look like for you? I mean, they’re growing up around it. All the things are everywhere. Look at your beautiful space there.
– Everywhere. Yes, I a 13 year old boy that gets to witness all of it. And I can tell you that he’s the reason why I have really dedicated so much of my time to really address some of those harmful or trauma inheritances, intergenerational traumas. For us, he was very young. I gave birth when I was 27, so by the time I got started with the plants, he was already around. So he was like, four years old, five years old when he started to really start listening to me and seeing how plants were just absolutely coming into our lives. I used to make medicine together with him. He knows how to make many different things, many different medicines. He knows how to harvest in an honorable way, to listen to the plants, bring offerings, all the things. And with the ancestral piece, it’s really, really interesting. I see my ancestors through him, I connect to my ancestors through him. He blows my mind all the time because he’ll say certain things that are just are just ancient wisdom. And he has a kind of personality where he takes everything really lightly. He doesn’t make a big deal of anything. So he’ll just say something crazy wise, and just be like, “Eh, you know.”
– Meanwhile, you’re like, “Did you hear what just out of your mouth?”
– So cool.
– He’s my teacher. And at the same time, part of the teaching is that, again, he’s not just my child. He has his own destiny. He belongs to the world. And part of it has been that I feel extremely blessed and lucky to be in a situation where he’s being raised by so many, many, many people beyond our direct family. As a family, there’s three of us parenting him, but it’s like the extended family of community, of friends, and just beloveds. People that deeply care for him, that have always cared for him, that always have shown up in just incredible ways. It’s incredibly just beautiful. It’s my wish for everybody. I wish I had that growing up, and I wish that everybody could get that. And I think that there’s a way if he can have that, I know there has to be a way that we can create that for more people.
– I think about this all the time as I watch my friends’ kids grow up, and I’m like, “They’re surrounded by all these amazing people.” And we had amazing people in my life growing up, I think it was some of my parents’ friends, but it just wasn’t the same. The consciousness was different. The access to healing, the emotional maturity is just. I really can’t wait to see who these little ones grow up to be, ’cause they’re just getting stewarded so much differently.
– Absolutely. That’s the thing. I do also believe that this was part of my contract with walking this path with the plants. It is something that I also really asked in reciprocity. I really believe in these sacred agreements that we have with the ancestors, and that we get to speak our needs with them too. We got to devote and to dedicate part of our lives to contributing healing to our lineage, and we also get to ask for what we need in order to do that. Again, to connect with the ancient ones or whatever that is. And part of it for me has been to really devote myself to walking this path of the plants. And in turn, I asked and required that he’d be fully taken care of, which means that it’s not just as three parents taking care of him, but all this other whole network of support. And that’s the way that it has shaped up in a huge way. So I think that doing the ancestral work, it’s so important because it’s a resource that we oftentimes either deny or forget. In some ways, I do think that that was potentially purposely done at some point in our culture for us to disconnect because there’s incredible power and agency when we do have that deep connection that enables for things that we can do here in physical form to happen. And working with those that are in spirit and energetic form that are willing to work on our behalfs, to support us in these ways, and have that connection, and have that communication, that conversation going, is really critical. And it’s a tremendous resource, and it’s available for every single one of us.
– One of my favorite things that we worked on were these sacred agreements. And especially when we talked about renegotiating contracts or agreements, because for years, for years, I was being told, being shown, seeing, sometimes having dreams about it, that there were certainly beings that wanted to come through me and be my kids. And I was like, “Y’all, I’m not doing that this round.” So I’ll be an auntie. I will pour out my mothering energy in my work all day, every day, but I am not gonna carry, and have, and raise a child, so, sorry, y’all, not doing it. And it was so empowering when we did our work together to remove any fear that I actually didn’t have a say. Because I think in a lot of ways, especially people who were raised with religion, traditional religions, especially, I mean, I came from a Christian background, I was raised Catholic. There is almost like this, you will be punished, you don’t have a say, this happens and it happens, God’s will. And it’s like, well, we can negotiate. And I was like, “Ooh, I’m gonna negotiate.”
– Absolutely. I think that that’s part of our responsibility in every relationship period is to be in that conversation of where and how we can be met in a good way in order to be in a sacred exchange that is mutual, that is mutually benefiting. When it comes to making that choice, absolutely. This is your say.
– Yeah, I love that. And there’s so many other things. The way it feels to me is like, okay, well, she doesn’t want to do that, there’s only a thousand other things we could ask of her. There’s no shortage. It’s like, well, that was what we had for you.
– It can be endless, and that’s why the boundaries is really important too. Is that yes, there’s only so much too that we can do. We have certain limitations within these bodies, of time, and capacity, energy, all those things, and some of it is not ours to fix. And that’s the thing, is that we don’t even have to go out there to look at what it is that we’re meant to be doing, or healing, repairing, we can just take a look at our lives, what’s showing up. And we can look at our bodies, with health issues we’re having, and the stories are all right here.
– I want to tell you something. I know we only have a few minutes, but this just popped into my head and I want to tell you something I find hilarious. So there’s a lot of sound healing here in Miami, which I love, and kind of like plants, I love anything that is gonna bring a frequency, or a resonance, or a vibration that I don’t have to talk about or think about, ’cause I obviously have a very overactive mind. So anything I could just receive or be in the presence of, I love. So I love the sound healing. And I went to this thing that was like a combination, a yoga and a sound healing thing. And the woman who was facilitating the yoga, she’s also half Puerto Rican. And in the room that day, the girl next to me was Puerto Rican, and then there was someone else who was like, Cuban and Puerto Rican. And during the thing, we all have these Taino, our Indigenous ancestors we shared. I think there were only eight people in the room, and like, four or five of us shared lineage. And it was just so funny because the woman who was doing the facilitating, she’s an incredible being herself, and she received so much, and it was just like, well, this wasn’t really what we were planning on doing today, but it was like this crowd of ancestors. It felt like they marched in that day. And so, we joke about it now, whenever I see her, I’m like, “Sorry, I brought the crowd.” It’s like a whole like stadium full of people it feels like we travel with.
– Absolutely. And how beautiful that you get to be with folks, where you share your roots with. That experience alone, what was that like for you? What has it been like for you?
– It’s really so healing, so humbling, and so welcome after such a long time of wanting to connect in more with my own culture, ’cause it’s so interesting, even the history of Puerto Rico, the islands. We all have the colonizers, the colonized, and the Indigenous. Almost everyone will have all of it. And the slave trade came through. When I did an ancestry.com, I don’t have family that’s from Spain or Portugal, but of course, they passed through Puerto Rico, so I have Spain and Portugal. I don’t have family family that is Black, but of course I have some African in there. We knew my great grandmother was Taino. So we knew we had the Indigenous, but it’s just like, it’s everything. And then the experience of my dad being the Puerto Rican one marrying someone of mixed European descent, and then seeing how the colonization in the family unfolded. And then part of what I’m doing is kind of reclaiming all the parts, healing the colonized and the colonizer parts. But now I have context for it. And so, to be around people I can kind of just relax because we share lineage is so, you know. I was called here. I knew that was part of why I was coming, but I didn’t even realize how deeply nourishing that would be.
– That’s incredible.
– Thank you. And you obviously bridged me into the connection and communication that made it go, “Hi, please go do this.”
– That’s amazing. It’s such an honor to just witness you in your journey and just how quickly you have responded to that guidance, and just how good you are at that. Just follow your spirit, and it’s obvious.
– It’s fun, it’s fun. So where do people find you? ‘Cause, obviously, before we even started the interview, I was telling you, we have people who are like, “Who is your person? I want to learn.”
– Sweet. Thank you. So plantspirittalk, all one word, plantspirittalk.com. And then on Instagram is plantspirittalk. Those are probably the two best ways to find me. If you want to email me, it’s [email protected]
– So everything, easy, cross the board. Amazing. Well, thank you so much. It was so good to be able to reconnect, to get to ask you some things that I never asked you while we were working together. And that’s it.
– Likewise. Thank you so much, Elizabeth. This was so lovely.
– Of course. We’ll see you later.