Love, Acceptance & Reflection with Holly & Clear Vision Drops
By Seed SistAs
Acceptance & Reflection
Take stock this festive winter-time by making some time reflect on the year, time to celebrate the changing seasons. The holly is out in full grandeur…red berries adorn the female holly trees bringing a scarlet treat to the dark green, rich reflective sheen of the spikey leaves. The shine on the leaves make it appear permanently wet. This reflective quality disperses light from the sky into the forest. The flower essence of Holly helps to shine light in an emotional way, where there may be over protectiveness or shape, short talking. It has that ability to shine light in dark places but also to reflect back to yourself about your own nature.
The Latin name for Holly is Ilex aquifolium, we started working with this herb many years ago creating a tincture made with the new soft spring growth leaves – to explore in tiny sensory drop doses to get a feel for the taste and energetics of the plant.
It is clear when we look at the leaves that holly speaks of protection with discernment. The lower leaves of the holly are sharply pointed around the margins of each leaf to provide protection from hungry animals such as livestock and deer. As the tree grows taller, the upper leaves can be virtually smooth. The tree only protects when it needs to. A lesson for us we don’t need our defenses up all the time!
The leaves across the tree have a glossy reflective sheen…this indicates holly’s use for seeing what others see in yourself. This can sometimes take great daring to face; we may find it hard to listen to praise and complements, or to criticism that challenges our constructs of ourselves. Holly brings the ability to look at this without it becoming the catalyst for emotional ruin.
When we created the tincture, it tasted like a sweet whiskey, even though the alcohol we used to macerate the leaves in was vodka, the clear grain alcohol turned a deep honey colour. For a herb that appears so cooling in nature, the tastes were much more warm and comforting…this cold reflection that leads to much warmth and understanding.
Although Holly has a long history of use as a herbal medicine, we would not recommend using in larger doses for long periods of time due to the potential of cumulative toxicity. We do not use the berries medicinally.
The toxin in holly is theobromine, an alkaloid chemical that is also found in cocoa and chocolate and is quite similar in structure to caffeine. Theobromine poisoning can cause gastrointestinal problems (stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea) as well as dizziness, a rapid pulse and low blood pressure
There are many lessons to be learned from observing Holly and really reflecting on why we bring braches and sprigs of this winter greenery into our homes at the festive season. When we really observe a plant we see that it has clues as to its medicine hidden in the way it grows or interacts with the other species.
The Holly can grow up to 40 feet in height and given even the smallest bit of light will grow leaves far down its branches, adorning the woodlands with his reflective leaves, and the female variety with her stunning vermillion berries. Male Holly does not produce berries and a female needs the presence of a male in order to create her drupes or fruit.
Holly is the majestic king of winter. He rules over the Oak until the winter solstice when his power starts to wane and the Oak takes centre stage. There is a lot to be learned about our own sense of pride and how and why we might have phases of feeling deeply angry and forthright. We need to reflect on how this attitude serves us and also when is the time to release old patterns of anger and try to find those rays of light on our own darker days.
Holly hung outside a door is said to protect it from lightening. It seems that science has shown that the spines on the holly leaf actually act as tiny conductors and protect nearby trees and dwellings from lightning strikes.
So when harvesting your Holly this year to bring in for your yule wreaths and winter greens, maybe take a moment to reflect on how you protect yourself and those around you. Is this a balanced and healthy form of protection or has it turned resentful and possibly even spiky or angry. Can we find our softer upper leaves and express our tenderness within our lives too? Such a powerful token of life, affirmation and reflective practice. I hope you all find some beautiful trees to adorn your living spaces with as the winter solstice season is upon us.
When working on the idea of reflections we use our Clear Vision Drops and often in conjunction with mirror magic.
Clear Vision Drops contain two potent herbs that grow together wild up on the moorlands of the UK, Heather and Bilberry. These hardy plants gift generous, useful and plentiful medicine, but you have to quest to find them due to the extreme environments in which they are usually found. This quest is representative of the work that can be done whilst imbibing these drops. They help support the quest to understanding yourself more deeply, to gain clarity of vision about yourself, both the eternal you and the internal you.
This work is best done on a new moon at night. When the light had dimmed outside and the world feels more quiet, prepare a journal and pen, candle and a mirror and the drops of Clear Vision.
Light the candle to open the space…you may want to write down your intensions for this work such as
‘I am open to facing all aspects of myself to gain insight.
Leave the page open, turn off all other light and place the candle between you and the mirror.
Take 3 drops of Clear Vision, stare through the candle at the mirror, soften your gaze and allow feelings and emotions to arise. Try to just observe these rather than becoming them, allow them to flow through you. After several minutes, when the magical feeling starts to ebb away, turn on a small light and journal about any thoughts and feelings you had.
Take three drops of Clear Vision each morning for the next two weeks until the full moon, visiting what was written and taking a short time for reflection on what’s unfolding. At the full moon, you may want to have a fire outside or inside, or use a candle outside to write up anything you would like to either love in yourself or let go of by writing it down and committing it to the fire.
This is a two week ritual that is based on love and accept of yourself for who you are.
At this time, we Seed SistAs use our Clear Vision Drops to connect with our inner wisdom. To embrace the sweet silence of our own souls and the inner knowledge and intuition gifted to us through generations.
The dark moon-shaped bilberries live high on the moorlands and mountains with their wise friend Heather. Heather, a more jovial spirit, enhances the knowledge of the master bilberry with her humour.
Heather is known as an amazing kidney remedy, full of arbutin, a urinary antiseptic and also anti-inflammatory. Kidney health is related to seeing clearly and having strong vision, we use this as a sign that Heather also helps us to connect with the Oracle within, supporting us to follow our own intuition and internal compass.
Bilberry is a specific venous tonic, especially the blood vessels that supply the eyes. It is amazing to harvest bilberries, focusing your sights on the low-lying bushes, searching intently for her tiny jewel berries, knowing that her medicine will support the very eyesight that you need to find her. Again, strengthening our vision on the physical plane can also reverberate in our interior being, increasing our ability “to see” and search inwards, gaining clarity on questions we may be grappling with. The dark bilberries are also full of nutritive flavonoids, promoting immunity, health and vitality.