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  • Writer's pictureMj Pettengill

Roses Strong and Full of Grace ~ Marya of the Wood


Communicating with plants is a gift that I cherish. I know what you might be thinking. I do not mean literally in words. My constant presence in the fields and woods has sharpened my awareness. I comprehend the essence of the countless volunteer plants related to what is needed as the time arises.

This organic process has been unfolding for several years. Today, I am writing about the rose. It has been a member of my apothecary for some time.

Sometimes, these miracle plants show up long before needed, but they make themselves known to me. Then, I finally take the time to identify and learn about them.

Presently, several apps instantly identify plants (birds, stars, etc.). I am confident that my bond with plants is strong because of the years devoted to identifying them the old-fashioned way. I spent many hours focusing on the plant structure, its properties, where it is growing and when, and how to collect ethically. Like in days gone by, I found it helpful to sketch them. In doing this, you must carefully study the characteristics of the plant. For me, this is the art of imprinting.

It’s as if the plants want my attention. Miraculously, I often need and use them when I happen to figure out the benefits. There are no coincidences.

Where am I going with this?

I have gathered rose petals and hips for many years, using them in tea, tinctures, and oils. So, I have it all on hand. The rose is not only sweet in fragrance and taste; it is generally quite lovely.

Not many are aware of how beneficial roses are for grief. The hawthorn—tree or shrub—is in the rose family and is the number one plant medicine for the heart, the rose as we know it. All of its parts (including the root) are excellent in preventing heart disease and addressing grief, trauma, and general heartache.

Many of us are experiencing a form of grief while navigating the most extreme times that we are aware of in human history. We also may be grieving the loss of loved ones. Life as we know it is somewhere back there, wrapped in a dream-like memory.

So many are awake but fear what is shown. Yet, going back to sleep is not an option. So, we tend to seek balance while treading ever-so-lightly. We may refrain from saying too much within the realm of compassion and empathy and providing space for one another. On the other hand, we cannot say too little, fearing that we will miss opportunities to assist those in need. There is that element of balance again. Hence, we may remain tangled in living and breathing knots of uncertainty. Yet, we need them to stay together, should their untying release us all into a tumbling of the unknown.

Here we are, grieving the old days, what was lost, and what we don’t know that may become lost in an unpredictable future. It is difficult to look back and remember our innocence without longing for it. Yet, our present circumstances have been with us all along. History informs the present. This is only true if we authentically know it and if we can believe the unbelievable.

Traumatic events, like waves, have been crashing upon our shores for an extended period. This ravages us on many levels—at this point, all aspects of our lives have taken a significant hit. We carry on, while many are at odds, clearly in sharp disagreement. The divide is deepening.

Most of us know about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD. Then there is Complex Trauma and Pre-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

What is Complex Trauma?

Trauma, the one that we know of, may occur after a specific traumatic event. It happens when the brain and body are so overwhelmed that they have difficulty easing out of a fight, flight, or freeze mode and returning to a relaxed state.

What is Pre-Traumatic Stress?

I will leave it as is. I trust that you can figure it out. Yes, the great unknown has been looming. However, it does not have to have the upper hand. Stay connected to your instincts and intuition. Envision a positive outcome amidst a shattered world. Remember your strength as a beautifully designed human being. Be you. Eat, rest, hydrate, dream, and love.

Be sure to love yourself as you would your mate, siblings, children, or pets. Be your own mother or best friend. Yes, it may sound silly, but try it. You may be frantic or lacking patience, but kindness to others and yourself is a necessity. Whether or not we agree, tolerance, compassion, and kindness matter; we are in this together.

Therefore, if you are feeling depleted or grief-stricken, roses can help. Be aware that hybrid garden roses are not used for medicinal purposes. There is a link at the bottom of the page for a list of medicinal roses and their uses. As I stated above, I use roses for tea blends, tinctures, oil, and rose water.

Please note that I visit the roses daily during the active growing season and pick up the petals that have fallen to the ground. I do not take them from the branch. I also love pollinators and wish to maintain the overall health of the plant.


It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.

—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince


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