Plant and Rainbow Medicine with Christy Greenwood
by Ryan Hook | August 27, 2020, updated almost 2 years ago
Next time you’re out for a walk, stop to listen and take in what you see. If you’re in the Rocky Mountains, listen to them hum. If you’re in the thousand lakes area of Ontario, take in the stillness. Wherever you may be, the surrounding land offers tranquility, and knowledge to those that listen. Nature speaks, but it's easy to get caught up in the roar of our lives, so we don’t always hear it.
Christy Greenwood refers to herself as an herbal artist and intuitive therapist. As an herbal artist she curates and pairs plants with therapy. As an intuitive therapist, she compounds talk therapy with energy work. Christy runs Rainbow Medicine and Rewilding from Within out of Duncan, British Columbia—a great place to be when you work with plants. Christy also facilitates ecstatic dance, practices energy work, and borrows from many disciplines to round out her practice. Greenwood says, “I work with the arts and herbs together,” she says, “Connecting people to nature is an enormous part of my practice. I feel like if they’re connecting to nature, they’re connecting to their inner nature.”
Rewilding from Within and Rose Medicine
During her retreats, Rewilding From Within, Greenwood engages with the clients, and encourages them to engage with the ecosystem of her acreage. I asked her if she encourages clients to work with any plant in particular, and she told me about her work with roses.
“I work with rose therapies. We talk about tea, about rose medicine, about the spirit of the rose, and how it informs the spirit of us, and how we can dance with these plant energies.” Christy shared that, for thousands of years, Chinese Medicine used rose petals for herbal tea. It’s an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that combats free radicals, helping with cancer and heart disease. If you rely on too much caffeine, rose petal tea is a great alternative—and it tastes good.
Rose petal tea or extract is a potent medicine for relaxation, and in Greenwood’s case, it’s great for dance practice. “Prior to Covid-19, people were welcomed to the rose temple & anointed with rose oil on their palms,” says Christy, who went on to explain the small ritual that those preparing to dance in her rose temple would perform. I’ve summarised it as follows—you set your intention for the plant and dance ceremony with grounding and meditation, drink the rose petal tea, warm-up and open the body to the nervous system and to the space by literally shaking your body. This “sheds the layers of rigidity” within you, says Greenwood.
Dance and movement meditation
After tea Greenwood leads participants in a dance and moving meditation. The goal is to express yourself through your chakras. Through the root chakra you ground down, and with the sacral chakra you express creativity. Through the throat chakra you fulfill expression and through the crown of your head you “anchor infinity and honour the cosmic intelligence.” All you need in order to benefit from the experience of one of Greenwood’s plant and dance journeys is an open mind and an open heart.
Rewilding From Within is a retreat focused on the self, but is set in a group environment. There are no labels or expectations. You open yourself to being vulnerable, and the environment is conducive to that. Greenwood is there to facilitate and direct your sensitives.
Greenwood’s practice, Rainbow Medicine is one-on-one therapy. Rainbow Medicine involves dance and plants, but also massage, and energy work. It offers healing for the soul. Greenwood is there to “nourish their [the client’s] inner guide.” Greenwood’s clients come in “when they feel depleted or stressed,” she says, “Clients want to be nourished, to be held, to be seen...energetically.”
Greenwood stresses that, “there is no mask they need to hide behind,” and that clients only need to “breath into what’s real for them.”
While it is important to shed your metaphorical mask, in these challenging Covid-19 times, please, do still wear an actual mask.
Remote Kinesiology and BodyTalk
Speaking of Covid-19, Greenwood welcomes the challenge, though not the disease. She says, “I’m working online. I’m doing an applied kinesiology technique, so I ask questions and tune into the innate wisdom of the person, and it works like a radio signal. I tune into it and work from there. Distance doesn’t make a difference.”
Greenwood works with BodyTalk, which is a holistic approach to kinesiology. According to their website, the BodyTalk method draws upon, “Your lifestyle, genetics and history [...] to establish a personalized approach to Healthcare, that brings about lasting changes.”
Alongside Greenwood’s other practices—massage, reiki and kundalini dance—BodyTalk compounds a number of disciplines to create a practice based in intuition and energy work.
Wait? Kundalini dance?
“Yes! It incorporates kundalini energy with dancing!” Greenwood says.
For those not in the know, Kundalini is an energy that is said to coil or bundle at the base of the spine if you don’t regularly work it out. You can work your kundalini energy out through yoga or dance. Kundalini awakenings are the common experiences that occur when you’re engaging with that energy and setting it free. A Kundalini awakening ignites the chakras, and is intense. Most interpretations of kundalini awakenings range from blissful to overwhelming.
Kundalini dance is a practice that exercises the dancer through points of tension, in order to awaken a deep understanding of the body and self. Greenwood says awakenings inspire “colourful downloads or revelations[...] that have helped me to unravel trauma and open into new potentials[...].”
Cultural awareness and learning
It’s clear that Greenwood is aware of the many cultures her practice draws from. As she tries to navigate her practice in a culturally sensitive fashion, Greenwood considers it especially important to learn about Indigenous perspectives and issues. She says, “In the last few years indigenous issues have come up more in culture, with cultural appropriation and reconciliation. This definitely spurred the call to make sure I’m honouring the lands where I came from by learning and knowing their first names.”
She shared with me that she has deep respect for the practices of Indigenous people, and that her time learning from Cowichan Elder, Della Rice, has been invaluable. The four medicine walks they took together had a deep impact on her practice, and her life. She says, “I really intend to work and honour the first nations and indigenous peoples.”
Learn and listen
There is no end of the road when you’re on the path of learning—and we all are. One of our greatest tools for learning is listening. Listening isn’t just an auditory experience, but an active pursuit of understanding.
In Greenwood’s words, “We listen to the land, we dance with nature, and we should listen to that [...] The earth is here to speak to and listen to us. We’re just too busy talking.”
Ryan Hook is a writer, photographer, musician, and spoken word poet. Born in St.Albert and living in Edmonton, Alberta, his mission is to bring Sound and Story. He has worked as a music journalist for Vue Weekly, BeatRoute, and Exclaim! as well as been a published short story writer. When he's not writing he is an accomplished songwriter and recording artist for his band, Baby Boy and the Earthly Delights. Whether it's writing, music, or travelling, he bides by the philosophy that life is a playground and nothing is off limits.