Plant Study of Monkshood


Plant Study of Monkshood

Aconitum columbianum • Ranuculaceae Family

by Jyothi Rundel

One full day of the practitioner training program is devoted to a field trip to a mountain wildflower meadow. The experience culminates in a plant study assignment, encompassing a detailed objective observation of the plant, and then moving to more imaginative images, grounded in the sense perception, yet touching on the soul gestures and qualities that can be experienced from the plant.

Here are some excerpts and drawings from the study done by Jyothi Rundel (Hawai'i), a Certified Massage Therapist who also practices Jin Shin Jyutsu; Therapeutic Touch, Cranio-Sacral Therapy, and Shiatsu. This study was completed at the 2000 FES Practitioner Training:

Tall, vertical stem, 4 to 5 feet on average. The leaves climb singularly and close to the stem, alternatively reaching outward with their fingered "hands". The stem is slender, yet sturdy. The leaves get smaller toward the top. Higher up the stem, the leaves are more deeply indented, then they again are less indented nearer the flowers. There are a few leaves of three "fingers", then a single "finger", before reaching the flowers.

The flowers also grow singularly alternatively upward along the stem. The leaves and flowers extend diagonally upward.

The large leaves are 4 to 5 inches across, while the single-fingered leaves are 1 ½ to 2 inches long. The flower is deep blue, or blue-purple. Inside its deep inner "sanctuary" there is white, and I see rays of white and purple in the petals, going deep and rising up.

The "hood" of the flowers is like 2 petals fused, and appear "separate", or perhaps it is one, folded into its hood-shape. There are two other larger petals, and two narrow, lower ones on either side. Inside the protective petals I see many little green stamens with yellow-tip anthers.

Monkshood grows in a moist environment. The plants I observed were growing by the flowing waters of an alpine creek. The grounds are lush and light-filled. The similarly blue-violet delphinium shares this creek-side part of the alpine meadow. Tall aspens are nearby, but not too dense as to block the light.

From later study I read that what I thought were petals are actually five sepals resembling petals. There are two petals concealed under the hood and three others that generally do not develop (Audubon Field Guide to Wildflowers) The hood is one arched sepal. The leaves are described as "palmately lobed and jaggedly toothed".

Imaginative perception of the Monkshood:

Flower—I am drawn into your holy sanctuary
Purple-blue outer color, white within
Deep, inner sanctum.
Rays of white and purple going deep and rising up
My fingers pulse holding a blossom—
I hear the running waters.
After awhile I feel her welcome me,
"Come with me and enter into the wisdom of your Soul".
Opening of sagittal sutures, crown chakra.
Hood protects and yet it is not tight;
Allows for gradual opening.
When one has been shut down,
Allows for gradual reopening to the beneficent force of the Father I the Sun...
The monk's hood—over the crown of the feminine
Provides a container for spiritual development...
After shock, trauma—for spiritual awakening
To don the monk's hood—
To transmute the poison within
To protect, deepen one's inner reflection,
To embrace and hold sacred all that is within.



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