Sacred Plant Medicine & Nature-Based Ceremony
Plant-Spirit Medicine, also known as Sacred Plant Medicine, is working with herbs, plants, or nature with a spiritual intention. Nature-based Rites of Passage, Herb-Supported Spiritual Wellness, and Plant-Spirit Journeys are a few examples. Some plants we work with are entheogens (plants that altar states of consciousness) and others can be allies that help with releasing or purification, nervous system support, heart opening, or deepening a journey.
Michelle Rigling, PhD is a Trauma-Informed Plant-Spirit Medicine Facilitator. She has completed apprenticeships and training with ceremonial elders and has a personal connection with the plants she works with in ceremony. Michelle also offers Preparation and Integration Coaching to those planning to work solo with a plant or herb. This page provides an overview of Plant-spirit ceremony and nature-based journeys. A list of FAQs can be found by scrolling down the page.
A Plant-Spirit Ceremony is a spiritual journey with a plant. It can involve eating, drinking, or smoking a plant, or it can involve working with the plant's energy or essence. While the intention of plant-spirit ceremonies vary, this ancient form of wisdom seeking and questing can bring clarity and healing through expanding our awareness, temporarily altering our state of consciousness, or deepening our sense of connection to ourselves, each other, and the Universe. Some examples of plants we have worked with include: Cacao, Kava, Mugwort, Mullein, Sassafras, and Rose.
Working with herbs to support our emotional and spiritual wellness is an ancient practice. From burning incense and space clearing with herbs to tea ceremonies and flower baths, there are so many ways to nourish our spirits and deepen our journey with plants. Some rituals Michelle can lead, co-create, or teach you how to do include:
House & Space Clearing
New Home Blessings
Herbal Tea Ceremonies
Self-Care Herbal Rituals
Herbal Protection Rituals
Nature-Based Celebrations & Rites
Almost every culture known has questing traditions and rites of passage. Examples include desert sojourns, walkabouts, vision quests, medicine walks, pilgrimages and cave immersions. People who live in alignment with nature understand the value of extended time in the wild and having personal relationships with nature. Many practices exist that can connect us to the medicine of nature and help us find belonging, cultivate self-reliance, and reconnect with a sense of purpose. Michelle offers support and guidance in the following:
Life Transition Rites
Therapeutic Camping Trips
New/Full Moon Ceremonies
I'm new to all this. What do I need to know?
If you feel curious, intrigued, or called to experience plant spirit medicine, you have found a safe and welcoming space to explore, ask questions, and attend your first ceremony. Since each ceremony is different, we recommend that you read the full description of the event, noticing the theme, intention, structure, and specific plant(s) we'll be working with. If you are unsure about participating or feel nervous, reach out to learn more. No question is too weird. We want you to be fully comfortable. If you prefer to work one-on-one with Michelle, she offers private ceremonies and sessions as well.
What type of plants do you work with?
Some ceremonies include entheogens and others include plants that have restorative or deeply calming effect. Entheogens are plants that altar our state of consciousness or perception. While some entheogens like Ayahuasca, Peyote, and Psilocybin are not legal in most states, there ARE legal plants that can be powerful to work with. Some entheogens we work with include Cacao, Kava and Mugwort. Other ceremonial plants have journeyed with in the past include Sassafras, Damiana, Burdock, Mullein, and Rose.
What is a Plant Spirit Medicine Guide?
A Plant-Spirit Medicine Guide prepares individuals for ceremony, facilitates or holds space for the journey, and supports the reflection and integration process. Plant-Spirit Medicine Guides have typically gone through technical/safety training, participated in several journeys themselves, as well as apprenticed with a ceremonial elder, shaman, or plant-spirit healer.
What is a Preparation and Integration Coach?
This role has emerged due to the fact that many people are using entheogens on their own, sometimes in secret, because there are not always structured programs exist to support working with them therapeutically. If you are working with a plant on your own that has psychoactive or psychedelic properties, there are several things to consider before doing so and having support during the preparation (before) and integration (after) phases can bring more intention and safety to your experience. A T&I Coach can help you think through things, crate a safety plan, and provide a safe space for reflecting on your experiences.
What training/experience does Michelle have?
Michelle's training and experience as a Plant-Spirit Medicine (PSM) Guide includes:
Trauma-Informed PSM Facilitator Training from AYAR (including Integration Coaching and Psychedelic Journeying); 6-Month Hapé Apprenticeship with Chief Haru of Kuntanawa Nation; "Teaching Plants" Training with Hyapatia Lee, Cherokee Elder; and Continuing Education in Entheogenic Medicine, Nootropics, Trauma-Informed Psychedelics, and Plant Spirit Medicine Ethics.
Are entheogens safe?
The plants and herbs we work with in ceremony are legal and considered safe for most adults to consume. Part of the preparation phase will include reviewing your medical history, medications, and other health/wellness information to ensure your experience will be as safe as possible. With that said, no experience or journey comes without risk. It is important that you education yourself, take the preparation and safety phases of the journey seriously, and trust your own intuition throughout the process. Some ceremonies may require a waiver of liability and all ceremonies will require providing us with emergency contact information.
What will happen during a ceremony?
Every ceremony is different, and every person's experience in a ceremony is different. In group settings, we work to co-create a safe space, plan for safety, and prepare both our space and bodies for the journey. Some ceremonies include meditation, music, or movement. All ceremonies include interaction with a ceremonial plant in some way; this could be through drinking, smoking, or snuffing a plant or herb, or it could involve working with a spray, vapor, or energetic essence. Experiences during a journey vary greatly. Some plants offer an experience that could be described as blissful, relaxing, or euphoric. Others help us uncover insights, messages, repressed information, or wisdom; this can be liberating but perhaps emotional or painful at first. Some plants are heart-opening healers while others expand our awareness, consciousness, and sense of connection and cosmic belonging. Reading the full event description is the best way to get an idea of what will happen during a specific ceremony.
Where do the plants come from?
We only obtain ceremonial herbs and plants from sustainable, organic sources. When possible, plants are sourced from multi-generational family farms or small villages whose practices specifically honor the sacred medicine of the plant.
Are ceremonies confidential?
Private ceremonies are confidential. Attendees of group ceremonies are asked to commit to a sacred agreement of confidentiality before taking part in the experience.
Are ceremonies recorded?
Ceremonies are NOT recorded. No one is allowed to photograph or video any part of a ceremony without explicit written permission of both the guide(s) and participants.
How can I participate?
Michelle offers private ceremonies by request, small group community ceremonies, and workshops. Upcoming groups and workshops can be found on the EVENTS page.