I am very familiar with Saint John’s Wort as an herb. It grows wild and abundantly on dry, unused lands under the summer sun in the south of France where my life as an herbalist took root. I’ve known it for years and it has just taught me about healing the inner masculine, or animus.
I love its rich array of bright, yellow shiny flowers stretched open to the skies with their stamens exuding its energy and expansiveness. The open flowers grow between tight yellow buds, spotted with black dots, young and full of potential. By squeezing a bud between my fingers, a dark red liquid stains them. When it’s like this the herb is ready to be harvested to make a beautiful deep blood red oil. I cut the flowering tops, tuning into the plant’s strength and vitality, infuse them in a huge demi-john full of oil, watching daily as the oil turns a gorgeous, intense red under the mid-summer sun.
Since living in New Mexico, this was one of the plant allies, I dearly missed. I was super stoked to find out our amazing French distiller Florent has distilled some wild Saint John’s Wort from the rugged hills where he lives. Although I know the herb well, it is rare to find an essential oil of it. I have never had the chance to work with it in this way. I was excited.
I tuned in straight away to its protective qualities. It’s not called ‘chasse diable’ (devil chaser) for nothing in French. I work with it in my ancestral healing work to protect when people are dealing with difficult and dark ancestral stories or are worried about exploring a linage for fear of ‘ghosts.’ However, in my opinion the devil in this description points to the inner darkness, fears and negative beliefs that can haunt us or possess us from within. Saint John’s Wort with its connection with the sun brings light to areas of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual obscurity.
Recently, this plant took me deeper into its meaning through a dream. I have been working hard on bringing shadow aspects of my relationship to my inner masculine to light and it hasn’t been easy or pleasant. Inner masculine work in women is often an intense area of exploration given the centuries of inequality that the feminine has endured (in men and women). Many of us are relating within with the very patriarchal forces that women have been and are still battling with in the outer world. I believe the work needs to be done within in order for things to change without.
In the dream, I asked a positive animus character in the form of a good, male friend of mine to prepare the Saint John’s Wort plant for me. I watched as he worked the yellow flowers with his hands, discarding the bits that weren’t perfect. Just this simple image opened up a deep understanding of why this oil is perfect for inner masculine healing work. Of course, it is the herb of the sun, often even referred to as sunlight in a bottle. The yang energy in life and in all of us is often symbolized as the sun. Its positive, beautiful, radiancy is the soulmate of sister Moon.
“If we think of pure spirit, symbolized by the sun as masculine, we can see that released from the feminine, the masculine spirit is death. The feminine is what holds the masculine in life.” from “The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine” by Matthew Fox.
But without the masculine, the feminine is inert matter. She needs the protection, wisdom, courage and abundance of the sun to animate her earth. Our inner masculine needs healing for us to reach conjunctio, the inner marriage.
Working with Saint John’s Wort essential oil, I feel I am bringing light to what has been hidden within me. The essence of this beautiful plant is resonating with my inner sacred masculine. It is he who I need to become whole and to be fully embodied in the material world. I need him to behold me. He is my inner partner, my sacred union. The inner sacred masculine has been dominated and colonized by patriarchy like the feminine and sometimes even by the negative feminine working for patriarchy. It is not a question of men and women but of masculine and feminine within us all.
I have been possessed by a very negative masculine voice that came through my ancestral experience, always putting me down, blaming me, colonizing my energy. Unluckily, my mother had been so wounded herself, she decided it was safer to promote the patriarchal, colonial voice rather than fight for decolonization. My animus was shaped by this. Saint John’s Wort is really helping me to heal this possession and build a relationship with the light of my sacred masculine that is hidden behind the colonizer.
Its odor is sweet as it lights up my body’s cells and invites the feminine essence that comes through my maternal bloodline into the light of day to dance with him.
I am really grateful and energized to have been directed to this plant ally for this difficult, intense and necessary inner journey towards marrying my inner masculine and decolonizing my maternal bloodline.
I just smell it and allow its aroma to infuse its energy through me. It brings me joy, I feel its strength, encouragement, generosity and clarity. It is the light I need to honor the feminine instincts and bring them into form.