Updated: Jun 9, 2022
An unexpected score today! I went for a hike this afternoon and found...an American Tulip tree (also called Tulip Poplar) on the crest of a hill in Newbury, MA. I’ve wanted to make an essence of this tree for a LONG time but haven’t been able to find a good source. Most of the trees I’ve seen in this area are too close to a road to use for essence-making or their flowers are too high to reach. This one is just about perfect...away from civilization, plenty of low branches.
Tulip trees usually bloom in late May-early June here in MA. The flowers are mesmerizing - yellow-green cups streaked with orange. Right now, it's hanging onto a bunch of flower husks from last season (see photo). I'll head back out there in the spring to check on its progress.
I've been reading up on the Tulip tree's medicinal properties - its bark contains pain-relieving salicylates that can help with headaches, arthritis, muscle aches, etc. Remedies made from the tree can also aid digestion, support the heart/cardiovascular system, and generally act as a strengthening tonic when we've been stressed or sick.
I can't say for sure what the essence does. I've seen a few write-ups from other essence makers, and each description seems to be a little different. Once I make it, I’ll need to work with it for a while...I’ll take it myself, give it to friends, assemble a study group, collect and process the feedback. If you’d like to be a part of the trial, drop me a note. I’ll send you a stock bottle and some instructions on how to take the essence and track its effects.
I’m so excited to work with this tree and finally follow my intuition to make the essence. It may be that the Tulip tree has something that *I* need at this moment. I tend to think that we're all drawn to things in the natural world that can help us - emotionally, physically, spiritually. The only challenge possibly is making enough space in our lives and ourselves for this instinct to reawaken…and truly guide us.
I've also noticed that whenever I take steps to develop a deeper connection with a tree or plant - whenever I commit to making an essence - unusual things seem to happen. Today's curiosity: as I was standing by the Tulip tree, a couple of hikers passed by with their feisty dog, off-leash. The couple disappeared into the woods, engrossed in their conversation, while the dog ran towards me, barking like crazy. Once he got close, he stopped barking and sat down at my feet where he stayed for a long time, looking at the view.
That moment with the dog was a small thing. But it was also odd and sweet, and it changed my day for the better. I don't want to layer any particular meaning onto this experience at this point, but I’ve noticed that events unfolding around a plant or tree that I intend to work with often reflect some aspect of the essence, itself. We'll see, come spring, whether this little anecdote connects in any way to the essence's area of influence.
If you’re curious about tree essences, join me for Working With Giants: Tree Essences 101 - a new study group starting in March on Zoom. We'll explore this mysterious and beautiful world of trees and tree essences. You'll learn how to tap into your intuition to locate tree allies and create your own healing essences from these flowering giants.