How the Cottonwood Got its Star


There is a such a joy that comes with the deep study of one plant at a time. When I first started learning about herbs, I had to try everything. I was so hungry for the medicine I would buy pounds and pounds of dried plants to make with. Things for ailments I never really had and much went unused. I think this is pretty typical when I begin a new passion. I tend to gobble everything up all at once. But, now that I have a good foundation of the medicines that work for my family, I can study the plants from a different place with a slower more intentional pace. I'm learning things I never expected to learn. I feel closer and more in tune with the medicine. I'm not beating myself up over my first few years of voraciousness, just recognizing the path and appreciating where I've come.

I've always chosen one plant ally to really go deep with for each year, but with the creation of the monthly Plant Playbooks, I'm giving myself permission to dabble a bit beneath the surface for an entire month with a different plant when it is in its medicine prime. In fact, though I am sharing many more in depth offerings at HerbMother this year, this simple booklet has become my most favorite thing to make and share.

For the month of February we are working with the cottonwood tree and as usual, she has delivered deep medicine. I've created a pinterest board to collect the many inspiring things I'm learning about this majestic tree. One beautiful piece I came across that embodies the Art of Noticing, is the story of the Cottonwood and the Star. There are many versions of this story, including a beautiful CD with a live telling you can hear. I'd like to share my quick retelling and offer up a challenge below.

All things in life come from earth. When the stars were born, they ran around beneath the earth looking for a root to be born from. As they travelled, they heard laughter and joyful voices near the river. They followed the happy noise to a stand of cottonwood trees. Delighted by what they heard, they went into the roots, up the tree and hid out in the knotty twigs.

One evening, the spirit of the night noticed there were less and less stars in the sky. The spirit of the night called upon the spirit of the wind to help bring back the stars. The spirit of the wind knew the stars were hiding in the twigs of the cottonwood tree and so it created a mighty wind that would snap the branches from the trees. As the branches broke and fell to the ground, the stars shot out of the tree into the sky. To this day, if you break the twig of a cottonwood at just the right place, you will find a shadow where a star once hid.


Here is my challenge. I will gift a free copy of the Cottonwood Playbook to everyone who submits their own unique story of how the cottonwood got its star. When we create stories with the plants in nature, we connect to them in a deeper relationship and we can see them as more than just trees and flowers to pass by. With your permission, the stories will be collected and featured on the herbmother blog during the month of February.

Send your stories to herbmother (at) hotmail (dot) com with the subject line: Cottonwood Star

I can't wait to hear your versions of how the cottonwood got its star. Even if you don't participate in the challenge, I do hope you are able to get out in nature and greet this wonderful ally in some way.

Love and Besos, Latisha