Where we live, in southern Sweden and Denmark, this time of year is bursting with the bounty of nature. All around, Life is wild and vital, bringing the verdant Green back into being. Trees are unfolding their leaves, opening to the Sun. Flowers and plants stretch up, with the joy of growing into fullness and receiving blessings from Rain. 

There is an old Swedish saying: if you can keep going until the Nettles come, you will survive. In older days, when a long hard Winter might not leave much to eat, Spring was the promise of new life in a very profound and practical way. Nettles are some of the first edible plants to grow here, and they bring nutrition and nourishment, essential vitamins and help support the blood. Nettles have a strong Spirit and come to rejuvenate us for the new season. There is promise and possibility ahead. 

Now nettles are abundant. So are dandelions, wild garlic, ground elder, wood sorrel, birch leaves, elm fruits and so much more. The harvest season is already beginning. There is so much wanting to share itself with us every day. Many times the Plants are actively waiting for us: waiting to be recognized, waiting to be known, for who they are and what they carry. Waiting to give further their gifts to those in need. How can we receive what they offer? How can we thank them in a deep and meaningful way? 

Many years ago, Jonathan’s Spirits told him it was important to learn to “Give without Losing and Receive without Taking”. Sometimes we may feel so worried about taking, that we close ourselves off to natural receiving. This closes the door to Life. Every day we have to receive – air, water, food, fire. We cannot live without this exchange, these gifts. We can begin to learn again how to receive - how to live in a reciprocal way that ensures that Life will continue to flourish. 

In her book “Braiding Sweetgrass” botany professor Robin Wall Kimmerer shares knowledge from her Potawatomi elders who live according to the Honourable Harvest. This is a set of guidelines that help us remember a right relationship with the living world, specifically when harvesting plants for medicine or food. Some key aspects include: always introducing ourselves to the plant, asking the plant for permission and abiding by the answer, taking only what we need and never more than half, and always give heartfelt thanks for what we receive. The Honourable Harvest guidelines can be extended to everyday life in general and even business practices. To learn more, listen to Dr Kimmerer’s long talk on the Teachings of Grass

Engaging with the Honourable Harvest guidelines can help us to receive with joy. To receive with gratitude and gladness. To receive knowing how important and essential it is to open to gifts given freely, and to learn how to receive well, in a way that ensures that all Life will be honoured and sustained over time. 

Life is waiting for us now to notice what it wants to share. It is up to us to remember. Open our hearts, lift up our gaze and cup our hands. Remember how to welcome sacred blessings that are offered every day on the Earth. This is a time to rejoice and give thanks for the bounty and beauty that Spring brings.