Episode 24: Boundary-Setting as a Spiritual Practice & How We Can Call on Plants, Nature, & Ancestors for Support with Poplar Rose

poplar rose holding a fern in front of her face

aqua squre with white text that reads

Boundary-setting is a spiritual practice — one that, arguably, would not have been possible through the ages without help from our oldest allies and friends: plants, nature, and ancestors. Think of this: our ancestors would not have survived without plant medicine. You and I would not be here if not for plant medicine. Plants, crystals, rocks, trees, the moon, our ancestors — each of these has powerful lessons to teach and wisdom to share. And when it comes to setting boundaries, well, I think we need all the wisdom and help with can get!

poplar rose holding a fern in front of her face

Poplar Rose is a plant-loving witch. Their magical practice pulls from Celtic folk, radical queer, and activist reclaiming traditions, while also being a part of the modern explosion of feminist witchcraft. Her mother is also a witch as are many of the women in their mother’s family. Her activism and professional life reflects their commitment to enlivening a more just and sustainable culture. Poplar Rose it’s also a trauma informed yoga teacher, youth support worker, facilitator, author, and whale song lover. She lives in a forest full of mushrooms by the ocean with her dog, cat, and 2 goats.


Show Notes

In this episode with Poplar Rose, we…

  • discuss various plant medicines both physically and energetically protective and how to use these plant allies in setting boundaries
  • discuss boundary-setting as a spiritual practice and how plants, nature, and ancestors can guide and support us
  • discuss how our ancestors established intuitive and sacred relationships with plants that is the foundation of all plant medicine past, present, and future
  • talk about the sacredness and practicality of our relationships with plants
  • share how our lineages come with unhealthy patterns and traumas, but also with strength, resilience, and health
  • share why we need to gain insights about our ancestry, whether through family stories, intuition, or imagination
  • discuss the ritual of boundary-setting and the importance of self-responsibility in ritual
  • talk about the freedom found in letting go of others’ expectations and how the moon, plants, and water can assist in the letting go
  • discuss non-attachment and emotional neutrality in general and about boundaries
  • discuss neuroception and humans’ sensitivity to attempted control



LINDSEY: Hello there and welcome back to the holistic trauma healing podcast. I’m Lindsey. Thank you so much for joining me today. Right now it is a Friday in late January and it’s cold is dark. And all day long, I have been thinking about swimming in the lakes and rivers near my house, hiking in the woods and finding my favorite plants and flowers which is pretty appropriate considering what today’s episode is about. So before we get started on today’s episode, I want to go ahead and let you know this is actually the second interview with Poplar Rose. So if you haven’t heard episode 23 yet. That was the long awaited episode on boundaries. Please go listen to that. You don’t necessarily have to listen to at first, but I’m just letting you know that it will give you more information, more context, about boundaries. Lots of practical stuff in there. And then today is more like the spiritual side of boundaries, the boundaries as a spiritual practice and how we can both set and respect boundaries using plants, nature, ritual, and ancestors as supports.

Before i tell you about today’s episode. I want to introduce Poplar again. Poplar Rose is a plant living, which they’re magical practice pulls from Celtic folk, radical queer and activist, reclaiming traditions. While also being a part of the modern explosion of feminist witchcraft. Her mother is also a witch as are many of the women in their mother’s family for activism and professional life reflects their commitment to enlivening and more just and sustainable culture. Poplar is also. A trauma informed yoga teacher you support worker facilitator author and whale song letter she lives in a forest full of mushrooms by the ocean with her dog cats in two goats

So in today’s episode, Poplar and I are discussing various plant medicines as both physical and energetic protection and how these plants are powerful allies in a spiritual practice of setting boundaries. We are departing from the mainstream narrative about boundaries and talking about how plants, nature and ancestors can really guide us in this practice because it’s such a nuance thing. Boundaries are so nuanced. It’s not black and white. Working with plants is so nuanced working with nature and ancestors is also nuanced. So they are perfect tools when we are trying to learn, how is that boundaries, especially as a spiritual practice. We’re discussing the ways in which plants reveal themselves to us. We’re also talking about how our ancestors established sacred connections with plants and how literally none of us would be in existence if our ancestors had not established relationships with plants. We talk about the sacredness and the practicality of our relationships with plants. We share the subtle, but powerful ways that plants affect us physically and energetically. We discuss how our lineages come with unhealthy patterns and traumas, but our lineage has also come with strength, resilience, and health, and we need to acknowledge that as well. We share why we need to gain insights about our ancestry, whether that’s through family stories or our intuition or our imagination. We also discussed the importance of self-responsibility and ritual. We talk about the freedom in letting go and how the moon plants, water and ritual can assist in the letting go process. We discuss non attachment and emotional neutrality. And we talk about neuroception and a human sensitivity to attempted control. So you’re going to love this episode, especially if you’re super woo.

What does a phrase that we use a lot on the podcast, but this is like definitely the spiritual and ancestral parts of the trauma healing web. What the universe has shown me is that the anchor points of the trauma healing web are the parts of us that make up our whole being. So we, as humans are physical people, we have physical bodies. We also have emotions. We have minds that think and like to run away with our thoughts, but then also come up with really creative and cool things. We have spirits. We have souls and we also have an ancestry. So this episode is really about the last two parts of the five parts of the trauma healing, web, the spiritual and the ancestral parts of our whole being. So it’s like holistic boundary setting. I don’t know anyway i know you’re going to love this episode with Poplar as much as the last one, episode 23. so without further ado please enjoy Okay, Poplar. Let’s talk about plants and boundaries and nature and ritual and ancestors all in relationship to boundaries.


LINDSEY: I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody bring up plants, nature, ritual and ancestors in the same sentence as boundaries before I think it’s a really intriguing topic and I would love to know more and I’m sure people listening would also love to know more.

POPLAR: Yeah. For me, like I started teaching about boundaries and I think I said this in the first episode, like I was involved in like a feminist program that taught Violence prevention to youth. And so I came up learning about it in a bit of a, more of a practical way. But then myself, like being a witch and being a spiritual person, like I realized that there are a lot of subtle energies. And sometimes these things show up in not subtle ways too. And so when I started teaching, like I did a lot of learning with different teachers. Through the original program I was in, but also through taking workshops and reading people’s books. And what I came around to in the end is that the piece that I can contribute most clearly is bringing those pieces in.

And talking about plants, like my class was called Hawthorne heart because it was really based around the archetype of a Hawthorn tree. And a Hawthorn tree is a very like emblematic boundary plant because the Hawthorn tree has like very big thorns and it’s a heart medicine. So it’s designed to help regulate the heart and blood pressure.

And it’s one of those plants that does really bring equilibrium. So if your heart is working overtime, it will slow your heart down. And if your heart is slow and sluggish, it will, it can like speed up and tone and help your heart function more normally. And so which I just find amazing, like the fact that plants to me that’s like an intelligence that they have, like that they can come into our bodies and help provide that kind of balance. And also coming from like a Celtic folk magic perspective, like Hawthorn trees are very much like they’re fairy trees. They like a portal to another world and their protection trees. And I think, a lot of this is about like protection magic, and pixie light horse has a book that talks about some of this stuff. I’m not the only person who’s talking about this for sure. But it is like the component that I feel like I can speak to skillfully in a different way from some of the practical advice.

POPLAR: Yeah. Okay. So what I want to go back to the Hawthorne thing, because I’m like, I’ve only been foraging and like talking to plants and learning about plants and plant medicines pretty like actively as a witch and an herbalist for Four to five years. Before four or five years ago, I used plant medicine, but it was like, I would go to the health food store and I would buy a tincture. And now I make my own tinctures. This last year, actually summer 2020, I was hiking by myself, doing some foraging, came across a very small bush with thorns and red berries. And I was like, Oh my gosh, I think this is the Hawthorn tree. And I was so excited about it. And I got, I have the Seek app on my phone. And so I got the phone out and I identified it and it was a Hawthorn tree and I was super excited about it. And then something inside my spirit, it was just like, wait a minute. Wait a second check before you do anything with this. So I just left the tree and I came back and then my best friend was over and I was like, Hey, I found a Hawthorn tree. I know it’s good for like blood pressure and like heart medicine and all that. But is there some reason why I shouldn’t harvest from the street?

Is it like endangered up here? What’s going on? And she was like, I don’t think it’s endangered, but I was just always under the understanding that we leave Hawthorn trees alone, because those are for the fairies. And so I like, I just didn’t watch it. So okay. I’m familiar with I make my own tinctures and then I also make my own flower essences. So would you use Hawthorne as an essence or as a tincture or as how, what is the medium by which you would deliver it?

POPLAR: There’s a number of different ways that you can work with Hawthorne. Hawthorne is a very Because it is one of those trees that like associated with the fairy realm. And that’s, I understand that through a more Celtic, like my family is very Scottish or very Scottish. So that’s like how I’m rooted in understanding that I think in a North American context, it’s we might understand that a little bit differently. But ultimately I think anytime we interact with the Hawthorn tree, like if you’re an energetically sensitive person, if you see the tree as like a being that has, an imbued spirit or whatever you can see that, Hawthorne is part of the Rose family. It’s a very protective plant. You can easily hurt yourself when you’re harvesting Hawthorne, because it has these big thorns and there’s many ways that you can work with it.

If you’re actually using it as like a material medicine on the tissues of the heart the leaves, the flowers and the berries all have those same kinds of impacts much like other plants in the Rose family. It has an astringent quality to it. It has a very soothing anti-inflammatory quality to it. The flowers, if you follow the doctrine of signatures, have that sort of standard sort of heart shaped kind of Rose flower thing. And you’d want to avoid it if you had allergies to roses in some way, but yeah, there’s many different ways that you can work with it. Like one of my favorite ways to work with Hawthorne is to harvest the berries and then to add thorns in with the berries. And then I will typically the way that I’ve usually worked with it is actually using glycerin, glycerin, and water to make a glyceride. And the reason I did that originally, and I’m still working off the supply. I have my original supply of it is because a glyceride is really easily usable by kids, people who are diabetics, people who maybe don’t want to use an alcohol-based tincture.

It’s a bit of a gentler medicine suite and like appealing to most people, but you definitely could make a flower essence out of Hawthorne. Especially if you wanted to avoid like interactions with heart medications, for example. Another way that people I’ve seen have interacted with it is they harvested the berries and then turn the berries, like use them like beads. So sprung them on a needle and thread. And you can also you can take in like medicine from a plant just by being present with that plant. Lucky. I live in a place where There have been a lot of Hawthorn trees planted on the Island where I live and definitely in moving here, it was interesting because I had never really come across a place where there was just so much, Hawthorne’s like all over the place. And that was definitely a bit of a sign to me of wanting to move here. But yeah, they’re like, they’re often planted as like a decorative tree because they’re quite pretty and Hawthorne is it’s a very. I also, there’s other plants that I work with in terms of boundaries.

Like I also work with yarrow, nettles, roses. Those are all like, there are many different plants you can work with, but Hawthorne for me, one of the things that I really enjoy about it is that it really does a good job of balancing the protection aspect of it. Like it’s a very fierce well-protected plant. The floors are enormous. Like they’re usually like an inch or longer. But the goal of working with Hawthorne, I think as like a spirit medicine is to have a heart that is at peace, and I think one of the issues that I take with a lot of the sort of boundary work that I see in this kind of mainstream. The Avenue that I look through it is through like IgE therapy, like Instagram therapy. But I find that, and we talked about this in the last episode, too, that when we first start setting boundaries, like often there is a harshness and sometimes that harshness is necessary, like I have one friend who will talk about this as there’s warrior goddess, archetypes, or just warrior archetypes, where it’s like, Way, did they make pieces like through weapons for killing people through making things like not be alive on this plane in the same way anymore.

And it’s okay. It’s okay. Especially if someone’s hurting you routinely to remove them from your life or whatever the case may be. But ultimately I think what I like about Hawthorne heart is having a Hawthorne heart is that you’re trying to. Imbue within yourself, like a sense of peace. Like I find whenever I’m harvesting from Hawthorne and especially when the flowers are out and the bees are active on the tree and it’s just, it just feels like soothing to stand next to this tree. It’s not and it’s not about, jabbing someone, right? Like it’s not about weaponizing your pain. It’s about actually figuring out what are the elements in my life that I need to be able to feel this sense of peace. And I think like with both roses and Hawthorne, like there, it’s easier for those plants to like access that sense of peace and softness because they have this built-in protection and it’s just there.

It just exists. It’s just inherent to who and what they are. And I think that That’s been a really powerful lesson for me too, to recognize that if that sense of boundaries and protection in the edges between you and me is built in and it’s clear and it just exists there, then it doesn’t need to be overstated. And I think that happens sometimes in some of the mainstream ways of looking at boundaries where we’re like, Oh, you crossed my boundary. You’re bad or you’re evil. We’re going to think about this in black and white. And I think where boundaries start to become really enriching practices when we can actually start to play with it a little more and apply a little bit more nuance and apply compassion to everyone involved.

Even if we’re saying I’m never going to, I don’t want to speak to you right now, maybe four years. There’s certain people in my life that like, I don’t speak to, I don’t have them in my life because I recognize that when I do that it’s, it just doesn’t work for me. But I try to cultivate that sense of peace around it because one of my friends was in part of my Hawthorne heart course. And he talked about, if your boundary is an electric fence, where every time someone comes and hit the fence, it goes off. He’s who’s powering that fence. And I think that’s like a really good question, right? Like with a Hawthorne heart and with a Hawthorn tree, nothing is really powering those thorns except its inherent lifeforce. It’s just built into what it is, and. And so I feel like I can really relate to that plant as an archetype and as a teacher, because I think that effortlessness can really set you free. And I think it’s hard to imbue that effortlessness when initially to bring boundaries into your life, it does require effort because maybe they’re just not there. So it’s a bit of a contradiction, right? It’s like, how do you have boundaries that have this effortlessness, it’s it’s not necessarily straightforward, but I think you can learn something about it by spending time with that plant.

LINDSEY: Yeah, for sure. I feel that way about you mentioned Yarrow and I have also worked with yarrow as a protective like boundaries setting thing. For me specifically, the yarrow was like an energetic boundary, like protecting against like ENS and like internet waves and things like that. And I actually had a really powerful experience where I had a friend over and she was just talking about like how drained she felt energetically. And I was like let’s see like what your body is asking for. And so I did some dowsing for her and like very strongly her body was like yarrow. And so I was like, your body’s saying it needs yarrow right now. And she’s what is yarrow flower, essence good for? And I was like it’s, it helps to protect you from electromagnetic frequencies and like waves, like particles that are going through that energy. Like it helps your body be protected from that and all that. And she’s I have five kids, all five of them have phones. All five of them have laptops. I have a phone, my husband has a phone, we’ve all have laptops. We have four TVs in our house, like all of these things. And I was like, girl, you, your body is like drainage. That’s why your body’s asking for this protection from this plant. And then if you look at yarrow, yarrow is one of my favorite plants for a lot of reasons, not just for that. I also use it for balancing my menstrual cycle and. Stuff like that, but it doesn’t taste very good, but I do drink occasionally mix it with Nuttle peppermint and yarrow all together and like more heavy on the peppermint.

But yeah, so I, I love the way yarrow is because it’s it shoots up like one STEM that goes up and it has these beautiful, like feathery leaves. And then there’s just this cluster of Super tight, little tiny white flowers are pink sometimes. And it’s almost like they form like an umbrella. And you could totally see that if you were like a little person or a little fairy or something like underneath that yarrow, it looks if you were at the right scale and the right kind of being like, you could stand under it and you would be protected. Is that how you work with your also, or do you do something different?

POPLAR: I’ve actually never heard of the EMF. That’s totally new to me, but again plants are really. I will just come out and say that I see plants, like similarly to people, limited by language. It’s, it’s challenging to like, but they’re like living beings that you can get to know like a person it’s like you can know someone for so long and then one day they’re like, Oh yeah, I’ve, I used to be a professional juggler and you’re like, but people reveal themselves to you in these layers. And I think plants are very similar. And for me, I work with yarrow in a few different ways, but I think what’s really interesting about yarrow compared to some of the other boundary medicines that we might work with. A lot of the boundary medicines, people work with have thorns.

Like devil’s club is another one that’s more local to where I live and, you get devil’s club and your skin, it becomes a very pissy gross infection, right? So some of them have these very obvious connotations of this plant is protecting you, but yarrow doesn’t have horns and it doesn’t, it doesn’t sting you to brush up against it. What yarrow does in my opinion, the image that comes to mind for me is that it stops heavy bleeding. Yarrow is used with people who are experiencing hemorrhage, whether that be related to like birth or miscarriage or abortion or whatever the case may be. And it was also used like in war or where people would be, out on the battlefield and you’re, something happens like you get shot and yarrow has this incredible ability to stop excessive bleeding. And, it does a lot of other things too. It also balances progesterone. It can help break fevers. It can help you sweat out infections. Yarrow does all kinds of.

LINDSEY: Yeah, like on the battlefield, like they would make a poultice out of it and like stuff on the wounds, right?

POPLAR: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s, it’s antibacterial, it wouldn’t have stopped the moon from going septic. It would stop the person from bleeding out. Like when, to me, like, when I think about, this is what I love so much about plants. I’m like a many times over Sagittarius. I also have add, it’s like hard for me to focus on something I’m not passionate about. And I’ve been working with plants for about 11 years now.

And. My passion for it, like never wanes. Like it’s just incredible. The more that we learn about these plants and just the ways that they are inherently capable of supporting us and that our relationships with them are also allow us to come into a responsibility to take care of them, which is a topic I could go on about forever. And I think if you want to like, learn about that, reading braiding Sweetgrass is a really good place to start. That book is incredible. But that’s an aside, I think with yarrow, you know what I really love about your arrow and where I think yarrow is a really helpful tool is when someone, and I think this came up with what you were talking about with the person you shared the story about it’s when someone is depleted, and they’re just, it’s if your energy is in a bucket, in a reserve, in a bucket, if there’s a hole in your bucket, It doesn’t matter how, what you put in the bucket, because it’s just going to come out the hole and yarrow is really good at plugging the hole in the bucket and allowing you to actually retain some of the things that you are giving to yourself or in your case.

LINDSEY: What you’re talking about is stopping something from coming in that you don’t want to have be there. Because it was draining her energy. So it was acting like a plug in the hole or it plugging in the bucket. Yeah. And I think, that’s yeah. So Yara, I think, Hawthorne, I think is a little more about balancing for me. Hawthorne is about balancing compassion and protection and Rose is like that too. But I think roses for me, I think apply a little more towards grief. Because it’s just a bit more tender, but yeah, for yarrow, it’s like when you’re depleted, like when you just, you just, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing.

POPLAR: Like you see a yarrow person who needs yarrow often will be someone who is actually doing a fairly good job of taking care of themselves. Like they’re trying to eat healthy and they’re trying to do whatever, but it just doesn’t seem to work. Like it just doesn’t seem to stick. And. I think another one of the ways that I really love to use yarrow is to burn it. I think that, for example, burning white space very controversial. And I think one of the things which I think is it’s good for us to think about that. It’s good for us to think about, we don’t want to be depleting certain plants because they’ve become trendy and yarrow, People think of this as a bad word, but it grows like a weed.

It’s a very plentiful plant. I think it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever get to a place where we run out of yarrow unless, some other extenuating circumstance, yeah. Very de-stabilizing global climate change or something, but no yarrow grows abundantly. And so it’s a really, it’s a great plant to use for Yeah. If you burn the smoke of yarrow and you let it burn through your house and it just, what it does is it clears the energy. It provides you protection from things that might be going on in the spirit world. It’s a really nice plant to burn if you’re negotiating space with a ghost in your house because it’s a boundary plant, right? It’s like where I end and where you begin and not over-giving. And another thing I really love about yarrow is yarrow tends to appear in my life as pink yarrow, a lot. Yarrow actually does come in like a range of different colors. It’s most commonly white, but you also see it like yellow, pink. And what I’ve heard from different herbalists is that pink yarrow is usually designed specifically to protect the heart.

And I find it’s, I’ve seen it pale pink. I’ve seen it dark pink, like it, it’s just a really incredibly beautiful plant. And, I think it works really well for people who have too much. Empathy, where they’re just being drained by caring too much about other people. And when I say that, what I mean is that it’s you’re just giving away your energy, caring about other people.

And it’s disorienting you to the point where you don’t even know what your own feelings are anymore. I don’t necessarily think, yarrow to me isn’t less about. Some of these plants can have to do with negotiating anger and like holding anger and rage in healthy ways. And I don’t think you’re always about that as much. I think it’s more about it’s about plot plugging the hole in the bucket. Really? What I think about it, like the most as.

LINDSEY: Yeah, no, I love it. Okay. So we could nerd out about talking about plants and their different personalities, like all day. But so for people who are listening to the show and there’s, I can just see people being like, I’m still skeptical because this all sounds like woo nonsense. I want to just share with people, have an open mind, know that our ancestors were working with plants and their energy and their medicine for like thousands of years before. We ever, like even knew the names of some of these plants and like they established connections with these plants that were sacred and it’s not bullshit.

POPLAR: It is it’s energetic, but it’s not bullshit. And you don’t have to take I think, okay. So this is something that I would have done years ago is, if you had told me about Hawthorne was good heart medicine, and it would help me like establish boundaries, but not be so harsh and be done till about it. And all that I would have rushed out and I would have bought or in tincture, or I would have found one on Etsy or something and ordered it and I would have started taking it. And what I understand now about plants and plant medicines, and please correct me if you have a different understanding, but what I understand now is like a tincture can be pretty strong and harsh and sometimes Really, if you need Hawthorne medicine or yarrow medicine or Rose medicine or whatever, it doesn’t mean you just have to go find the most potent form of that medicine and start taking it.

It could be as simple as like you’re hiking and you see a patch of yarrow and you just sit in it for a minute and just absorb its energy like with intention, or it could be like you plant a Rose Bush in your front yard and you enjoy it and you stop and smell the roses and you slow down and you like, they can really be that simple and not subtle. It doesn’t mean that we just have to go out and get a bunch of tinctures and start like treating ourselves with medicines when we actually can absorb the energy. Is that, are you connecting with me on that?

LINDSEY: Yeah. And I want to back up a tiny bit and say that when you were talking about we’ve had these relationships with plants for thousands of years and the two points that came up for me listening to you talk about that or that one, like for me, my relationship with plants, I do consider it to be sacred, but it’s also practical. It’s a very and I think it’s been that for thousands of years where, like plant medicine eventually did morph into like modern day pharmaceuticals. And there’s a lot of derivatives of plants that are in pharmaceuticals. But a lot of it is practical. If it’s at a time when there wasn’t like, modern medicine tools to stop hemorrhage, yarrow was the thing that was used to do that.

POPLAR: As an example. And yeah, you’re completely right. I think that there are there are physical impacts that a plant will have on a body and sometimes those are beneficial. But sometimes it’s not necessary to engage with the plant in that way. Like one of the ways that you can work with Hawthorne, which is pretty like non-disruptive to the plant. And also I think very powerful energetically is to pull some of the forms off a branch and keep those thorns like somewhere that is of meaning to you. And I think. One of the reasons why I really liked working with the energetics of boundaries is that a lot of the time when we’re looking at boundaries, I think there can be a lot of encouragement of black and white thinking.

So it’s like you cross my boundary. You’re bad now. And I think first of all, it’s more subtle than that. So learning to tune into the energetics of conflict even. Like those things can be shifted with tools like plants and ritual meditation. There’s so many things that can really like help shift those subtle pieces. But also some of this stuff is like very old. And I think once we start to talk about ancestors, we can dive into that a bit more. But I agree with you that yeah, you don’t. And I would actually caution people and I’m glad you brought this up. One of the reasons that I liked making Hawthorne in glycerin. And I think that you’d have the same impact if you made it in honey or maple syrup or something like that is that you can take a drop of this and it’s sweet on your tongue and you taste it, but you’re not you Sabre that sweetness, but you’re not over imbibing. And particularly if you’re on, certain types of medications, like there’s a lot of complicated, not only energetics, but also plants have physical impacts on our bodies when we take them in. And I think, especially when we’re working with something like boundaries, it involves so much subtle energetics the plants can really have a very powerful way of interacting with those energetics. And I think for people who are a bit more Rue skeptical, one of the ways that I like to approach this is to say that, We know that the way that our brains work with like neuroplasticity and building neural pathways that, patterns and habits make highways in our brain loosely, right?

There’s more scientific ways of putting that, but it’s like the more you do something, the more your brains capacity gets practice at doing that thing. And if you don’t have very much practice setting boundaries because you’re a people pleaser, or perhaps you set a lot of boundaries, but you do it in an aggressive manner. What is useful about something like a plant or a crystal or a tarot card or whatever archetype you want to work with of which there are innumerable things you could work with is that it reminds you of that commitment that you made to yourself. It’s like a physical manifestation of the commitment that you made to yourself.

And if you keep a piece of yarrow, on your dresser, for example, and your goal is to try to really absorb the care that you are giving to yourself and to not be just leaking that out everywhere. You see that yarrow you’re reminded of that commitment, and you’re more easily able to build that neural pathway in your brain, through your actions. Yeah. That’s not really very woo. Parts of that, like when people talk about the placebo effect, like the fact that we can heal ourselves with our brain is like incredible, like that’s amazing. But yeah, you don’t need, you don’t need to take the plant into your body. And particularly with yarrow is very warming.

It’s the sweat inducing plant. Like you start taking tons of yarrow, it’s very likely that, it could maybe have impacts on your body you don’t necessarily want to be dealing with. So there’s, yeah, there’s many levels at which you can work with these plants and, people put them under their pillows. One of the things that I really encourage people to do, and it’s been a piece of feedback people have given me about my work a lot is they’re like, no, can you give us more specific instructions about how you work with this plant? And I tend to not offer super detailed instructions because I really think it’s important to cultivate your relationship with a plant where you approach that plant and you just allow yourself to trust your own instincts about what that plant wants to offer you.

LINDSEY: Absolutely. You don’t have to turn it into a tincture.

POPLAR: And to just and also to notice, like one of my herb teachers talked about, Plants will appear in your path that want to be in your life. Like I moved into the house that I live in now and I didn’t actually notice this. I moved there in the winter time. I didn’t notice until the spring that literally the house is surrounded, like on most sides by like enormous Rose bushes and people in my life who I told this to were like yeah, That’s your house obviously, but it’s, that’s the thing is that these plants, like when you make yourself known to them and say, I need help. I need assistance. I need to be supported, whatever it is. You don’t have to go buy a tincture because the plant that you’re meant to work with will come across your path. I believe that very strongly. It’s not to say there’s anything wrong with going and buying the tincture go ahead and do that. Support your local herbalist. It’s great. But Yeah, I completely agree with you. You do not need to start taking really high doses of a tincture of something to be working with it effectively.

LINDSEY: Yeah. And I’m glad that you pointed out first, how our ancestors worked with plants. Like we literally would not have survived as a species if it was not for plant medicine, like not exist anymore. So that’s the first thing. And then the second thing is I’m so glad that you encouraged people to there’s not a prescribed way working with plants like prescriptions are very prescribed, certain times of day, but plant medicine is so intuitive and for me, like I might sleep with a mugwort bundle next to my bed. But you might want to smudge your house with it or somebody else might want to, smoke it. There’s so many different ways and what works for me or what that plant wants to do with me is may not be how that plan wants to work with you. And that doesn’t mean that one of us is right, and one of us is wrong and I’m like, I’m so glad that you also pointed out the energy of boundaries because a lot of people, myself included at one time, like boundaries were very black and white. It’s if I set this boundary, this is how it is. And if you violate it, you are wrong, you are bad, whatever. But even in setting that boundary, I think we do ourselves such a disservice whenever we don’t acknowledge the many different feelings that we feel when we are setting a boundary.

POPLAR: Like I can set a boundary with somebody and feel completely in my power, completely confident in the boundary that I’m setting. And I can also feel, you talked about this in last episode, grief for what I’m missing out on grief for the way that it might change my relationship with that person. I might also feel major FOMO, fear of missing out. Like I might experience that. I might also experience like relief, from being able to set the boundary. And there’s just so many energies involved with setting a boundary. And there’s so many energies involved with working with plants. And that’s why I can’t believe I never thought of it until I started talking to you, but that’s why I think it’s so genius that you’re like, I like using plants to work with boundaries because it just fits so well.

LINDSEY: So with that in mind can we take what we’ve now established about plants and plant medicine and Open the door into ancestors and ritual with boundaries.

POPLAR: Yeah, let’s do that. And I think cause you’re right, that it is it’s a very complex process. And I think that’s where I differ from, a lot of the, like I see like IgE therapy sort of world of boundaries where. It does become very black and white and it can reinforce black and white thinking.And also what I see a lot is people take, and I did this in my previous class. Like I was leaving a relationship that had some really unhealthy elements to it, and I was processing those things and trying to figure out my own role and so many pieces in it, and I was in the process of dealing with all of that and actively sharing that process as a part of my teaching. And I think that’s fine. And there’s some beauty in that, but also like it’s not a one size fits all approach. And I think, it’s so interesting talking to you about this because I’m like, Oh, there’s so many pieces like that you can dive into it, this, but the ancestral piece is really huge.

And to introduce that aspect, what I will say is that there’s our ancestors like the people that we come from our blood. And then there’s also like our cultural ancestors, right? So if if you identify a certain way, you might have queer ancestors or feminist ancestors, or however you want to, ancestors of the land that you come from, however you want to identify it, ancestors can also be about your relationship to them. For me, I think I talked about this before, like one of the biggest pieces for me in learning some of these boundaries skills was that my grandmother, she grew up in a very abusive home and went on to have a very loving marriage. My grandpa lived many years after she died. And he was so dedicated to her. And when he died he was talking to her and my whole family was like, he’s finally getting to go home to her. This is what he’s wanted all along. They loved each other tremendously. And she was really like an emblem for me of the possibility of healing from tumultuous abuse and like finding something more loving.

And at the same time, I grew up in a home where my mom didn’t have very many boundaries. Like she didn’t have very many boundaries with me. She didn’t have very many boundaries with my father. And then she also had some major key boundaries. Like she divorced him, they’re still friends, and that’s another example for me of she divorced my dad, but they are very close, and so she had this boundary with him. I don’t want to be married to you. I don’t want to live in the same house. I don’t want to have my ability to access love. Be limited by your ability to access love. But they’re very close. Like they’re very good friends and they, in some ways I think my mom is one of my dad’s closest people still. And they’ve supported each other through many things. And so I have these examples within my own lineage of like how to navigate boundaries in these beautiful, healthy ways. And I also had to I think because I grew up in a home where there were not a lot of boundaries, especially from my mom to other people I tended to swing between also not having the boundaries that I needed or majorly overcompensating overcompensating through like hyper confidence, hyper competence and confidence, like trying to show that I was tougher than I really felt Sometimes using anger, judgment rage, especially when I was like more in the social justice world using shame, and these are the tools that we pick up to try to protect ourselves. Like we evolutionarily, we need to protect ourselves. And looking at your ancestors and the ways that they may have struggled to protect themselves both, close to you, like your family of origin. Some of your most impactful relationships of your life now as a human on earth, but also the further back that lineage, like for me, an example is I’m a witch.

I know that I’ve been a witch in previous lifetimes, and I know that it’s caused me like bodily harm to live that way. My relationship with plants feels like time travel to me. And I know that to some people that is maybe in discernibly woo. But I can have relationships with plants where I come across the plant and it’s I get this wave of deja VU. And it’s I feel like I’ve known this plant for like thousands of years, and and I know that I’ve practiced with this plant and I’ve touched this plant and worked with this plant. And so I think it’s a combination of knowing that we have these skills, we have ancestral resilience and we also have ancestral trauma.

And when, there’s been a lot of studies that show for example, if you take a mouse and you expose the mouse to a certain scent and you electrocute the most, which I’m sorry to all the vegans, and that’s a very mean thing to do to a mouse. I don’t personally support doing that to animals, but the finding of this study is. Really interesting, where like you expose this mouse to pain, like electrocution or something, painful the most doesn’t die. It’s babies will be scared of that same trigger, even if the babies themselves have never experienced that same pain, and we also see this there’s been a lot of research on intergenerational trauma around residential schools, around the Holocaust, around various different types of broad scale cultural trauma. And, we see that these impacts like last generations, right? And so there’s, there’s many different scales at which we can look at this, we can look at our conflict we have with someone and say This is actually about, I want this and you want this, so fuck you.

Like on a very small scale, we’re gonna make it black and white, very personal, or we can zoom out and recognize Oh maybe I’m struggling to set boundaries with this person because this is a pattern that’s really similar to my family of origin. And you actually are reminding me of my dad right now. You don’t actually have to say that to the person. I actually would say that you shouldn’t, unless you have no, maybe it makes more sense to say it to, for example, like your intimate partner, like maybe your best friend, if you really want to work on it together, but that’s really more information that’s for you, and you can zoom back further through that and say, that there are, like another good example is like hoarding, right? Like people have a hard time setting boundaries around like how much stuff they acquire and it can create dis-ease like feeling like not good in their own home space because the house is so packed with stuff.

And that would be like an internal boundary, a sense of discipline to say and a sense of discernment. What do I actually need? And I think, part of the reason why so many people hoard is because their grandparents or however many generations back went through the great depression, went through world Wars, went through living on rations, and so biologically and I would also argue spiritually, they have this feeling that safety comes from acquiring more stuff, and so one of the ways that you can soothe that sense of danger, cause I’ve seen people hoarding. It’s hard for them to get rid of stuff. They’re going to feel regret. They’re going to, you’re going to wish they had that thing later or whatever is to, speak to yourself, maybe your inner child, but also maybe to your ancestors and say, you know what? This is not the time we’re living in anymore. And I’m sorry for what you went through, but I actually need this to be different because these patterns, like they will carry on intergenerationally. Like we will pass them on to our children. If we don’t have children, they may impact some of the other people who look up to us, be it like, young people in our lives, people, if I’m a youth worker.

So I spend tons of time with people who are younger than me. I really try to check check some of my own baggage around that stuff to not because we’re constantly teaching everyone around us so much about how we’re willing to be treated and like what certain truths are about being a human. And I think that some of these things that we have taken in as like a universal truth are actually just related to like the experiences of our ancestors over time. And to me, I find this like immensely helpful because it gives me a sense of broader context for why some of these boundaries that you know about, we might, it might be really easy for someone else can feel monumental and terrifying for me or someone I’m supporting. And it can be because like, I want to, but I’m like on a blood bone, deep, old level, there is terror associated with that for reasons of safety. And we have to become congruent with what’s true now. Just as a brief example, like my ancestors are Mennonite on my mom’s dad’s side of the family and they don’t dance.

And I had noticed that I had just manifested in my life over and over again spaces where there was not enough room for me to move or dance and also losing opportunities to go and dance in collective group spaces. And I was noticing it was really negatively impacting my mental health. And I actually sat down one day by myself and talk to those ancestors. And I was like, I need you to let me go. I need you to let me dance. And it actually unraveled a lot of different things in my life because it was like recognizing that I actually need to give myself permission to take up enough space for this to matter. And it was very impactful for me. And people will often say, don’t know about the history of my ancestors or I don’t know about these specifics, but you can acquire this information through What I would consider to be non-factual means like more intuitive means like, dreaming, you could talk to your family members, if you don’t have access to sort of family memories, you you could also just follow your intuition or learn about the broader history of where you feel you might come from.

And I just think that this information is it’s incredibly rich and it’s incredibly useful. And I’ve found that the more I have dove into it. Personally, I see it impacting the rest of my family line. Both people younger than me and especially my mother. And it’s been amazing watching her use that information to strengthen her own boundaries. And even during the pandemic, like she’s been talking to me about how her great grandma, he was my great grandmother and her grandmother lived through a pandemic. After leaving Europe when all the Mennonites left because of the Russian war where so many of her family members were murdered. And my mom is this pandemic is hard, but like we have it in our blood to be able to survive this. And that’s an incredibly grounding rooting nourishing thing to know about yourself. And I can’t speak highly enough about how important this aspect of it is both for understanding why it’s difficult and also for drawing on resilience.

LINDSEY: Yeah. I couldn’t agree with you more. And I, one of the reasons why I started this podcast was to talk about healing trauma as whole people, because that’s how trauma affects us is that’s whole. And there’s a lot of resources for like mental health. There’s lots of resources for emotional health physical health there’s therapy, like even spiritual growth and personal development and all that. But where I feel is probably the area of us as whole beings that gets neglected the most often is our ancestral and how that part of ourselves. Is just as much a part of us as our mind or our physical body or emotions. Like we come from an ancestral lineage, every single one of us, it is ignorant to think that what happened, two people in your line that you don’t even know about, that you don’t even know their names or where they came from. Like it still impacts you. And it’s ignorant to think otherwise, And now as a result of their choices, we wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t lived.

POPLAR: Yeah. We literally would not exist if it was not for them, procreating, migrating, doing all the things that they did.

Using plant medicine.

So that they didn’t die.

So high of a rate. Yeah.

LINDSEY: Yeah. And it’s interesting that you referenced that mouse study because I actually referenced that same study in episode 17, where I interviewed a shamanic practitioner and we talked about ancestral trauma in that episode. And I’m like, of course he being a shamanic practitioner, like he has this. And he’s trained with indigenous people and has their blessing to practice what he practices and isn’t appropriating their culture or anything like that. But his process for tapping into the energies of the ancestors is very elaborate. Like he does a lot of singing. He uses a lot of sacred tobacco. Like he does a lot of those things and I think that’s important. And I worked with him and we did some work around that and it was fantastic. But I think what you’re saying of Hey ancestors, I need to be able to dance. Like I need this to not be a thing anymore. That to me is it’s very simple, but it’s also, it’s just as powerful as like having a big ritual, and like burning offerings and saying prayers and all of that. So can you talk more about the ritual aspect of it?

POPLAR: Yeah I’ve had some experiences both through like witch circles, but also, being at various events where there was like indigenous ritual happening or whatever, I’ve seen more complicated rituals. And I think there’s a lot of power and a lot of beauty and particularly when there’s aspects of decolonizing, like it’s, you can feel it in the air. And I also think that we don’t need to set so high of a bar to be able to access that stuff ourselves. And one of the things that can happen sometimes, I think, especially for white people who are starting to learn about racism and colonization and like wanting to be like accountable to that, is that right? There can be this freeze that happens where it’s like, I need permission. Like I need a leader. I need someone to do this for me. And I think you do need permission to use somebody’s rituals or strategies if it’s not coming from your own culture. Absolutely. Otherwise that’s culturally appropriative and it’s not appropriate.

It’s not a good thing to be doing, but you. You don’t actually need to go out and find a shaman or some kind of mythical indigenous elder to bring you into this ability to do ritual. And I think it’s actually really important to become like self-responsible to say that like my relationship with my ancestors, the earth, the planet, and all the elements around me, like that actually comes through me. And it can be simple, and I think that. For me personally, the way that I work with that is I work with it around the lunar cycles because the lunar cycles are very resonant to me. Work with the full moon when I’m wanting to charge something with a lot of energy. When I am wanting something to be made visible or something in a very visible public realm or way. I work with the new moon when I’m working with more shadow aspects, things that are more subtle. And honestly for me, it’s usually as simple as for a boundary practice. For example, one of the really biggest pieces about a boundary practice is like letting the person go. So much of what we’re doing, especially when we’re in trauma is we’re actually trying to control the circumstances of our life and our relationships in order to make ourselves feel safe.

I’ve done it. I’ve seen other people do it. It’s a totally understandable thing. And at the same time, how we can actually start to feel safe is to start to cultivate a sense of safety, no matter what the outcome may be and to release control. And say you have decided. This also works with someone, set a boundary with you. In the last year, someone that I really care about has set some boundaries with me that I haven’t really liked very much. Some of them have seemed cruel and logical to me. And at the same time, I think what’s given me freedom has been to let that person go and to say, even if I don’t agree with you, like I do agree with the principle of you having autonomy of choice to make your own decisions for yourself.

And what I might do in that situation would be to go out under a particular moon to a place that has significant. To us in some way, or to me in some way I live by the ocean. So if I’m wanting to let something go, I will usually take that thing to the ocean and throw it in the ocean. One of the things I work with a lot is rocks like stones. So I feel okay taking a stone that I have from one beach and throwing it back into the water cause it’s not going to affect the water. It’s not going to have a negative impact. I’d be careful what you throw into the water cause it matters, and so what I might do is stand under that moon and I might give a prayer for myself, give a prayer for that other person, talk about my intention for I want to be I want you to be well. And I want both of us to be free. And I might also involve, the elements, which for me, the four elements are like water, wind, fire air. And I might also invoke my ancestors, like the spirit of the spirits of the land that I live on, my ancestors who are well, who support me, who know what I’m going through, and you, and the thing is that this is my structure, right?

This is the structure that works for me, but what’s important with magic because you’re working with energetics that really aren’t definable through language. That’s why we work with archetypes, right? Because archetypes are broader than language in a lot of ways. So what matters is that whatever tools you’re working with, that it resonates with you because magic and energetics, it’s very much like an interplay between your own energetics, your own intention, your own emotions, your own spirit, and how that plays off in the rest of the universe. And one of the things that I’ve found that I have found really works. Because I believe in the magical principle of what you put out into the world comes back to you because we even see that in physics in a certain way, right? There’s a certain set amount of matter in the universe or whatever, and it moves around and changes, but I do believe that whatever you put out, it comes back to you.

So I think, I’m a person where have done binding before when some kind of energy is really coming at me in a way that I don’t want to be dealing with anymore. But when I bind someone, I tried to actually be like, all right, I’m very specific about what I’m binding here. I want to stop this particular thing and I want to stop it in service of everyone’s wellbeing, and I think to really if you’re doing ritual, especially relationally, where I believe it does affect you and the other person, like you really want to try to approach that with everyone’s highest wellbeing in mind and that’s not the outcome I want is not necessarily the highest well-being of everyone in mind. It’s you can ask for something specific for yourself, but I think if you’re going to do something that affects another person, you should really try to like do that in a way that will ultimately benefit and nourish them. Cause even someone who’s like your own worst enemy, if you throw some kind of negative energy at them, some kind of harmful energy out them, you are bound through your magic to that person.

Even like cutting your cords with someone like you are still energetically bound to them in the spirit realm. And that might mean that you reincarnate with the same problem in the next life, so I just think but this is all just a lot of words to say that like it’s important to listen to yourself, to listen to what your needs are and to ask from a broader container which for me is like the land, my ancestors, the elements, but for you, that might be God, that might be, maybe you’re a Christian, maybe you’re Jewish, maybe you’re whatever, you can apply this in whatever way you want. And if you’re not a woo person, then maybe you’re asking for it from within yourself. Maybe your highest sense of power is yourself and that’s fine, but you’re just applying it to something larger than you because when you’re trying to control all of these things from within yourself, that’s not only exhausting, but it’s also a few times, like it’s just not going to work. We can’t control all of these complex pieces that we’re working with.

LINDSEY: Yeah, for sure. It’s interesting that you bring that up. I actually was working with some magic this morning and maybe this is an appropriate time to bring this up, but some people on the internet seem to be really struggling with some boundaries. And so I It was just really feeling dysregulated in myself this morning after having an internet interaction yesterday. And so I was like, I’m not letting these people take up space in my head. They’re not paying rent. I’m not doing this. And so I scrapped my work morning. And I came into my office, which is pretty sacred space for me. And I turned on some music that I really love and I put out a bowl of water and some incense and lit a candle and Had some crystals there. So the four elements were represented and then. I have a very strong connection with my mom’s mom and so I have a photo of her and any time I’m doing any kind of work, I bring my photo of her out and I speak to her as an ancestor and I invite her and her guidance. And so then I then like just did some meditation.

And I wrote down the names of the people on the internet who were having some trouble with their boundaries. And whenever I was in a grounded centered space I like created an energetic circle around myself and put my notebook with their names on the outside of the circle. And just out loud, I was like, I am creating an energetic boundary, I’m creating an energetic boundary against harm that these people may want to cause me against lies that they may want to speak about me against harm that they may want to cause other people that I know online. And I wish them love. I wish them happiness. I hope that whatever needs to be healed inside of them is healed. It takes a lot when somebody like insulted you and lied about you on the internet, or, during real life, it takes a lot to them. Just wish that person but I truly believe, like I’m not patting myself on the back. I truly believe that is magic. That’s literally alchemy, and then I did some dancing and some singing and some more meditation and burn some mugwort and like all these things. And then I had these people’s names written down on this notebook and I was like, shit, I don’t know what to do with their names, because normally if I write something down that I’m letting go of, I like burn it in a fire.

But my witchy intuition was like, don’t burn their names in a fight. Don’t do that. Because again I don’t want to create ill will against them. Like I don’t have ill wishes for them. And I know that I’m energetically bound by whatever I do. And like the symbolism of working with fire and burning something is really powerful. Like it’s really powerful to burn something. One of the ways that like knew I was done being a Christian and I was like, ready to be open about how Christianity had harmed me and how I was healing from that trauma was I burned my Bible, like it was a big deal. And still haven’t decided what I’m going to do with their names.

My husband says I should probably just throw them in the trash, but I’m like, I don’t want to wish trash on these people either. I don’t know what to do, but anyway, I just want him to share, because I actually did like a ritual this morning where I was setting some energetic boundaries and I had a couple of hours in which to do that and I had the container in the space and the time and whatever, and which to do that, but it was pretty elaborate. And I feel like what you’re saying is it doesn’t have to be that elaborate.

POPLAR: It can be sure it can be elaborate or as simple as you want.

LINDSEY: For sure.

POPLAR: I think it’s good. Like I said, it’s been a critique of me, that people are like, tell us what to do. And I’m like, as a teacher, I’m like, I actually think the best skill I can possibly give you is to trust yourself that you can figure out whether it’s with your intuition or your creative mind, like a way of interacting with this content. That’s like resonant for you. Because I don’t want you to copy me. You’re not a copy of me. You’re you? But yeah, no, I agree. It’s an interesting question because. Yeah. What do you do with those names? Because yeah, you don’t want to burn them, but you don’t necessarily want to keep them in your notebook.

So I think I’d actually don’t know the answer, but I do think yeah, think that boundaries are complicated because the work of relationships is complicated and there’s also Many different realities at play. Like I know the people you’re talking about and I do not agree with their sense of reality, but for them that’s their sense of reality. That’s their sense of what’s true, right? Is that you meet a variety of other people, to put it simply we’re not doing it. And we won’t have to go into it in a lot of detail, but I think that ultimately like those people are human beings and they’re moving through whatever they’re moving through. And, I think that ultimately for me, a lot of this is about like working with my own sense of feeling on a day-to-day basis about these other people so that I can be more free. Which is not about them doing what I want. Like it’s inappropriate magic to try to control someone’s behavior.

I shared publicly a binding spell that I wrote about a pipeline that was going through in the province that I live in. And, when I wrote this thing, I was basically binding the different elements of decision-making related to this pipeline to do, to not do things like lying, to not use their power in an inappropriate way, whatever. And the way that I wrote it, and you can see it on my Instagram. These are standards I would also want to live by but I think that what’s really important is how you feel like that comes back to like why Hawthorne is such an important plant for me is that the point of having a Hawthorne heart is like I said, to be at peace, like to be able to hear all the sort of noises and the talking and the things that people say about you and whatever, and to be like, that’s your reality?

That’s your truth. I’m at peace with myself. And that takes time. It takes time, it takes patience it, and I think that the magic and the energetics of it for me. And again, like if you want to look at it in a non Wu way, if I’m struggling to feel good about myself, if I can do things in the material world to remind myself and my brain and my body and my emotional state. That’s how I want to feel. It’s easier for my internal reality to reflect that because it’s a practice. How you feel about something is a practice. Like for example, like Buddhist practices about like sending compassion and love to people. It’s like we do this over and over again to build the muscle of feeling compassion towards, everyone from ourselves to our loved ones, to our enemies. And we’re living in a very polarized world right now. That can be very draining and scary. And I think for me, it’s really important to try to find a sense of peace and equilibrium within myself, where all this chaos that’s going on around me. I know what my truth is. I have my own back and I trust my intuition despite having had made, not always.

I wouldn’t say the right choices, but making choices that sometimes resulted in me getting hurt, he’s getting hurt as part of learning. So it’s, it’s challenging because again, like I sometimes miss the days where I could give the like, memorable soundbite about boundaries, but a lot of those memorable soundbites, like they’ve made their way into the world. We know what they are. You’ve brought up a few of them. In these conversations, especially during the last conversation, right? It doesn’t matter what someone else thinks, what matters is your own boundary or whatever. And I just think when we look at the energetics, we recognize that, if you believe in collective consciousness that person isn’t separate from you on a certain level, on one level, they are completely separate from you. And on another level, they’re not. So it’s it’s just about. No, maybe this sounds overly Christian, but I do think the idea of treating other people how you want to be treated, or like just under a general set of ethics that you feel like is the right way to be like interacting with people.

That’s important. And another thing is, like I said, my family is Mennonite on one side. And one of the things that they really believe is that it’s like a huge sin to pretend to forgive someone. If you can’t actually forgive them in your heart. Because God knows that you have not actually forgiven them and it’s like a sin against God to lie. And so that’s been a big, that’s been a big teaching for me is to be like, to do my magic in a way that is true to how I actually feel while also having maybe a goal, like I don’t forgive you right now, but I want to reach forgiveness. And I’m going to be honest with myself about my progress. And time is huge. Time is a huge element and allowing yourself to have more spaciousness.

LINDSEY: Yeah, for sure. I also think and this doesn’t apply realistically to everyone. Cause like I said, internet boundaries are a whole thing, but in the last episode we talked about a person in my real life who I had some issues with boundaries and every time I thought of that person or their name was brought up or whatever, I just immediately felt very constricted inside. My body felt very anxious and I can tell that it was still impacting me in a really big way. And of course, I didn’t want that to be the case. And so even though we weren’t speaking like face-to-face or on text or whatever energetically, that cord was still there, and so what I did was one evening, my family was gone. I was home alone. I was like, tonight’s the night, like tonight’s the night I’m going to do a ritual and This constriction and this unforgiveness and this anxiety that I’m having about this person, I’m like, I need it. I need to let it go.

It’s just taking up space in my head and in my body and I don’t want to hear anymore. And so I smoked some pot. Turned on some really good music. And I baked this person, a loaf of bread, and the whole time I was baking the bread, like I would add the eggs and I’d be like, I am fusing my love into this bread. And then I’d add the pumpkin. I am few infusing compassion into this bread. I am infusing forgiveness into this bread. I acknowledge that this person is reacting out of their own pain and trauma. And while that’s not my problem, I have compassion for that. And for their story and whatever. And I shit, you not, by the time I took it out of the oven, like I’ve been different ever since. And it wasn’t because this person and I like had a big sit down, come to Jesus meeting, like we didn’t Duke it out. We didn’t draw our lines in the sand. We haven’t had a conversation since, but what changed was like me going into it with intention, knowing I don’t want to have unforgiveness for somebody.

I don’t want to have this like visceral reaction whenever I think about a person and for me, like the best way, and I realize this doesn’t work with internet boundaries, but the best way to alchemize that for myself, which then alchemizes it for that person. If I’m changing my own energetic vibration, it has a ripple effect out and it affects everyone that comes into contact with me. So I’m going to change that in a positive way. I do something nice for the person that I like having anxiety and unforgiveness about, and it really does help. And like smoking pot helps too. I’m not gonna lie, but again, like I was intentionally using the pot as plant medicine, like knowing it would get me there, yeah.

POPLAR: Yeah. Your story brings up like a law of the pieces or me. Cause you know, like I agree with you. And I also know that it’s like, it’s triggering for some people, especially if they’ve been hurt really badly by someone like the idea of forgiveness. And what I would say is you don’t have to forgive someone if you don’t want to. For me, it’s made my heart lighter. And in the same way, like I said about the ancestral trauma with my men and I have family with, they don’t want me to dance. They do actually want me to learn to forgive, like that’s a big part of their values of their religion. So that’s an important piece for me. I do actually want to like have compassion for people and to be able to forgive people. And I think, you’re right that doing something outside of yourself, whatever that thing may be done, because I think it makes a difference energetically, but it also just allows your brain to process it in a new way.

And, I think one of the things that people don’t see a lot of the time is that when we holding on to anger or hurt or pain or whatever it is with another person that is actually oftentimes, and some people are going to be very mad at me for saying this, but I actually think that’s it’s done in order to maintain relationship with that person, and so there’s some questions there. I think, if you’re really struggling to, for example, you want to forgive someone, but you feel like you just can’t, it’s There’s grief work to do there, but it’s also hating someone when you used to care about them or whatever the case may be.

You’re getting something out of that relationship, whether it’d be like the identity, the story, whatever it is. And it, it can be very discombobulating to release your relationship with that person. Cause people think that you go from caring about someone perhaps. Then you hate them and the relationship is over. No, if you’re actively like raging on that person, you’re still in relationship with that person. You’re still bidding for their attention and their energy. Where are you get to the place of actual freedom in relationship from the person is to not really feel very much about it at all anymore to have like attachment exactly to have neutrality around it. And like I have certain relationships in my life that used to feel really big and I needed these narratives and these stories and these ways of talking about it. And now how I feel about it is that’s just the person and we went through some stuff and I might have some words and ideas to understand what we went through, you do you, and I’m going to do me.

And that’s lighter and easier for me. So I dunno, I just, I would encourage people to like, think about the fact that Hating someone is still being in relationship with that person. Like you’re still giving that person like energy, and I actually see this like a lot. Maybe we don’t want to go into this topic because it’s, whatever’s sticky, but in a lot of the call-out culture stuff where people are calling people out, sometimes there’s legitimate reason, whatever someone’s caused some harm and they have their reasons.

But a lot of the time, what I think it is. It’s like a plea for relationship with that person, right? You’re making a bid of power or attention or whatever it is that you’re trying to get from that person. And I just think that, it would serve us really well to just learn to grieve and let stuff go and stop trying to control each other so much because human beings have neuroception right. Which is like our nervous system’s ability to sense something before our conscious mind understands it. And one of the things that we’re really sensitive to is control. If someone is trying to control you, your nervous system knows that, and you’re likely to not you’re actually, this is one of the things people don’t recognize when you’re trying to control someone through whatever means you’ve chosen to do that. You are less likely to get the outcome that you want that way. Controlling someone they’re going to do the opposite because they’re wired to not want to be that way. Or, the opposite also happens where they’re wired to fall into a sense of control, but that’s a kind of separate conversation if you really want. I don’t know. I’ve just noticed in my own life that paradox of if I want someone to do something, it actually usually works better for me to just be transparent and give them full choice of what they want to do. They’re more likely to do the thing I want them to do. If I just say, Hey, this is really important to me. And I’m going to respect your decision either way.

LINDSEY: Yeah. And going back, you said you couldn’t really condense any of this down into a really good like meme one liner, but you said hating someone is still being in relationship with them. And that’s a really good meme, one liner, and I’m going to use it.

POPLAR: But the other thing that I wanted to say that goes along with that is Some people, like a lot of people would rather have a dysfunctional relationship with someone than no relationship at all. Yeah. And that’s related to like human attachment, right? Like you’d rather have a relationship with a dysfunctional relationship with your mother, but have her still feed you then have no mother at all when you’re like two years old. Having no mother at all is a very dangerous way to be in the world. But we need to become our adult selves and recognize one of the things that’s really sad is that people, you can only have the relationships that you can imagine within your own mind. Like it’s very difficult to have a relationship that’s healthier than what you imagine health to be. Perhaps it does happen. Sometimes people lead by example or whatever, and you’re like, wow, that’s interesting. Or you come across something, but yeah, like you. I don’t know, it’s a growth process to figure out what health is for you.

LINDSEY: Yeah. And I do want to, I want to go back to what I was saying about baking the bread for my friend and all of that and how I want to validate that some people like may not be able to do this. Some people should not do this. Like I am in no way advocating that, like someone who’s been sexually assaulted, go bake a loaf of bread for the person who assaulted them. I’m not saying that at all. In which case that’s like where the spirit leads, go for it. But but for me, like it comes back to the ritual of it. That was, for me, it was ritual. It was like creating the space for myself to bring in forgiveness, compassion, empathy, understanding that’s what it was. For other people forgiveness might look like you write a rage letter and then you burn it, but then you got it all out, or you like what we did when my husband’s grandmother died and we had a lot of mixed feelings when my husband’s grandmother died we, we planted a rosebush for her, and that’s it’s, mom’s Rose Bush. And. That is what felt appropriate to us at the time. So I guess what I was saying was like, just encouraging people to, again, follow your intuition and like whatever creating a ritual looks like for you. The point is it’s, you’re not doing it for someone else. You’re doing it to soften your own heart and yeah. That’s what I wanted to say. I just, I don’t want to get like hate comments and people being like you’re siding with abusers and you’re expecting like rape victims to bake bread for their abusers. I don’t want to get comments like that. So I want it to be very good.

POPLAR: Oh no. And and this is what, this is why I’m saying that thing about the Mennonite thing is really important. Like this idea and you don’t, whatever, you don’t have to see this as like the religious way that my family would have seen this. But that’s where I learned that is from a book. I can’t remember. It’s called women talking by Miriam towels. And it’s about a woman who is talking about a Mennonite community, where there has been a lot of rape where everyone from very young people to older women have been like drugged with Bella Donna, I believe. And these women have been raped by the men in their community and they have to decide whether they’re going to stay in the community or leave. And the primary crux of that decision for them is whether or not they can actually forgive the people who have done this to them, because they know that the cultural expectation is that they forgive these people and that they move on because they’re a pacifist non-violent religion, but the whole conversation that they have, it’s four days of them making this decision is a wide variety of things where some people are like, we have to forgive them. And some people are like, I absolutely cannot forgive these people and they have to decide how they want to move forward. And what is held in high esteem in that is that you can pretend that you forgiven someone, but if you haven’t, that’s the higher truth, the higher truth is that you have it.

And I think that there are certain harms certain actions, certain whatever things that happened that maybe run so deep that, we just can’t, we just can’t reach that place of neutrality or forgiveness or whatever. And you don’t have to. No, one’s, like I said, I don’t believe that tartar control people, shame people tell people what to do works. You don’t want to do that. That doesn’t work for you. Don’t do it. All I’m saying is that I feel that freedom. In your relationship with that person, that there’s a step beyond hating that person beyond being polarized and telling yourself you’re the opposite. Because when you are in this relationship where it’s I’m good, your bad, here’s my boundary. You’re on the other side of it, whatever. There’s usually something in that setup that you are getting out of that you know what, maybe it’s, you’re getting a sense of superiority, maybe it’s that you get to identify as a victim so you feel more comfortable reaching out for support, which perhaps is totally appropriate depending on what has happened to you.

And I think that what can happen sometimes is that we don’t realize how much we need the person that we hate to be a certain way or to be a certain part of our story for our story to still be true for us. And so you’re still defining yourself in relationship to this other person. And, for some people they’re like this person did this thing, which fully defines who I am. And that’s how I feel. And to, to you, I say more power to you. I’ve felt that way before. There’s lots of art and movements and politics around that way of feeling. I’m not saying it’s not valid. I’m just saying that for me, it has been healing. For me to say, you are you, I am me. We are separate. And one of the things in the last year where I’ve been dealing with someone, setting some boundaries with me that I didn’t like one of the things that I have said to myself and praying for that person is I am free. And so are you, I am free. And so are like I am free to live my life, make my choices, do what I need to do. And so are you. I don’t agree with the choices that you’re making, but I do agree that you have the freedom to make that choice. And there’s nothing I would ever want to do to take that away from you.

And I think, like I said, it’s controversial. Not everybody likes it, but it’s given me deeper emotional freedom to recognize. Like I had been like a feminist and activist, like so many things throughout my entire life. And one of the things that I’ve really realized is that I’ve defined myself so often in relationship to the thing I’m resisting to the thing that I hate. And sometimes that’s important. There’s nothing anyone can say to me that’s ever going to make me say, I like Trump. I don’t like Trump. I think it wrong, but I also don’t want to be in a codependent relationship with Trump, where I like need Trump to be a certain way for me to be a certain way myself resisting him. Like I am being on my own terms.

What can happen sometimes is that you feed your energy into this thing that you hate and you all, you can, I’ve seen people and I’ve seen this in myself and others were like, we want the thing we hate to be bad to reveal its badness, and There’s some really wonky thinking and energy and prayer happening there when we’re feeding the energy of hatred and opposites and polarizing. I think we have to recognize the ways that we emotionally rely on the things that we hate to define who we are. And I think that like our love and our sense of identity needs to be bigger than the things that we hate. It has to be related to the things that we were sewing that we’re creating. Are you just the things you hate or are you the seeds that you’re putting in the ground, nourish your family and your community, right? And that I’m not at all saying Take some kind of yoga hippie dippy like ambulance the same, we’re all connected. There is no such thing as evil or whatever. That’s not true. There’s evil in the world. There’s things that shouldn’t be happening in the world. There’s all kinds of things that are like I’m whoring and difficult to experience and witness. And at the same time, I know for myself that like developing emotional neutrality to my own trauma and my own suffering has hugely granted me freedom to support other people.

All kinds of pain because I’m not, when you’re neutral, you’re not trying to get something out of hating or loving or supporting someone else you’re just present. You’re just witnessing with a non-controlling non power over way of being you’re just being with simply. And I think as a young person, like studying Buddhism and yoga and magic and all of these different things, I remember hearing all this stuff and having such a resistance to it because I was like, no, this thing is wrong. And you can know something is wrong and not establish your whole identity on the basis of that wrongness. Because then you’re actually, you’re, codependently relying on the thing that you hate to define who you are. And I think that really limits your sense of freedom. At least that’s been true for me.

LINDSEY: Man. I just filled up an entire page of notes with this like amazing soliloquy you just gave it was fantastic. Holy shit. Lots and lots of good one-liners in there. Do. Okay. So I want to get to the resources part of the show now. So you mentioned the book women talking. By Maryanne towels. Is that what you said or anyway?

POPLAR: Yeah. Can you look very triggering though?

LINDSEY: Okay. Good to know, trigger warning for that book. Do you have any other books about plants, plant medicine, witchcraft?

POPLAR: Yeah, I would recommend pixie light horses book on boundaries. I think it’s called boundaries and protection. It’s another book that’s And I actually started my class, which had a very similar name to her book before I knew her book even existed. But it’s a very it’s a similar vein. It’s a very like sort of spiritual take on boundaries. And it’s challenging, like for me to think of resources, I have some writing on little red taro about boundaries, which you can go and read. Because, so much of this is like a synthesis it’s like little pieces of things that I’ve picked up over time. If you’re like totally new to plants and want to start to build your relationship with it. My entry point was Rosemary Gladstar is art and science of herbalism course which is a bit more of an Eastern North American approach. But she can teach you like how to make tinctures, how to make oils, all of that kind of stuff. I’m trying to think. I also really like on Instagram among the wild flowers, she’s like an indigenous herbalists, who is also a naturopathic doctor. And I think she does an amazing job of weaving spiritual elements of plants with scientific understanding of plants, which is something I’m starting to get more and more excited about trying to think of other resources. I wanted to insert Nicole book. I can’t think of the name of it. You and I both had it. What’s the name of that book? The lost art. Herbalism or something like that.

I don’t know that it’s not so much, like it’s not so much a like woo, intuitive kind of book, but for people like helps you identify things. It’s like you could take anything in there that she uses as medicine and instead of making a tincture or a tea or something like that with it, you could just put it in your pocket or put it under your pillow or whatever. But it’s a really good book for just learning, like how to identify plants and. I know forfirst of all, having a scientific understanding, she has a PhD in this stuff, but also I think, it’s a rookie herbalism mistake too. Take something where a, you maybe don’t know what it is or B you don’t know how it’s going to affect you. Like really good to understand how something’s going to affect you if you take it. And I think her book is an excellent resource for learning about that.

LINDSEY: Yeah, for sure. Do you have any favorite books on ritual or ancestors?

POPLAR: There’s a book called. I think it’s called ancestral medicine. That’s written by Daniel Foor.

LINDSEY: I read that book.

POPLAR: Yeah. I got that book from my mum. There’s another book. If you’re wanting to learn about witchcraft and magic called jumbalaya, which is written from more of a things like I think it’s like a Hoodoo African diaspora kind of book, but it’s like written to be read by everyone. Oh, I know. Okay. So another book that really like has been huge for me in articulating some of these ideas is the way of peace by Pima chodron. Pima chodron is I think a Tibetan monk and her writing is beautiful and it’s a very small book and I read this book basically while I was going through a divorce and I was in a huge amount of conflict and just incredible, just an incredible book which reminds me actually of another book, which I mentioned earlier, which is braiding Sweetgrass.

LINDSEY: Yeah. I wrote that one down.

POPLAR: Braiding sweet grass is excellent. I also think Clementine Morgan has a lot of really good posts about. Just certain pieces around like relationships and communicating. And I do think again, like for peace about the ground rules for anger, like when I saw that post, because I was actually at a time where I was, I had lost a lot of my internal compass and my values around communication at this time for a bunch of different reasons. And I knew that I was not communicating in a way that was in my integrity, but I also didn’t know like what communicating in my integrity looked like, then. And finding that post. Like I literally wrote it down in my journal. I was like, yes, this is like close to the framework. I think of where I want to be going.

I’m like always debating about whether or not I want to re Enlive in Hawthorne heart, because my perspective on it has changed so deeply. Since I look back at the work from before, and it just feels so in Congress to what I feel now that it would be just an absolutely massive undertaking. But I do think like I’m open to I could definitely like negotiate doing a session with someone talking about this stuff, I use taro and plants and different tools.

LINDSEY: That sounds amazing. Yeah. Okay. Let’s wrap it up. And I have all of these things written down for links to provide people with resources. But one thing we haven’t talked about is how can people find you?

POPLAR: Yeah. I went offline for a very significant amount of time. So my online presence, you’re not going to go to my Instagram and find a million memes of all the things you just heard me say. But if you want to contact me my Instagram is probably the best place to do that, which is @poplarrose.

LINDSEY: Yeah. And you said that if people want any kind of one-on-one work, you’d be willing to negotiate that and they can just contact you through Instagram.

POPLAR: Yeah. I used to read tarot for people and I’ve done all kinds of, I’m just in a place where I don’t. I used to promote my course. I don’t have a solid offering around this stuff right now because I’m still reshaping my own ideas around it. But yeah, if someone really is like having an issue and feels like my sort of ethical, spiritual, whatever framework is a helpful one. Yeah. I would be happy to negotiate figuring out a way to support someone if it feels like the right fit.

LINDSEY: Sure. That’s awesome. Thank you Poplar for coming on. Thanks for chatting for so long about, about boundaries and all the things. It was awesome.

Okay, lots and lots of resources linked in the show notes for this episode, all the books, the courses, everything proper mentioned. There was so much, and this one, probably the most resources I’ve ever done in a show. So there’s no way that you’re going to remember all of it off the top of your head. So if you want to find those resources, go to Lindsey, locket.com forward slash podcast. And this is episode 24 with Poplar Rose

okay. Guess what? So this is not all that you can hear from Poplar Rose. If you loved this episode and the episode before with them, then I have good news for you. There is a bonus episode with Poplar. But to access the bonus episode, you have to be a member of my trauma healers circle. So if you want to join the trauma healers circle and get access to the bonus episode with Poplar Rose and other bonus episodes. You can go to LindseyLockett.com forward slash circl.E

as always you can find me on Instagram at I am Lindsay locket. And I just want to throw in another reminder that the trauma healers circle is open. And I’m waiting for you to come and join us there. I’m waiting for you to come and be a part of our trauma healing community. With your trauma healers circle membership, you get access to two bonus podcast episodes per month and a live zoom Q and a call with me. And sometimes with some of my guests like Poplar from the podcast where you can ask questions and we will answer them on zoom and the archive of bonus episodes, as well as those zoom calls are available to circle members. As soon as you join it’s all available to you.

And also, it’s just a way to support the podcast. If you have gotten a lot out of the podcast, if you’ve shared it, if you’ve rated it, if it’s been helpful to you in any way, I would really appreciate you partnering with me to financially support the podcast and also to help me keep it ad free,  because I would love for it to stay ad free. So if you’re interested in learning more about the trauma healers circle and ways that you can financially support the podcast in both small and big ways, you can learn more lindseylockett.com/circle.