Over the past three years we have become devoted fans of, and good friends with, Brianna, the owner of Aesthete Tea. She is lovable, kind, funny, hard working and she makes a mean blend of teas!
When I was thinking up which rituals to include in our series I knew that Tea had to be one of them. Not only because I am an elderly British lady trapped in the body of a mid-thirties American woman, but because it was imperative that I work with Brianna on another project. Her products stand alone in a market over saturated with pre-packaged, boxed teas. They are fresh, colorful, beautifully branded and best of all, they are all packaged here in Portland, Or.
I knew Brianna would have a thoughtful thing to say on the the idea of ritual and she didn't disappoint.
From Brianna- "Drinking tea or herbs in ritual has always been a sacred tradition. Tea houses and ceremonial spaces where these acts occur are most always minimalist and close to nature. There is little to distract the mind and the act of drinking can be solitary or communal. When we are preparing to perform any ritual the idea is to clear the space both physically and energetically. All of the focus is to be on the practice, intention and objects involved. I always believed Kenya Hara’s description of the teahouse in his book White was the perfect way to explain both the space and practice of tea and herb drinking ritual, 'The teahouse’s very emptiness turns into a stage on which human consciousness can rise to the metaphysical level.'"
Herbs, like crystals or moon phases, have energetic qualities. Tabula Rasa originated with the intent to heal one's heart and invite balance and harmony to make way for aura cleansing, chakra balance and attract abundance in all of its purest forms.
Herbs have been used for ritual in almost every culture across the world. Our ancestors used these plants for both medical and spiritual benefit. Through studying herblore, we are able to see a variety of magic, spells, incantations, vision quests and the like aided by the use of drinking plants and herbs.
When entering the world of ritual, one must enter with a pure heart. It is important to tether yourself to your current reality. Similar to how one must tether themselves energetically to the earth before entering a meditation or practice of pranayama. We must always have a line back to ourselves and our current plane of existence. Diving into herb ritual follows those same rules. Practice with full self awareness, thank the plants for aiding you, ask for guidance from your ancestors and give thanks to the ancestors of the land you are practicing on, regardless of your genetic connection to them. Seek and practice rituals that speak to you. Understand and be comfortable with the fact that herbs will not connect with everyone. You may, for example, feel more connection and comfort with stones and crystals. Never force any sort of connection to a ritual that does not align with your internal being and above all never use any sort of practice or ritual to inflict pain or suffering on another.
an absence of preconceived ideas or predetermined goals; a clean slate.
the human mind, especially at birth, viewed as having no innate ideas.
Ingredients: Hawthorn (flowers, leaves and berries), Rose, Chamomile, Rosemary, Saffron, Holy Basil (Tulsi), Nettle, Calendula, Lemon Balm.
Tabula Rasa is a collection of herbs that release the negative and invite the positive, given the definition of the name, to have a clean slate.
We have gone into detail on the qualities of each herb. Take what you speaks to you and use it to form your own practice and meditation around herb/tea ritual and plant magick. My hope is that you bring aspects of these plants into your daily life in a simplistic, authentic way. No big show has to be performed, you do not have to designate a room for your practice. Ritual is as simple as pouring your tea, watching it steep and sipping it with intention for 5 minutes a day. A promise to yourself to release, at least just for those five minutes, the worries of your day. Believing at that moment there is no before or after, just now.
Ritual should never be a ‘task’ on your list of daily activities, it should be routine, an extension of you, something you do over and over until you no longer have to consciously remind yourself to do the act. Pour your tea, clear your mind and breathe as you sip. Be kind to yourself. Do not become angry if one day you fall out of a habit or it changes. This merely means that this specific ritual has served you. You have gained from it what you were meant to and a new experience and practice is coming to guide you further from where this one left off.
Always remember that the objects, practices, even people, come and go in our life with full intent. When something no longer serves us, we must let it go. Perhaps this will be your new ritual, or herbs will enter your life five years from now, but be conscious of their entrance and departure times because ritual is always significant to place and time of your life. Ritual is a form of love, and love is a lot like life, but one must remember that life is extended to the before and after of our consciousness, we arrive and depart in the middle.