I like my garden best when it gets rather wild, with the plants spilling over each other, finding their own space, going to seed, rabbits burrowing under the comfrey, the berry brambles so thick you can’t see through them, the cucumbers and sunflowers and beans all intertwined, tomatoes spilling over the ground because the suckers grew faster than I could trim them, and herbs tucked in everywhere.
I planted mustard greens for the first time along with kale and spinach and collards last fall, and this spring the young mustard greens were a delightfully spicy addition to my spring salads. Then they rapidly went to seed, and since I didn’t need that space for any other plantings yet, I let them go. And go they did, rapidly reaching over six feet tall, proud, and strong. Now they are bursting with bright little yellow flowers that keep blooming more and more as they grow taller, pregnant with seed pods on the stems below.
Mustard is so common that we don’t think about it much, but it has been cultivated by humans for over 5000 years as well as easily growing in the wild. It has been used medicinally for millennia as well; it increases blood flow and draws out toxins. Our grandmothers and all those before them used a mustard plaster as a tried-and-true remedy for lung congestion and more. The seeds, of course, make one of our favorite condiments, and these seeds come in hues ranging from light yellow to black – with the amount of spiciness increasing with the color of the seed.
The mustard seed is also connected to the bible, because the parable of the mustard seed is one of the most widely known, and it is usually translated along the lines of the kingdom of God growing from the tiniest of seeds of faith. But I think the mustard plant itself explodes this parable with its very life force from our Mother Earth being far stronger and more deeply rooted. What if the parable of the mustard seed was about our prayers and how the tiniest seed of an intention is like the mustard seed? Nourished with daily prayers and petitions and gratitude, it grows exponentially in ways we could not have imagined so that gifts we had not even known we were asking for, start to nest in the many branches of its blossoming and it explodes into a heart’s desire so much bigger than we even dared to ask for? THAT is how we get back to the garden, the proverbial kingdom of heaven, rather than the patriarchal kingdoms that demand endless growth, consuming more and more of the earth’s resources without thought for sustainability. How glorious would that be?
In a tarot reading I had a few days ago, one card – the five of pentacles – came up for me saying that I often only allowed myself a certain amount of happiness and never ask for enough. The message was that I should sit on my wishes until they are BIG enough, full of joy; to allow my heart’s desire to GET BIGGER. That really resonated with me. And it mirrored the message of the mustard flower essence that I had made a few days before. Mustard said to me, “It doesn’t matter how small you think you are; your soul knows how big you can grow when you follow your heart’s desire. Joy is your birthright!”
The Divine Mother has shown me over and over again that I never ask for a big enough heart’s desire, that I limit myself. What my soul knows it really wants is MUCH bigger. My petition often evolves as I dig deeper to get at the root of what is holding me back from what I am REALLY asking for and didn’t fully realize. Or She sees what the real block to my heart’s desire is, that I couldn’t see, and proceeds to stir things up for me a bit to help remove it.
It is time to rise up from the earth like the tiny mustard seed and explode into the world with all of who we are, our hearts on fire, pregnant with thousands of seeds. To nourish the world with our spiciness, our passion, and spread like prolific weeds, as we are nourished by the dirt itself.