Do you want to learn how to talk to plants? Have you ever wondered if you, too, can learn to communicate with plant spirits? Read on.
When I wrote my book If Trees Could Talk: Life Lessons from the Wisdom of the Woods last year in 2019, I got a lot of questions about my process for collecting the tree stories. People were curious and wanted to know more about how to communicate with tree spirits.
At the time I published the book, I had been talking to trees for a few years. I had also been talking to plants. I think that people are drawn to the idea of talking to trees because they can be so majestic and striking. But just because they're larger than most plants doesn't mean that their wisdom is more important. There's a lot we can learn from communicating with plant spirits.
After years of talking to trees, I deepened my relationship with plants last year during my shamanic plant spirit healing apprenticeship with Suneet Kaur. During that nine-month apprenticeship, I worked closely with both tree spirits and plant spirits for healing. I got to talking to plant spirits such as Rose, Tulsi, and Lavender. And I realized that speaking with plant spirits is just as powerful as speaking with tree spirits.
Can everyone do it?
Yes! I absolutely believe that everyone can learn how to talk to plants (and hear their replies, obviously!) and how to communicate with plant spirits. I think that, like any new skill, it will be quicker and easier for some people to pick up than for others.
If you're an experienced channeler, you'll probably find communicating with plant spirits to be easy. If you're really tapped into your intuition and your inner knowing, you'll probably find it easy to talk to plants. Even if you don't consider yourself to be intuitive, it's not that hard to pick up—it just might take some time, like it does to learn any new skill.
Can plants hear you talk?
Yes! They may not have ears, but they can definitely “hear” our messages when we talk to them. As you'll learn later on in this blog post, it's more of a telepathic method of communication than you may be used to when you talk to other people.
Who are you actually talking to?
You're talking to the spirit of the plant. Think about it this way: when you're speaking to another human being, you're not talking to their flesh and blood. You're talking to the thing that makes them alive: their spirit, their soul. It's the same when you're communicating with plants.
And I think that's what makes it challenging for a lot of people: you're not seeing their mouths move (because they don't have one, of course). You're not seeing their facial expressions change as they speak. You're not hearing an actual, audible voice that everyone else can hear.
It's a lot more subtle. It's like telepathic communication. You might hear a voice in your head. You might see images. You might smell a fragrance that reminds you of something else. I talk more about this below.
Plant spirit etiquette
When I was researching my blog post on How to Talk to Trees: Communicating With Tree Spirits, I read all kinds of articles online saying that you need to approach a tree from the east and walk clockwise around it, that you need to keep the sun behind you when you speak to a tree, etc. This has not been my experience, and I think advice like this only serves to overcomplicate things.
When you speak with another person, do you have complex rituals? Probably not. When you speak with a plant spirit, it's the same. There's really only one rule: be respectful.
Our culture has evolved to have a really dominant attitude toward the natural world. Most people don't ask permission before picking a piece of fruit or harvesting a crop. They assume that it's their right to do so because they've cultivated those plants.
That's why it's so easy for many people to just walk up to a plant and expect it to want to have a conversation with you. It might want to, and it might not. Would you walk up to a random stranger in the street and expect them to be happy about you wanting to strike up a conversation with them? Probably not.
I think it's really helpful when interacting with plant spirits to think about our behavior in this way: would you do this with a person you don't know? Think about human etiquette and apply that to your communication with plant spirits.
How to connect with plant spirits
If you're just getting started talking to plant spirits, make sure you head to a place where you feel comfortable. That may be in a secluded area of a park, where you won't have to worry about other people walking past. Or perhaps that makes you uncomfortable, and you'd rather be in an area with lots of other people around. Do what works for you.
It might be easiest to start in the privacy of your home. If you have houseplants, you can start with them—you certainly have a closer relationship with plants living inside your home than you do with a random plant in a public park. Or go outside and connect with a plant that's in your garden. It can be a potted plant or a plant living in the ground. They're all alive, and they all have spirits.
Bring a journal or notebook with you to make it easier for you to talk to the plant spirits. You can use your everyday journal, or have a special one just for this type of work. You might also want to bring a small offering for the plant, like a flower from another plant (ask permission!) or a few grains of corn from your garden.
If you're starting with a houseplant, you might want to water it (if it needs it) and tidy up the surface of its soil if it needs it. Maybe top it up with some fresh soil or with a layer of small gravel if it's a succulent. Give it some love.
Ask (either silently or out loud) if it's okay for you to sit with it and maybe talk. Pause and wait for the answer. You might get a clear “yes” or “no”—or you might feel in your gut that it's fine or not fine. If the plant wants to talk, then proceed (continue reading on how to do that). If it doesn't, thank it and find another plant. Don't take it personally if the plant doesn't want to talk—as I said earlier, you don't talk to every stranger who approaches you, do you?
Also, don't take it personally even when it's a houseplant in your home or a plant in your garden. No, you're not a stranger. The two of you live together in the same dwelling. But that doesn't mean it's in the mood to talk—now or ever. You can always approach it again another day.
Having said this, in my experience, most plants are happy to talk. If they aren't, they'll often be silent. I've never had a plant spirit be unpleasant with me, though some trees have been a bit grumpy.
Settle down and relax
Sit quietly near the plant. Maybe meditate for a few minutes if that helps you to clear your mind. Connect with your own senses. Notice all the little details: what do you see all around you? What do you hear? How do you feel? What can you smell and taste? This is your starting point. If you brought a journal or notebook, write this all down. Do this even if you're in your home and are used to the things around you—it will connect you to your senses.
Ask if it's okay for you to touch the plant. Get a feeling for the answer, and respond appropriately. In my book If Trees Could Talk, one of the trees said that they like to be touched. Of course, not every tree and plant will feel the same way.
What should I say to my plants?
Asking the plants these simple questions (“May I sit with you?” and “May I touch you?”) will help you to strengthen your connection with them. It will also help you to get in touch with your inner knowing. You might want to start talking to the plant now: explain why you want to talk today (you want to learn to talk to plant spirits). Explain why plants are important to you. Let the plant get to know you—even if it's a plant living in your home. You can do this internally (in your mind) or verbally (out loud).
This might be enough for you. Or you might want to ask the plant a specific question. Start with something easy! Don't go straight into deep philosophical questions like “How can we solve climate change?”
Listen to the answer. It might come in a variety of forms: a vision or a symbol, spoken words that you hear in your mind, a feeling, a taste or smell.
How do I connect with my plants?
When you learn how to talk to plant spirits, the first thing you'll notice is that it's not like talking with another person. You probably won't hear their voices out loud, but instead you'll hear their words in your mind. Or you might not hear a voice at all—you might see an image in your mind, or feel an emotion, or smell a scent. As I said earlier, I think that this is what makes communicating with trees so difficult for some people. You have to re-learn how to communicate. It's like learning a new language. And it's a lot more subtle than communicating with people.
You'll have a better chance at connecting with your plants by cultivating what's called the “clair” senses. You've probably heard of one of them—clairvoyance—but you may not have heard of the others.
Cultivate your clair senses
Let's talk about the clair senses, because that's how you're going to get your response from plant spirits. We often hear talk of these in terms of psychic ability, which you may or may not believe in. If you don't, that's perfectly fine. Belief in psychic ability is not necessary for you to understand these concepts.
These clair senses are also ways in which plant spirits can speak to us. They're like the different “languages” that trees and plant spirits use to communicate with us. You know how we can communicate with each other using the spoken word, the written word, or sign language? It's like that.
There are three primary clair senses that you're probably familiar with, and four less common clair senses that may be new to you. Let's explore these different languages.
I can't remember ever experiencing this, despite being a highly visual person. This particular “language” or method of communication involves presenting you with visual cues or symbols. You might get a specific mental image that will give you clues as to what the plant spirit is trying to tell you.
For example, if you ask the plant how it's doing, and you get an image of a lake you visited last summer, the plant might be indicating that it needs watering. You can always follow up with a question to confirm: “Do you need to be watered now?” and see what the answer is.
This is one of the primary languages that plant spirits will use to speak to me. I'll hear words—usually complete sentences. If you've read my book If Trees Could Talk, you'll see just how clearly their words come through. When I collected the stories for the book, I allowed their words to flow through me, and I spoke them aloud and recorded them on my phone.
You might get full sentences, or you might get bits and pieces—like short phrases or keywords. If you reflect on these phrases and keywords, they might help you to see the overarching message that the plant spirit is trying to get across to you. Again, you can always ask more questions to confirm that you've got the right message.
This communication method involves getting a feeling somewhere in your body, without any outer stimuli to trigger that feeling. It could be in your gut, or it could involve chills all over your body. If you ask a plant spirit a question, you might get a response in the form of a feeling, like a glow of happiness spreading throughout your body, or a sense of peace and relaxation. It might be subtle, or it might be unusually strong. Pay attention to how you're feeling when you talk to plant spirits—and how your feelings change, especially after asking a question.
To return to my first example, if you ask how the plant is doing and you suddenly feel heat somewhere on your body, like you've touched a hot pan, the plant might be trying to tell you that it's getting too much direct light where it is.
Clairempathy allows us to sense or feel the attitudes, emotions, or beliefs of another person—or plant. It's like you feel their energy or vibration, and that can give you useful information them. This relates to clairsentience. If you ask a plant how it's feeling, you might simply feel their response, rather than hearing the words “happy” or “sad.”
You might feel a rush of joy spread through your body. If so, you can probably assume that the plant is having a good day. It's feeling well. It's probably got enough water and light.
This is an odd one: it involves tasting a substance or food without having anything in your mouth. Because this is such a strange sensation, it may be the plant telling you to pay attention, or it may be a way of providing some type of (tasty) symbol that directly relates to the message you need to receive. It might also be a way of letting you know whether something is right (delicious) or wrong (not delicious) for you—or it might be a yes (delicious) or no (not delicious) answer.
If you ask the plant how it's doing and you get a taste in your mouth of a food that you really dislike, that could be a sign that the plant is not doing well. You can ask follow up questions to see if it needs more water, sunlight, or something else.
This is precisely what it sounds like: smelling a fragrance or an odor that is not present in your surroundings. I've experienced this before, for example, smelling a familiar perfume that someone I know wears, despite them not being present. But this has never come up when I talk with plant spirits. As with clairgustance, it might also be the plant's way of letting you know whether something is right (pleasant odor) or wrong (unpleasant odor) for you—or it might be a yes (pleasant odor) or no (unpleasant odor) answer.
If you ask the plant a question and you sense a pleasant fragrance in your environment, such as flowers or foods (that aren't present), you might assume that the answer is “yes.” You can always confirm with the plant that you're on the right track.
In psychic terms, this usually refers to someone who can handle an object or touch something and receive information about that object. In terms of talking with plant spirits, this could mean touching the plant and receiving the message in that way. Touching the plant's stems, leaves, or flowers might serve as a trigger for your other clair senses, allowing you to receive a much clearer message via clairvoyance, clairaudience, or clairsentience.
Even without asking a question, you might get a message from the plant just from touching it. If a sudden and unrelated image pops into your mind, or if you smell or taste something that's not in your environment, pay attention. The plant may be trying to tell you something. Or it might be trying to change the subject!
How to talk to plants
Remember that your conversation with plant spirits can take on any of the above forms of language. They will transmit their messages to you, and your system will receive them using one or more of the clair senses. Remember to pay attention and to notice the details: what was going on when you first sat down with the plant? And what's going on now that you're attempting communication?
Do you feel differently? Do you hear anything different? Have any symbols or images popped into your mind? Do you feel feelings that aren't yours? Has an unexpected scent or taste come into your awareness? What happens when you touch the plant?
Benefits of talking to houseplants
Talking to your houseplants—or garden plants—can be beneficial to both your plant's health and to your own mental health. Talking to houseplants creates a deeper level of connection between you and your plants. It's an easy way to improve your relationship with them.
When you talk to your houseplants, it's a reminder that you're sharing your home with living beings. They may not have a cute little face like a dog or a cat, but they are living members of your household—they're not just an old lamp in the corner or a piece of furniture.
Talking to your houseplants helps you to connect with them on a regular basis, which may make you more aware of their needs. You'll become aware of whether or not they need a drink of water, or perhaps more—or less—sunlight.
And if you've been struggling with the loneliness of COVID, talking to your houseplants may help with your mental health. They may not be human, but they're like little green friends who share your home. Plants are certainly no substitute for human socializing, but if you've got at least one houseplant to talk to, you're not truly alone in your house.
How do you know it's real?
This is one of the most common questions people have when they start channeling or talking to trees and plant spirits. How do you know it's not just all in your head? How do you know that it's real, and not a mental illness?
Here's how I know: when I channel spirit guides or talk to plant spirits, their voices are different from mine. And I don't just mean the sound of their voices—the type of language they use is different. They word things differently. They don't sound like the way I speak. They might have a different accent.
Pay attention to the words the plant spirits use when they speak to you. Is that how you talk? Probably not.
If you're still in doubt, you can ask the plants for a sign that it's really them talking to you, and not just your inner fantasies or delusions.
You might find that talking to plant spirits is easy for you. Or you might find that it takes time and effort—and more patience than you expected. Remember to slow down and be patient. Learning a new skill takes time. Would you expect to play the piano perfectly in just one day, week, or month?
Also remember that not all plants want to talk. Let's go back to that one rule: respect. Please don't be surprised if not every plant wants to have a conversation with you—and please don't take it personally.
I'm currently writing a book on how to talk to trees. If you have any further questions that I haven't covered here, please get in touch.
On the podcast
- 394 Suneet Kaur ~ Plant Spirit Healing
- 392 Kerriann Mackenzie ~ Normalizing Tree Communication
- 312 Holly + Eva Leenknegt ~ Animism: Open Up to New Ways of Connecting With the World
Learn to Channel
- Cara Wilde’s Channel Your Guide online course
- Opening to Channel: Connecting with Your Guide Audio Course, by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer
- Opening to Channel: How to Connect with Your Guide, by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer
- How to Read the Akashic Records: Accessing the Archive of the Soul and Its Journey, by Linda Howe
I've spent the last few years talking to trees – the birches, the oaks, the beeches and the sycamores.
Trees have thousands of years of wisdom that we’re able to tap into. Talking to the trees can bring us back to our true selves and can reflect back to us the things we need to see in ourselves. It can also be a space for deep healing.
Living in the technology age, however, we spend our lives connected to computers, mobile phones, and video games. Consequently, we've become increasingly disconnected from ourselves and from Nature.
This book is meant to gently encourage you to get back to Nature and turn to the magic and the wisdom of the trees. By reconnecting to Nature, you can improve your relationship with yourself, which will help you make better, more aligned choices in your life.