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Nettle, reishi, and yarrow: in painting and poem

by Alyssa Pittera

Editor’s note: The first-year final assignment is an opportunity for students to reflect upon the year and integrate their herbal knowledge with another facet of their life. This post is Alyssa’s final project from the 2022-2023 school year.

I have found that through re-communing with plants, new and old, I uncovered how deeply starved I am for spiritual health. My meditation looks much like gardening—and intentional time spent in nature—but also yoga, and painting, and the newly discovered, channeling poems. This is a work in progress, but here are three favorite plant allies matched with different chakras where I have found support, each with a poem to match. I have made so much more art this year than I have in years, and I am so thankful that my creative block has been lifted; things are flowing out of me like never before.


Your sweet sting

Blood flows


And bursts forth

A river of red

Iron rich

Metallic with minerals




Rich with rest

Salty sweet

You give to me

I receive

I receive

I receive



Enticed by your lacquered red skin


I run to you

Through the trees

To discover your bounty

Heart radiating

Blood circulating

My cheeks go red with joy

Welcoming us to summer sun

Ancient and annual

Wise yet brand new

The honorable harvest

Of a blood red fountain of youth



Your ethereal umbels

Sheltering me

Shading me

With dappled light

Cradled in your silver feathers

Wrapped in your spicy scent

I am safe

I am emboldened

I am moved

You fight for my balance

The delicate dance

Between strong and soft

Holding boundaries

Yet remaining receptive

Thank you for your bounty,

Your powerful leadership

Humbly, you guide me to the light.


Alyssa Pittera is the owner of the Salty Rose, an herbal company based in Maine. Before the plant path chose her, she pursued a future in art and fashion design. She cycled through many different mediums over the years, starting with finger paints, to pencil and charcoal, to oils and acrylics, and now works mainly in water color and black ink. Subject matter from where she finds inspiration is a direct crossover from plant and mushroom musings, as well as faces, the human form, and animals. She loves to have a project to work on and enjoys taking on commissions to bring others’ visions to life! You can find her on Instagram at @the.saltyrose.


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