The journey of healing, of ascension, can sometimes bring us little in the way of comfort. But we don’t journey to gain comfort. We do it to become whole, to become real in the face of whatever we encounter. It can be a bare-knuckled challenge, a conflict of seeming polarities that have to be faced and reconciled, by looking at the brutality of the world directly in the face and acknowledging it, encountering it in all the ugliness, the chaos, and the beauty. Opening to a divine light that reveals our identifications, agreeing to and receiving all that is, as we dis-identify from illusions and become transformed. Transformation can be hard-fought and hard-won. It is what distinguishes us from those who stay identified in states of victim-hood.

No matter what we encounter along the way, as we navigate through the festering tar-pits of our individual and the collective human psyche, what spurs us on is the knowing that beyond the pain and suffering of the world, there is a tangible sense that there is always something else, a destination of eternal becoming that is our birthright; that loves us, comforts us, holds and embraces us, and ultimately transforms us.

This is the polarity of human existence. And in the transformation, we find ourselves landing exactly where we already are, but transmuted into the essence of the cosmos and bathed in newness. An uncompromising celebratory dance of life. A perpetual genesis birthing an eternal nirvanic love. We are the light of the universe. We are Shiva and Shakti – unmasked!


Image: Will Lull
Written for my eldest daughter on her 19th birthday.


Our children are space rockets, and we are their launchpads. By the time they leave us, they should have what they need for space flight. As their launchpads, we need all the qualities that this requires, and if we don’t embody them at the beginning of parenthood, nature makes sure to deliver them to us in spades along the way. Launchpads need gravitas, substance, stability, structure, and a solid platform for when the countdown begins, and our children’s rocket engines fire up into adulthood, releasing loving hellfire as they head for the stars.

Stay raw, ripe, wild and free sweetheart.

Think for yourself, be original and always play from your fucking heart.

You are my girl. You have been from the moment we met, and you always will be.

We need to feel safe to feel OK. And to change, we may need to feel unsafe for this to happen. In any relationship, we can ask the question “Do I feel unsafe enough to feel unsafe?”.

If we ever find that we feel completely and entirely safe with someone else, it is possible that all our armouring will suddenly dissolve, our survival mechanisms, creative adjustments and all our coping strategies, revealing perfect, brilliant, flowing love.

Love that never left.


It wasn’t a typical Saturday afternoon. We had just spent many hours chanting. And in a trance. I now sat alone with the Buddhist Lama, and he passed me a bowl made from the skull of a very ancient Tibetan monk and prompted me to drink. I took the skull into my cupped hands, looking down to see what was inside. The fluid inside was dark, red and wet. Was it wine or human blood? I didn’t know, and I honestly didn’t care. I figured that if it was wine and this magic was going to work, by the time it hit my tongue, it would have turned to blood anyway. The bowl felt very old, soft but brittle, and I thought of how once upon a time long passed, it must have pulsed with the breath of life. Overcome with reverence, I put my lips to the bone, and I drank. I was sure that I knew what I was doing, but I also knew that I had absolutely no fucking idea what was happening.

As I swallowed, I slowly raised my eyes to take in my surroundings. I was half-expecting to see some visiting deities or demonic entities coming right at me, but there wasn’t even a Tibetan thangka painting to be seen. Then I remembered that this shouldn’t be surprising as I wasn’t in Tibet. I was possibly in the most unlikely place to be immersed in a tantric ritual. I was deep within the sanctum of St Theresa’s Catholic Church, right in the middle of Dublin.

I may have been in a Catholic church, but there was no dangling carrot promising salvation here. What was on the cards was an invitation to annihilate any illusory sense of self. Holding the skull had made this clear, I was in touch with death, and as I felt the last red drops drip from my lips, the Lama and I connected as I gave him the skull.

A fleeting thought passed as I wondered if the church had a clue about all this when they had given the space. Maybe someone offering their body as a tantric feast to the gods had resonated with their own faith, possibly creating some inward echoes with the domesticated, safe and controlled ceremony of the sacrament.

And although there may have been a resonance, it was obvious that this was beyond the sacrament.

We were in a ‘Chöd’ ceremony.

Chöd is mostly hidden, and very obscure. It is an esoteric and extremely risky Buddhist ritual, at least as far as mental health is concerned. It is a fast-track method of self-destruction and spontaneous enlightenment that historically takes place on rare occasions in the Himalayas.

I remember when I first read of Chöd. In Tibetan, it means “to cut through”. It is pronounced as “Chuh”, and was brought to earth by Machig Labdrön, a renowned 11th-century Tibetan tantric female Buddhist. Machig was named Dorje Wangchuma which translates as ‘Diamond Independent Goddess.’ Appearing to me as a paradox, she was a master of supreme personal autonomy and at the same time an expression of infinite, boundless flowing edgelessness. That was all I needed to know. Deep within my heart, I signed-up.

Having located a book about Chöd as a teenager, I quickly realised that it wasn’t a daytime read. With macabre curiosity, I read page after page, drinking in the words, and digesting them with envy as I learned how the monks, who after waiting and prepared for someone’s death, would visit the fresh grave that very night. After beseeching all the demonic entities to come to the grave, they would then pray for their illusory self to be sliced into pieces and devoured.

In only one night, apparently the adept could bypass years of meditation and spiritual practice in a total and all-consuming sacrifice.

Chöd is possibly the ultimate spiritual ‘hack’.

As demons devoured every delusion, and demons were seen as illusions, the sense of an individual self was destroyed. Only the remains of the monk would be left, as a smouldering piece of shit, egolessly festering on the gravesite. Although the objective was apparently a noble one, the risks were known to be significant, at least to the self, defined as it is by its perpetual seeking for personal relevance.

For every monk that shifted into liberation, many more went insane, forever locked into the world of a madman, the gateway to enlightenment slammed shut for all eternity.

Nevertheless, and with possibly a lower chance of death for the dedicated monk than a game of Russian roulette, Chöd became relatively popular, most likely appealing to those on the fringes of society, who would possibly find solace dwelling in the solitude of burial grounds and other ghostly haunted realms. As a teenager, I had instantly seen the appeal.

Once I’d returned the skull, the Lama handed me a human femur. “Blow”, he said.

I had heard that the thigh bone of someone who died a violent death is preferred when selecting a Kangling, or leg-flute, and I didn’t stop to ask what the donor had done to deserve their fate. I have since been told that the best Kangling is from a young woman who died giving birth; signifying the compassion and love of a mother. A Kangling should be handled with great care.

Without any consideration of placing the largest bone of the human body to my mouth, nor soliciting any tips for proper technique, I took a large intake of breath, pursed my wet lips onto what I imagined was the kneecap end and blew. What came out was nothing like Philip Glass’s ‘Kundun’ soundtrack nor the haunting sound of an energised Kangling, blown by the lungs of an enlightened being. The sound is supposed to terrify all evil spirits but be pleasing to the wrathful deities. I had the sense that my attempt would terrify anything, as what blurted out had been more demonic raspberry than spiritual mastery. At this point though, for all I knew I could have been spluttering blood.

And then Chöd was over, and we went to the pub. And I carried on with life.

One afternoon, six years later I was sitting in my clinic during a break, chatting with a friend on Facebook, when seemingly out of the blue my sense of individual self spontaneously disappeared into oblivion, taking with it the idea that ‘I’ had ever been. It took less than 30 mins.

So it can happen, and it can happen to you. And if it does, you’ll know that enlightenment does happen, but to no-one. That it is simply the falling away of that which was seeking enlightenment. The end of the seeker. A super-complete perfection. Everything and nothing. More love than is imaginable.


Literally one hell of a ride.


I am grateful to Margaret Michie for information on a young mother being the best source for a Kangling.

I used to wonder.

I used to wonder about enlightenment.

About realisation.

About freedom.

About liberation.

And I was only a child.


I wondered what it would be like to have a spiritual experience.

And one day, I realised that I am a spiritual experience.


I wondered what it would be like to be on the spectrum, and if I was on the spectrum.

And one day, I realised I am the spectrum. The full fucking spectrum.


And then one day, in one moment came this blissful, visceral, perpetual revelation. Super-complete and utterly unnameable.

Daniel Burge Wild Communion plant medicine. Photo of Foxglove Digitalis Purpurea

A commissioned piece from the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy on how we can enter into direct communication with nature. Since then it has also been published by The Knowing Field, the international journal for constellation work.

Recent research shows that there is more to the life of plants than we ever imagined and knew before. Intimate communications among them, sensory perception, and energetic responses are some of the new characteristics we have discovered when it comes to the plant world. What do these new personality traits mean for inter-species relationships between humans and plants? How can we utilize these new understandings to dive deeper into connection and relationship with our photo-synthesizing neighbors? In this piece, Daniel Burge explores intimate communication and fellowship with plants in the surrounding lands of his home in Ireland. He tells of profound messages, longing, and a deep love which only a flower could evoke. May his words inspire you to explore personal relationship and contact with the plant kingdom around your own home. Perhaps they have a message for you which you need to hear.

Wild Communion

I read this morning that 1,700 new plant species were discovered last year. The ‘State of the World’s Plants’ report, led by scientists at the Royal Botanical Garden Kew, has also listed 28,000 plants as having recognised medicinal uses.

Western medicine still attempts to heal by exclusion or opposition, creating ever more ‘anti’ drugs – the antibiotics, antidepressants, anti-inflammatories and antivirals for example. In this inclusive world where everything belongs, this attitude can only fail, and we are witnessing this as humanity once again turns back to nature for original, natural and exceptionally powerful medicine.

The medicine of the plants is a real medicine, one of wholeness and encounter, and although scientists still attempt to isolate the ‘active’ components of plants to treat disease, it is only when a plant is fully intact, can its delicate and yet formidable web of intelligence work directly upon us.

Would you like to experience this potent medicine? To meet directly with the wonderful plants? To taste, feel and dance with their living medicine, as a communion of perfect aliveness in which everything is realised as one?

“Everything vanishes, falls apart, doesn’t it? Nature is always the same but nothing in her that appears to us lasts. Our art must render the thrill of her permanence, along with her elements, the appearance of all her changes. It must give us a taste of her eternity.” – Paul Cezanne

Nature is wild, so wild it can take over. And it always takes over. It also has a presence that is as permanent as it’s seasons; plants and flowers are momentary passings. If grace unlocks the door, and you open to the wildness, it will take over and assimilate you as well.

If any disbelief that you have about this can stop, even for just a moment, you may enter a wild and majestic world and see the truth of what I am sharing for yourself.

It isn’t called the Plant Kingdom for nothing.

As the ideas of being separate dissolve and you leave what the intellect knows behind, you may be left in awe and wonder at the indivisibility of all things: That you can communicate with nature, and that nature will communicate with you.

You are currently appearing in much the same way as a wave comes out of the ocean or a leaf grows into the world; the difference being that you think you’re divided from what is all around.

All we need to do to be in direct communion with nature is to suspend our disbelief that we are not already in communion.

It has been said that the only reason that someone isn’t happy is that they believe they aren’t already happy. Believing that happiness must look a certain way, this imaginary solution to the problem prevents experiencing happiness. The solution becomes the problem.

So come with me, into the forest and we shall simply leave the problem behind.

Daniel Burge Wild Communion plant medicine

The Plants

The plants are the sensitive ones- deeply feeling and sensing, highly intelligent and ready for relationship. If you are ready, you can reach out and meet them, and they will teach you the ways of the heart.

The plants are always harmonizing and balancing the environment. If you commune with them, they will bring you home to your natural, resonant, responsive and wild self.

A plant’s awareness is so advanced that they know when you are coming, and they will already have adjusted their phytochemistry so that when you meet, they will have already customized their medicine just for you.

So enter the safety of the forest, feel with your heart, trust your sensations, and commune with the medicine of awareness as you notice your walking and movements just happening.

If you listen and respond to the plants, they will speak to you. Don’t be afraid of the wild. It’s the wild that makes you alive.

Walking further into the forest, something will start calling- calling to you with an invitation to meet. Follow your feet. You may be struck by disbelief. Keep going.

Daniel Burge Wild Communion plant medicine. Photo of Bluebells.


It started with bluebells. We met in an ancient wood where I live- deep in the forest near a lake shore in the west of Ireland. Their magical floating carpet calling me in with intoxicating iridescence. Stunning me with extraordinary beauty; standing on the edge of everything, I felt a shift as I humbly asked their permission, granting me the entrance to their realm. Bowing to their collective presence, I climbed up and onto the grassy bank. There was no going back.

Moving slowly, following my body until the forest floor found me. I laid down, gradually nestling into the earth.

I am now on their level, they are standing tall and flowering down, I am aware, and aware of their awareness of me.

Flowers caressing my face, I turn my head to one side and want to connect as intimately as I know how, I open my mouth and let a few of the flowers drop inside, where they rest on my tongue. And I wait in anticipation.

And into my head, the bluebells speak…

“If anything is droppable, drop it”

I drop, deep into the ground, all holding on just drains away. My longing has been answered, and the yearning to hear nature speak directly to me is real. As clear as a bell. A bluebell.

Tasting the nectar of the forest and breathing in the shimmering light, I go home, stunned and in awe, to return the next day.

This time I ask them a question…

“What now?”

“You think you need something to reach the next step. You don’t”.

I instantly realize that I have everything I ever needed.

And the next day I ask them…

“What’s left?”

“Nothing,” they say

And there was nothing left to say or do. The next day, all was quiet. Every time I passed in the week, I never felt or heard a calling to enter. And two days later, while in my clinic and as I sat in wonder, I went through a spontaneous, deep healing process.

The Victorians said to be careful to not fall asleep in a field of bluebells, as you might wake up mad. I had awoken, and I could hear voices, but I wasn’t mad. I had become wildly sane.

The medicine of bluebell helps us to look inwards to find our true feelings and communicate with others, to simply be and to listen to our hearts. They help us to find the inner space and stillness to listen to our feelings and to belong.

A year passed and I waited for my beloved bluebells to return, which they did, but they came in silence. I felt them teaching me to know completion and to not linger on the past, however wondrous it had been.

Daniel Burge Wild Communion plant medicine. Photo of Foxglove Digitalis Purpurea


The bluebells became dormant but I felt like I was being watched, and a new silent calling awaited me. Magnificent green spears appearing everywhere adorned with purple cocooning slippers. Although I didn’t know their name, I knew what they were, walking amongst them and bathing in their unconditional welcoming. The magnificent Purple Foxglove, Digitalis Purpurea.

I experienced overwhelming feelings of falling into love. Standing in the kitchen one evening, my was heart aching. Overwhelmed with emotions, I apologized to my partner that I was sorry but I couldn’t stay- that I had to go back to the forest, to be with the foxgloves. The feeling was so strong and dinner was almost on the table, yet I couldn’t describe what I was feeling. She looked at me and said it was Ok and that I should go, as I was having a love affair. She was right.

Foxglove medicine seduced me to the core. Intoxicated by pure love, pouring through my heart, foxglove really does go straight into the heart, healing emotional turmoil as it harmonizes.

Foxglove is used for helping with grief concerning the father, when traumatized by their death or loss. They are clinically proven to treat congestive heart failure (CHF) and heart rhythm problems (atrial arrhythmias). A potent cardiotonic, physicians use foxglove to strengthen the force of the heartbeat. It contains molecules called glycosides that stimulate heart cells.

Daniel Burge Wild Communion plant medicine. Photo of Cow Parsley

I am in the very same woods as I write this, sitting amongst the cow parsley that is now growing where the bluebells were just a week ago. Their delicate snowflakes suspended in space, flowers of lace extending beyond physical form into a knowing field that soothes away anxieties that were below my conscious awareness until I felt them disperse into the air, dissolving the stress of the day.

You are more connected than your intellect can ever realize. Concepts such as systemic consciousness, and interrelatedness are as close as the mind can get to this.

You are beyond connectedness.



This is it.

There is nothing that separates you from the natural world, as you are part of an indivisible edgelessness that is beyond anything that the thought stream that you refer to as your mind could ever comprehend.

Why would you want to stop a river?

What makes you believe that the space between thoughts is silent?

Where are the dividing lines between ‘things’?

Even ideas such as ‘being in the moment’ just reinforce the idea that there is a moment and a separate you that could be in it. No wonder it never really worked. Reality is so much simpler.

Meeting the plant kingdom is just like meeting your best friends. It doesn’t matter if you are shy. You may be fearful that it won’t happen to you in the same way it does to me or to anyone else. No matter.

This is a personal journey for you of trust and love. All that matters is that you show up. And if you do, the plants will meet you, and your life, most radically and for the better, will never be the same again.

You may just realize one day, or even this very moment, the spaces and splits that appear around us and inside us were only ever imaginary divisions, and that nothing has ever needed re-integrating. We yearn so to bridge by reaching out and seeking connection. Separateness is just an illusion, and we and everything else is perfect just as it is.


Daniel Burge lives in wonder in Central Portugal and works with clients around the world. He can be contacted at

Relevant Websites