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Plant Profile: No 72 Shining Spleenwort

No 72 Shining Spleenwort - Synchronicity

Asplenium oblongifolium

The Glossy Evergreen Fern

Shining Spleenwort

Shining Spleenwort is a relatively small fern with attractive glossy dark green fronds which can grow up to 1.5m in length in optimum conditions. Underneath the mature fronds of Shining Spleenwort you will find a very distinct herringbone pattern containing millions of tiny spores.

Though not recognised to treat disorders of the spleen (as the English name spleen wort suggests) the young fronds of Shining Spleenwort were a food source and were commonly eaten by Māori along with other ferns such as Hen and Chickens Fern and Kiokio.

A Sacred Plant

The Maori word huruhuru means feather, fur or hair. It also refers to the soft quality of diffused light such as the sunlight streaming through the leaves of a forest or through the clouds in the sky. The word whenua which means ‘land’ added to the end describes Shining Spleenwort as a soft gentle covering of the land. It was considered tapu sacred and was used in special rituals performed by tohunga priests of different tribes. For some it was used as an offering to the atua god Tane and to propitiate the spirit of the tree whenever one was felled in the forest. The placing of the fronds of Shining Spleenwort over the stumps of trees that had been cut down to carve out a waka canoe link back to the mythical story of Rata and his encounter with the nature spirits:

Rata cutting down a tree - Andrew Burdan

Long ago, Rata wished to carve a mighty waka canoe that would take him and his people across the seas. He ventured into the forest and selected a tall strong tree suitable for the task. He cut down the tree and began to carve it skilfully with his adze.

The next morning he returned to finish the task and to his surprise he found the tree miraculously standing upright and whole.

Once again he cut it down and set to work on his waka, but when he returned the next day he found the tree standing again.

Finally after the third time he decided to hide in the forest and wait to see what happened. He saw the hakuturi (forest guardians) emerge in great numbers and begin to magically re-erect and regenerate the fallen tree before his very eyes. Astonished he ran out and caught one of the hakuturi, who told him they have restored the tree back to its original form because he had insulted the atua god Tane by not performing the correct prayer and ritual before felling the tree.

Rata expressed his regret and learned from the necessary protocols so that the tree could be released. After that Tane was happy and Rata’s great waka was created.

Shining Spleenwort Deva’s Blessing

I offer you the mantle of inner rhythm. Through me you move in perfect synchronicity with the Wheel of Life. Ever-turning spokes you say! Or is it the music of the spheres?

No 72 Shining Spleenwort is the Synchronicity essence. It supports alignment with the synchronicity of the universe. It is the good luck essence and is helpful for knowing that one is in the right place at the right time.

No 72 Shining Spleenwort is helpful when wanting to ‘go with the flow’ and be ‘in-sync’ with life. It supports a positive relationship with life’s ups and downs and is especially useful for understanding that one cannot control everything.

Negative Condition:

Missed opportunities; unlucky; trapped in negative cycles of karma; gets lost in side issues; bad timing; always missing out; victim mentality; feeling unlucky; expecting the worst; accident prone.

Positive Potential:

Timely action; going with the flow; attuned to natural cycles; rhythm and timing; good fortune; comfortable with life changes; knows all things will pass; flexibilty and adaptability; in tune with the magic of the moment.

This article contains extracts from The Sacred Plant Medicine of Aotearoa Volume 1 by Franchelle Ofsoské-Wyber.

(illustration credit: Andrew Burdan)