What Needs To Die For You To Be Free? 

I’ve debated sharing this article on this particular platform, but I have decided that Red Earth Wildcrafted is more than just wild foods, foraging and herbalism. It is intended to be about wildcrafting a life that is in alignment with the Earth, our community and our souls purpose. I feel that cannot be achieved without peeling back some layers and going deep. So, without further delay:

What Needs To Die So You Can Be Free?

It’s so seemingly cliche to talk about New Years’ Resolutions. We all do it, and we all know they don’t work but we keep hoping and praying and feeling guilty and doing it anyway. Hopefully, this can allow us to see this time of new beginnings in a new and better way.

The leaves of Autumn are most vibrant right before they fall to the ground to die and decompose. I was struck this year by the sensory overload that happened from those colorful leaves. “But they are just so colorful!” “How have I never noticed them like this?” “Why would anyone ever travel anywhere else to look at leaves?” And then one day, I woke up and they were gone- trees now barren and dormant.

What am I holding on to? What do I need to let die?

It’s not even about knowing why you need to let go. Wouldn’t it be easy to do it if we could guarantee that what we needed to let die in our lives was going to be replaced or renewed by something better- or even a new sense of purpose? While that may be the case in the grand scheme, in the macro scale of cosmic interaction, it isn’t ways so directly cause and effect in our human experience of our lives. Sometimes what we need to let go of is something that needs to die because it is simply no longer ours to keep. What we let go of is released solely and so that the journey, whatever it is, may begin.

We always want quick and easy answers-quick fixes to our lives problems- “Get certified in 6 weeks!!”  “Just 5 minutes a day to smaller, bigger, better….”

I truly believe that this is at the core of our collective dis-ease. We have forgotten that the journey is what shapes us into who we are meant to be. It is the initiation we have been denied in our culture, the walking through the fire and seeing-trusting-knowing that you will not die. (Or maybe you will) That is the healing.

We are not a society of adults who have stepped fully into our power if we do not let go of the idea that it is easy.

What will you allow to die?

Maybe you don’t know. And that is ok. Ask yourself- What do you value above all else (this Cannot be your children or your family. Do not allow yourself to be limited by that- we know you would die for them. I’m a mother too, but this is not about them.) and then-

What must you allow to die in order to live closer to the truth of that answer?

I invite you to write down your answers. Write down from the heart what you know must die. Let it go. Burn it- offer it to that most ancient sacrificial altar- fire itself.

Burn the visual linguistic representation of what must die. And so it is.


If you find yourself stuck in this work, unable to access the truth of your heart- I humbly offer a few ideas for plants that may be an ally in this work.

Trees in general. Shamanic herbalist Darcey Blue says about tree medicine “Tree medicine of all kinds can help us tap into old, ancient and buried or sleeping wisdom within us, as resin comes from the deep of the tree.  Use the energy of tree medicines to bubble up what is deep within you during this dreamy time of hibernation and retreat.”

I personally use pine (especially the resin), juniper and hackberry as my primary tree medicine. Last night, I was answering these very questions for myself and my life and used pine resin as the link between my heart and the fire.

Other plants for connecting to the wisdom of the beautiful heart within are:

Tulsi (holy basil), Rose and Lemon Balm.

Taking a few drops of tincture made with one or more of these plants can help focus is into our heartspace, as can slowly sipping a cup of freshly brewed and delicious tea. These three plants are certainly a sensory delight and combine well.

We have forgotten that true wisdom lies at our heart center and not necessarily in the head.

You can do this work any time, any day. It does not have to be an arbitrarily designated day like New Years’ Eve or New Years Day. Do it when you feel called to do it.

Blessings on your path.


  • A lot of this post is inspired by recent episode of the soul shakingly, heart breakingly potent Why Shamanism Now? podcast with Christina Pratt. If you are interested at all in shamanic skills, or just going deep into the experience of how to be a human on this planet at this time in a good way, listen to her podcasts!

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