A beautiful blue sky with plane vapour trails streaking across from the viewer to the top of a mountain. In the foreground on the right, part of the mountain is closer, grey-brow rock speckled with greenery.

A Cup of Calea Zacatechichi

Recently I’ve started experimenting a little with dream herbs. I watched a very interesting interview at the Awake Academy’s Lucid Dreaming Online Summit with Dreaming Guide Tree Carr who works closely with dreaming plants and herbs. Inspired by her words, and since it wasn’t something I had tried much before I thought it was time to give some dreaming herbs a go!

I don’t like smoking, so I decided to make a Calea Zacatechichi tea. I used about 3 heaped teaspoons of dried leaves which at a VERY casual estimate I think was around 4 grams (I scoop big!)

I added a wee pinch of Tagetes Lucida, or Mexican Tarragon as I believe it is known, because I had read it blends well with Calea Zacatechichi and also a handful of fresh Lemon Balm leaves. I have these growing in profusion everywhere in my garden and I absolutely love the plant. As well as making a beautiful tea, Lemon Balm is very relaxing and great for both sleep and digestion amongst other things. After adding boiling water, I left my herbs to brew for about 30 minutes.

The result was a green liquid with what I personally found a very pleasant aroma. I didn’t strain it as I rather like a muddy, herby brew. I drank it about forty minutes before going to bed. I had heard Calea Zacatechichi was very bitter to the taste (another name for it is ‘bitter grass’) but I actually found the flavour quite pleasant even though I had not sweetened it with honey or sugar. However, the aftertaste was something else, very bitter indeed and quite hard to shift! I drank my tea fairly swiftly, thinking about the sort of dreams I wanted to have and followed it up with a large glass of milk and a piece of chocolate which helped a lot with that super bitter aftertaste.

I had heard that Calea Zacatechchichi could aid lucid dreaming, so for the purpose of experimentation I did not actively seek to have a lucid dream or out-of-body-experience so I could try and identify how much effect the herb actually had, rather than my own practice.

I slept fairly restlessly that night, which would have been good for the wake-back-to-bed lucid dreaming induction technique. The tea did not give me any lucid dreams or out-of-body-experience that first night, but my dreams were vivid and had a level of focus and profundity I really enjoyed and learnt from. How can I put it? My dreams just felt different. I woke up burning to look through my dream diaries, filled with ideas and inspiration. It was a great example of RECEIVE in action – I really wanted to transfer what I have discovered in my dreams into my waking life! This sense of the profound continued into a second night of non-lucid dreaming. On the third night, however, I had a beautiful out-of-body experience where I flew from myself, outside and up into the blue sky, then back down to dip my feet in a sparkling stream. The water was delicious, warmer than I expected but still refreshing. A real sensual dream EXPERIENCE!

I’m actually glad Calea Zacatechichi has such a bitter flavour. I feel it is a herb that should be approached with ritual and respect. If it were sweeter, I’d be tempted to use it for my dreaming more often, and I think I benefit from it more used on an occasional basis, maybe every 2-3 months at most. The bitterness is part of the character and the magic of this precious herb.

Finally, a disclaimer. All the herbs and flowers I have tried are legal to buy and possess in the UK where I live. This blog is just to share my experiences, and does not constitute a recommendation. I take no responsibility. Always research usage, side-effects and potential allergies before consuming anything. Look after yourself!

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