I first fell in love with dandelions when I was a very
young girl. At the time, I was living with my family in the city of Toronto. It was shortly after he bought his
first car that my father took his family camping. However he had found out about this secluded untended field with
a stream running along one side of it, I do not know, because we were the only people on it. He called that place
Polu Parcins in Latvian, which would translate as Little Polish Park. What I do know is that the entire field was
covered in luscious dandelions with their golden blooming flower heads coming up to my shoulder height. As I walked
along the narrow path my father's footsteps made through the dandelions to the creek, to wade in the shallow water
and turn the rocks over to look for crayfish, I was exquisitely aware of the dandelion blooms at what was nearly
eye-level, delighting in their colour, their scent, their softness and their gentle friendly
Within the city of Toronto, dandelions didn't much
come to my attention, they were part of the surroundings in no way more or less remarkable than anything else,
with two very notable exceptions.
Sometimes I would accompany my father when he went
shopping in the “Jewish Market”, that I knew later in life as Kensington Market. This was a part of Toronto
where several city blocks were full of small shops selling all sorts of surrounding area farm products, locally
made ethnic foods and imported fabrics and goods. The streets were narrow, the houses close together and parking
a distance away. As we walked the several city blocks to the fresh fruits and vegetables my father was looking
for, I marveled at the small, room-sized front yards planted with vegetables and dandelions. Such dandelions,
with leaves almost a foot long! Yes, the Italian women grew them for food, I was matter of factly informed.
Though the little gardens fascinated me, nowhere else in Toronto did I see vegetables on front lawns, I simply
accepted that different cultures had different traditions and admired their uniqueness, without ever thinking
this had anything to do with my life.
The other way that dandelions came to my attention was
through my view from the basement window. On Sunday mornings I was given the task of ironing the clothes that
all the family members needed to wear to church. The ironing board was set up in the basement by the small
window, high in the wall that looked out at ground level onto my mother's flower bed and beyond that to the
backyard lawn. I must have been a teenager to be tall enough for my eyes to be at ground level. I enjoyed the
quiet solitude of that basement spot away from the busyness of the family energies and as I was taking my time
with my ironing tasks and resonating with the freshness of the summer morning, in my view through the window,
what did I see but a beautiful little bunny rabbit in my mother's flower bed, eating whatever blooms were
growing there. My natural sympathies were with the rabbit, rather than the flowers, so I watched without any
thought of disturbing it. When the bunny had finished it's main meal of my mother's flowers, it hopped onto the
lawn and ate some dandelions for dessert. I watched in fascination as bunny nipped the dandelion flower off at
ground level and then drew it into it's mouth, stem first, so that the yellow flower got closer and closer to
the bunny until it was like a button on its face and then “shnapps!”, it was gone into the bunny's mouth. Bunny
ate three or four dandelions in this manner, much to my delight and permanent impression on my memory, before it
hopped away out of my sight.
Many years passed, during which I suppose I enjoyed
the sight of dandelions blooming in the springs, simultaneously as I became aware of people not wanting them on
their lawns, but then, people had many strange notions and other concerns were occupying my attention so I did
not much think about this one way or another.
I was living in Peterborough with my husband and first
two children when I went for my first ever professional massage, that was a birthday present from my husband.
Before going inside for the massage, the therapist and I were sitting out on the front doorstep enjoying the day
and chatting when he brought our attention to the rash across the knuckles of my hands. “What is that?” he asked
I explained that, every spring, for as long as I could
remember, I would get a very itchy rash on my hands for several weeks. As I child I used to scratch it until it
bled but as I grew older I learned to ignore the itching and it would go away on its own until the next spring.
The massage therapist told me that the reason I was getting the rash was because my blood was not thinning out
as it should for my body's comfort of the summer's heat. To correct this problem, he told me to eat dandelions.
To demonstrate what he meant, he plucked a dandelion flower from beside the steps we were sitting on and popped
it into his mouth and proceeded to chew it with an impish grin, in response to my incredulity.
Thus it was that I started to eat dandelions every
spring, searching out the young green shoots for salads and the newly formed flower buds to put into stirfrys
and indeed, I never had an itchy rash on my hands since.
As my conscious friendship with Dandelion grew, I
started to appreciate this amazing plant more and more. It was one of the first spring blooms and the young
children loved it. They would pick bouquets of dandelions for me, knowing this was the one flower they were
allowed to pick to their heart's content without fear of any reprisals. Because the dandelions would wilt after
a few hours in a vase, they could pick another bouquet of these child-friendly, cheerful blooms again, the very
next day! Their delight in presenting these handfuls of golden energy to me was infectious and invariably
brightened my day.
I also learned how to roast the roots for a nourishing
delicious hot drink. The challenge was trying to get the roots out of the ground. Dandelion seemed to love
growing in the rockiest most compacted places. So I could not believe my good fortune one fall, when I surveyed
my father-in-law's sizable vegetable beds to see that he had removed all the vegetable plant matter leaving the
native plants or weeds as some people insist on calling them. I got my permission to dig out the dandelion roots
along with a
good dose of friendly ridicule from family members,
which I happily ignored for the bounty of the harvest.
I had been digging for a while, pleased at how easily
the roots came out of the well worked garden soil and satisfied with the growing pile I was generating when my
father in law came out to see how I was doing. I was bracing myself for more teasing about my harvesting of this
nuisance plant when, instead, he started to talk about remembering how his grandparents and other old folks of
that time would eat the dandelion greens in the springs of his youth. At the time, absorbed in my task, I simply
appreciated his sharing of understanding. It was only later, as I thought about it, that I wondered why the
children of those grandparents did not continue with the tradition of eating the dandelions. When and how did
the dandelions cease to be a welcome source of nourishment and turn into an unwanted nuisance, at best, or more
extremely, an embarrassment that had to be chemically eradicated from sight on their lawns?
After I divorced my husband, I moved into a little
house with a large backyard, of which I only mowed the area immediately around the house, letting the rest grow
wild. On early summer mornings, I would sit out on my back step and enjoy the dandelions. I would admire them
and tell them how beautiful they were and they grew large and luscious. One day, after walking through my
backyard, I went down the back laneway and there, where the lane came out to the sidewalk, were some miserable
little dandelions. I couldn't quite grasp the contrast in comparison with the ones in my yard.
“Why are you so
small and miserable?” I asked them.
The answer came immediately. “Well, Rita, if someone
came out and cursed you every morning and told you how much they hated to see you, you'd be pretty miserable
By this time, I was thinking quite frequently about
dandelions. I was watching the public debates about using chemical poisons to kill dandelions, and thinking how
it is that dandelions like to take over city lawns, but the further I get away from cities, the fewer dandelions
Thus, when I met Dandelion Spirit in Other Reality,
where it appeared to me as a beautiful perky little flying sprite or fairy, I asked why it was so invasive in
the cities. Dandelion told me that it was responding to human need. The anger it draws to itself, if you can
believe anyone could get angry at such a beautiful bright golden energy, but some people do, is exactly what
eating of dandelions will be of help to cure. Toxic livers are as prevalent in the cities as the dandelions to
cleanse them. What better way to limit a species than by eating it? Which is why, of course, dandelion doesn't
easily spread in the wild. As soon as a bloom appears, there are any number of rabbits and porcupines and deer
to eat the bloom and should it manage to make seeds, then it is nourishment for birds or winter store for
squirrels and chipmunks. Only in out of balance environments that do not support a wide variety of beings, will
When I moved to live in the country, I brought several
white puffs of dandelion seeds with me and buried them in the soil of my first beginning garden. I was gratified
by the clump of dandelion babies that resulted and in the fall I spread them around in my expanding areas of
cleared ground. Dandelions are very hardy and resilient, not minding where I put them or how wilted they were by
the time they got into their new ground. Rain or not, rocks or sand or manure, soil PH balanced or not, sun or
shade, crowded or well-spaced, loved or hated, they grow, and yes, some more lusciously than others, but not one
refused to grow. What an amazing plant! What amazing energy to bring into our bodies! Never mind the legacy of
vitamins and minerals and nutrients they must create from the prana around them, and the cleansing healing
nourishing effect they have on bodies, their basic tenacity and sense of entitlement is
However, they are not simply claiming space in the
ground. Dandelion benefits the soil it grows in. Worms love to make babies on the dandelion roots that stay in
the ground during the winter. Dandelion shares its sapmilk to nurse the babies, sheltering them, until the worms
are ready to crawl away to search for other organic matter to digest. As every gardener knows, worms are the
best soil builders, and soil full of worms is happy soil. Happy soil makes healthy and happy plants. And
Dandelion is part of this cycle, as well.
What more could we possibly ask of a single plant