Befriending The Saboteur Archetype

I had a client remark to me the other day that she thought the herbs I had given her were creating the emotional upheaval and mental instability that she was experiencing.  I replied that the opposite was true: plant medicine, or any kind of vibrational medicine, actually cushions us from our own destructive patterns.  To use an analogy, it can be helpful to think of vibrational medicine as the first mate who steers the ship through the storm, while the captain, our dark, self sabotaging Lower Self and our domineering ego, is drunk in his cabin.  Plants in particular are here to support us on our sometimes precarious inner journey; we are often our own worst enemies.

The Saboteur is the common archetype this February, and will be prominent throughout most of March as well. The depth of the human soul has no limits, carrying the duality of both light and darkness and that of the masculine and feminine energies (for more on our own inner duality, see “Healing Into Wholeness” [pages 39-55] in my book).  It has purpose, is tenacious, and it thrives on love and compassion. While we are quick to recognize the feel-good qualities of our soul, many of us sedate and ignore our darkness.  We would prefer to repress the thoughts or feelings that cause discomfort and that we would not dare to show others—that which is dark and twisted and lives below the surface.  This is when our sinister shadow side can creep up on us, sabotaging our efforts to evolve our soulful and spiritual selves.

This challenge is part of the collective 2012 struggle to raise our vibration to Sacred Union or Wholeness within ourselves, and allow forgiveness and compassion into our hearts.  In raising our consciousness and shining light on our darkness, we can out-maneuver our ever-present, internal Saboteur, who has made a comfortable home in our unaddressed pain.

My favourite herbal plant for the Saboteur archetype is Burdock Root.  The Burdock plant has a very dramatic two year life span.  During the first year of its growth, it lies low to the ground and splays its broad, wedged-shaped leaves (which are green on one side and white like sand paper on the other).  During its second year, a central stalk rises. As it matures, spiky bulbs emerge from which purple flowers eventually burst forth. These dry into brown “fruit”, the seeds of which disperse by attaching to anything that gets near the plant.  After its short life and death cycle, it begins itself anew by sending its many seeds out to propagate future generations.

The Burdock plant has a large, twisted, beige root. The root is very long and buries itself deeply into the ground; when I first pulled one from the ground, it reminded me of a deep, dark twisted human soul.  Like the Burdock root, the Saboteur in many of us lies below the surface, gnarled and intertwined with our wounding and dysfunctional patterns.  When I see clients repeating past mistakes, engaging in caustic mental patterns, and being bogged down with icky, toxic, psychological baggage, I know that their inner Saboteur is at work. To help them, Burdock Root is my herbal ally of choice.  It works on the first, second, and third chakra centres of the body by combating and facilitating the release of fear, blame, shame, and disempowerment.  Burdock pulls out and disposes of destructive matter in the lower chakras by cleansing the gallbladder, liver, spleen, and lymphatic system (see Chapter 5: “Messages from the Body,” in my book for a description of emotions and mental patterns that correlate to these areas).  It is also nourishing to the pancreas and the nervous and immune systems, as it contains Vitamins B1, B6, B12, E, and C, and the minerals potassium, sulfur, silica, manganese and inulin.  Burdock is often one of the key ingredients in herbal cancer formulas because of its ability to help the body release stagnant toxins, heavy metals and purify the blood.

Many of us are currently feeling apathetic and are, at the same time, vacillating between anger and hot raging tears.  Our energy, and the energy around us, feels insidiously flat, stale, and dismal; nothing seems to bring us joy or meaning.  We may feel challenged in our relationships as the people in our lives mirror our own internal Saboteur back to us.  Understand that like the Burdock Root, we need to dig deep, sit in our darkness and allow it to surface. We mustn’t forget that the purpose of a root is to provide nourishment; we can do this for ourselves by feeling our pain, crying for it, and cultivating compassion for ourselves through this process.  Burdock allows us to understand that by sabotaging ourselves, we are also being urged by our soul to raise our internal standards and reach for our Higher Self.  Only then can we fill up again with courage, hope, and trust, make adjustments in our life and take our living to the next level of consciousness. From there, we can realign with our soulful and spiritual purpose.

Those of you who are feeling hopeless, apathetic, and overwhelmed by all the doom and gloom in the world right now should heed Mother Teresa’s wisdom.  When asked how she coped with the overwhelming poverty, desolation, and misery around her in India, she responded by saying:  “I deal with what is in front of me.”  Wise words indeed!

For extra support during this time, try The Lover Elixir or Essence, Release the Grief tea, and Love Chakra tea.  If anger and resentment are predominant emotions (you may feel tension and a stabbing pain in your shoulders, numbness in your arms, stiffness in the neck, have red rimmed sore eyes, hot tears, indigestion, tension in the solar plexus, or cramping/tight calf muscles) then also support yourself with The Warrior Elixir or Essence and Release the Anger tea, which contains Burdock Root.

For overwhelming fear, The Earth Mother Elixir or Essence will keep you rooted in courage.  Rose essential oil is a terrific antidote to sorrow.  Rub it on your heart chakra.  Stay away from sugar, especially if you are craving it – sugar allows us to gloss over our emotional process so that we can maintain our saccharine facade to the world.   Take the time to wonder at the thoughts and emotions that are surfacing for you right now, instead of sedating them with food, engaging in power struggles, and/or frantic living.  Journaling is useful to release those circular thoughts that can plague us, and connecting to nature helps to renew and rejuvenate the soul.

We will get through this part of our collective journey and thrive.  That is a certainty I feel deeply in my cells.  We can choose to align with our internal Saboteur and hear its message for us on an ongoing basis. The Saboteur is here to help us evolve our consciousness and unlimited potential as individuals, and as a species.


Samantha  (Please note that my shopping cart is down for maintenance until mid-March, I apologize for the inconvenience.  For orders or to sign-up for a workshop please call 1-800-291-4912 , Canada and US only.)

I am one of the workshop presenters at the Festival of Health & Wellness, Saturday March 10th, Calgary, AB.  Click here for more details: