Cupped motheringly in the leathered hands of a human with so many stories to tell that they have lined her forehead and her palms alike, she is sat on the bench beneath the blossom; this retired day is spread out in front of her in ribbons of dandelions, tempered strolls and brown-backed books and they become a tangible process in each sip of this morning cup of coffee, it is a grounding presence not unlike the souls she has loved throughout her life. In her coffee she finds a mother again.

Balanced in the grip of a sweaty palm, the rest of the body jitters with jobs and necessities. The morning has unraveled in a streamline list of phone calls, geometric buildings and car rides, they become more focused and sensed in every snapped sip of this capped coffee. This business man finds productivity seeped into his coffee sap, he drinks it like a drug. His body responds dutifully. Is it that he finds a sense of worth in his coffee? That he has built his meaning around productivity? He can’t even see the swirl it is making beneath the cap.

Watching the wind catch the newspaper like a fish, this cup of coffee bubbles dutifully in a ceramic mug, stamped with the signature of her routine afternoon café. The froth is daisy white and peaked precisely, the caramel espresso had been tuned that morning under the flick of a hand infused with a passion of a lifetime and the construction was heartfelt and served smiling. It sits now, under the spring sky, savoring the moment, yet again, with the women of Monday afternoons. She is dressed in casual grey and exudes the stress of her office, she finds a pause in her coffee, she finds presence in its bitter-sweet heat. What more is there to focus on now than every sense it delivers to her, what less is there right now, than the workplace she has left behind.

A two-way hazel gaze, I smile into the surface of my coffee and see myself smiling back. It is 11am again. I have processed the light of this morning through the eyes of my laptop, finishing lessons and curtailing word counts. 11am pushes itself onto the clock and my mind falls back into creativity, expression, expansion and love. You see, coffee is something of a spiritual experience for me, I prefer to refrain from “using” it so much as “working” with it – A lesson I have extracted from my herbal practice- for as soon as you begin to use something in life, the help it may offer subsides. Viewing coffee as an herb has helped me to treat it as medicine, like any other supplement I would put into my body, I began to listen to how it was acting on me. I noticed that the (very well known) caffeinated energy that stirs within me after drinking coffee, pushed me into creativity. I would find it difficult to focus my attention on anything that was not a direct expression of creativity when such a liquid of potential was seeping through my systems.


As observed from a biological perspective , coffee is an incredible source of antioxidants along with a host of other trace minerals like potassium and B- vitamins [providing its quality] and thus in the right environment coffee can certainly benefit the physical body [obviously, if your body is not absorbing the nutrients, this won’t be applicable]. Some of the herbalist qualities + energetics of coffee can be considered positively impactful on certain constitutions, so in someone who runs with excess water or excess cold, then a cup of coffee would be perfect to the stabilization of their internal environment.

Being a stimulant on the nervous system, coffee has a certain cardiac affinity, our hearts seem to sound an incredible depth louder + feel potently stronger under the influence of caffeine. This renewed heart conscious awareness can surely only be beneficial for our heart : mind coherence? The actions of coffee is undoubtedly mirrored in the café culture; conversations, strangers becoming friends and warm, nostalgic laughter. It brings us together like Christmas day and instils a sense of ritual and grounding within us. The actions and ritual of coffee open our minds to information and allow community to pour in.

For those of us vibrationally aware; Coffee can be measured on the vibrational scale at 223. This is a scale reaching 1,000, being the state of enlightenment. Relatively speaking then, coffee is a “low vibration” habit, take from that what you will, as picking your nose is probably a low vibrational habit as well. Universally, the majority of people are aware of how their body reacts to coffee; hyper-stimulated, chatty, brain energy, body energy and a bit spacey. Personally I get a whole lot friendlier, more approachable and willing to engage in conversation after my cortado as well. It is observable then, how coffee moves energetically when it is ingested; through the head and the nervous system, therefore being placed under the archetype of a mercurian herb, transmuting communication and perception. When we know the archetype of the medicine we are ingesting we know how to better work with it, for coffee is still a herb and should technically be used medicinally and respectfully…

On a biological + chemically observable level coffee directs itself through the central nervous system, triggering a cortisol response and thus an environment in the physical body mirroring that of minor stress. In activation of the sympathetic nervous system we see a huge step sideways of the spiritual journey towards a pure sympathetic state; Zen, the condition of zero environmental reactivity and total stillness. Obviously only a temporary side step, but arguably an unnecessary one depending on your path.

Through the lens of astrology, coffee can certainly be said to be under the rulership of mercury: archetype of communication + productivity + community. We see this, of course, playing out on the collective landscape; coffee shops permeating cultures universally. Interestingly, although coffee stimulates the central nervous system into a state of reactivity + stress and is therefore associated with the planet Mars [war + conflict + mineral Iron], coffee as a substance depletes the body of iron + is a de-nutritive to our systems. Breath is the life force, the vessel of inspiration, and in lacking iron to transmute oxygen, our breath [after long-term habitual coffee consumption + no iron supplementation] is compromised.

Through the lens of herbalism, coffee is considered a bitter and yet through the lens of society coffee is considered anything but a bitter: watered down into sweet milk more often than not we actually lose the medicinal effects of its bitter taste. When the body tastes bitter there is a biological reaction , stimulating bile production and aiding in digestion, this doesn’t happen if the bitter is not tasted. I would like to suggest that this is the exact function of society as a whole: we have continually watered down the bitterest aspects of life into watery, hazey purity until we are unused to bitter experience + thus a lack self-discipline is born.

In herbalism coffee is also considered warming + drying + stimulating + de-nutritive + downward moving; images of a barren, dried soil bed, slowly left un-nurtured and now a carcass vessel compared to the natural fertility of soil. This is how I would imagine the action of coffee upon the body: Not necessarily a direct + aggressive attack, but a gradual degrading process inflicted by misuse + neglect. My point: it’s not harmful until you use it harmfully. Self-discipline + control + conscious consumption is the ultimatum here. Coffee is considered to offer an astringent effect upon the cells of the body, this can be either beneficial or harmful to the person drinking it depending on their own personal constitution….

There is also the aspect of coffee quality; mold in coffee is commonplace, and mold is extremely irritative to the homeostatic equilibrium of our microbiomes. When the health of the physical body -our vessel- is compromised it is more difficult to stay centered, grounded + focused in our practice, and of course, being sick is never the goal.

Much of the collectives coffee habit is of unconscious or even perhaps unchecked origin. Considering how coffee acts as a laxative, Could it be that the coffee trend + the popularity of coffee universally is a response to a collective need to purge waste build up? On a physical and spiritual level, contemporary society is amidst a huge accumulated toxin build up, we need a spiritual revolution ultimately, but could it be that coffee is an unconscious reach for exactly that? In resonance with the ancient medicine systems, coffees energy is directed towards the liver + the liver opens up into the eyes, thus are we using coffee to “open our eyes”, as though we intuitively know there is something more to wake up to than this current state of consciousness? “Coffee wakes me up”. Yes. To the constant state of alertness that is your equilibrium, your ultimate expression. But never forget that this stimulation is an illusion, you will crash unless it is internally cultivated. The liver is the container of anger + resentment in the Chinese system of medicine, could it be that on a sub-level we are attempting to rid our systems of generations of this toxicity?

Ultimately then, are we reaching for something larger than a latte? Larger, even, than conscious life itself? Quite possibly, yes. Instill conscious decision the next time you order a coffee; why are you choosing this drug right now? Is it going to help your body? Are you respecting it as a medicine or abusing it as a drug?

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