August 15, 2020

The Story of Ocotillo

By Alexis Smith
The Story of Ocotillo

Often, I am asked why I chose the name Ocotillo to represent my business.  Those who are familiar with this incredible being and its potent energy will agree when I say that it was the only option.

My first encounter with Ocotillo left a bit of a lasting impression.  My first time in the desert that I now call home, I was with family.  We had driven down an old back road to slow roll through the Chinati Mountains and I kept seeing these beautiful leafy green plants reaching up toward the sky.  My natural inclination (as someone born and raised in the woodlands of east Texas) was to reach out and touch them.  The first branch that made contact with my hand instantly informed me that it was not to be touched while in motion.  The thorns ripped and tore the skin on my hand and I was almost taken aback that such a lush and beautiful plant could be so painful.

Many years down the road, I moved to Marfa and had my second encounter with Ocotillo.  While on a hike, I stumbled upon a small field of Ocotillo plants standing leafless in the sun.  I instantly remembered the pain from the first encounter and was hesitant to approach, but felt drawn to them.  I approached with caution and once again reached out to touch them - this time being wary of the thick, sharp thorns that covered the entire plant.  For the first time, I noticed the intricate pattern in the bark that wove and spiraled all around each branch.  Suddenly I was overcome with emotion.  I sat at the foot of the Ocotillo, and for what felt like ages, I wept.  This plant had come to me in a moment of vulnerability.  A moment when I felt lost and unsure of my next steps in life.  It was this moment that inspired me to work with desert plants.

I continued to work with the Ocotillo energetically, studying and researching endlessly to learn everything I could about it.  I learned about the energy of the plant.  That the emotional response I encountered when I wept was not altogether unusual.  My spirit yearned to be among them.  Many encounters later, another stands out amongst the rest.

In the late fall, I was on a camping trip with my beloved.  We drove up a tall mountain and paused for a moment to get out and look around.  When I approached the cliff I was again overcome with emotion.  There in the valley lived hundreds of thousands of Ocotillo, each of them in bloom.  Their vibrant flowers created an ocean of red, casting waves with each gust of wind.  Again I found myself in awe, standing in that very spot for what seemed like hours (though it was probably only about 30 minutes) staring out at the ocean of Ocotillo.  It was in this moment that I realized that my spirit is connected to this desert giant.

When we returned, I delved back into my studies, learning even more.  I learned about the plant's effects on the lymphatic system and fluid movement throughout the body - and it's affinity for the pelvic region, a champion for the Sacral Chakra and for people who bleed.  Staring endlessly at the twisted branches that spider out toward the sky, I could see this medicine within the plant.  The veins of color that etch intricate patterns on the bark, the bright red flowers that glow like torches, even the thorns that I had once been so wary of...they all spoke of the love and medicine that the Ocotillo held within its mystery.  If every there was a perfect plant to be the poster child of The Doctrine of Signatures (the theory set forth by Galen that you can tell how a plant will effect the body based on its appearance), Ocotillo would be that plant.

As my business began to shift its focus and mature, I braced myself for a major relaunch + overhaul.  I knew that I needed to adopt a new name that better encompassed what my work entailed, but what would that be?  Hours of meditation and prophetic dreaming later - all I could think about was Ocotillo.  I had experienced these huge moments with the plant, and it suddenly became clear to me that the best way to honor it was to combine its energy and personality with mine.  Since adopting the name of Ocotillo, it has become my very inspiration - my rock.  No matter what is wrong, Ocotillo will always wrap me in its thorny embrace and remind me that everything is just part of the process and to accept the ebb and flow of things with grace and love.


I am Ocotillo.  Ocotillo is me.


Blessings + Love,


Leave a comment