Imagine a moonless night on a mountain top where you can see the stars shine with all their brilliance. All the while, knowing there is more beyond what you can see. And then focus on a single star- it will appear closer and with unmatched clarity.
Clarity brings resolve.
Last year, as I was welcoming spring, I mentioned the clarity I had embraced as I began doing some soul searching into ancestral ways of living and healing. This search strengthened my resolve- the echoes of encouragement presented themselves fully as not to be ignored. Perhaps it was also my ancestors whispering, notably my paternal grandparents, as they lived out their lives in the Old Country where living simply and following the old ways was the way of life. Don’t confuse living simply as an easy lifestyle. I’m grateful for the many comforts I enjoy on a daily basis that they never knew about. Rather the concept and methods of living close to the Earth and maintaining that connection is something I strive for. I was ready to listen, to shift my focus. It was time to seek the path I must travel.
This is clarity in all of its sparkling and shimmering light.
I have been passionate about plants and herbs for close to twenty years now. Much time, (and trial and error!), has been dedicated to learning about plants and how they benefit us. I recognize this will be a lifelong endeavor for me. However, what I was searching for was a name for my art.
Yes, herbalism is an art.
My medium is the plants and their magical presence. As an art, there is no set way to practice your craft. One can take classes and read the books, ultimately what is created from this knowledge will be as unique as the individual. Over the years, I have studied a variety of herbal philosophies. Some resonated, others didn’t. That right there is the beauty of it all, the art of crafting your masterpiece. In time, I recognized a pattern that called to me; this was the path I was to follow.
Here was my clarity- the call to refine my art.
In an effort to distill this knowledge and carve out a path, I found a direction that resonated deeply with me. I wasn’t seeking a title, my quest was to establish a path to guide the way. The words Earth-centered folk herbalism came forward. A practice often referred to as folk herbalism combined with Earth-based spirituality is my calling. It is about connecting with the Earth and slowing down. Healing isn’t a quick fix. Herbal remedies are not replacements for pharmaceuticals. Instead, they are nourishment for our body to encourage homeostasis — a collective effort with nature to gently bring our body back to center.
In crafting my remedies, the intent of every action is to honor the Earth in ways that facilitate healing for all living creatures. I choose the slow methods of medicine making; the holistic ways our ancestors applied healing. Simple methods are employed with the plants utilized in their most natural state. There are times that healing doesn’t come from a salve or tincture, instead, it may arrive in a nourishing soup or even a tasty treat. Our ancestors recognized that preventative measures were the best medicine by preparing wholesome foods with healing plants.
Learned knowledge combined with intuition whispered from the plants themselves is what is called upon to craft each remedy. The majority of the remedies come from plants that are cultivated in my garden. While a few plants are ethically wildcrafted from local areas. Some are used fresh and others dried first, plants are harvested and prepared in relation to the seasons. This form of healing ourselves and the Earth is one to be shared and passed on to future generations.
This is by no means a single continuous path without alternate routes. I appreciate and find value in all approaches of herbalism and alternative healing modalities, as one has to find what speaks to them. This is my truth, this is what speaks to me.
This is my path, my clarity, my art.