Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sarah Head of Springfield Sanctuary is our Herbalist Spotlight

Sarah Head is a wife of 30 years, and mother of 2 sons 25,23 and 20 year old daughter.

She is a 52 year old herbalist residing in

Solihull/Birmingham and Upper Slaughter in the Cotswolds (UK) and is involved in good works out there. I asked Sarah a few questions and here is her story to share with you all.

Do you remember what was going on in your life that lead you to herbs?

Sarah- When I was a teenager, I read all the Elizabeth Goudge books, most of which involved herbs in some shape or form, although I didn't really recognise them as such. I wanted to grow them, but the only herbs my mother used (despite being a farmer's wife) were parsley and mint. She kept an iron grip on what was cooked in the household and would not introduce anything new. (Still won't!) In a compromise, I did buy a small rosemary plant, but it disappeared one night. We bought two more plants and then we found a dead badger by the side of the third plant. We surmised he must have been ill and had eaten the previous two plants. In 1995 we went on the Internet and I met someone online and started writing a fantasy story together about an 8th century Cornish healer. I wanted to know what she would have used to help people so I joined the Herb Society and subscribed to Henriette's medicinal herb email list and started growing my own herbs and playing with them. In 1999, I decided I needed to learn how to use energy healing since my Cornish healer also used that on her patients. My local healing group had an article in the paper that week, so I joined them and the National Federation of Spiritual Healers and developed my healing skills. How old were you at that time? In 1995 I was 39

Can you share some of the work that has most influenced you? Such as books, blogs, video and lectures.

Sarah- It has mostly been the discussions of others using herbs. I have an extensive library of herbal books. I started off with David Hoffman, progressed to Matthew Wood and now Susan Weed's menopause excited me when I read it. I read Kiva Rose, Henriette, Darcy and Rebecca's blogs and they have all given me an extra insight into what to try, how to think about things differently, really useful recipes. I do use them as a reference as much as my books. I work full time and haven't had the energy nor the money to take three years out to train full time as a medical herbalist, nor do I want to take clinical responsibility for other people's care. I do want to encourage others to grow their own herbs and play with them.

When making plant medicine, are you drawn to any particular method?

Sarah- I dry herbs for teas, make fresh plant tinctures and vinegars and make fresh and dry double infused herbal oils and salves.

Do you have a most memorable event, conference, or one on one experience with any of our herbal foremothers and forefathers or any other key person used in your path of herbalism? And how has that influenced you today?

Sarah- I went to an oil and salves workshop with Christopher Hedley. It was four hours of stories about his practice which I have never forgotten. He is one of the great giants of our herbal elders and such a wonderful man!

How can people contact you to find out more about what you offer, calender of events, blogs, weed walks, etc?

Sarah- Yes, check my website
Springfield Sanctuary

Do you have a vision for your work in the future or are you seeing how it unfolds?

Sarah- Not sure. I've increased the number of workshops I hold this year to include 4 over the winter which I've held in my kitchen. This has enabled people who aren't able to travel to the Cotswolds to experience herbs and try things out. The numbers I reach are very small, but people seem to enjoy what I do. I've been told I'm doing the right thing, so I just have to wait and see how things develop.

Most of the readers are new to herbs and if there is one word of wisdom or sage advice you could leave them, what would that be?

Sarah- You will never really know a herb until you have grown it, harvested it and played with it, discovering what it can offer you. Don't rely on books or what you read on the web alone, get your hands dirty! You don't need a great deal to learn about herbs and then when you are confident in what you know and realise what you don't know, to then share that knowledge with others.

I am so happy Sarah shared with us her work over in the UK.

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