Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Herbalist's are normal people

Sometimes it seems all we do is go looking for plants, and create potions,salves, tinctures and teas, doesn't it.
There is an idea that herbalism is our devout religion and that we do nothing else.

(it is my religion:) lol )

I just wanted to shout out to my son Jonathan for completing his football season with the youth league. He already is sad that it is over and looking forward to next year.

The coaches were so awesome and he was so encouraged.

So see, we are normal......or are

Congratulations Jonathan! I love you and am proud of you son.
Now come help me harvest some rosehips, would ya;)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Herbalist Spotlight-Matthew Wood

I love the cheerful energy of this picture of Matthew Wood.
He was actually speaking in a neighboring state a month or so ago and I sadly missed that venue.
Matthew is an amazing herbalist and has authored such books as

Seven Herbs, Plants as Teachers

Earthwise Herbal

The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicines

The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism: Basic Doctrine, Energetics, and Classification

Vitalism:The History of Herbalism, Homeopathy, and Flower Essences

And a new release coming out in April, 2009
Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to New World Medicinal Plants

Matthew is in his early 50's. A single man that has devoted his life to this work. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He shares this story on how he was lead to herbs.
It was 1967. Age 13. I read "The Teachings of Don Juan" by Carlos Castaneda and
realized that herbs were reference points for patterns on the physical,
psychological, and spiritual levels.

Going back further than that. Age three weeks, we arrive in Big Cyprus Seminole
Indian Reservation in Big Cyrus Swamp, FL, fifty miles by dirt road from the
nearest town. Leave when I am two years old. I learn a different perspective,
alien almost to ordinary Anglo-American culture.

Paracelsus (1493-1541) has had the deepest effect on Matthews work. For introduction see Paracelsus, Selected Writings, ed.
by Jolande Jacoby, 1953, Bollingen.

Matthew prefers making his formulas with fresh plants in brandy.

The late William LeSassier (1951-2004)has had the biggest impact on how things are experienced by Matthew today. William was a truly great herbalist and master
healer and psychic presence. It was great to spend time with him whenever

Classes are helpd in Minneapolis privately, and around the country too(CA, NM, WI, MI, GA, MA, NY,
etc.). Also at Minneapolis Community Technical College.

Matthew also is available for consultations.

I asked Matthew is he has any visions to share with us and he says,
"Yes, I have a vision. Have to cool my jets as I get older. Will keep the
details to myself." I totally agree! lol

One last word Matthew leaves with us is,
As Arlo Omaha, one of my teachers said: "herbs work by magic and they don't work
any other way."
You can visit Matthew's website to see more about what he offers and see great pictures too.
Sunnyfield Herb Farm

Sunday, October 19, 2008


What do you do to help to empower yourself?
This past weekend I spent time with someone who broke free from some seriously disabling situations and like metamorphis, had incredible change.
The healing work was brought about from some herbal readings that eventually lead to Cranialsacral therapy.
What a blessing to see a woman not only break free, but have joy again.
So we decided to celebrate with food, fun and drumming.
We spent the entire weekend talking and disecting our lives, and anointed ourselves with essential oils to represent our freedoms.
One the first evening we went to the river INTOWN! where people must have seen us as strange (I was 2 hours from home in a largely LDS town).
With drums in tow, candles, sage, my children, and cymbals and belly dance hip scarves, there was drumming, prayer, dancing and having fun.
The second day we just visited together.
That day as my friend was working, I cleaned part of her house. Because when a woman is down, she does not have the energy to clean, really.
Then on Sunday, our last day together, she worked and I finished cleaning and then I anointed her house with oils and blessings.
We then spent our last hours together eating and drumming again and putting our feet on the earth and allow its energy to nurture our souls.
The tambourine came out too and it was so prayerful and EMPOWERING to play music together as if your inner soul crying out to the divine on behalf of others, which then in turn strengthens yourself.
Before I left, I felt to anoint her feet in an essential blend of Abundance. This was symbolic of her walking in abundance. It was soul moving and tears flowed.
Then, she in turn wanted to anoint my feet, that I may have the same blessing.
About 2 hours after departing her home, still on the road, I felt so much power go through my feet.
It was really amazing and I am more empowered today than I was 2 days
So what do you do to empower yourself.
And what is empowerment anyway?

Well, wiki defines empowerment as this:
Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social or economic strength of individuals and communities. It often involves the empowered developing confidence in their own capacities
Here is a term I can share I feel more in line with:
The courage to break free from the chains of limiting belief patterns and societal or religious conditioning that have traditionally kept women suppressed and unable to see their true beauty and power.

Our society by and large has kept women down far too long. This summer I emerged from my patriarchally bound cocoon into a beautiful and graceful dance in which the steps I am still learning.
It took radical changes that did make me afraid. But taking the steps on breaking free physically, emotionally and spiritually is the best thing I have ever done for myself.
And having gone through that experience, helps me to help others in my gifts as an herbalist.

So I ask, are you empowered? If not, seek it out a step at a time.

I end this post with something I found somewhere that blessed me as well as a couple of "2 second" filmings my son did the night we drummed at the river.
These videos are too short and humble, however it is an expression of 2 friends rejoicing together that one who lost her power, regained her strength and is moving forth into the awesome work she is to do upon this planet.
be blessed and walk in your power and love,

Be Good To You

Be Yourself ~ Truthfully
Accept Yourself ~ Gracefully
Value Yourself ~ Joyfully
Forgive Yourself ~ Completely
Treat Yourself ~ Generously
Balance Yourself ~ Harmoniously
Bless Yourself ~ Abundantly
Trust Yourself ~ Confidently
Love Yourself ~ Wholeheartedly
Empower Yourself ~ Prayerfully
Give Of Yourself ~ Enthusiastically
Express Yourself ~ Radiantly

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

This is a lovely patch of Arrowleaf Balsamroot that grew this summer. Although it is resting now, the vibrant plant blooms all over the valley here in Wyoming.

The flowers are 3-5 inches wide and are part of the sunflower family.
The leaves are velvety, sometimes up to a foot long, and has a silvery grey tinge to it from the velvety hairs.
The root is useful for immune stimulation and a good first line of defense in times illness wants to creep in.
The root can be harvested in spring or fall and made into a tincture for expectorant, immune system boost, and it is also anti microbial.

Blends well with mullein when expectoration is needed and also fireweed for a dry throat. Those are plants that grow here in Teton Valley, anyway.

It grows in dry soils that are not rich in organic matter and is so lovely to look upon.
I am looking forward to working more with this plant next year when she wakes up from her cold weather nap:)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


This picture was after a rainstorm. It was the first full rainbow I had ever seen in my life which seemed to touch down at the site or an organic biodynamic farm I did some work at this year.
The picture is fitting for the post because there is a rainbow for us all.
Has this been a year of changes for you? Change is hard, isn't it.
Yet the divine call for change cannot be ignored because often it will be in your face until that happens.

For me, it was a difficult year with suffering.
After a long winter of working very long hours to make ends meet while my husband was not working, my body just gave out.
It began with a bubble and the feeling of a UTI, which thankfully at that time, chickweed, cleavers and dandelions were a bloom and I would go out in my yard and eat and harvest like a little rabbit.
My insides felt as though they were trying to come out of me and I had a tender bubbly mass that sometimes rested in the pelvis and sometimes moved upward toward my stomach.
I of course was under a dr care every 3 months post cancer, but all checked out fine in that department.
I called the doc several times to explain what was happening and all they said was you are doing to much.
Well shit, I am a 42 year old woman. I am not doing anything that difficult that other women my age are not doing.
The plants were so important to me and often they gave me aid, but I still had deep seated pain in my body that nothing could releive.
I of course still kept going physically as best as I could, but inside, my light was dimming and very fast too.
I felt close to death. It was intense, painful and extremely REAL.
One day I went to my herb cards and pulled the top one and it was angelica. I thought ok, I will go take some.
Within 10 minutes of administering a dropper of angelica tincture, the bubble in my stomach melted away. In that moment I said to myself I AM FREE. I felt it. Like a mother giving birth, the mass was gone.
The next day, still gone. Today still gone:) YAY angelica. I knew I needed to get to know her more.
But the other extreme pain was ever present.
I had a healer tell me I had cancer all over and that in 4 months she could clear me out.
So I got a cat scan. Almost $2000 in debt from that, NO CANCER.

The messages that came to me for a couple months was that I needed to be in a healing place in the valley of the Tetons.
Thinking that was crazy and rebellious, I fought it at least 2 months. Patriarchy still had a hold on me that to save myself, I must follow the rules, be a good wife, even though it was killing me.
I did plan a 3 week trip to the Tetons to bring my 10 year old son to see his dad, who had open heart surgery in May. I really thought that because I am GOOD, I would come back after 3 weeks and not rock any boats of rebelliousness. So I only packed clothes for all three kids and I for a weeks worth of wearing.
The rest of my vehicle was packed with my older sons things they had in storage.

The first week I was here, I was in a fog. My soul had some spark ignited, and all I could think of was that I was BAD if I chose to stay. So I waited on this for perfect signs to be clear of what I would do.
But the messages were that if I went back, I would die.

As I battled in my mind and heart making the right decision, the day I chose to make it final, my engine blew up in my vehicle leaving me stranded here.
Talk about making my decision set:) After that, an affordable apartment opened up for me. I have an incredible view from my window. A healing view of the mountains which brings peace to my soul.
In three months time my health has improved. I feel my strength and youthfulness restored. I have learned more about myself in 3 months, good and bad.
I have friends, and I am close to my sons. They tell me often how wonderful it is that I am here and how they really feel good that they see I am happy.
I get time in the wilderness with the plants. Seeing them grow and in this season die or rest, has been awesome for me as an herbalist.
I feel peace with them.

So what do we do when we are called to change? Well, if we are, I can assure you it will be in your face until you respond.
That is difficult. And the emotions get shaken.
Being content is also important, however being content YET unfulfilled is not.
We are called to keep changing and growing to become what we need to be.
This time of change for me has not only brought physical and emotional healing, but has enforced my betterment as a mother to the most important people in my world.

And one thing to share here is death. I felt so close to death. I asked people to visit with me to have coffee or lunch sometimes because I needed some laughter or personal time to keep that fire from going out.
Even though these people knew how difficult it was for me, they were too busy to meet.

And I realized that friendship is about supporting your loved ones through their difficult times and that I truly did not have those supportive ones in my life like I should have had.
That fortunately has changed in my life, which is probably one of the important points to the healing that has occurred.
The other thing I want to share is judgement and condemnation.

While in this terrible state of health, I got nasty letters, and strong confrontations that I was not in church and that I needed to get into the bible and get that community to be well. That I was bound to do bad things because I was not in church.
Now how the hell does that help anyone?

Telling a person they are bad when they are already down to their lowest point without being bad, could never help anyone.
My spiritual life is completely different now that I have had the freedom to practice as I feel is right in my own heart. It is glorious to me.
Breaking free from patriarchy is one of the greatest healings that has occurred.
But it took a huge leap into the unknown to bring that into fruition.
And that is why change is scary and we fight it.

So back to death, as healers, we need to be aware of the suffering not only in body, but of soul and mind that a person is going through when they are failing.
As natural healers, Compassion and Love needs to be the voice that guides us to helping them deal with their situation, and without compassion and love, we are only helping them dig their grave.

It is not about what we know, because none of us knows it all. It is not our ego nor our personal achievements that should lead us.
The people need compassion and love.