Sunday, February 1, 2009
Herbalist Spotlight- Darcey Blue
This month I feature Arizona herbalist Darcey Blue. The first time I was exposed to Darcey, I ordered some things from her including an awesome smudge she made with desert herbs.
She has been a passionate herbalist, an amazing cook, and continual student of health.
She has always been very kind and supportive to me throughout the years, and has been a source of encouragement in times I felt like giving up.
Darcey is engaged and is in her late twenties. A marvelous herbal woman (hear her roar)
She currently lives and practices her herbal work in Tuscon, Arizona.
Do you remember what was going on in your life that lead you to herbs?
I read clan of the cave bear at age 12, became fascinated that one could heal and eat from the wildplants, and so went into my back yard to discover edible dandelions, alfalfa, and thistles, and healing artemisia, yarrow and more. The first time I tried an herb and it worked was in winter, i had a horrible sore throat, but was supposed to go on a ski trip with my family. I went to the back yard and collected some winter withered artemisia and yarrow leaves, made a very bitter tea, and discovered that my sore throat went away! It was amazing, and that started me on the path of herbal healing and love.
How old were you at that time?
12 or 13
Can you share some of the work that has most influenced you? Such as books, blogs, video and lectures.
Well, hrm, lots of things, but Michael Moores books all were primary resources as I was learning bout medicinal plants in the SW. The Wild Foragers group years ago was full of wise women gathering wild foods and medicines and I befriended many. Susan Weed's forum was a great place to begin to learn and make connections, and of course my teachers, rosemary gladstar, charlie kane, and paul bergner all greatly influenced me.
When making plant medicine, are you drawn to any particular method?
I go with what works at the time, if I have a certain kind of alcohol on hand, that is what I use. I prefer fresh plant tinctures to dry plant tinctures, as well as oils, but find myself moving away from tinctures and more into traditional forms of herbal medicines like teas, powders in honey, or milk, or oil infusions, baths, etc. I learned the scientific way, and the simplers way, and frankly I use them both, at different times. it depends on what the plant wants, and what I have around me.
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?
I'd say I have memorable moments with the plants and plant spirits as guides, teachers and healers. The plants are our most important teachers and they are always speaking to us. We just have to learn to hear them. My most moving story is that of a juniper tree in the foothills of the mountain in Tucson. I woke one morning with this overwhelming feeling that a tree was calling to me. So I went driving up into the mountains. parked my car and began walking until I found this tree. She was an OLD juniper, and i sat down with her. i gave her a gift/offering, and she reciprocated. then I had what I would call a spiritual connection with this plant being, who spoke to me in my head, through all my senses. I cried, and I wrote the words that came to me. it was such a deep connection, I can hardly describe it.
Several weeks later a fire raged through those same mountains and burned that tree to the ground. Perhaps it was her parting gift to the world, she was saying goodbye and sharing her life force with me. That juniper spirit is still with me and still guides me. That is the true power of the plants.
Do you work with the public and could you descirbe your work? such as:
Do you teach classes?
I have taught classes in the past, workshop form simple classes on herbs for women, herbs for gifts, salve making, vinegars etc. I plan on doing more teaching in the future when I'm settled in one place for a little while.
NOTE-since the time of the interview a few months back, Darcey is not offering plant walks and I am sure more to come-check her website, which is located toward the bottom of this herbalist spotlight.
Do you offer consultatons?
yes, I perfer to work one on one in person with people for a period of a month to three months to really see and make a difference. i will do phone consultations and short question answering as well, but much perfer to establish a close and long term healing relationship with someone. things dont happen overnight, either in illness or in healing.
Do you travel for herbal work?
I suppose I could. i travel for herbal education. I haven't had the opportunity yet,but hopefully it will come.
How can people contact you to find out more about what you offer, calender of events, blogs, weed walks, etc?
Blue Turtle Botanicals
Which is Darcey's blog
Or email at:
Do you have a vision for your work in the future or are you seeing how it unfolds?
Both. I have a vision, but feel as if I'm just starting out and dont know exactly what will lead to what. But I do plan on offering consultations, as I feel a true herbalist must offer the healing medicine to others as a part of their service, give away and reciprocity for what they have recieved from the plant world. Definately classes with hands on expeirence with medicine making, wildcrafting, and plant spirit medicine, plant walks, plant and spirit retreats, earth skills and hopefully one day some land for a learning center to support those classes.
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?
Play with the herbs, dont be afraid of them. It is like cooking, you must experience them, taste them, cook with them, mix them up and use them to really understand them as medicines and helpers. Don't be afraid to experiment. sometimes things wont turn out that great, and other times you'll hit on a stroke of genius. keep at it!