No, no, no – seriously no.

It’s Fall.  Despite any denial to the contrary.  We’ve had the calendar shift, the clock change and the weather, despite New England’s always amusing dance of the many temperatures and weather patterns, is shifting toward Winter and away from Summer.  Except there is still that part of us that is pulled by society’s busy, busy, frenzy into working as if it is not.  And that struggle makes life more stressful than it should be.  So not a surprise. ;-)

Like many of us who know better, I slip into that mind set too.  Keep doing more.  Produce.  Accomplish. Strive, etc.   So I decided it was time for some harsh medicine.

What did I do?

  • I took the week off-line essentially.  The bare minimum that needed to be done.  No real social media, web surfing, etc with its pull to consume more and stare more a the monitor doing nothing profound.
  • Arranged with my day job that while there was too much going on to take time off, that I would be occasionally come in a bit late, leaving a bit early, taking a slightly longer lunch.  Not too much – but enough (and they didn’t need to know the reason why) that I could pause on the way to and from work to look at the world around me.  Take in the trees, the sky and the stars.  To sit by the river after eating lunch.  To live in a time, even if to a small degree that wasn’t quite as bound by the rushing pull of the clock, etc.
  • I set aside the non-essential things.
  • I set aside the herbal work that I thought needed to be done and could wait.
  • I read fun things, I watched silly movies.
  • In my off time, I RELAXED.  I PAUSED.  I REFLECTED.
  • I laughed.
  • I shifted the time to being rather than planning, thinking and such.

Of course, it wasn’t easy but I find it an essential part of the seasonal transition that we neglect and a great prelude to the change of seasons.   Shifting from running about to delving within.

Fall Beauty in Boston - (Image by Michael Blackmore Mad Crow Herbalism)

Fall Beauty in Boston – (Image by Michael Blackmore Mad Crow Herbalism)

Stopping and looking at the trees who show us the change with deep beauty, but build on the reality of changing for the new season.

Learning from the Herbal Kitty

Herbal Kitty Sunshine Therapy (Image by Michael Blackmore Mad Crow Herbalism)

Herbal Kitty Sunshine Therapy (Image by Michael Blackmore Mad Crow Herbalism)

That sitting in a sunbeam on a chill Fall day is the best medicine.

I say go and:

  • Break out that cup of Linden tea.  Or Tulsi Tea, or Chamomile.  Perhaps some Lemon Balm, Mint or whatever nervine friends best sooth your being into greater harmony with yourself and to be less driven by pull of a societal life out of balance.  Sit and drink.  By candlelight if you want – or pull open the shades and look a the Moon as you drink at night.
  • Draw a nice hot bath, light some candles, mix in some Epsom salts and throw in some herbal teas to sooth your body and your mind.
  • Dance, sing, make art and beauty.

It’s not like the media is going to say stop watching the news, ads, buying things and go relax and be at peace.  That’s the opposite of what helps them sell things to you that you don’t need to appease that hole you feel when you are disconnected from what brings you joy, calm and connection to self, other people and nature.

So you have to pause and do it for yourself the hard way.  Even if it is in small bits within the sea of your ever flowing life.

It’s Fall, make peace with it and yourself.   I feel better after doing it myself

Just my insane .02  :-)

Posted in Path of the Healer, Seasons and Climate, Spiritual Practice | Leave a comment

Perfectly Imperfect – Letting go judgements

I needed an acorn for a talk I’m giving and that quest ended up reminding me of an important lesson or two.

Imperfectly perfect acorns (Image by Michael Blackmore - Mad Crow Herbalism)

Imperfectly perfect acorns (Image by Michael Blackmore – Mad Crow Herbalism)

I ventured forth on my journey hunting the less then elusive acorn.   This time of year is better than average for finding acorns and there was no shortage of acorns trees about (generally Red Oaks in the city here.)  As I went to my favorite tree haunts I, of course, found a bounty of them.

And that’s where my problem began.   Had I seen just one – the deed would be done and I’d have my acorn.  But the more I saw, the more the illusionary perfect acorn that arose in my mind.

The more I pursed that delusion, the more inadequate any of the acorns in front of me seemed.  I started going to other locations searching more and more deeply.  Still not realizing that the more I searched the further I went from my goal.

Finally, I realized I had been caught in the most human (and consumerist) of traps.  The more choices I had the less able I was to choose.   And the more I followed the mythic ACORN – the less I truly saw and appreciated the many ones right in front of me.

So I closed my eyes and grabbed a handful  – and these were the acorns I held clenched my hand.   I looked them over carefully, as if they were the only acorns in the world, and saw them with openness.   They were all different and yet all perfectly imperfect (or imperfectly perfect!) in each of their own ways.   And I’ll show them all off during my talk.

So the “humble” acorn reminded me of a powerful truth or two.   And at the very least consider this a gentle nudge to remember to  spend some time out in nature finding some truths for yourself. :-)

 

BTW – it is only through the sheerest act of willpower I didn’t call this post Acorny (A-corny) story…

Posted in Random Musings, Spiritual Practice | Leave a comment

Zing went the strings of my heart (Oh, Ginger!)

Yes, the title of this post is a pun upon an old Judy Garland song and the official name of Ginger (Zingiber officinale); Family: Zingiberaceae.   So shoot me!  But “Zing” is right because not only does it it zing, but how can you help but sing with fresh ginger about!

Ginger and friends (Image by Michael Blackmore, Mad Crow Herbalism)

Ginger and friends (Image by Michael Blackmore, Mad Crow Herbalism)

Ginger is something that goes so well with so many herbal remedies, like the photo above where it was part of the Cider which can’t be named (which I talked about a while back…)

Ginger is offered in many forms including powdered, pickled, etc. – but nothing beats the joy of fresh ginger root which thankfully you can find pretty readily in most stores.  So you have no excuse not be making things from fresh!

Ginger is great classically for digestive issues and as a carminative and I consider it a go to for such issues and I make a pretty yummy fresh Ginger glyceride for the occasional stomach upset and often carry it with me for after meals out or at potlucks where you never know how you’re going to react the food.

I also pressed out a Ginger- Angelica tincture which I made recently.

Ginger meets Ginger Tom (Image by Michael Blackmore, Mad Crow Herbalism)

Ginger meets Ginger Tom (Image by Michael Blackmore, Mad Crow Herbalism)

which while a powerful anti-gas remedy (especially since Angelica is also a potent carminative by itself and I often keep a tincture of it about for the occasional mild gas) – it is sort of the thing only a herbalist can love.  And as you see above Herbal Kitty is so not impressed – even if he is a ginger tom himself.

Because of it’s powerful digestive powers, I also use it before meals in the form of ginger based bitters (infuse some fresh ginger, lemon/orange peel, burdock and yellowdock root with at least 40% alcohol for several week and you have a great pre-meal digestive bitter.)

Beyond it’s digestive magic, Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory and stimulates circulation.  I’ve infused it into sesame oil along with fresh Ashwagandha root to make a great oil for sore joints and muscles.

I also just plain love, love Ginger when it’s cold and flu season.  Its antiseptic properties and affinity for respiratory issues make Ginger tea magic in the fall and winter!

Ginger - Mint Tea (Image by Michael Blackmore, Mad Crow Herbalism)

Ginger – Mint Tea (Image by Michael Blackmore, Mad Crow Herbalism)

Ginger tea is also great for nausea and motion sickness – yummy and healing!

If tea is not your thing infuse ginger and lemon together in honey for a yummy cold aid.

With so much good to it – you should be singing its praises too – Zing, zing, zing – Zingiber officianale!

Posted in Herb(s) of the Week, Kitchen Herbalism | 3 Comments

Summer – making herbal magic

Yes, it’s August and September is peeking around the corner, but, for now, it’s still summer and definitely time to squeeze that extra bit of fun out of life.    And, of course, out of your herbal life too!

Some fun things I like to do in the summer time is create things that combine the playfulness of summer treats with the magic of plants.  So I thought I share a couple of things that I love doing this time of year.

Herbal Pops!

herbal-pop-magic

Herbal pop magic (Image by Michael Blackmore – Mad Crow Herbalism)

Make your favorite herbal tea blend and combine it with your most loved sweetener – in my case local honey from the farmers market and put it in dedicated pop molds or ice cube trays will work just dandy and put them in the freezer for the day or overnight.

One handy tip is a bit of acidity helps them set, so if there aren’t berries involved in the tea (which often have just the right amount) then try adding a little fresh lemon or lime juice.  This also enhances the flavor in just the right amounts.   Berries like Hawthorn, Elder or Schzandra are most awesome here.  I also like the light summer feel of Linden or aromatic flowers like Rose or Jasmine.  And don’t forget flavor enhancers like Cinnamon and Licorice!

Other than that experiment and enjoy!

Lemonade

fun-with-lemonade

Lovely lemonade (image by Michael Blackmore – Mad Crow Herbalism)

It’s so easy to forget that lemonade can be so much more fun than that powdered nonsense sold in stores.   If you don’t already, the pleasure of discovering its magic lays ahead of you!

In the same vein as the herbal pops, make your favorite herbal tea blend and add some freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Or even better in my view lime juice!  And a touch of your favorite sweetener.  Throwing in crushed slices of your favorite fresh berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or blackberries is magic as well!

Things like Basil, Lavender and Sage are awesome.  I have some special affection for Nettle lemonade as well as Red Clover.

Be inspired by the plant bounty all around you.

The Most Important Thing – really!

But the most important thing for true summer herbal fun – is to remember to get out in nature while the weather is so awesome with many new and old plant friends are abundant and dying to meet you!

Remember winter is coming.

snowagedden-pretty

Winter Wonderland (image by Michael Blackmore – Mad Crow Herbalism)

Seize the magic while you can!

With apologies to the musical Grease…

“Summer herbing,
Had me a plan…”

:-)

 

Posted in Nature, Random Musings | Leave a comment

Linden Love

Wow!  Herbstalk festival starts today!    Each year Herbstalk has a particular plant as a theme and this year it is Linden.  Here’s a post I did for the Herbstalk blog back in May– Linden Love.   Hope to see you all at Herbstalk this weekend (I’ll be teaching there tomorrow!)  :-)

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Right now is one of my favorite times of the year because it is when the linden trees start to send forth their spring leaves. It’s a magical time thanks to a magical tree.  There are numerous linden trees about in Boston, since it is a longtime favorite of urban landscapers, but there is one linden tree that has a special place in my heart.

Beloved Linden Tree (Image by Michael Blackmore - Mad Crow Herbalism)

Beloved Linden Tree (Image by Michael Blackmore – Mad Crow Herbalism)

Each day on the way to work I walk by it in the morning.  I always take the time to pause, place my hand against it and connect and ground before starting the day.

When you look at the general shape of a linden tree it forms a fairly distinctive bell, which I think speaks to its essence in general as a plant that promotes harmony.  Its soothing nature is recognized by the Germans where the word to sooth is “lindern” and the tree is thought to represent “mercy.”

It’s usually not classified, in herbal parlance, as a nervine but I think in its heart linden is a nervine. I find it particularly well suited for generally calming and relaxing the emotional nervous system and addressing a host of physical ailments whose underlying cause is emotional. Insomnia, IBS, headaches, indigestion and high blood pressure with an emotional basis are often best dealt with by linden.  It is also good, in general, for relaxing the arteries and warming the digestive system.

I prefer to use it solo as a tea for its strictly calming and sedating actions and in combination with herbs aimed at specific physical ailments where there may be an emotional cause – like willow and linden tea for headaches or linden and hawthorn for heart or high blood pressure issues.

For me, linden trees are powerfully soothing and calming and I love to meditate under them.  Some trees’ presence can be so powerful as to be almost intimate and be a bit too majestic, but linden is comforting and gentle in its strength.  Infusions of linden flowers and leaves are my go-to tea when I’m seeking to connect with its warm and supportive nature.  However, I have made linden glycerides that were just amazing.  I don’t find tinctures with harsh alcohol as amenable to the gentleness of linden.

Beyond its many wondrous internal uses as a tea, it’s great for the skin — you can apply it as a tea wash or compress for itchy or inflamed skin.  Or infuse it in oil as the basis of a healing skin salve. The tea also makes a great refreshing face wash. I brew it overnight and press it out and wash my face with it in the morning for an amazing start to a day. And it makes for a great facial steam after a long day of work as well –- just throw some linden flowers into some boiling water, cover, let steep for a bit and then remove the lid and place your head over the batch with a towel to cover and keep the steamy linden goodness in.

You can also make a cough syrup of the flowers which children (and adults!) love by making a strong tea, adding sugar and reducing it down over a low heat until syrupy.

We’re fast approaching the time when the flowers emerge and you can make a flower essence of them, which is great for those dealing with emotional blockages and helps to open up people who struggle with the giving and receiving of love and affection after painful pasts.

It’s been said that if you fall asleep under a linden tree – you’ll awake in the realm of fairies.  But even time spent awake with them is magical to me.

Posted in Trees | 2 Comments

Oh, Oak – would you, could you?

To think the Herbstalk festival starts in just a week!    Here’s a post I did for the Herbstalk blog back in April– Oh, Oak – would you, could you? Enjoy…and you better rush and buy your tickets for the festival! :-)

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We all know oak trees and we all love oak trees. But sadly, we don’t know them as well as we should including us herby folks who can forget the magic they offer.

English Oak (Querus rober) and friend; Family: Fagaceae

English Oak (Querus rober) and friend; Family: Fagaceae

Well, at least some love oaks like they should…right, my squirrelly friend?

There are a couple of classic species used by herbalists: Querus rober (English Oak) which is the mainstay of UK herbalism and Querus alba (White Oak) which is the oak of choice for US herbalism. Most of the common oak species have similar properties since the primary medicinal aspect are their tannins which are prominent in most oaks. The Northern Red Oak (Querus rubra) is one of the most common around here and quite useable for medicine making.

Generally speaking oaks are broadleaf trees with distinct lobes and sinuses which are alternately placed rather than side to side. Their leaves are longer than wide and asymmetrical (in contrast to Maples which are symmetrical and shorter.) Only oaks have acorns which is one of their best identifiers. Black/Red Oaks have pointed lobes while White Oaks have rounded ones.

Ideally, you make herbal preparations from the inner bark and you should use young twigs or small branches for it. However, you can also use the acorns, leaves and galls for it too. Historically, oak galls have also been used to make ink and many famous historical documents were written with oak ink, including the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence. (And some Native Americans would use powdered oak galls for treating inflamed and infected eyes!)

Thanks to its tannin content the primary action of oaks is astringent. Think of really strong black tea (which is also rich in tannins) and how tightening and bitter it is when you drink it. This is why it is great for dealing with excess fluid, easing inflammations, helping with bleeding, and as an antiseptic. You generally use it as a decoction or tincture to treat things like diarrhea and dysentery, or for hemorrhoids, mouth inflammations, nasal polyps, sort throats and wounds.

You can use oak in so many ways:
•As a gargle for sore throats, mouth inflammations and coughs (decoction)
•As a cream or salve for hemorrhoids
•As wash for burns and wounds and generally as a disinfectant (decoction)
•As a mouthwash for bleeding gums (decoction)
•Chew on the bark for mouth ulcers and sores
•Use for poison ivy (tincture – the decoction won’t work as well because while the tannins help deal with the rash aspect, the alcohol part of the tincture helps disperse and breakdown the oil)
•Use for rashes (tincture or decoction)
•Use in salve form for muscular pains
•The leaves make for quick field medicine – soften by steaming or immersing in boiled water or just crush them a bit and apply them to wounds to ease inflammation and as an antiseptic
•Drink as a tea for diarrhea (Since the tannins tend to block nutrient absorption don’t take it for more than a couple of days – use it only to deal with the immediate problem of diarrhea and not as a daily tea.)

A couple of fun general oak uses that I love include the tradition of carrying an acorn to feel youthful. Or that the flower remedy is used to help folks be brave and strong in their lives, especially those who have trouble accepting their own weaknesses.

Finally, I’ve been experimenting lately with making acorn unguent – unguents are oily pastes for wound healing, rashes and skin conditions.

Essentially you make a decoction of acorns. (Be sure to throw away those that float when you first throw them in. ) Simmer it until the water is at least half its original volume. Press it out and mix (Slippery or Siberian) Elm bark powder to make a paste and apply as needed. Surprisingly good!

So go out and find some oak love – you’ll never regret it!

Posted in Trees | 4 Comments

Herbal Madness

As I mentioned the other week, I’ve been busy lately editing the Herbstalk blog lately, but as we head into the final couple of weeks before the Herbstalk Festival - and you know you want to go don’t you! Heck, I’m teaching there so it’s almost a must! ;-)   So I thought that each week, I’d reprint one of my posts from the Herbstalk blog here.   Here’s one I did in February called – Herbal Madness! Enjoy…


Stop! Step away from those herbs…yes, I mean you. I know this is a blog for an herbal festival and so it is all about herbalism, but I just want to make the case for not taking herbs – at least every once and a while. ;-)

Shocked Cat (Image by Michael Blackmore - Mad Crow Herbalism

Shocked Cat (Image by Michael Blackmore – Mad Crow Herbalism

It is pretty easy to get in the habit of always incorporating all the wonderful plant friends into our daily lives – teas, tinctures, capsules, etc.   But sometimes I think it is good just to take a break once and a while from them all.

Too often, we tend to think of ourselves as static instead of dynamic. When in fact, we change from year to year, season to season and even day to day as our world changes, our lives change and even the weather changes.

I find it helpful to take a break from time to time and see what is truly going on in your body. What changes have happened? Is there a new normal? Sometimes you can more profoundly recognize the effects of different herbs and what different combination are having on you when you aren’t taking them.

Taking a break and when you’re done – trying a new herb or re-visiting one that you never really connected with before can be a powerful experience.   And one always worth exploring. You may find a new herbal best friend or re-visit a long lost one! More importantly, you may learn something about yourself in the process.

One of the hazards of plant love is that we can begin to see the world through narrowed “herbal” colored glasses. Just like that old piece of wisdom, Maslow’s hammer – if all you do is hammer than everything looks like a nail.  You can see yourself, family, friends and customers and clients no longer as full individuals but as nails requiring an herbal hammer.

I see it all the time on line in places like Facebook, when a simple observation about a momentary mood, event in day, physical ache, pain etc. – invokes a torrent of “herbal” fixes from my many online herbal friends.

I generally just smile, roll my eyes and think “bless their well-meaning hearts”, but sometimes things just are and they pass. It is part of living life, impermanence and being.   Trying to “fix” things through herbs can be just as bad as the over-medicating that seems to be an epidemic in mainstream Western medicine.

Herbs: feel free to use and love them. Share that love with others.

But take a break from time to time to be not so attached. Then you can learn more about yourself and others while remembering to truly see people and be with them and not just see objects to be “herbaled.”

Just my own insane .02

Posted in Events, Healing, Path of the Healer, Random Musings, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Where I’ve Been Lately

I’ve been a bit busy lately since I’m spending time editing the blog for the Herbstalk festival.   You should check out the festival in June (I’ll plug it again in a while!) and the blog!

Say What? (Image by Michael Blackmore - Mad Crow Herbalism)

Say What? (Image by Michael Blackmore – Mad Crow Herbalism)

There are lots of great herbal posts there, including one by me earlier in the week about the wonders of Oak!

So be sure to read it regularly as we build excitement for Herbstalk and you can get to know the teachers (I’ll be one of those too – talking about Tree medicine!) via the blog!

 

Posted in Site News | 1 Comment

Enjoy Everything!

It feels to me that the past few months of winter, with their relentless cold and storms, have been especially soul wearing this year.   And I know from talking to others that I’m not the only one who’d felt that way.  As I joked with a friend, if it weren’t for deadlines I don’t think I’d have gotten anything done during that time.

Image by Michael Blackmore - Mad Crow Herbalism

Image by Michael Blackmore – Mad Crow Herbalism

One of the problems with winter in our culture, is that we try to keep so busy during it.  Frenetically pursuing to do lists and tasks that require energy better suited to spring and summer.  When instead we should be spending our time quieting down, conserving ourselves and perhaps looking within – more being and less doing.  And working so hard against that seasonal pull can be especially draining (part of the reason I took a break from blogging and was very light on the social media front as well, but I’ll write about that another time.)

But at last it is spring.   The days grow longer and temperatures rise bit by bit. (Or if you live in New England the weather see-saws between seasons in a way that is almost manic depressive in its energy!)  To me, now is the time to break out the to do lists as your energies rise with the season – not January 1 – when  the days grow shorter and weather becomes so challenging!

The beginning of this month was April Fool’s Day.  I’m not much of a prankster, but, for me, I think of the spirit of the day is less in the notion of playing jokes or pranks as it is in sharing joy and laughter.  Remembering fun and to enjoy things – to lighten up.  Making that transition from the dark days and introspection – really a re-birth and very keeping in the spirit of spring.  And let’s not forget Easter time with all of its symbolism about rebirth!

Now take that rebirth energy go and make your to do list and change your life for the better but not in some somber task, work, work, work way – instead take the time to laugh and reconnect with that sense of fun.

As Oscar Wilde said:

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

Or in a more fun take, here’s one of my favorite Buddhist jokes:

The Buddhist hands the vendor a five. The vendor gives the Buddhist the hot dog. The Buddhist stands there waiting for change. The vendor shakes her head and says, “Change comes from within.”

So it’s  Spring:  Be reborn, embrace changes and most importantly ENJOY EVERYTHING!

Posted in Healing, Path of the Healer, Random Musings, Seasons and Climate | 4 Comments

2014: The Great Fire Cider Rebellion

You might not know it, but today is a special day.  It’s World Fire Cider Day!  A day to make and celebrate this most awesome of creations in Herbalism.  It dates back generations and was popularized by the most gracious Rosemary Gladstar starting back in the 1970s.

This event was inspired in response to a certain company who makes their own version, a cider that…

The Cider that Shall Not Be Named

The Cider that Shall Not Be Named

Must Not Be Named!  ;-)

But recently trademarked it and has been trying to block others from using this decades old name!

This is pretty well documented in blogs like these:

So I won’t go over all that again – since they cover it so very well.  But in the spirit of the day I’m sharing the Fire(d) Cider I made today.

Essentially, this awesome brew is a vinegar, or Oxymel (vinegar/honey blend) infused with powerful antimicrobial herbs (often onions, garlic, horseradish and peppers) so it is a pungent, spicy, sweet dose of awesome cold/flu fighting power.

  • Vinegar (16 ounce)
  • Honey (about a cup)
  • Ginger (a good stalk or so)
  • Garlic (nice head)
  • Onion – 2 onions
  • Cinnamon chips (spicy)
  • Black peppercorns – couple of tablespoons
  • Lemon (1 whole)

Fired Cider - Honey, Vinegar and Black Pepper (image by Michael Blackmore, Mad Crow Herbalism)

Fired Cider – Honey, Vinegar and Black Pepper (image by Michael Blackmore, Mad Crow Herbalism)

Instead of the usual Apple Cider Vinegar I sometimes use a Coconut vinegar (which is nifty and doesn’t actually taste like coconut) like I did today.  And instead of just run of a mill honey, I use a Brazilian Pepper Honey which is a peppery and awesome honey made by bees gathering pepper nectars!    Instead of jalapenos, or other peppers, I use black peppercorns.

Fired Cider - Garlic, Ginger, Lemon and Onion (image by Michael Blackmore, Mad Crow Herbalism)

Fired Cider – Garlic, Ginger, Lemon and Onion (image by Michael Blackmore, Mad Crow Herbalism)

Of course there is the usual crew of Garlic, Ginger and Onions.  But while most folks use horseradish. I usually skip it since I rarely find fresh, organic horseradish around here.  Plus I’m not a big fan of it.    I also throw in a lemon, and some spicy cinnamon chips!

I chop up the fresh stuff and mix it together with the other herbs and throw them in a quart mason jar.  Then I mix the vinegar and honey well in a measuring cup and pour it in the jar as well.

Top with some wax paper (to protect the lid from the vinegar and protect the mixture from the lid!), cover and ta – da!

Fired Cider - brewing, brewing, brewing (image by Michael Blackmore, Mad Crow Herbalism)

Fired Cider – brewing, brewing, brewing (image by Michael Blackmore, Mad Crow Herbalism)

Magic has begun.

Ignore the Orange on the left.  It’s just photobombing the picture.  Oranges – so desperate for attention sometimes.   Don’t worry Orange, I’ll be making some bitters later and you’ll get to play then.

Depending how patient you are and whether it feels right to you – shake it regularly for a few weeks (some go for two to three, while I tend to be a four to six week man myself) and then filter out the solid bits and enjoy!

I know what you’re thinking – hey that isn’t the way I learned it or make it.  Nope it isn’t.  That’s kind of the point.

The path of true Herbalism, IMO, is all about experimentation, change and growth.  We all do our own thing.  Some is similar to the ways we learned from those who have gone before and taught us and some is what we bring to the table.   We all have our own fire ciders, etc. and they are all fire cider – like there are many chocolate cakes out there.

I think that is what Rosemary brought to the table in her teachings.  Open Source Herbalism, where we all learn, grow and participate – building on a heritage(s) and history in our unique ways.

It’s one of the reasons I use this picture I took a while back for the Boston Herbal Salons I run in Boston:

Community of Plants (Image by Michael Blackmore - Mad Crow Herbalism)

Community of Plants (Image by Michael Blackmore – Mad Crow Herbalism)

Lots of different things all together and building a vibrant whole.   It’s a beautiful path.

That other “vision” which this day was inspired in reaction to – is one of separation, stifling and stagnation – the opposite of healing, growth and a joyous life.

So learn from others, experiment yourself, make your own magic and support others in theirs. :-)

Posted in Herbal Medicine Making, Influences | 13 Comments