Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Herbalism Integrates With Consciousness

"Meadsweet" from "The Druid Plant Oracle"©
by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm

There’s an herbal apothecary shop in Astoria Oregon called, “A Gypsy’s Whimsy.®” Great name, isn’t it?  They sell all manner of exotic trinkets and it has been one of my favorite ports of call for years. They carry wonderful soaps, incense and herbal tea blends for people, like myself, who enjoy the idea of herbal remedies, but lack the skills necessary to effectively combine the ingredients. I’ve always enjoyed listening to the conversations that spring up when herbalists stop by the shop to pick up an ingredient or two. Their knowledge fascinates me almost as much as the jars of dried herbs and bottles of essential oil. However, it took a series of recurring, but relatively minor health issues to give me the final push towards the study of herbalism.

A baby herbal study starts to grow and
with it, my awareness of what
makes up the world
The idea of homemade anything has always appealed to me. My mother, a British war-bride, knew every work around and substitute ingredient known to man. From her I learned that salt can be baked in the oven, poured into a cloth bag and used for as a highly effective hot compress. It holds heat for hours. I took what she taught me about pickling and preserving with me when I moved to the granola belt of the Pacific Northwest, Eugene, Oregon. Everybody made their own yogurt in Eugene – that was a given. Making your own sprouts was required as was having a good whole wheat pie crust recipe. Heck, my friends and I made our own crackers and marshmallows (the campfire kind, not the herb kind). Weird, I know, but what are you going to do when you can’t macramé to save your life. In short, my newly discovered love of herbalism was predestined.

I’ve spent the past three months reading, gathering equipment and herbs and creating my work space/resource room. As is the case with things that are meant to be, I discovered that during the years I’d collected many things that ‘looked cool’ such a copper and ceramic double boiler (for chocolate), various antique beakers, infusers, cobalt-colored bottles and sundry items that could be used in herbal work. Also, the Universe has made certain I was in the right place at the right time to find free bookcases, cabinets and resource material.

The wonderful thing about any new endeavor and the creation
"The Restorers" from "The Druid Plant Oracle"©
by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm
Sigh...a rather nice image for inspiration

of new space in your world is that you focus on life’s possibilities – what will come, as opposed to, what do I have to overcome. There’s an excitement and a freshness to each day and a wish to stay present in every moment. I spend a lot more time noticing the plants that grow wild around me and it’s true what the philosophers say. Something is always happening around you and your awareness of everything is entirely a matter of focus. In my back yard I discovered plantains, dandelions and lemon balm. All have medicinal properties, but previously they were simply weeds to be pulled from the garden. A walk across a field can bring the opportunity to collect chamomile, cleaver and blackberry leaves, as well as the opportunity to notice the abundance and variety of life around you.  

We are an adaptive species and it is never too late to change our perspective and learn something new. I may never hang out a shingle as an herbal apothecary, but what I learn about our planet, the bounty it provides and my relationship to it all will serve me well for the rest of my life.


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