This month’s blog party is hosted by Ali over at Eldrum Musings and is all about sharing aspects of working with herbs that are personal to us. She writes ,”What do you do that makes your herbalism uniquely yours? This can be an experience, a subject close to your heart, even a herbal ally that you work with more closely than any others – whatever resonates most with you!”
There are so many different facets of working with plants that I enjoy it was something of a challenge to decide what to write about. After some pondering however, I realised that it is this very multi-faceted quality that makes herbalism so completely fulfilling to me.
Perhaps the thing I love most about herbs and plant medicine is that is feels both deeply personal and completely universal all at the same time. What I mean by this is that my relationship to the plants feels at once both fresh and unique as well as profoundly ancient; something entirely individual yet something shared by generations of people since our very beginning. I have encountered so many talented herbalists, wild foodies, gardeners and other plant folk- in person, through books or online through blogs and websites. Each one has so much in common and yet also an entirely unique way of expressing our love for nature and the plants.
For me herbalism is the twine that bound together all the things I had been interested in from childhood to the present day. During this time I considered and experimented with many ways of expressing the desire I felt to be of service in the world and work with people, animals and plants in one capacity or another. From volunteer work with NGO’s to courses in environmental and citizenship education, to care work, gardening, volunteering with animals, painting and drawing, writing, studying health and spiritual explorations – it was herbalism that wove together all my seemingly disparate interests into one whole. Nowadays, whether I am drawing a dandelion, writing an article, seeing a patient, teaching a class or meditating with a plant I get to incorporate all the many facets of life I most enjoy under the heading of ‘herbalist’. Whether I am in the garden, in the kitchen or in the clinic there is a feeling of connection to the plants that infuses each aspect of my life.
There are so many things to love about this plant-entwined journey, whatever direction it may take us in, but at the centre of it is always the simple truth that being connected to nature is part of who we are. Flowing with the seasons, the comings and goings of life, knowing and using the plants in any number of ways, these are things our ancestors have done for millennia and our part in it is just another thread of the whole.
I often hear or read people asserting the need to reconnect to nature and, whilst of course I see the immense value in what they are saying, for me it misses a vital point- that we are not and never have been disconnected. We are nature and the effort is not in the coming back to her but in the dream of staying away. Somewhere along the road to our modern way of life we celebrated the idea of humans as separate and superior to nature and this has become so ingrained in the collective unconscious that we feel it is the normal way of being.
The flow of our own lives is no more and no less than nature and we are one with that flow, whether we embrace it or not. From personal journey to universal connection, the herbal path is the thread that this life and its expression is woven from and one I am ever grateful for.