*Today's guest is a devoted herbalist I've had my eye on for awhile now - because of the pure creative energy and devotion she brings to her offerings, and because she is spot-on a Wise Woman I would love to sit in circle with. Her guest post took me to a whole new level of enthusiasm for her vision and service. You'll see what I mean...
The Tree Soul
by Darcey Blue French
soft summer night rain song…oh the longing, oh the wistful ache, oh how too fast life blows by in a blink of the eye.
i want to be reborn as a mighty old mother oak tree…watching the twist and swirl of life currents,
earth spirals on tree time…
to feel seasons pass as if dreams, upon waking finding a new dream to dream,
feel the rotting of leaf matter feeding, and the fleeting burst of mushrooms rising to the occasion…
to know the dark secret heart of Her, to touch with outstretched roots the firey creation of her fecund womb
to caress with leafy fingers aloft, along with moonshine, and cloud mist, the miracle of her ceaseless respiration
to taste the raindrops and summer dew as the sweet nectar that falls from her breast
and feel the snowy down, the cocoon for metamorphosis
from dying, to birthing, to living.
each leaf that drops a blessing, and an offering to her fertile altar
the fruit that falls, endless potential,
neverminding the bears and boars that consume them,
making pregnant with the seed of my tree soul,
to birth again, a new potential
My dreams transformed to fruit in the alchemy of life eating life.
This is personal, this is authentic, and this is raw.
This summer has been intense, more intense than I anticipated. I worked so hard for a year, to drag myself out of a black hole, and move back to the home I love, and I accomplished it. No small thing. I was proud, ecstatic. Reunited with my home land plants, reunited with my true love, reconnected with a community of friendship that supports me in ways I could never imagine.
And then I hit the ground running in my new home- hoping to make my little herbal endeavor even better than it was before. And then I nose dived. Constant financial struggles, not enough to eat, sudden car failure leaving me stranded in the middle of the city on a loud street corner- it left me reeling. Feeling like, “WTF? Was I better off before I came home?” I peered over the edge of that same black hole and reeled. And then I got real. I no longer had excuses about wanting to be somewhere else. What was really going on in my little mind universe?
I asked myself some hard questions, and got back answers even harder to hear. Its not that don’t love plants, plant medicine, and helping others by sharing their medicines, but it’s a shift in perspective about what I am here to do. I’ve spent 10 yrs learning to be an herbalist, and crafting myself into what I thought an herbalist is- practitioner, writer, therapeutic expert, materia medica geek, physiology fanatic, nutrition nut…only to discover that is not where my true gifts and passions are.
I’ve discovered that my mind swirls and dances endlessly around recitation of facts, of organized written tomes on the umpteen details of every plant constitutent, therapeutic use and latin name. Its not that I don’t understand or can’t speak that language, but my mind detests it. I turn my nose up at research- at the tedium of hours in front of a book or a screen hunting for minute details. I thwart myself at every turn when I try to force my swirling, dancing, sensing mind into these boxes of knowledge. There are many gifted and talented herbal writers, educators, clinicians- they are gifted in their own way, and we are blessed to have the fruits of their knowledge and skills at communicating them. But I realized this is not me. This is not the way I was built to be in the world.
My mind loves to look at plants from new perspectives through the lens of a camera, it relishes scanning the landscape for patterns that indicate plant friends, or plant habitats, it runs wildly ecstatic when given the opportunity to engage in the sensual nature of wildcrafting a plant medicine from the earth- body moving, sweating, smelling, hands in dirt, sticky with resin, holding the life of the medicine in my hands, giving deep thanks and prayer and love to these amazing beings we call plants. It experiences, it feels, it senses….I love to create and concoct- blending the flavors and qualities of plant medicines into potions that soothe, heal and bring pleasure to the recipient. I experience the sensual pleasure of creating and sharing nourishing meals- relishing the taste of each morsel, each smooth drop of oil, and each aroma with my full being. I sit with plants and listen, listen, listen, for the soft quiet intuitive knowing of a plant communicating to me its love, its medicine, its nature- free from constituents, free from western knowledge of the way the world works, and enveloped and rooted in the magic of the natural world. The place where the heart hears what is being said. My mind is made to experience deeply, to sense exquisitely, and to translate what nature and plants intonate into images and understanding of a different kind. I am here to create and craft and birth beautiful and delicious sensual pleasures. I am here to dive deeply into the wild world, into the heart, and to show the way for others to follow if they wish- to experience, to sense, to taste, to FEEL the plants.
Of course it is important to understand logical, left brain pieces of plant knowledge…energetics, therapeutics, latin names, constituents- and to know how plants effect physiology, and I wouldn’t trade in all the knowledge I have gained in that world, and I’ll never stop helping the people that ask for the plant medicines to ease their pains, shift their process, and heal their bodies.
But as far as I’m concerned, I’ve been trying to keep up with the Joneses, forcing my brain to try to operate in ways and perform in methods that it just doesn’t embrace. I will no longer try to fit into that expectation I created of what an herbalist does. I will no longer force myself to recite facts and figures. I’ll not write extensive monographs. I’m not going to call myself a “Clinical” herbalist anymore.
I am in no way clinical- I want to leave the bounds of the indoors and take you out to smell wild minerals of the wet dirt, to fill your mouth with the spice of tree resin, to drum your heart into a rhythm that allows YOU to hear, feel, see, sense, experience the magic and sacredness of the natural world. I want to show you how to see with more than your eyes, see with your body, your heart, your sensual nature. I want to feed the senses and bodies of my clients with the holiness of the plant medicine- not just the extracts and constituents that help them feel better, but with the place where the earth wisdom, plant manifestation touches the spark of life within each heart and body.
This is my gift.
Darcey Blue French- Shamana Flora
Devotee of Sacred Wildness
Shamanic and Clinical Herbalist
I am a shamanic herbalist and wild crafter of plant medicines, and Lover to the Earth . I call myself a devotee of all that is sacred on this wild beautiful earth. I learn from the plants and listen for the soft quiet intuitive knowing of a plant communicating to me its love, its medicine, its nature enveloped and rooted in the magic of the natural world. The place where the heart hears what is being said. I am here to dive deeply into the wild world, into the heart, and to experience, to sense, to taste, to feel the magic of the plants, to know deeply in their heart the sacred calling of the wild earth. The wisdom of spirit within each of us. I practice and teach in the southwest desert and mountains of Tucson, Arizona, and was trained in clinical herbalism/nutrition at the North American Institute for Medical Herbalism.
* This post is part of a daily celebration of Arts & Health month right here at Hali Karla Arts. Be sure to stop back for inspiration, giveaways, guest posts, more fun info about art & healing, and special announcements and offers. Or you can sign up for my mailing list, for occasional updates and exclusive offers.