Talking to Plants

I learned A LOT in herb school, sometimes there was so much information that I thought my head would actually explode, but there is one simple thing I feel you must learn before you can even consider being an herbalist. You have to develop a relationship with the plants you work with. Developing that is what turns it into an art; you wouldn’t call a house painter a muralist or a bricklayer an architect so I hope you wouldn’t call someone who puts plants into useful little categories an herbalist.  Continue reading

What’s in a Name?

Currently, I am reading Women Who Glow in the Dark: A Curandera Reveals Traditional Aztec Secrets of Physical and Spiritual Health by Elena Avila, a registered psychiatric nurse and curandera. The book is about her journey from a young, poor Mexican American growing up in El Paso, Texas to one of the most respected curanderas (faith healers) in the United States.

Curanderismo is something I have been drawn to for awhile now as it integrates the whole body, mind and spirit into the treatment of illness. It’s history is fascinating and comes from the blending of indigenous, African, and European cultures in the “new world”. There is a heavy emphasis on plants, the natural world, spirituality, community and tradition (ancestors) and when done correctly it is really quite effective.

Much of the book has resonated with me as I too grew up on the border of two cultures and faiths and have struggled with my own path/identity. I could babble on about this topic forever so if you have an interest feel free to message me, but for the sake of the blog I want to focus on one thing that really caught my eye: the power of names.  Continue reading

12 Grapes

Excuse my silence I’ve been…indisposed. If you are anything like me you are probably feeling pretty rough this morning. Perhaps, it was all the holiday food and booze or the fact that the season is over and you now find yourself more out of shape and broke. I accidently ate gluten on several occassions because it is hidden in everything and sometimes I don’t think to ask until later. Whatever, it was worth it and I’m learning. I’m lucky to work primarily with Mexicans which means that I get to ease back into work until Monday because Sunday is El día de los reyes magos  (Magical King’s Day), which marks the official end of the season. This is an interesting holiday where three kings come and leave presents in or by your shoes and you eat a cake with little plastic baby Jesuses (is that the plural of Jesus?) hidden inside,  whoever finds the Jesus(es) gets to throw a party…or chokes to death. I never really celebrated this holiday, but usually somebody in my family had the Jesus cake so we would go over to their house to partake, but by that point it did not matter who found the baby Jesus because there would be no more parties for awhile as everyone was exhausted and sick of each other. Continue reading