A Desert Fairy Tale: The Ringtail Woman

A Desert Fairy Tale: The Ringtail Woman

“The hills call in a tongue I cannot speak, a constant murmuring, calling the rain from my dry bones, and syllables from the marrow… Twined together, root to root, sap seeping from flesh, the Wood Wife plants me in the soil and give me language once again.” -Terri Windling, The Wood Wife Very often, we may unconsciously place fairy tales in the in the green rolling hills of Ireland or the dark forests of Germany, but in truth, stories of magic spring from every land. Nowhere is this more true than the deserts and mountains of the enchanted Southwest. The vibrant blend of cultures here can create tales of surprising power and beauty. When I first came to the Southwest over a decade ago, and met the Palo Verde, Ocotillo, and Saguaro of the Sonoran...

Cacomixtle: A Chimera’s Story of Transformation, Rebirth, and Becoming Whole, Part II

Cacomixtle: A Chimera’s Story of Transformation, Rebirth, and Becoming Whole, Part II

Cacomixtle: A Chimera’s Story of Transformation, Rebirth, and Becoming Whole Part II (if you missed Part I, you can read it here) Elemental: A Remembering “Tears have a purpose. They are what we carry of the ocean, and perhaps we must become the sea, give ourselves to it, if we are to be transformed.” -Linda Hogan, Solar Storms When I found my way to my wild canyon home nearly a decade ago, I felt wounded beyond repair. Exhausted from the weight of my pain, my body essentially shut down, and I spent years learning to work with the local plants to heal to the point where I could even digest food again.  Yet sick as I was, I felt secure for the first time in my life, safe from unwanted hands or the urge to medicate myself beyond self-recognition. And I slept...

Cacomixtle: A Chimera’s Story of Transformation, Rebirth, and Becoming Whole, Part 1

Cacomixtle: A Chimera’s Story of Transformation, Rebirth, and Becoming Whole, Part 1

Introduction: Most all of you have a sense of who Kiva is from her emotive and illustrative writings, her personality and perspectives… but she’s not always been all that she seems, nor all that she truly is and can be, and some of us recognized – even before she did – the precious vulnerability and resilient innocence alternately frolicking and hiding beneath her confident Bear-like posture.  From the time she was a hurt young child, she has been trying to both understand and heal her self through the process of writing.  In a way, she has been attempting for over two decades to write the following piece, in her most authentic voice, and now it is done.  And now she is able to be wholly and openly her true self for the very first time!  This two-part post...

Herbalism On the Edge: Walking the Borderlands

Herbalism On the Edge: Walking the Borderlands

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” – Kurt Vonnegut Herbalist. The term can make the role we fill sound as if it’s a single job rather than the multitude of overlapping and intersecting skills that it actually is. Gardener, Wildcrafter, Clinician, Medicine Maker, Field Botanist, Educator, Counselor, Activist, Accountant, Grant Writer and Advocate are just a few of the most common roles many herbalists find themselves filling. We will often find that our work is most powerful and authentic in the borderlands where these roles meet and overlap. To be an herbalist, especially in this era and place, is to walk the edge. The word edgy...

Spring in the Country of Lichen and Spines: Fragments of Home

Spring in the Country of Lichen and Spines: Fragments of Home

Spring in the Country of Lichen & Spines: Fragments of Home by Kiva Rose ~~~~ Warm temperatures have arrived early in my corner of the Gila, with the Golden Smoke blooming sooner this year than I’ve ever previously seen. This follows a cold (-35F is plenty cold for me, thank you) and dry Winter. Now our seasonal winds blow the sand up in spiraling circles until it dances like the shifting forms of whirling dervishes against New Mexico’s lapis colored sky. The skeletal limbs of shattered Russian Thistles caught up in these little whirlwinds give sharp edges to the dancers. ~~~~ The Canyon trees bend in the same wild winds and yet last year’s withered purple Juniper berries cling to their branches as they’re tossed about in the breeze. They retain their pungent...

The Storytelling Moon

The Storytelling Moon

It’s been a good long time since I’ve posted any of my poetry here on The Medicine Woman’s Roots, but the cold season and call to turn inward always brings storytelling of all kinds to the forefront of my mind. I wrote this particular poem last Winter when I began to feel my annual sadness brought on by the lack of green things nearby. Every year I find that I must consciously remind myself to let go a little of the need to grow and go and clamber and instead to allow myself to fall back into a slower and dreamier state. To walk outside among last season’s frost-touched flowers and let the beauty of a different, quieter season seep into me. As the last of the frogsong fades and the mountains slip into the sleepy months to come,  I give you...