The Witch at the Edge of the Woods: Introversion and Otherness In The Herbalist

The Witch at the Edge of the Woods: Introversion and Otherness In The Herbalist

By Kiva Rose ~Originally Published in Plant Healer Magazine~ . “I do not want to be human. I want to be myself. They think I’m a lion, that I will chase them. I will not deny that I have lions in me. I am the monster in the wood. I have wonders in my house of sugar. I have parts of myself I do not yet understand.” - Cat Valente, Silently and Very Fast . Lost in the forest, you happen upon a small woman gathering meaty brown mushrooms from a decaying tree stump. At first, you feel relieved to find another human after hours of wandering desperately in search of civilization. You suppose she might be a traveler like yourself, forced to subsist on woodland fare while waiting for help to arrive. That is, until you notice the knife in her belt with its bone...

Corazón a Corazón: Exploring Traditional Models of the Healer’s Practice

Corazón a Corazón: Exploring Traditional Models of the Healer’s Practice

Excerpted from the Summer 2012 Issue of Plant Healer Magazine Corazón a Corazón: Exploring Traditional Models of the Healer’s Practice by Kiva Rose Hardin Even after so many years of devotion to the plants and experiential practice in herbalism, something just didn’t feel right… At a certain point in my healing studies, I narrowed my focus almost entirely to herbs, cutting out much of the attention I’d previously given to a wider array of medicine ways. During that time, this was a very efficient way for me to hone my skills and give sufficient time to what is surely one of the most demanding and complex fields of the healing arts. The problem came when I began to feel drained and exhausted by my studies and work, not just from the endless hours I put in,...

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...

Weedwifery: A Feral Approach to Folk Herbalism

Weedwifery: A Feral Approach to Folk Herbalism

With the current drought here in southwestern New Mexico only getting worse right now, I have never been so grateful for widely available, locally abundant, feral as all hell weeds. So much of the land in every direction is eerily brown and dormant despite the warm weather. There are very few birds or insects compared to a normal May in the canyon. And from photographs, you’d be likely to think it’s Winter right now. The quickest way to get a fix of lush green is to find a perennial waterway like our lovely San Francisco River running just below the mesa our cabins are situation on and…. checking out the weeds in people’s yards, in vacant lots and other disturbed areas. Some of these species are native, some are not, but what unites them...

Roots Revival: Celebrating the New Folk Herbalism Resurgence

Roots Revival: Celebrating the New Folk Herbalism Resurgence

This particular piece is part of a larger project I’m working on for the upcoming issue of Plant Healer: A Journal of Traditional Western Herbalism but something that I feel strongly about sharing with all my blog readers as well. As most of you are well aware of, grassroots herbalism is something I’m incredibly passionate about and I see more reason than ever to be celebrating the growth and diversity of our community than ever! ~Kiva —- Roots Revival: Celebrating The New Folk Herbalism Resurgence by Kiva Rose “All music is folk music. I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song.” -Louis Armstrong “We were created out of the earth there. Well, we’re part of the earth, and that’s what we’ve got to go back to...

Herbal Conformism and the Illusion of Normalcy by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Herbal Conformism and the Illusion of Normalcy by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Herbal Conformism and the Illusion of Normalcy: A Response to Charles W. Kane from the ‘Freak-Show Field’ by Jesse Wolf Hardin Intro: Charles W. Kane is an experienced clinical herbalist and self described “veteran of the war against terrorism.”  Unlike the majority of modern day herbalists, he would not be likely to describe our field as “alternative medicine”, and brings from a military and Western background a refreshing degree of old fashioned common sense and down-home candor.  We often refer to his book when looking for what is increasingly rare experience based information and competent materia medica.  That said, he is also someone whose pronouncements I occasionally find simultaneously disturbing and strangely enjoyable to disagree with.  A recent rant...