Oct 102013
Plant Healer 2013 Annual www.PlantHealer.org

Plant Healer 2013 Annual www.PlantHealer.org

New Plant Healer Annual Coming Soon – Deadline For Ads


The 2013 Plant Healer Annual

Most of you know that we publish Plant Healer Annual books each year, annual collections of all the Plant Healer Magazine articles, photos and art, available only to member subscribers of the digital journal.  We just finished compiling the 2014 edition, 1,030 8.5×11” pages chock full of information and inspiration for herbalists, wildcrafters and plant lovers of all kinds.  Authors include Paul Bergner, Susun Weed, Matt Wood and dozens more insightful practitioners.  Once again the Annual is too large for a single book and will have to be printed and sold in 2 thick volumes!


For Sale December 1st

This year’s collections will be released for sale on the 1st of December.  Those of you who are members can order yours anytime after that.  Non-members can order the Plant Healer Enthusiast discount package and receive the 2013 Annual and Art of Plant Healer books along with a one-year subscription to the digital publication and over $200 worth of bonus downloads.

To order, members need only login to your Member Page. 

To become a subscribing member click on the Magazine page at: www.PlantHealer.org


Ad Deadline for the 2013 Plant Healer Annual Books

You can promote your herbal business, school or arts through a 1/4, 1/2 or full page display ad in the Plant Healer Annual.  The Annual is purchased by thousands of herbal aficionados, and being a set of books, it ensures your message will be seen by new readers for years to come.  Rates are kept very low to make this opportunity affordable for all.

If interested in advertising in either Plant Healer Magazine, Plant Healer Newsletter or the Plant Healer Annual books, download and return this form:

Plant Healer Advertising Rates & Specs

Oct 092013

Folks who have been reading this blog for any length of time at all are probably very familiar with my emphasis on herbal energetics, and how important I feel they are to learn to avoid the frustration of hit and miss treatment. Essentially, energetics provide a look at the essential tendencies of both plants and people, so that we can match them together most effectively. You can read more about my approach to energetics right here. 

A few years ago, I did a multimedia course that covered the big picture of energetics, from sensory awareness to taste and impression to actions to constitutions. A number of folks were so excited by the process, that they wanted even more in depth training, especially when it came to the nitty gritty application. One of the quickest and most effective ways to dive into energetics is by learning about the tastes of herbs and what they mean, giving you incredibly important cues about how and when to apply that herb. My student and Washington clinical herbalist, Rosalee de la Foret, has been doing detailed and powerful work around just this aspect of herbal energetics.

She and Learningherbs.com have teamed up to create some easy to use and very concise tools that can greatly enhance your understanding of energetics and the way you actually work with herbs! She’s currently offering a great Taste of Herbs Flavor Wheel (based on wine tasting charts), and will be releasing even more great content in the next week or so. To get involved and get your copy, head over to The Taste of Herbs!


Oct 072013

HerbFolk Gathering PlantHealer.org

Last Call For Teacher Proposals, New Theme: 2014 HerbFolk Gathering



Final Call For 2014 Teacher Proposals

The next Plant Healer event – the Herbfolk Gathering, Sept 18-21 – is going to have some truly awesome teachers creating a new format like no other… and we have just a very few class slots left for anyone wanting to submit a proposal. You don’t have to be a big name in herbalism to be considered, you just have to have a personal contribution to make that fits our special theme and approach.

All classes will ideally include:
1. A folkloric, historic, mythic or storytelling component or thread;
2. A practical component such as clinical, research, usage and materia medica; and
3. A hands-on component, be it an exercise, laboratory, walk, or other means for audience participation and experience.

Send us your most creative and original topics, getting us your applications no later than Nov. 1st to have the best chance of filling the final openings in the schedule.
Please request a Teacher Application from: PlantHealer@PlantHealer.org


2014 HerbFolk Theme

Traditions In Western Herbalism, Medicine Of The People, the Herbal Resurgence – we can’t quit changing, experimenting and adapting, no way! But rather than changing our event time with every transition, we expect to stick with “HerbFolk Gathering” for future Plant Healer conferences and celebrations… and to include a changing subtitle that reflects these events’ continuing evolution.

“The Enchanted Forest” is the theme for ’14, a folkloric gathering expected to be utterly magical – not in the Disney or New Age sense, but in the sense of a magical as well as purposeful natural world that informs and inspires us as well as helps to heal our wounds. Some of the most important ways that it is communicated are through awakened physical senses, through its mythic dimensions and its well told stories.

This sense of human/plant interrelationship, as well as the very skills of an effective herbal practice, need to be experienced and not just pondered or studied. For this reason, most of the 2014 HerbFolk classes will include audience involvement, such as role playing, hands-on exercises, or other experiential opportunities and interaction.


Longer Classes

We’ve heard again and again from event attendees how much they wish their favorite classes could have been longer, presenting even more information, going deeper into the topics that they are most interested in. Some events are designed without a single class over 1.5 hours in length, and as one woman recently wrote us, “It’s exciting when different herbal conferences have a ton of classes to choose from, but it becomes hard for me to remember what I’ve learned when we go through them so fast, one after the other.”

For this reason, we’ve decided that we’re going to give those of you who have been wanting longer classes with greater depth exactly what you’ve been asking for. At HerbFolk 2014 there will be no classes under 2 hours, and the majority will be intensives lasting from 3 hours to 5 hours in length!



Every year we look far and wide for potential event sites. Because of the size and feel of our conferences and the kinds of folks in our community, we have specific needs that are not easily met. It can’t be a normal conference center with a yuppie business vibe and certainly can’t be in a city. It has to be within an hour or two drive from an airport, while being in a wild natural place with nature trails close by. There have to be a sufficient number of buildings or shelters for classes, as well as places outdoors where we are welcome to teach. Cabins are important for those needing them, and so is free camping on national forest land for folks who prefer it or lack the money to pay for lodging. The facilities need to be comfortable yet rustic and earthy, and should have a distinctly western look. They have to serve affordable food that meets our folks’ trained tastes and high standards. And the site managers need to be genuinely happy to be hosting our diverse community of herbalists, plant lovers, wildcrafters and natural healers.

For these reasons and more, we are almost certain remain at beautiful Mormon Lake Resort, with its log cabins nested in a Ponderosa Pine forest, so close to the Grand Canyon and the San Francisco peaks long held sacred.


Teacher & Classes Announcement, Ticket Sales

We will probably announce our teacher lineup and class titles in November. As always there will be a special sale of deeply discounted tickets for limited time only, most likely in December or January.


Stay Informed Through the Free Plant Healer Newsletter

The free Newsletter will continue to feature the latest news and announcements regarding the upcoming HerbFolk Gathering, along with expanded content that includes herbalist interview excerpts, and articles by contributing authors from Phyllis Light to Sam Coffman and Kiva Rose. To subscribe, fill in your name and email address at the top of the new Plant Healer splash page:

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Oct 032013
by Jilian Tamaki

by Jilian Tamaki

By Kiva Rose
“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 handle, until you see the calloused soles of her bare feet as she reaches up for a swath of lichen hanging from a high tree branch, until you hear her speak soft, rhythmic words to tiny chattering mammal perched on her shoulder. If she is lost here, it has been many long years since she first walked off the known trail from the nearest village. This gives you pause as you wonder what you have stumbled into, and puzzle over what kind of creature might choose to live so far from the general population, and prefer the company of wild animals and weeds to those of her own kind.

In fairy tales and folklore, very often the protagonist is notably social and is part of a specific fellowship, community, or group. On the other hand, the antagonists are often solitary and live away from others, most frequently deep in the wilderness or a vast wasteland. If you meet a woman living alone in the forest, you could not be blamed for assuming she’s a hermit, a monster, hag, a witch of unknown intentions – no matter how attractive, kind, or wise she might appear. In modern Disney-type interpretations of the bad guys, it is even sometimes said that they are evil because they’re lonely, and that if only they could be a part of the larger community they too would blossom into benevolent and beautiful creatures who hold hands and burst into symphonic, village-wide song. In all cases, otherness and potential maliciousness is frequently implied by a character being solitary. There are exceptions to this, with a number of helpful fae or fairly benign monsters also living alone, but they are rarely found at the center of the story, and tend to still be viewed with some trepidation and wariness. After all, what good person would actively choose to be alone?

It’s common for folks to say they need solitary time, but most people who say they want solitude seem to mean only for a few hours at a time before they once again seek human company. Hosting retreat guests here in this New Mexico wilderness, I see how even those expressing a desire to spend time alone really have a hard time being by themselves in the woods. I admit that I find this both fascinating and foreign, as I’ve voluntarily spent long periods of time without human contact since I was in my early teens. I don’t see that solitude is better that more social tendencies, as both are needed and natural. I do, however, notice that there tends to be a great deal of pressure placed on the less social to behave in an essentially extroverted way. Society at large, from psychiatrists to the media to the average mother seem notably concerned when someone chooses a more solitary existence, and these people are often viewed with suspicion simply if they don’t make obligatory appearances at community events or engage in chit chat while standing in line at the bank. To keep to one’s self is very often to invite labels such as eccentric at best, and sociopath at worst.

Baba Yaga by Ivan Bilibin

Baba Yaga by Ivan Bilibin

In my years of teaching, I have noticed that there is a significant percentage of herbalists who feel much more at home with plants than people. Some of them work in the capacity of a clinician simply because it feels like the reasonable extension of their obsession with plants, and a way of utilizing their growing knowledge while developing new skills. Most often these herbalists do care a great deal about the well being of others, but find frequent social interaction to be draining of difficult. I hear the guilt in their voices and the fragility in the tone of their emails. They think they are bad to not crave the company of others, they believe they must need a special flower essence because they don’t relate to humans as a whole. There is nothing wrong with being an introvert. There is nothing wrong with not fitting in. You are not required to spend all your time shoulder to shoulder with other humans in order to be an effective herbalist. It only becomes a problem when we struggle to accept our own otherness and introversion, and are thus unable to form our practice and our lives in a way that nurtures us and allows us to be ourselves.

The term community herbalist brings to mind, quite reasonably, a healer working within a community, serving and at home within a group of other human beings. And yet, historically, herbalists have often been marginalized. They have frequently walked the borderlands of village and the wildwood, traveling between the civilized and the wild as emissaries of the forest, bringing healing to the townsfolk. We can say it was because they had no choice, that they were driven from their communities by religious zealots or opportunistic politics, and certainly that would be true… but only in part.

The larger truth, is that many of us who have a gift for working with the plants also have great difficulty belonging among other humans. We may care a great deal about our community, but need the nourishment of solitude in order to do our work. Working with other people in a healing context can be difficult and exhausting at the best of times, and while many people feel recharged by spending time with family or community, the introvert needs to pull back and inwards in order to not be drained by their work. This can be difficult for clients, family, and friends to understand, since off duty time is usually considered to be time spent with others having fun. For myself, I most often need my time off to be by myself with the plants in order for it to be truly replenishing. I struggle with this at times, and have tried to find my nourishment in the company of others, but always I find myself straying back to the forest and desert for connection and communion.

Herbalists from any number of traditions can be found debating the details of the current most popular constitutional theory, so you’d think we’d be experts at understanding the differences between us. And yet, many herbalists still seem to feel inadequate for their very natures. Part of the issue lies in the expectation that a healer be a kind, welcoming person anxious to help and serve everyone around them while also serving as a social hub for those in need. There are certainly many wonderful herbalists who do so admirably, and thrive within the embrace of close knit community. Still others avoid large groups but feel comfortable in smaller groups or one on one. These people can often find a way of customizing their practice so that they meet their own needs for time alone while still having an active place in the larger community.

Others of us remain in the dark forest, often preferring the company of ravens and nightshade to that of our fellow furless humans.

In The Dark Forest: The Witch as Herbalist Archetype

“The witch raised up the maiden’s face and smoothed her tears away as though she was erasing a canvas. She smiled at the helpless girl, her face lighting like a midsummer fire…’Never put your faith in a Prince. When you require a miracle, trust in a witch.”  – Cat Valente, In The Night Garden

“The Dark Forest is not the merry greenwood of Robin Hood legends, or a Disney glade where dwarves whistle as they work, or a National Park with walkways and signposts and designated camping sites; it’s the forest primeval, true wilderness, symbolic of the deep, dark levels of the psyche; it’s the woods where giants will eat you and pick your bones clean, where muttering trees offer no safe shelter, where the faeries and troll folk are not benign. It’s the woods you may never come back from.” -Terri Windling, from “Into the Woods Part 6: The Dark Forest”

by Ivan Bilibin

by Ivan Bilibin

My obsession with plants dates back to early childhood, although I was admittedly at least as interested in poisoning people as in healing them at that point. For me, the fascination lay in the power of the plants and how their magic manifested in the human body. I doubt I was born with a higher than average level of compassion, but I did come into this world with my heart and spirit bound irrevocably to the green world. Even as an adolescent I realized I valued the life of a tree as much as the life of a human being, and couldn’t understand why those around me found this to be strange or why it earned me stern reproach from church leaders. I certainly heard and understood from those around me that only humans had souls, and thus only they truly  mattered. I just thought they were deaf or deluded, or hadn’t yet learned to hear the world beneath their feet that was singing so loudly the ground sometimes shakes with it.

My desire to be an herbalist bloomed from the oldest of stories, hose where a witch lives at the edge of a deep, dark wood. She may be beautiful or she may be ugly, she may speak with a siren’s voice or cackle deep in her wrinkled throat. It doesn’t matter, it only matters that the forest holds her to itself like a beloved child and that she speaks the names of the plants and animals as if they were her confidantes and lovers, sisters and elders.

The people from the village fear her. The townsfolk cross themselves when she walks past them on her to way to treat an ailing grandmother. They question her humanity and her religion, but still they creep to her door deep in the night to ask for a cure for their baby’s croup or a wound that won’t heal. She may serve the community, but no one would mistake her as one of them. This healer archetype speaks of otherness in a primal, and sometimes frightening way. We see pieces of it in the story of almost every witch to appear in European and North American fairy tales, from the hag-like visage of Baba Yaga to the beguiling beauty of the queen in Snow White. So often the antagonists of our moral tales, these powerful women refuse to fit into society’s molds of what is good, safe, and proper. They stand, frequently alone, at the periphery of community and consciousness. Wrapped in a shadowy cloak, they embody the fierceness, hungers, and otherness that incites both interest and fear. It is the habit of human social groups to demonize what is outside of them, and thus it is of great importance for there to be interface between what is inside, familiar, and comfortable with that which is outside, unfamiliar, and potentially frightening. We need the witch in the forest for her healing is raw and close to the source of the First Forest, the archetypal darkness from which humanity was birthed.

There is still a place in the story for the other, for the witch and the wildwood. Without these elements the story of healing in our cultures would lose both power and depth. We need those who live within the communities and heal through familiarity and kindness, and we need those who keep to themselves and bring something less known to the table. Above all, the earth needs diversity, and we all have a role to play as the story of life unfolds along the brambly, winding path.

Wandering the Wood: The Solitary Herbalist

“And if they thought her aimless, if they thought her a bit mad, let them. It meant they left her alone. Marya was not aimless, anyway. She was thinking.” – Cat Valente, Deathless

Baba Yaga Gathering Mushrooms by Kiva Rose

Baba Yaga Gathering Mushrooms by Kiva Rose

It’s taken long years for me to accept that I’m both a sensitive, empathetic person and a very introverted one. I do have some performer type tendencies, and when I have social time, it’s often in a big way. Living in the wilderness all year, and then seeing my friends at our annual Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous works great for me this way. I get to see everyone all at once and enjoy the full on festival experience… and then I can return to my tiny cabin in the mountains to recuperate and plan for the next time!

I have often felt that I should be more social, and am capable of acting that way for periods of time before I realize that I’m spiraling into burnout, anxiety, and the sense of being completely overwhelmed by others. I’ve spent much of the last six months trying to understand why I fight my own nature and force myself to be more social than I really am, and then rebound so badly that I can hardly bring myself to speak to anyone at all for a week.

I’ve grown to understand that, for the average person, saying hello and engaging in small talk with other people in the grocery store line, at a cafe, or over the back yard fence is both enjoyable and relatively effortless. For me, interacting with other people, even the nicest of people, requires significant energy and work. I find that the better I know myself, the more I only want to spend time with others in an intentional and focused way whenever possible, even if it means that other folks might think I’m unsociable or strange.

Those more social than we may understandably have a difficult time understanding our retiring habits, but there are certainly some ways in which we can create boundaries for ourselves while helping those around us have a deeper understanding of who we are and how we prefer to interact with the world. Below you will find a list of some of the tips that help me remember how to stay grounded in myself, and assist me in staying true to my own needs and nature.

A Few Tips For Thriving As An Introverted Herbalist:

•It’s sometimes very helpful to start off by defining what it means to be an herbalist for yourself, and whether this requires working with other people.

•If you work with plants on a regular basis, even if only for yourself and/or your family, then you are still an herbalist. You don’t need to do or be anything else for anyone else.

•If you have a deep desire to be a clinician but find that working with strangers on a daily basis is overwhelming, consider a very small scale practice working with a very restricted clientele.

•It is completely possible to work with one’s community to varying degrees without being at the center of it.

•Remember that you, as the practitioner, can choose who you do, or do not, work with. You are not obligated to treat the general public or people who upset you. It sounds obvious, but sometimes we all need to hear that we have choices and the ability to control who we interact with on a deep level.

•If you do choose to work with others be sure to set up solitary self-care rituals for yourself so that you can replenish yourself. This is important for every practitioner, but doubly so for introverts who tend to be exceptionally drained by human interaction.

•Be honest about your social needs with other people, as they will often otherwise simply assume you don’t like them or feel otherwise rejected. Humans tend to be social by default and it often requires a shift in perspective for them to realize that some people need more time alone.

•Don’t feel selfish or guilty for enjoying the plants for themselves and for yourself. To interact and appreciate with the green world can be enough all on its own.

Somewhere, deep in the woods near dusk, a small woman is smiling to herself as she gathers sweet roots and rich mushrooms for that night’s dinner. She hears the quiet patter of paws nearby and holds out a morsel of fruit for her furred friend. Her basket it full of the bark, leaves, and berries needed to treat the cough of an ailing child. The mother will visit the woman’s small cottage at the edge of the forest the next morning to retrieve the medicines before hurrying back to the noisy, bustling hearth of her own home at the center of the village.

All around are the muted sounds of birds settling into their roosts and the ripple of running water nearby. As she rises from the damp ground, she thanks the land for its richness, and strides on sure feet in the near dark back to the blessed peace of her tiny house. The trees lean in toward her as she passes by, straining to hear her quiet song, and holding her to this forest as its own. 


Sep 272013

Post-Conference News & Updates

We’re back home again at the Anima wilderness sanctuary, after a week away from home and family.  With the likely ending of the rains, our river has dropped back down to thigh or crotch depth, after growing to nearly fill the canyon on the day before we left.  All the water-gap fences meant to protect the greenery from free ranging cattle have been washed away or buried, and the river crossings on our primitive jeep trail will likely remain impossible to drive across for some time to come.  Loba awaits delivery and installation of an electric water pump and solar power for the kitchen, but alas nothing will be brought in except on our backs this season.  It is lovely, though, to walk among the wind tossed cottonwoods as the sway and clap, watching the elk bugle in their annual obsession with the joys of attempting procreation… knowing that nobody will pass this primeval moat encircling and protecting us.  The walk down the mountain was exhilarating, our excitement increasing with every step until once at the river’s edge we felt giddy to be where we feel most at home, most ourselves.

We appreciate all the good wishes from people hoping we can now kick back and rest, but it is already time to work on the Winter issue of Plant Healer Magazine, to begin preparing the next Plant Healer Newsletter with reviews of this year’s event, and to choose class proposals to fill the final 2014 HerbFolk teaching slots.  But before anything else, we feel a strong need to send out thank yous to attendees, teachers and sponsors, and to do our best to answer the hundreds of post-conference emails.

The 2013 Resurgence Finale

Our fourth annual conference and celebration was indeed a wondrous success!  We had to rearrange the class schedule and add new topics due to injuries suffered by our dear Resurgence teacher Phyllis Light, Paul Bergner coming down with the flu, and the awesome Sarah Lawless being stopped at the Canadian border.  The much respected Matt Wood filled in with a well loved class on shamanism for the herbalist, and other changes resulted in a smooth event that seemed to be loved by all 300 folks attending.  This year’s registrants hailed from as far away as Mexico, Australia and the Czech Republic.  Our Mexican traditional band, Las Cafeteras rocked folks’ socks off, and managed to sell every CD they had with them.  For a complete recounting and to see pictures of the Resurgence Finale, subscribe to the FREE Plant Healer Newsletter.

Subscribe & Submit to the Expanded Plant Healer Newsletter

The Plant Healer Newsletter is a FREE, 30 to 100 page long PDF digital download published sporadically 10 to 12 times per year.  It has recently been expanded to include articles, essays, opinion and materia medica by herbalists and wildcrafters in the community, excerpts of Plant Healer Magazine interviews, and also continuing news about future Plant Healer events.  Upcoming issues of the Newsletter will feature stories and pics of the Rendezvous contributed by you who attended, excerpts from Plant Healer Magazine interviews with herbalists including Howie Brounstein and Robin Rose Bennett, and essays and articles on all things herbal by not only ourselves but many of you.  If you’d like to submit an article to the Newsletter, click on the link below and download the details:
Newsletter Submission Guidelines

You can subscribe for free by simply filling in your name and email addy at the top of our website splash-page:

Herbal Resurgence Reviews Sought

The next Plant Healer Newsletter will feature the story of the 2013 Resurgence Rendezvous, as seen through the eyes of those of you who attended.  If you were there, please do us the favor of sending in a description of your experience of the event.  Send your words to us by Oct 7th if possible (or else later, if not) at our new main email address: PlantHealer@PlantHealer.org

Please send us your Photos from the event as well, for possible inclusion.  JPG or TIFF, 8” wide and 300dpi if possible.  You can send any amount of pics on a DVD or CD mailed soon to:  Plant Healer Events, PO Box 688, Reserve, NM 87830.  Or you can email them as attachments, not to our home email address but ONLY to our special “town” addy:  RingtailRose@Gmail.com.  Thank you for taking the time!

Plant Healer Magazine Deadline for Winter Submissions

If you’re hoping to submit an original article for the Winter issue of Plant Healer Magazine, the deadline is Oct. 1st.  Write us if you need extra time.  And remember that you don’t have to be a professional writer to have valuable information and experiences to share.  You can download all the necessary info by clicking here:
  Plant Healer- Submission Guidelines

The 2014 Herbfolk Gathering

Our theme for ’14 is “The Enchanted Forest,” and will feature a folkloric vibe as well as lengthy in-depth class intensives, hands-on exercises, storytelling and music.  We may have not only exciting herbalist teachers but possibly a botanical perfumer, a teacher on the subject of entheogens, and a well known fantasy novelist focused on plant lore!

Conference-goers often express a desire to go into more depth into their class topics, and complain about how there are some conferences where all the classes are kept to a short 1.5 hours long.  In contrast, most HerbFolk classes will be 3 to 5 hours long.  They’ll include a folkloric/mythic/historical intro or thread, along with solid practical information and materia medica, and hands-on exercises/labs or walks.

There will be a special sale again of deep discount tickets for a limited time, most likely in December, so watch the Plant Healer Newsletter and this blog for details.

Our New Website
With Portals to all Plant Healer Events, Magazine & Resources

Given that the names of our Plant Healer events are sure to change, we’ve launched a new website that will have links to the magazine, free resources, and our upcoming conferences and celebrations.  We’re working on the site right now, and the Events link on its splash page will within a few weeks take you to the HerbFolk Gathering pages:  www.PlantHealer.org

New Book The Plant Healer’s Path Now Shipping

Our new hardback book The Plant Healer’s Path has arrived and is shipping now via USPS Priority… written by Jesse Wolf with Kiva Rose, Paul Bergner, Phyllis Light and more.

“The Plant Healer’s Path does more than provide a working model of herbal practice, it also addresses our hopes, our fears and concerns as herbalists, acknowledging the differences, the uniqueness that each brings to their art, craft and science.”   –Phyllis D. Light (Appalachian Folk Herbalist)

The books arrived after our river went up and are stored in town, so we only have to hike the boxes and labels out over the mountain in order to start shipping the many preorders now.  You can order yours at: www.PlantHealerMagazine.com

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Sep 132013

PreConference Greetings!

Sorry about the repeat posting on the Medicine Woman’s Roots blog regarding the Interviews book, it seems WordPress randomly decided to republish an announcement from last April (Note: technology, experts and government – 3 things we’re told to trust instead of ourselves!).

Preparations for the Herbal Resurgence Finale continue at a breathtaking pace.  By the the time the first of you arrive on Sept 19th, the last task will have been tended to and a wonderful event will be ensured.  It’s a happy thing how many folks are coming, and how very excited everyone is to be either getting ready for the trip or else are already on their way.  It will be awhile before Kiva’s next post, and she’ll be off FaceBook and unavailable for emails again until the 20th.  If you are just now hearing about this unique event for herbalists, go to the website for full info and registration:  www.HerbalResurgence.org

The Southwest’s monsoons are predicted to come to a close shortly before the conference, with sun forecast for the four days we are at Mormon Lake, Arizona.

The water has been a huge blessing in what has been an extended drought, lasting longer than they have in recent years.  The vast array of plant life in this botanical and wildlife sanctuary are surely as happy as plants can be, and all seem to swollen with vitality and joy as the afternoon’s provide their daily life-giving rains.  Many parts of the canyon bottom are too thick with growth to pass through.  Below are some of our verdant river willows, next to one of our United Plant Savers boundary signs.

Anima Botanical Sanctuary, NM

Anima Botanical Sanctuary, NM

photo by jesse wolf hardin

The monsoons have, of course, made for quite an adventure when it comes to getting as many of the conference supplies and merchandise from the Sanctuary to where our vehicle is now parked.

I took the next photo from our little cabin homes/studios/offices, facing Northeast..

Anima Sanctuary

The normally no more than knee-high San Francisco River has been varying between thigh deep and chest deep for the past six weeks or so.  Kiva, Loba and our little (ok, not so little anymore!) Rhiannon have made multiple trips with backpacks full of Plant Healer books, office supplies and gifts bags for the conference attendees.  Folks should feel they can count on our dedication to making the Plant Healer events happen no matter what the obstacles!  :)

If we weren’t carrying anything it would be nothing but fun to bob about, swept downstream as we make for the other shore, a river playground more than a problem.  But without being able to get a four-wheel-drive out, all food has to come in on our backs, and all conference goodies go out the same way.  In this image, Kiva and Rhiannon study the river from right below our cabins, wondering if the boat will be needed.

Kiva & Rhiannon - Anima Sanctuary

Kiva & Rhiannon – Anima Sanctuary

Packs are carried down the cliff from the mesa-top cabins to the river’s edge.  When the waters are low and slow enough we hoist the packs above our heads and carefully feel for soft spots and holes so that nothing we’re carrying gets soaked and ruined.  By the time the river reaches up to our crotches, it is often moving too swiftly to stay upright, and we opt instead to ferry the pack across in our inflatable kayak.

Rhiannon, Loba & Kiva in high water

Fording the San Francisco River, NM, with conference supplies.

Fording the San Francisco River, NM, with conference supplies.

Crossing the river seems like the easy part once we start up the mountain to the van, a steep mile long climb on a narrow deer trail through the ponderosas.  The view, however, is spectacular, witnessing the mists from the rain soaked canyon rising in spectral clouds that glint with all the colors of the rainbow as the sun reflects on their drifting particles.  From the top, we can see miles in several directions.  From one short stretch the road we can even see the tiny cabins of Anima Sanctuary far below, appearing not isolated but nested, insulated, protected by the vast forested wilderness we can see surrounding it and the winding river that seems to serve as a moat holding at bay any forces of destruction.

Anima Wilderness Sanctuary – AnimaCenter.org

Anima Wilderness Sanctuary – AnimaCenter.org

The above shot is from the sacred cliffs downriver from the Sanctuary which can be seen below the Gila Wildlands lettering.  The retreats and workshops are not currently being offered, so busy are we with our books, magazine and events.

The next photo below is taken of the seventh crossing (counted from the nearest vehicle access the mouth of the canyon).

Our county and the feds have argued about whether or not this should be called a “road.”  You decide.

River Crossing 72dpi

Herbalist and friend Juliet Blankespoor visited us with her husband and daughter shortly before the last rising of the river, and soon we’ve been expecting a visit from Rhiannon’s dear pen pal Caille from North Carolina.  She will hopefully be staying with Rhiannon while Kiva and I are at the conference, having the kinds of magical experiences that this place provides… and that young’ns are often best at opening up to.

As always, any difficulties that come this homesteading lifestyle seem like a small price to pay for living the finite days of our lives in the lap of the real and natural world that is our home, our teacher, our context and inspiration.  We’ll love bringing the incredible Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous to the wild folk healer tribe, but we’ll sure miss this sacred enlivened canyon while we’re gone.

Wild blessings to you all, from Kiva, myself and our family.


Kiva & Rhiannon sept2013 72pi

Sep 092013

2013 Herbal Resurgence Time!

Day Passes & Revised Class Schedule

Sept. 19th marks the opening of the 4th Annual Plant Healer conference and celebration for herbalists and folks into empowered self care: The Herbal Resurgence Finale: Medicine Of The People.

The excitement is building as we get dozens of happy email each day about the upcoming celebration.  Attendance numbers have exceeded our hopes this year, with people coming from all over the U.S. and Canada.  We’re getting packed and ready to go, hiking all our conference supplies out through waist deep water now that the river that runs through our wild sanctuary has swelled with the seasonal monsoon rains.  We expect to be on site by midday on the 18th, with set-up that evening and registration opening at Noon on Thursday the 19th.

A big thank you to all the work trade folks who expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to come and help, to our wonderful teachers who come so far and give so much, and to all those who have been so incredible supportive and loyal to this event and all we do.


Herbal Resurgence www.PlantHealer.org

Day Passes Available

For local folks especially, we’ve opened up the sale of Day Passes that allow someone to register for just the days they are actually able to attend.  We’ve placed large color ads in several major Arizona periodicals including the Phoenix New Times, The Noise, and Flagstaff Live, with the intention of drawing in people from the region who may not be practicing herbalists but are intrigued about plant medicine and natural health care.  To purchase a Day Ticket, turn to the Registration Page at:


Revised Class Schedule – Changes & Additions

There have been two changes in the event schedule since first released.

Traci Picard, Herbalist




The inimitable folk herbalist Traci Picard has graciously offered to fill in for a cancelled class, presenting on a very important topic on Saturday morning:

Towards a Holistic Body Image & Self-Care Solutions
“We will explore the mental, physical and emotional aspects of body image within the context of our current  dominant culture as well as some sub-cultures. We will discuss obstacles to a positive self-image and learn about some basic holistic self-support for our selves. We will touch on the role of self-image in our healing work, and go on to examine our own attitudes towards bodies, movement and self-acceptance. There will be a participatory discussion time and a resources list.”



Secondly, Mimi Hernandez has had to cancel due to a family medical emergency. We’ll be very sorry to miss her and her wonderful teaching at the conference!

Additionally, the much loved Sarah Lawless was unable to get across from her home in British Columbia, Canada into the United States for this Resurgence Finale.  We and many of you

Sarah Lawless

Sarah Lawless

coming will greatly miss her!  She writes on FaceBook that:

“I just found out I won’t be able to attend and present my workshops due to unexpected passport and financial issues. I’m very upset about letting the lovely co-host Kiva down and also all of those who were looking forward to my workshops. I’ve wanted to attend this amazing herbal event for years and am full of sorrow that I’ll miss it and miss meeting all the amazing people. I still hope to be able to attend in the future and if you haven’t heard of it you should really check it out.”  –Sarah Lawless



Larken Bunce, one of our valued Herbal Resurgence teachers

Larken Bunce, one of our valued Herbal Resurgence teachers



To see the revised 2013 Herbal Resurgence schedule, click on and download the: 2013 Revised Class Schedule

For more information or to register for the Resurgence Finale go to:

The Herbal Resurgence site will soon be taken down and will be replaced by a single Plant Healer Site with portals to Events, the Magazine, a Bookstore & Art Gallery, and free Writings Archive.:

If you missed the last Plant Healer Newsletter, you can read the latest issue full of articles and interviews by downloading the free:
Plant Healer Newsletter Digest

You can subscribe to the Newsletter simply by filling in your name and email as shown at the top of our website intro pages.  Future issues will include herbal articles by Sam Coffman, Kiva Rose and many more, along with excerpts from new interviews due to appear unabridged in later volumes of Plant Healer Magazine.



If you too are on your way to the Herbal Resurgence, we’ll see you soon!

Julie Caldwell, Humboldt Herbals

Julie Caldwell, Humboldt Herbals


Lisa Ganora, Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism

Lisa Ganora, Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism














Sep 042013

Herbal Resurgence www.PlantHealer.org

Vendor & Info Tables

available for the 2013


Sept 19-22 – Mormon Lake, AZ

50 Classes taught by 30 Teachers

There are just a few vendor and information tables available in our Healer’s Market building at this year’s Herbal Resurgence Finale held at beautiful forested Mormon Lake, Arizona,

Sept 19th through 22nd.

Offer consultations or massage therapy, sell your natural health products, or get the word out about your school or other business or cause to this highly focused herbal-loving audience. Herb sellers, schools, medicine makers, plant-hearted craftspeople and others are welcomed to apply while any tables remain available.  Our policy is only to rent tables after making sure one is reserved for any of our sponsors and teachers who want one, and then to make the remaining spaces available on a first come, first served basis.

• Tables are $225 (covers all 4 days, Thurs. through Sunday), with 2 staff persons allowed.

• Vendors and staff must also pay for tickets to attend unless certain they aren’t going to attend any of the classes.

For more information on the Herbal Resurgence Conference & Celebration go to:


and then click on the “Events” page

To apply for a table, click on, download, fill out and then return to us our:

2013 Vendor Application


(Please Forward or re-post)

Aug 252013

Paul Bergner by Jesse Wolf Hardin -72dpi

Plant Healer Interview:
Paul Bergner

In Conversation with Jesse Wolf Hardin

The following is a powerful excerpt from my talk with our friend and provocateur Paul Bergner, one of the truly most insightful, honest, forthcoming and visionary of herbalists alive today. After four full decades of doing this work, it was a pleasure to draw tales and ideas out of him for our readers, and to further define his singular legacy. Quite frankly, without Paul’s encouragement and support Kiva and I may not have pulled off the launching of our first event for herbalists, nor been quite so encouraged to create the unique Plant Healer Magazine. His “Herbal Rebel” column in the mag leads off every issue he can possibly make time for, while still traveling to teach both in the U.S. and at a free clinic in Nicaragua with his wife Tania. He will be teaching a two part intensive about diet and herbs at the Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous in the forest of Arizona, Sept. 19-22. You can register or read about his and other Rendezvous classes at: www.HerbalResurgence.org, and you can find some of his most incisive essays in the Plant Healer mag, in the back issues available downloadable on the Plant Healer site as well as in the Fall issue releasing Sept. 2nd: www.PlantHealerMagazine.com

The complete Bergner interview is an awesome 20,000 meaningful words long, and will appear in full only in the second volume of the 21st Century Herbalists book, due out in the next 12 to 18 months. An abridged version will appear in Plant Healer Magazine either before or following… and because we didn’t have it ready in time for the recent Plant Healer Newsletter, we’ve decided to share it with you all here!


Jesse Wolf Hardin: You have been a healer for 40 years now, as of this interview. What have you done to keep your excitement alive over the course of so much time working in this field, and what can you recommend others do to stay in touch with the source of their inspiration and enchantment?

Paul Bergner: You have to keep in touch with the polestar of your calling. Keep re-aligning to it, navigating by it, re-committing to it as it changes and unfolds. Keep whipping the flame of the aspiration to the calling to a conflagration of passion. And keep following all lines of curiosity and inquiry.

Wolf: What are the essential roles and missions of the herbalist…. continuous through the ages, and also now in this denatured and institutionalized society?

Paul: There is a problem for me with the label “herbalist.” If you look at the history of medicine, whether folk, ethnobotany, classical, traditional, etc. we don’t usually find an “herbalist.” We find a healer, or a midwife, or a village elder, or a community of mothers, or a physician, who help people. And sometimes they might use herbs and sometimes not. They are not defined by the use of herbs, but by their wisdom, common practical sense, medical training, or accumulated tribal, village or familial or medical level knowledge of what promotes health, or helps to address a health crisis. In the classical systems, Chinese medicine, Greek/Arabic medicine, and others, it is even specifically stated that if you are using herbs, then normal methods had failed. So I don’t want to be identified as an herbalist, or try to describe the roles of an herbalist in history when for the most part that is a profession which has not existed separate from a larger paradigm which defines each practitioner more by their overall approach that by what they give people. To some extent, the historical emergence of the drug industry, the trend that defined a doctor as someone who uses drugs and/or surgery, at the same time promoted a definition of an herbalist which had never occurred before. Doctor uses drugs, herbalist uses herbs. In historical reality through millennia I think probably every “herbalist” was a dietician and wise advisor first, and an herbalist sometimes second, sometimes not at all. The Greek physician Asclepias’ aphorism was “First the Word, then the Herb, then the Knife.” To define person as the one who gives the Herb, while forgetting the Word. creates a superficial and two-dimensional kind of “this-for-that” therapeutics which will never actually produce healing.

Wolf: And in your opinion, what are the great “herban myths,” fallacies, distracting notions or diversions in herbalism today?

Paul: Are you kidding me? In this short interview? A large portion of what we call herbalism today is Herban Legend. A large portion of what I taught in my school in Boulder was not just correcting the current Legends, but training the individual in the kind of practice, study, and critical thinking that defend against them. I hope before I die to write among other books, one entitled Herbal Legends: Critical Thinking in 21st Century Herbalism. It would not just be a list of legends, but a dissection of where they came from, how they came to be propagated, and what sort of critical thinking or information a person would need to prove or disprove them. It would present my whole “four directions” model of critical assessment of information, basically with pitfalls of relying on old books, the problem with taking new information in from science or commerce uncritically, how to think critically or gain more information in one’s own personal experience, and finally the idea of “critical intuition,” which I’ve written about in the Plant Healer Magazine. Some of the most important sources of contemporary misconceptions come from 1) herbalists not trained in science dabbling in it and then trying to sound authoritative 2) herbalists projecting their preconceptions onto a romanticized past or blindly accepting “folk” traditions that are not actually authentic 3) Herbalists accepting herb industry propaganda and overstatements uncritically and 4) herbalists blindly following authorities who are immersed in the above.

Wolf: What are some misunderstood, overrated or over marketed herbs?

Paul: Hydrastis is not an antibiotic. It will kill bacteria in a lab dish, it won’t kill them in your system. In larger doses it will dry out your mucous membranes, which does not mean it killed any bacteria, it means it turned off the beneficial effect of antibody-laden mucous flow. Wild Yam does not have any hormonal effects, though is a top specific smooth muscle antispasmodic. Adaptogens do not give you free energy, if you use them to support overreaching, instead of to support rest, recovery, and nourishment, they will enable a deeper level of burnout. Echinacea will not normalize your immune system, no one has an Echinacea deficiency, it can ramp up immunity, mask the effects of a bad lifestyle, and aggravate autoimmune conditions.

Wolf: A minority of our other interviewees have clearly said that they did not feel called to the work, or that herbalism is their calling per se, describing it instead as a conjunction of ability, practical need and circumstance. Does this prove that not all wholly dedicated herbalists are called, or do you believe they’re in denial or uncomfortable with the implications and associations?

Paul: I do believe that Calling and ability are inextricably intertwined. My training at age 25 was to seek out my calling on a daily basis, as the central prayer of my life, and then to also carefully assess all my abilities, to develop every ability into a talent through practice, and then apply those talents toward the calling. This was the esoteric training in the ancient mystery schools of Egypt and Greece. It is important to find out where you have a ‘green thumb’ and where you have no talent at all, and to dwell as much as possible in the areas where you excel just by following your own nature and pleasure.

Wolf: I like the idea of awarding certificates of accomplishment with fundamental and clearly defined criteria, but I have a hard with official “certification” and institutional vetting. While I do not want to be treated by an MD who is a charlatan with no knowledge, training or experience, we all know that having a Dr.’s license does not ensure someone is any good at all at practicing medicine. You have your doctorate and credentials, yet teach an accessible form of herbalism and self care. Talk about this.

Paul: I don’t have a doctorate. In fact my NDAA means “no-degree-at-all.” I didn’t finish college, but had the prerequisites to get into naturopathic medical school, and then I didn’t finish ND school, so technically, although I have 50 semester hours of doctoral level work and some of my books would qualify as doctoral theses, I don’t have any degree. For me that advanced education came later in life and career, I was already established in my calling and practicing and teaching natural healing, and for me, that education taught me tools terms, and concepts that I could use to further my study. Once I had acquired what I actually needed, I left the school. that wasn’t obvious to me at the time, it was a difficult departure, but in retrospect that is exactly what happened. Leaving also allowed me to avoid the Doctor Complex, where individuals with medical degrees put on certain airs of inflated superiority. For certification, I am in favor of people who have completed a course of study to have a certificate that documents that work. I’m not in favor of regulatory certification of herbalists at this point in the evolution of the profession, but educational certification is different, it just certifies that you have completed some study. Let the merits of the certification rest on the reputation of the school.

Wolf: Many of the folks who read Plant Healer Magazine or attend the various Plant Healer events are people who have felt on the edge of the herbal community, either unworthy and inadequate or “different” and marginalized. This includes family practitioners and kitchen witches, social radicals and outlaws defying convention, youth who often feel underestimated and amateurs and zealots who don’t and never will have letters, degrees or registered status. What can be done in the herbal community to attract a wider range of people, of all types and colors, ages, and ways?

Paul: A decade ago herbalism was dominated by a few organizations and a few conferences, which always featured the same speakers or the same kind of speakers. This lasted a long time, but as herbal schools churned out graduates, and thousands more people got the herbal bug, at some point, the masses of actual practicing and studying herbalists greatly outnumbered those who were recognized or spoken for by the previous institutions and conferences. Tremendously outnumbered. And I will say unhesitatingly that many of them have more actual experience, work with patients, hands-on gritty work than some of the big names riding on their reputations. People with 20 years of clinical work could not get on a podium at a conference, while people who hadn’t practiced in twenty years were considered big names. Yes, they felt isolated and out of the loop, even though they had much to offer. I think it was the advent of social media that got some of the new generation together, and then your first conference at the Ghost Ranch and the Plant Healer magazine made a nexus that opened a new center which facilitated the communication among them. I remember being there and looking at the teachers, and I remember thinking “Everyone teaching here is actually a practitioner.” They were attending each other’s lectures, sitting with the students instead of apart from them, no one strutting around like a rooster. This was a new phenomenon, and for me it was electrifying.

Wolf: I should point out here for the record, that the name or our annual event came directly from you, a christening that came from you calling it a “new nexus of the folk herbal resurgence.” From the very beginning you encouraged our antics… including fashioning the event and magazine as a folk herbal revival. Tell us about what you were thinking, what you felt that was different about these conferences, the state of the herbal movement at that time and the directions you find it going today.

Paul: I had the emerging vision that herbalism in North America is not a profession, it is not really even a consistent occupational definition, there are no true standards, and attempts by one or the other clique of herbalists to impose them have not been accepted. On the other hand it is a rich community, and a social movement at this point, an earth centered one. So what a community needs is networking and facilitation, not standards, and a movement needs rabble rousing and inspiration. That’s what I was encouraging rather than some new crystallized organization.

Wolf: Some core advice, for these special, heartful readers?

Paul: Be authentic. Work at it. Don’t exaggerate. Don’t make up stories. Be grounded in practice. Be open.

Wolf: It is rare for me to meet a single “civilized” person who sees the world close to the ways I do, let alone who independently developed such resonant ideas and used such similar phrasings. Though we have both been aesthetics, sensualists and radicals, and both came to serve the vital force of life, processes of discernment and real world action, you came to your convictions through a healing study and practice, through different books and experiences, while I through nature spirituality, a wilderness home preceded by outright outlaw experiences.

Paul: It is somewhat amazing that two fellows coming from such different training and expertise come to such a common vision. I guess if you try to reinvent the wheel it will end up being round. Constitutes a double-blind test of reality.

Wolf: I hope to always get to feature your insightful, incisive and inspiring writings in our Plant Healer Magazine, and enjoy your alliance in our shared purpose. It’s been an honor to work with you.

Paul: And with you.

Aug 212013

Baba Yaga by Kiva Rose www.PlantHealerMagazine.com

Plant Healer Magazine – Fall Issue
Over 250 Pages – Releases Sept. 2nd
Subscribe at: PlantHealerMagazine.com

Sept. 2nd is the release date for the exciting 12th Plant Healer Magazine, the final issue of Volume III.   We’re very excited about its content, another great collection of insights and experiences from many of the best authors in the field.

Plant Healer Fall Content

Kiva Rose takes on digital sculpting and painting, creating her first Plant Healer cover, a personable Baba Yaga gathering mushrooms in the deep forest.  With any encouragement, she may make high quality art prints of her Baba available for sale.

Paul Bergner’s “Herbal Rebel” column is back!  We are so grateful – it has been terribly hard for him to get any time to write due to his teaching, trips, and taking care of their baby Lilikoi when his partner Tania works.  But there are almost no others that speak as clearly and incisively on widely avoided topics, while imparting the tools that only decades of experience make possible.  This issue’s column focuses on perspective, practice and education in the South, another installment in his directional Medicine Wheel of capacities and approaches.  If you get the chance, please thank him personally for his Plant Healer sharings, of so much value to us all.

Our awesome regular columnists are joined this time by the engaging herbalist authors Jon Keyes, Rebecca Altman, Sean Donahue, Ryn Midura, Sam Coffman, Renee Davis, Corinne Boyer, Christophe Bernard,  Catherine Skipper, Michelle Czolba, Heather Nic an Fhleisdeir, including a super well written piece by first time contributor Dave Meesters on the treating of so called “bad habits” and exploring the the concepts of “medicine” and “poison,” as well as a final exclusive excerpt from Robin Rose Bennett’s upcoming book “Green Treasures.”

We’re pleased to run my conversation with Sam Coffman in this issue’s Plant Healer Interview department.  It’s a pleasure to run exclusive advance excerpts from his upcoming book, as well as to host his teaching at the Sept. 19th-22nd Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous.  As you’ve seen here in this magazine, he writes extremely well about herbal actions, regulation and legalities, primitive skills, wildcrafting, post disaster response, first-aid and wound care, and all with an entertaining “no b.s.” style.  It is for this reason that I include some of his commentary in our book The Plant Healer’s Path, and it’s also why we’re so glad to share here our interview containing his personal story, insights and wisdom.  Order your own hardbound copy of The Plant Healer’s Path from the new Bookstore page at www.PlantHealerMagazine.com

Cover Art: Baba Yaga – Digital Sculpture/Painting by Kiva Rose
Art Poster:    Humphrey’s Witch Hazel Oil – 1880s Advertising Card
Introduction & Announcements
Art Poster: Herb Gathering – 1880s Advertising Card
Jesse Wolf Hardin: The Joy of Herbalism: Levity & Play, Happiness & Bliss
Kiva Rose: Overview of The Plant Healer’s Path: A Grassroots Guide For The HerbFolk Tribe
Paul Bergner: Learning In The South Direction: In Praise of Community Herbalism
Art Poster: Flower Vendor by Léon Jean Bazille Perrault
Phyllis Light: The Story of Us
Juliet Blankespoor: Plant Photography: How To Take Pictures You’re Pleased With
7Song: Brassicaceae – The Mustard Family
Art Poster: Five of Earth by Joanna Powell Colbert
Jesse Wolf Hardin: Finding Our Medicine: Answering a Calling, Assuming Our Path
Art Poster: Herbal Basket – 1905 Advertising Card
Art Poster: The Path That Suits Our Direction & Tastes by JWH
Susun Weed: Oily Edible Seeds – Part II
Art Humor Poster: Altered 1950s Movie Poster: La Femme Apache by JWH
Robin Rose Bennett: Red Clover
Rebecca Altman: California Everlasting: Gnaphalium Californicum
Corinne Boyer: Dock: Grandma’s Healing Balm & Root Medicine
Renee Davis: Turkey-Tail Mushrooms & The Antifragility of Immunity
Art Poster:    Skunk Medicine (Logo for herbalist Irene Sturla) by JWH
Dave Meesters: Dark Medicines: Seeing Patients With “Bad Habits”
Sean Donahue: Mental Health Therapeutics
Ryn Midura: Toxins & Terrain: A 4-Elements Model of Detoxification
Sam Coffman: The Herbal Medic: Part II: Wound Healing & Infection In The Field
Christophe Bernard: Tools For The Clinic: Success Criteria & Health Journal
Jim McDonald: Foundational Actions: Stimulants
Art Poster: Russian Girl In Summer Garland by Konstantin Makovsky
Jon Keyes: Traditional European Medicine: Herbal Astrology
Art Poster: Carnival Insectivora by Madeline Von Foerster
Matthew Wood: EarthWise: The Practice of Western Herbalism
Art Poster:    Autumn Winds by Zephyr
Rhiannon Hardin: (age 13): Chaparral
Catherine Skipper: Healing Plants With Plants – Part II: How To Make Plant Treatments
Loba: Boletus Mushroom Feast
Michelle Czolba: Bringing The Tantric Arts Back Into Natural Skin Care
Heather Nic an Fhleisdeir: Culpeper’s Profession: A History of Apothecaries & Their Significance
Sam Coffman: Connecting The Dots: From Folk Medicine to Modern Herbalism
Plant Healer Interviews: Sam Coffman
Jesse Wolf Hardin: The Medicine Bear Novel For Herbalists: Part VIII
Subscribe at: PlantHealerMagazine.com

Plus Expanded Free Newsletter

We’ve expanded the scope as well as length of our free digital journal, renaming it the “Plant Healer’s Newsletter.”  It will continue to be your source for information on any Plant Healer sponsored events, but also include advance excerpts from upcoming Plant Healer issues, as well as inspiring articles and interviews with herbalists that won’t be be found anywhere else – even in this magazine.  The newsletter runs from 10 to 30 pages in length, and is sent out 6 to 10 times per year as a free service to the community.  Please tell your friends about it, especially any who may not normally be able to afford herbal books or zines.  To subscribe, go to the top of the intro page of our websites, fill in your name and email address and you’re good to go!

Writers Encouraged To Submit – Next Deadline: Oct. 1st

Write about what you feel most passionate about and have the most experience in.
Just go to the Plant Healer website and download the Submission Guidelines.

Thanks again for joining us, we hope to serve you well….

(please share)

Aug 112013

Plant Healer's Path by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Now Available to Order, the New Book:

A Grassroots Guide For The HerbFolk Tribe

by Jesse Wolf Hardin
with Kiva Rose
plus David Hoffman, Paul Bergner, Phyllis Light, Sam Coffman, Rebecca Altman, & Roger Wicke

302 pages, 8.5×11”, over 100 photos & art illustrations

Limited Edition Cloth Covered Hardback!: Preorder Now: $39 (shipping early September)
Ebook – Download Available Now: $25

Order Now From:

“That which was suppressed is back. The wise women and crazy men, in all their multicultural diversity, are finding their voices. Even if the monolith of the dominant culture is ignorant of this, finally we are listening to each other.  The Herbalist’s Path, is the clearest description yet of this truly grassroots manifestation of herbalism – of humanity’s re-connection with healing nature and the wild.”  –David Hoffman


The Story of The Plant Healer’s Path

by Kiva Rose

The Plant Healer’s Path is the first of two volumes by my partner Jesse Wolf Hardin, cofounder of Plant Healer Magazine, along with essays, medicinal plant profiles and favorite herbal recipes by myself (Kiva Rose), David Hoffman, Phyllis Light, Paul Bergner, Rebecca Altman, Sam Coffman & Roger Wicke.  Wolf tackles topics vital to an effective, empowered herbal practice, with tips for the fullest living of our lives, and will prove as useful, inspiring and transformative for those of you with decades of experience as it will for anyone just getting started in herbalism.  You’ll open the book up to an overview of herbalism’s history and celebration of lineage and tribe, and you’ll finish with an unflinching vision of both the near and distant future of this vital field.  “It is a past that we can learn from and feel rooted in, and a future we are each called to help make.”

The Plant Healer’s Path is a veritable cultivator’s guide for growing “our practices and community, our awareness, purpose, satisfaction and bliss…”  From Wolf’s Introduction:

“Throughout the ages, there have been among us women and men who felt called – impelled – to work with plants, assisting in the healing of bodies and psyches, community and the land… sometimes gladly bearing the mantle of yerbera, healer or root doctor, while at other times affecting people and the world without accepting the honor or duties of a title, or even realizing how much medicine they truly provide. And never, it seems, has this insistent calling sounded more clearly in some of us, as we awaken and respond to the great challenges of our lives and times, reclaiming some responsibility for both our personal well being and that of our society and our planet.

In the process of heeding this call to service, we’re rewarded by becoming more awake and alive, excited for the adventure, and better able to sense and savor.  We each become – in our own individual ways – the needed place holders and wisdom keepers, the proactive doers and teachers, the joyous care-takers and determined healers for our times.”

Plant Healer's Path by Jesse Wolf Hardin

I recommend that you read The Plant Healer’s Path, that you be informed and affirmed by it, your understandings deepened, your perspectives expanded and shifted.  I recommend you be drawn in, like a kid to a garden spectacle, like a lover to his heart’s yearning.  And I hope that it will awaken, excite, empower and propel you on your own signature path of healing.

“To be an herbalist in the U.S. in the 21st century is a lot more than just knowing some herbs and what they are ‘good for.’ It is a path of passion, enchantment and commitment and sometimes disillusionment in a wild and diverse community of peers and elders, a path complicated by industry propaganda, cultural resistance, magical thinking, ‘herban’ legends, regulatory obstacles, poor financial compensation, and a lack of educational or professional standards. Whether just beginning or already walking the path, The Plant Healer’s Path provides a panoramic road map of the terrain – both internal and external – for any person called to healing with plants… with thought-provoking essays on the issues most important to our work.”    –Paul Bergner (Herbalist & Teacher)

The Plant Healer’s Path explores:
• Herbal community, tribe and culture.
• The language and terminology of healing.
• The power of our personal story.
• Herbalists as seeds of change.
• Extreme herbalism.
• Identifying needs and goals, and whether to go the professional route or not.
• What we most need to know to either start or further and deepen our herbal eduction.
• Choosing our path, defining our particular niche and role, a “summons to shine.”
• Reconciling traditional and scientific approaches.
• How to understand and deal with issues of licensing and regulation.
• Identifying pitfalls, illusions, myths & other impediments to a maximally effective practice.
• Divergent streams of herbalism, the diversity of approaches, no two herbalists alike.
• Discernment, critical thinking & “response-ability.”
• Ethics for herbalists, and clarifying and living by personal own code of honor.
• The empowered herbalist, the right to practice, and herbal activism.
• Making a living in herbalism, and the true richness of the herbalist life.
• Apportioning our time, the value of retreats, the importance of nourishing ourselves.
• The joy of herbalism, and lightening up.
• Co-creating a culture of healing.
• The future of herbalism.

“In The Plant Healer’s Path, Jesse, Kiva and others offer their shared insights offer and an exploration of folk herbalism, rejoicing in our diversity and challenging our assumptions.”
–Jim McDonald (Foundational HerbCraft)

Spruce Tip Basket by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Spruce Tip Basket by Jesse Wolf Hardin

“How can I begin to describe the many ways that herbalism can impact a person’s life?  How the herbs can call and change you and help you become the person you were meant to be?  How you can find your herbal community, your herbal tribe, by following this pathway?  Or how the resurgence of folk herbalism may be a key to a revitalized health care system for this country?  Or, maybe… you should just read this book!  The Plant Healer’s Path is a result of Jesse Wolf and Kiva Rose digging down deep into their relationship with the plants and the profession, and holding the torch high for us.  What more could we ask for?”
Phyllis D. Light (Appalachian Folk Herbalist)

Kiva Rose Hardin www.PlantHealerMagazine.com

The Making of The Plant Healer’s Path

by Kiva Rose

Every path has not only a route and destination but also a beginning.  It’s been nearly ten years since Wolf and I became partners under some very magical circumstances.  It’s been a wonderful if in some ways difficult transformation for me and us, but a few things have remained consistent from the beginning.  For one thing, we have always been writers with a similar passion, perspective and style.  Publishers had already released several books by him by the time I arrived, including Full Circle, Kindred Spirits and Gaia Eros for the alternative spirituality and nature-awareness audiences, and I was a poet who learned to use my poetic images to craft very personal essays first for SageWoman magazine and then beyond.  Wolf also draws the evocative art you’ve seen many times in this magazine, and he loves my sculpting and encourages me in all my interests, but it is through our writings that we are able to share with you the most of what we know, and the most of our selves.  His Anima blog and my Medicine Woman’s Roots blog have reached, informed and empowered a vast number of folks, and Plant Healer Magazine and Newsletter have become essential ways for us to combine practical clinical herbal information with wildcrafting and homestead skills, conservation, the enjoyment of food, art, healing culture, folklore and plant infused fiction.

From the beginning, I imagined that my first book would be a compilation all my clinical herbalism pieces from my blog and Medicine Woman courses.  Instead, I now find myself pulled towards creating a series of volumes with the folkloric emphasis and feel that excites me most, to write plant and healing inspired tales that evoke a new mythos (stay tuned!).  And instead of my writings on herbs and herbalism going into a clinical book, I’ve designated a large number of them for use in these books of Wolf’s that we’re releasing.  It seems entirely appropriate that we appear together in The Plant Healer’s Path and its upcoming companion – The Healing Journey: Walking The Spiral – given that we spend much of our days at desks a few feet apart, a shared window overlooking the Sweet Medicine River, tapping our hearts out on our twin solar-powered Macs.

“Part poetry, part herbal ethnography, Wolf has created an herbal call to action full of wisdom and insights from him and other remarkable contemporary herbalists.  Most plant healers will find that this book strikes a deep chord in their soul, affirming what they know while pushing their boundaries for growth.”    –Rosalee de la Forêt (Methow Valley Herbs)

At the onset, I did not imagine Wolf writing such an important series for the herbalist community, though I knew he had much to contribute if I could only find a way to provoke it (telling him he “can’t” or “won’t” usually does the trick!).  I came to herbalism through the processes of my personal physical and emotional healing, while he came to it as an extension of his work healing the land through his riparian restoration efforts, helping heal the wounds and debilitating insecurities of the students he taught and folks he counseled, and his commitment to assisting the healing of humanity’s painful separation from the natural world and their own natures.  Neither of us were cut out to be clinical herbalists daily seeing clients, yet our love and devotion to herbalism and herbalists align, our writings are kindred in a special way, and it’s a shared message we are devoted to.

“Jesse Wolf provides an inclusive, vital and passionate look into the practice of herbalism, giving voice and validation to the resurgence of a widespread, diverse herbal community whose roots go deep.  The Plant Healer’s Path weaves plant medicine, politics, practical advice, poetry, history, story and lore with insightful monologues from some of the most influential voices in contemporary herbal practice.  Everyone who enjoys a relationship with plants – from foodies to gardeners to medicine makers to clinicians – will find inspiration in these pages that challenge you to actively participate, in ways small and large, in the ancient and continuing story of health, vitality, and co-evolution with the plants and the green.”    –Julie Caldwell (Humboldt Herbals)

modern dance-72dpiFrom the most practical tips and lists of choices and options, to much needed inspiration, encouragement and vision, The Plant Healer’s Path casts a light on the journey at hand, on our individual, custom paths that are our practices and lives.

“We are as seeds,” Wolf insists, “embryonic, emergent, seminal!  As seeds, we’re the products of a particular process of reproduction, propagation, improvisation and advancement that serves diversification and variance – thus also serving the continuing evolution and possible improving of our kind.  We are not just receptacles and transmitters of existing traditions, like replicative gene sequences.  We are instead the potential for healthful alternatives, adaptations, mutations and celebrations.  Every one of us, vital packages of potential needing to be turned loose.”

Consciously fulfill your potential, and taste the rewards of your personal Plant Healer’s Path.

Wildwood Blessings,


Limited Edition Cloth Covered Hardback: Preorder Now: $39 (shipping early September)
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40% Wholesale Discount on orders of 10 or more of the regular Softcover Edition
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(Thank you so much for re-posting this on your blogs and sharing the news any ways you can!)

Aug 042013

Plant Healer Newsletter by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Free Plant Healer Newsletter

We’ve expanded not only the length but the scope of our free digital journal for herbalists, wildcrafters and plant lovers of all kinds, renaming it the “Plant Healer’s Newsletter.”  Published 6 to 10 times per year, this newsletter will feature advance excerpts from upcoming Plant Healer issues, as well as inspiring articles and interviews with herbalists that won’t be be found in our magazine or anywhere else.  The newsletter runs from 10 to 30 pages in length, and is sent out 6 to 10 times per year as a free service to the community.  Please tell your friends about it, especially any who may not normally be able to afford herbal books or zines.

The issue releasing this week is the sixth this year, 20 pages of information and illustrations containing fascinating interview excerpts with herbalists Larken Bunce and Jim McDonald, as well as an article about the medical uses for Verbena by Kiva Rose.  Future issues will include more plant profiles, clinical herbal info, updates on Plant Healer events, and interview excerpts with Paul Bergner, Howie Brounstein, Caroline Gagnon and more.

Article submissions will be accepted for consideration from now on.  Write us for more info, or for affordable advertising in the Plant Healer Newsletter.  To subscribe, simply go to the top of the intro page of our websites, fill in your name and email address and you’re good to go!


(thank you for sharing and re-posting)

Larken Bunce

Larken Bunce

Jim McDonald

Jim McDonald

Jul 242013
Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

In the more lightly burned areas of the forests just above us in the White Mountains of Arizona, the Fireweed is blooming in colorful profusion between the blackened spikes of destroyed trees. This beautiful member of the Onagraceae family is also one of my favorite herbs, being especially talented at reducing inflammation, astringing lax tissue, and encouraging healing, especially in the gut. This makes it a rather ideal addition to gut healing infusions, especially if a food intolerance or other trigger has been recently removed.

Rhiannon gathering Wild Raspberries, Rubus idaeus var. strigosus

Rhiannon gathering Wild Raspberries, Rubus idaeus var. strigosus

Rhiannon declared this bit of mountainside a piece of her personal heaven, and danced through the mist and ferns for a while before settling into harvesting just ripening Raspberries. She particularly enjoys the not quite red fruits, relishing their tartness, and often dissecting them into little jewel shaped fragments before eating them up.


A patch of Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

A patch of Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

There’s something haunting about the the spectral mists that can shift and swirl through the mountains during monsoon season in the Southwest. I could stand in the midst of the young Aspens and stare into the distance for hours, listening to small animals move amongst the underbrush and ravens obscured in the mist call from just beyond the veil.



Fungi of many sorts were just beginning to fruit from dead wood, and I look forward to returning soon in search of my favorite edible and medicinal mushrooms.

Black River - Ligusticum porteri flowers9s

Oshá, Ligusticum porteri, was blooming at the edge of the Aspen stands, their fern like leaves drooping under the weight of a recent rain. Since I still have plenty of Oshá from previous harvests, and none of the patches I found were very large, I left them to continue to grow and spread on the mountainside.



Several times we spotted deer in the forest, usually nibbling  specifically on burned Ponderosa twigs… perhaps they enjoy the smoky flavor?!

Elderflowers blooming in a meadow

Elderflowers blooming in a meadow

At the edge of a large meadow, hedges of Elders grew, and a few had already (for this elevation) burst into bloom, their creamy umbels tossing back and forth in every small breeze. As much as I love working with herbs for healing purposes, I am often reminded on these forays of how the deeper medicine is actually in spending time with the plants, in restoring connection between myself and the land, and in simply being aware of the beauty, complexity, and power of place. No tincture can replace that, and no harvest can achieve it without attention, presence, and a fierce love for the wild ways of the plants.




Jul 012013

Attend The Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous Finale!

Register now to attend the final ever Herbal Resurgence conference, Sept. 19-22.  

This is your last chance to be a part of what has been a celebratory, seditious, life changing event.  There will never be another one like it!  

Why The Change?

Wolf and I are share the belief that we and our message need to continue evolving, adapting to changing circumstances, filling in what is needed in the herbal community rather than repeating what has been or is being done.  We’ve been successful in our aims for Resurgence, in sparking changes in existing gatherings and organizations, and seeding other groups and events.  We see the influence of the Resurgence in longstanding events and groups starting to use similar language and change their approach or content, as well as in the many letters of thanks we’ve received from people who were inspired by the Resurgence to start their own regional or focused events. 2014 is time for our events to morph yet again.

Let’s Make The Most of The 2013 Herbal Resurgence Finale

We’d love your help getting the word out about the finale to as many folks as possible  Please make an announcement to your mailing list or on your blog. You can write a simple personal recommendation, or just copy and use following paragraph below, thank you so much for your help!:

“Join me at the last ever TWHC/Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous, Sept 19-22nd, 2013.  Organizers Kiva Rose and Jesse Wolf of Plant Healer Magazine have put on this event for 4 years now, and are ready to try something different in ’14.  If you wanted the chance to see the Grand Canyon and other Arizona attractions, you still have time to schedule your work and flights.  This will be your only chance to be a part of this seminal event, featuring 30 different teachers, teaching 50 unique classes.  Go to the Herbal Resurgence website for the complete list of teachers, classes and plant walks.  Register now, or sign up for the free newsletter featuring herbalist interviews, articles and news on this and next year’s Plant Healer events: www.HerbalResurgence.org

The graphic below (or write us for a copy) can be used to post on your website or in your blog or newsletter.


Herbal Resurgence Final-Web Graphic-72dpi

Owe Us, Offer Barter, Find a Way To Come!

We are definitely dependent on ticket sales this year to make a new 2014 event possible.  But that said, we don’t want anyone to miss this final Resurgence Rendezvous in September only because of a shortage in funds.  We will accept pledges of time payments over the next year, and we’ll even consider trades.  Write us for a list of what kinds of things we’d be interested in bartering for:  herbalresurgence(at)gmail(dot)com

We Thank You So Much!

Words cannot adequately express how very much we value and appreciate you HerbFolk, not just for what you do with and for us, but for all you do for the world.

Subscribe on the Resurgence website to the free events newsletter, with details about the 2013 Resurgence finale as well as the 2014 HerbFolk Gathering.  Together, we’re building a movement, and bridging with non-herbalists to better impact the world.  Medicine of The People!

Kiva and Wolf






Jun 232013


It may be hot indeed down in the middle mountains and deserts of the Southwest, but head up a few thousand feet and the subalpine forests are cool and lush with the verdancy of the Summer Solstice. This past week Wolf and I took a much needed break to explore the cienegas of the Little Colorado river in the White Mountains just above our canyon home.


The Little Colorado River

The Little Colorado River

Wading through the cool currents of the river, we stopped to examine almost every little flower and leaf underside. Surrounded by Alder thickets and rambling briar patches, the sunlight fell on us in dappled patches through the trees. The scent of Wild Roses made the air sweet and heady, giving an even more enchanted feeling to an already fairy tale like walk.



The river banks were fertile and green, wildflowers and broad leafed trees on one side, and ferns, conifers, and fungi on the other. I admit to a lifelong fascination with ferns, from unfurling fiddlehead to rusty spores, everything about them draws me in and has me trying to get closer to the ground so I can see them better.



There are so many more details, so many incredible colors and textures in the close up. I can’t help but be mesmerized by the beauty that’s all around me. The delicate lavender and deep crimson of this frond had me all agape with amazement.


Twinberry, Lonicera involucrata

Twinberry, Lonicera involucrata

All around us, insects hummed , traveling from flower to flower, sometimes looking a bit drunk on the sweet nectar of so many blossoms open all at once. I ran from bush to tree to herb, exclaiming under my breath and trying to key things out in my field guide while looking at six flowers at once!


Monkshood, Aconitum columbianum

Monkshood, Aconitum columbianum

I was particularly excited to see dozens upon dozens of this plant in flower. Monkshood is one of my absolute favorite wildflowers. Both medicinal and poisonous, it’s also incredibly gorgeous with it’s deep blue to purple flowers and finely waxed leaves. I don’t see it terribly often in many of the mountain meadows I visit, and I was ecstatic to find so many here. I think I took nearly a hundred photographs of just this one species!


Wild Onion, Allium geyeri, inflorescence

Wild Onion, Allium geyeri, inflorescence

In fat patches on the riverbank I found an incredible wealth of one of our local Wild Onion species, which, besides being absolutely delicious, is also drop dead gorgeous. Like the ferns, getting closeup allows us to see the detail and nuance of the inflorescence just getting ready to open into many small flowers. I would very much like a gown made of this color and texture, perfect for a Faery ball on a Summer’s night!


Campsite in the White Mountains of Arizona

Campsite in the White Mountains of Arizona

At the end of the day, Wolf and I made camp on a canyon rim that wound far above the Little Colorado River. From there, we watched the sun sink into the Western sky, and light the Ponderosas and Douglas Firs up in a radiant golden light. Redroot flowers glowed ghostly white in the shadows and the shiver of Aspen leaves brought the evening in with their elven song.


©Jesse Wolf Hardin

©Jesse Wolf Hardin

We returned to the canyon next morning full of inspirations and ideas after a long conversation on the drive home. Wolf set to work creating this gorgeous logo for my new little shop of botanical creations, The Bramble & The Rose, where I’m selling my bioregional incense and botanical perfumes.

Wolf and I also discussed some very important upcoming news that we’ll soon be sharing about the Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous!

~Also, a quick reminder for all our Plant Healer writers, the deadline is July 1st for the Autumn issue, so be sure to send in your submissions soon!~