When I first started learning of plants and their medicines, it was in the kitchen or in the garden, walking through the fields, and sometimes, in the class room. I learned by putting my hands on the plants, examining them under magnification and through the sunrays to see their deeper structure.
It was by the tasting of plants that I learned what an Astringent is and How it works; that that puckering sensation in my mouth was similar to the tightening effect of an astringent throughout the body, it was then that I learned what that could mean inside of a body that was leaking fluids and then how that could present in a person.
It was through the physical digging in the dirt that I learned how deep & tough the roots of Japanese Knotweed can actually grow; and how its a signature that relates to the restorative nature this plant has on “tough” issues! How it is much easier to dig up Waste Loving, Nutrative plants right after a rain storm as it loosens the stone/clay mixture that composes the growing medium that plants like the Teasel & Mullein thrive in.
It was only through the repeated efforts of botanically keying plants out to their genus and species names that I learned the vast spectrum of plants that can be used for medicine and how to ensure proper identification for later harvest.
It was only though sitting with particular plants, learning their environment, the different critters that were either attracted and or repelled by a plant that I began to build relationships with each plant that I work with. Growing them, tending them, harvesting them, preparing medicines from them and using those medicines, all these actions connected me to the plant. Plant Allies, I later found that some people call them. I had simply learned them as my friends, same difference really.
It is that background that I now use in my teachings and sharing of this practice of Herbalism. Don’t get me wrong, I work strongly with the known sciences, both in my understandings, usage and explanations. AND. There’s also an art. A Magic if you will. This can’t be taught, it has to be experienced. I help to facilitate those experiences.
I bring a full sensory approach to the herb classes, composed of science, woven by /art/senses/magic and interlaced with lore and history. I share my way and invite others to come explore and learn for themselves the Language of Plants. This is done through a fair amount of talking on my part, often with various plants in my hand, handouts for each class, personal notes taken on the part of the students, visual & physical demonstrations, charts, pictures, plant walks, structured blind plant tastings and more.
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