After a 10AM wellness consult, I spent the day with my Magical Apprentice, teaching, learning, processing plants, cooking, baking, and building our Materia Medicas.
We started the day ~as always~ with a hug, tea, and a poem. We check in and connect with our hearts, so we can work in a joyful rhythm as we make ourselves available and vulnerable to the plants. Harmony matters. When our energy is jangled, our Medicine -the power and healing that we each hold within us - reflects that; it's important that we engage in literal medicine making from a place of peaceful openness. And so we laugh, and joke, we pray and sing, we share serious parts of our souls and let the magic of the plants strip away our confusion or stress, as we strip the dried leaves from their stems.
Many of the plants I wild-crafted, grew, or was gifted have been waiting for today to be packaged and put away in tidy anticipation for their time of use. Autumn Olive, Poke Root, Monarda, Comfrey, Anise Hissop, Sage, Eucalyptus, Yarrow, Spearmint... all are now in their brown bags and tins, or infusing in glass jars of oil or alcohol.
With each plant we touched, we discussed their uses and strengths, properties and cautions, anecdotes and "quirks". The doctrine of signatures, effects of place, possible combinations.... so much to learn!
As dusk fell and the full moon began to rise, we dug up the five-year-old Solomon's Seal from the East side of the house. That stand has been there for as long as I can remember, and these "young ones" were slowly encroaching on the Lily of the Valley they flank; it was time to turn them into medicine.
After washing them and putting away our tools, we came inside and made dinner with our home-grown pumpkins, garlic, and herbs. Tonight's menu:
~Mulled pumpkin apple cider (with Blackbird's Daughter Mulling Spices, of course).
~Spiced pumpkins stuffed with autumn olive, sautéed onions, garlic, clementines, hazelnuts, chickpeas, & maple syrup.
~And for dessert? Fresh ginger & pumpkin pie with a gluten-free crust!
Once dinner was ready, we invited my parents up and together spent the next few hours poring over herbals together learning about Solomon's Seal. Each of us was drawn to different properties and traditions - Ancient Greek, Eclectic, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Abenaki, Italian, American Folk.... each group of people holding separate yet often overlapping insight that together paint a picture of a powerful, yet currently much overlooked plant.
Before we began to process the rhizomes and roots, we did something that not all herbalists do, but that I feel is paramount to my practice - we gave thanks, and offered up a prayer for good use. The four of us - three generations - all held onto the largest piece of Solomon's Seal and said a prayer together, that we use the plant -and ourselves- for the highest good, that the land where it grew benefits from its growth and our harvest, that we use the wisdom of the Ancestors to make strong medicine and share their teachings with those who need it.
What a blessing to be on this journey together! Aho Mitakuye Ayasin ~ To All My Relations, Aho.