The Medicine Path - Medicinal Gardening Workshop 2017

The Medicine Path 

As a girl, I would drape myself in a cream coloured sarong and hold my mothers hardwood mortar and pestle in the crook of my arm, humming scrapes of songs my subconscious would stumble upon, songs from my ancestors that harboured deep connections with the natural world. 
I would ‘pretend’ I was a medicine woman under the static of the suburban power lines, and as I grew I would seek out the ‘wild’ places, the storm water drains that were lined with green, the gullies that were so steep they were safe from the sprawl, the creeks littered with McDonalds wrappers… These were sacred places to me, these were the only ones I could find. 

All I knew was the natural world, seeing living, breathing, growing things, had an effect on me like no other. It balanced me. I felt a sense of instant calm, something that was not so common to me. I felt held. I could ‘listen’ to the trees and plants, even if they did not speak in words with tongues, they would say something deeper, and it spoke directly to my heart. 

People crave this connection with Nature. We are Nature. We crave the connection with ourselves, and being immersed in a natural landscape quite often gives us the space to tune into our own being, come to understandings and realisations we often do not make time for. 
As I grew, the world became more complex, and I started to understand that the lifestyle I was a part of living was directly and indirectly responsible for land degradation worldwide. I realised that the world I longed for actually used to exist- where huge flocks of birds blocked out the sun, and mammals roamed free in a landscape dense with diverse vegetation that provided fibre, medicine and food. 
I became angry, as I saw the main cause for the deterioration of my plant and animal companions was money and greed. The despair I felt during this adolescent discovery has been unsurpassed by any other in my life, and at the time I did not know what to do with the grief which engulfed my being. This was made especially difficult as I watched everyone just keep going… I wanted to scream and fight and yell, I couldn’t fathom that the Earth was still turning when we as humans were presently causing the 6th greatest extinction this planet has seen in billions of years. 

And then came the second wave of despair: what was I doing to help? 
The guilt gripped me, leading me down a staircase of self-erosion, as over years to come I berated myself for not doing enough, somehow feeling personally responsible for global environmental and social outcomes. 
My constant strive to remain close to the natural world in some way meant that I was open to some great wisdom, and I was taught how to listen rather than do

If we cultivate a relationship with our chlorophyll-ed companions, we can learn some profound lessons, and I now see Medicine not as an object, a thing, a product; but as a path. 

Medicine is an everyday interaction. Medicine is a relationship. Medicine is a way of being, a way of living. Medicine is air, water, food, movement, connections and even thought processes. 
Although I have a reference for plant life, the science and constituents that are responsible for physiological responses and cultivating these for the creation of herbal products, plants have taught me more about being my authentic self, letting go, listening, pausing and appreciating than anything else. Leaf, Seed, Fruit, Root, Bark, Berry and Shoot fill me with an immeasurable joy, an undeniable gratitude, and a chance to be still within my productivity and be with myself. 

I am constantly learning, and as I feel the anxiety and panic rise in my throat sometimes, I am more able to breathe and remember my place in the world, perhaps look to my friend Avena saliva for some support, and take some time to nourish my being, just as I would tend to my plants, I need to tend to myself: Have I been watered? Do I have enough space to put down roots? Are there enough nutrients around me in order to flourish? Have I had enough rest so I can grow?
Just taking the time with the plants reminds me of these questions. 

As I took the steps on this path, first looking to the ground and asking “What plant is that? What does it do?”, I now take longer strides, and the way I contribute to The Medicine Path and act in service is Education. 
I have committed myself to inspiring and empowering others on their own path of Medicine. Through facilitation about the soil, the plants, and the relationships between all things, I hope to provide a space of nourishment, awe, excitement and comfort. 

This is the space that myself and my now Herbal companion, Willow Herb-nerd, aimed to create last weekend during our first workshop at Geo Echo Farm, which I am pleased beyond words to now call my home. 

Medicinal Gardening Worksop; March 2017 

The Perma Pixie and Willow Herb-Nerd 

Day 1: 
  • Introductions of plants and people 
  • Germination: Learning the art of seed scattering and propagation 
  • Design: Using Permaculture strategies to improve Medicinal Garden growth 
  • Lunch: Home made Sourdough & Nettle Pizzas in the Cob Oven! 
  • Cultivation: Planting out the Medicinal Garden and learning the herbs hands-on 
  • Botany: An introduction to plant families and how they are identified and used in medicine 
Day 2: 

  • Energisers and Reflections
  • Energetics and Temperaments: How to determine your own temperament and how it works with medicine 
  • Constituents and Actions: Understanding the building blocks of herbalism 
  • Lunch: Home made Sourdough & Nettle Pizzas in the Cob Oven! 
  • Medicine Making: Making your own practical Seasonal Medicines


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