I’ve always wondered why I am so fascinated with herbs and plants. My mother is a marvelous gardener, spectacular at roses and heirloom vegetables, and her father before her gardened in an allotment during the War. So I guess it is in the blood. Nobody has been able to explain to me why the Green Ones get in my psyche whispering to me, “Pick me, smell me, tincture me, taste me, drink me”.
In my forties I feel I’ve become more accepting of their role in my life, less doubting. I spent a long time, particularly after my period of book learning herbalism, when I doubted it all. Everyone seemed to be a better practitioner than I was. The more I read and went to workshops and lectures, the more doubtful I became. People kept talking about this course and that course, and I didn’t really want to do anymore. I wanted to do less. In the end I did nothing, virtually abandoning my art and my faith in the plants. This was a bleak time, when I felt disconnected from lots of things. I felt like my years of study and passion had been for nought.
And then I went and made soup… I realised something was missing, so I potted a few herbs and then gradually, slowly let them back into my life. (Of course this is a very simplistic version of this bit of the journey!)
Today I see myself as a traditional herbalist. Not a shingled, Modern Medicinal Herbalist, but an Ancient herbalist. I have dirt under my fingernails and am lead astray by a roadside plant waving in the wind. I own my Celtic origins, and its leaning towards plants that are often naturalised in Australia. I’m one for simples, not standardised fluid extracts. I like tinctures rather than tablets. I adore that which I can grow or wild craft myself. I like medicines I can eat in a bowl, straight from my wanderings. Sometimes I haven’t ever seen a plant before. Sometimes they crop up in my dreams. Deep in my wise woman’s bones I know it is something I or someone around me could benefit from. I counter these knowings with research. I go find out what it is , and what it is for, and this theoretical knowledge backs up my intuitive herbalism. I don’t treat others in the sense of you have prostate cancer, I prescribe Saw Palmetto. I refer on to those with qualifications and indemnity insurance for that. But I can help you hear the whisperings in your own life. What plants are beckoning to you? I can help you slow down, breath and catch the scent of your own cure. For you are your own healer as am I.
I AM a herbalist.