Over the years, my Cousin Elise has been more consistently true to her calling than most people can muster in a week. Of course, she’s wavered but she has never given up. It’s not easy to be a farmer and fight against giants like Monsanto and Western medicine. But she’s the Daughter of David and carries one HELLAVA slingshot.
I just spent the weekend with my cousin sista, helping her with the TerraVita Herbal Symposium hosted in Laguna Beach Canyon among luscious plants and happy good folks. Incredible teachers lead 15 classes that explored how our herbal allies can help with literally everything from anxiety to lymphatic issues to allergies to the libido and more. More than 100 people gathered to learn, laugh and love the natural world in new ways, discover more about product sourcing, take responsibility for our own emotional, physical, mental and spiritual well-being and empower ourselves and each other to live an Earth-centric lifestyle that calls for a peaceful balance of work and play.
I took a class on adrenals with Kirsten Hale and really got how much stress our current go-go-go society puts on our bodies. I mean its one thing to hear that stress isn’t good for you, but when you really hear the details of the parasympathetic system and how many tools we have at our disposal from breath to herbs, its a wonder we have normalized insanity to the point that we make it bad to feel anxious or sad or low. How we do not allow time for grief or integration. The class inspired me on my project towards my masters is Depth Psychology and workshop at the Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium about infusing dignity into the death and dying process.
We identified local plants with Joel from Naturalists for You during marketplace. So much medicine in our own backyard and we call many of these herbal allies “weeds,” as if that’s a bad thing. I helped Elise with an order form and was immensely pleased to watch the crowds of people clamoring for her Tulsi and Nettles from her farm, Oshala Farm. I helped her connect with my friend Dwight Detter, who used to work for Whole Foods as a local forager, and now has a consulting business, Food Centricity, to help folks bring their integrity-rich small businesses to the global marketplace.
Julie James’ class on memory, focus and attention will inform my Herbal Journeys column in Witches & Pagan Magazine with the science to back up the incredible benefit of using herbs on our bodies for heart, brain and gut health.
I brought my pottery to the public eye for the first time (in addition to the French translation of The Faerie’s Guide to Green Magick in the Garden) and donated the book and two cups for Seeds, a non-profit that:
- Strengthen the minds and hearts of children
- Enrich their education
- Enliven their spirits
- Develop their passions
- Spark their curiosity
It was a weekend filled with great information that I promise to sleep on and allow for a full integration of mind, body and soul. Yum.