Saturday, September 25, 2010

Journey of Heart: Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference 2010

Last week I made a long anticipated journey back to the Southwest, the land I called home for so long to attend the first annual Traditions In Western Herbalism Conference at Ghost Ranch.  The conference was the dream child of two people who have deeply transformed my life on so many levels, Wolf  and Kiva Rose of the Anima Center.    From the beginning so many moons ago, it was clear this would be a unique and outstanding event, unlike any other. 

I was deeply honored to be included in the select group of teachers and presenters this first year-  Including my teachers Paul Bergner and Rosemary Gladstar, long time friends and collegues like Jim McDonald, Phyllis Hogan, and Margi Flint, and herbalists I've long admired and turned to over and over for information and insight like Matt Wood, Phyllis Light, and Charles Garcia.  I got to meet and hang out with new friends from all over, including HerbMentor founder John Gallagher, Howie Brownstien, Seven Song and Corey-Pine Shane.  Every single teacher and presenter there was truly gifted and offered deep teachings on so many levels. 

A long journey westward with Sean ended with a late night driving to the Albuquerque airport to pick up the last of the featured speakers.  I didnt get much sleep between caffiene overload and nerves, but prepared to give my own presentation first thing on Friday morning.  I spoke about Nourishing the Wild Self- what it means to really nourish deeply on levels of the self, not just the biochemical, but the spiritual, social and community levels, and how the choices we make about food can in turn nourish the land we live on and the wild Earth that provides for us everything.  If you missed my talk at the conference, I'll be posting some writing in a similar vein very shortly.  They also managed to video and audio record the entire session, so avail yourself of the recordings for sale of the entire shin dig!

It was truly amazing to be able to share something I feel so passionate about with students, collegues and friends in such an amazing environment.  Each and every one there was engaged and enthused and countless comments about how the subject matter touched individuals in various ways were more than reward for the long journey and agonizing hours I spent formulating and calculating just how to deliver the topic ( which of course flew out the window when I sat down with that group of eager folk!).  

Afterward,  I prepared to just relax, visit with friends new and old and attend the other speakers presentations and teachings.  Evenings were full with stunning entertainment and moonlit sandstone rock formations and massive star studded skies. Being back in the desert southwest was like coming a land that is sacred and infused into my cells and bones, to a family of people and plants I hadn't seen in too many months.  Of course just being there, in the presence of that land and the memories was emotionally intense for me, feeling all the heartache of leaving a home and people I loved for a new life on the other side of the country.  Moving on to new places and experiences is never an easy thing, but I'm deeply grateful for everything I've taken from my time in the desert over the years, the ways that I found myself, the ways that I learned from the land and the plants, the friends and family.  I shed more than a few tears over the course of the weekend.

Really, hard to describe how it felt, but it was like everyone there was on equal ground- as healers, herblaists, plant people, wild ones, and explorers.  No one was left out, the community energy was phenomenal, and I'm still having withdrawl pangs from being in such a wonderful open and outstanding community of herbalists, movers and shakers.

The underlying mission of the TWHC organizers and conference is to further the growth and strength of Grassroots herbalism.  The village herbalists, and unsung heros of communities all over who are working every day with people of all walks of life bringing healing and wholing to bodies, hearts, minds and communities.  It isn't about having certain letters after your name, or how long you've studied, or what plants you use, but about really doing the work, and keeping the flame of traditional healing alive.   This is just the kind of movement we need as governments tighten down on "alternative" medicine, increase regulation of health care, food /agriculture and societal norms.  No, we won't back down, we won't go away and we will get up again and again. 

The point is here- if you missed this years conference,  make sure not to miss it next year.  Though I won't be speaking next year, you can be sure I'll be there to attend and tend to this miraculous energetic community of healers and wholers!  I hope to see you there!

1 comment:

Sidney Trobairitz said...

Thank you for your contribution, Darcy, to the grassroots of local herbalism; keeping it real and keeping it simple, keeping it in the hands of the common folk, keeping it within the reach of all those who have been colonialized by alien culture and educated into ignorance of their own power. May we wake up and be reacquainted with our wild selves.

"The mother of us all, the oldest of us all, Hard, splendid as rock, Let the beauty you love, be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth"~ Rumi ~