Home, Pilgrimages, & Floods, by Jesse Wolf Hardin

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Love of Home – – Tasks & Roles of We Herbal Advocates

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We miss our remote canyon home whenever we have cause to leave. It is an emotional attachment bordering on a physical need – for the quiet away from traffic and sirens, and the songs of the river and its avian symphony, for the embrace of the ancient, living land, the conviviality of the spirits of wild creation and the Mogollon peoples of a thousand years ago, its most ancient hominid inhabitants.  We feel relatively disabled when it comes to functioning in the normal urban world, but it is not how unfit we are for it that determines our residence, so much as a deep and abiding love for a particular, abnormally wild, personally inspiring place.  Whether a pleasure trip like a visit to Durango, or a plant walk in a new and unfamiliar landscape, or else a business or medical trip, we feel the pull of the place where we have planted our roots, the place from which the Plant Healer movement has grown, seeded, and thus spread.

And it must be said that even a single day away from here can mean 70 emails unanswered, projects slowed, or even deadlines breached.  This is especially consequential, when like so many community herbalists, Kiva, our young daughter and myself are in the position of doing most publishing, event, and home tasks ourselves without any other help.  For now, our teen Inga assists with tending her hard-headed baby brother Aelfyn, cooking and house tending, splitting wood for the stove and turning the solar panels three times a day, as well as now managing her first Plant Healer project as she does outreach to schools who want to be listed in the upcoming publication: The Herbal Schools Directory & Guide to Getting an Herbal Education.  We continue to review applications from wilderness property caretakers, but until then her determined aid seems utterly indispensable.

Kiva’s prioritized roles are many, from the loving time invested in our Aelfyn, to tending this family’s various health challenges, and partnering with me to provide every empowering service we can to you plant healers and culture shifters.  Apart from breaks for plant walks, medicine making, or playing stress-relieving fantasy RPG games, she stays unbelievably busy:

•Researching developments in herbalism and treatment

•Writing her blog posts, articles and books

•Sharing on social media

•Personally responding to any and all tech help requests from subscribers

•Editing and reformatting the tons of informative articles accepted for publication in Plant Healer Quarterly and Herbaria Monthly

•Maintaining and updating our several websites

•Constantly looking for lesser known or up and coming practitioners whose work calls out for our support and encouragement

•Advising and continuing to be the inspiration for the evolution of Plant Healer’s international events

She is both the reason and the magic that made all this happen, and someone who does whatever it takes to make things hold together and progress.

As for myself, I tend the family and clean and decorate the cabin where we produce this material, using my minimal practical senses to do what I can to keep the solar electric system operating and a life in the remote wilds possible.  My 14 to 16 hour work days filled with: •Designing and laying out the 1200 or more pager per year of the free Herbaria and paid Quarterly

•Planning and designing Plant Healer books and free guides for this community

•Drawing and arranging graphics to further our aesthetic and joy

•Maintaining communication with our multitude of beloved teachers and writers

•Designing and creating new websites as we continue to morph and expand

•ReEnvisioning, designing and scheduling each May’s unusual and pleasurable gathering such as this May’s Good Medicine Confluence in Durango

Medical Challenges & The Help of Amazing Practitioners

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It’s difficult for both Kiva and myself to set aside our our tasks or mission even from just long enough to properly take care of ourselves… but if we are to so often suggest self care to others, we must surely set an example of doing the same for ourselves!  Kiva is feeling energetic and driven again, with months of recovery after what was a taxing birth.

Then in February, I began suffering pain from an enlarged liver and pancreas, resulting in pitting edema/ascites as well as digestive problems and fluid around the heart… all related to my having hosted Hep C virus since I received an I.V. at age 16 after riding a motorcycle through a barbed wire fence.  The pain and swelling dramatically increased to the point of being impossible to ignore, at which point we realized that the large amount of often helpful Turmeric might be exacerbating the existing problems.  This points again to the importance of not assuming that herbs famously known for certain kinds of problems are not necessarily ideal or even ok for everyone!

Being reasonably distrustful of conventional MDs and without health insurance, we relied on the counsel of our local doctor, and support of close friends who happen to also be some of the most amazing herbalists at understanding and suggesting needed tests or herbal remedies, including Thomas Easley and 7Song.  And when it came to physically seeing a practitioner in our general region, we turned to someone who has become central to our publications and inspiring teacher at all our events, the most qualified person that we know of, the brilliant and intuitive Naturopathic Doctor Kenneth Proefrock.  Like so many of you in this caring Plant Healer community, he thinks outside of the box, looking to Nature for examples and lessons, exploring unconventional modalities, blending science with a deeper knowing, following hunches, testing and evaluating results, and employing plants in his fervent mission of holistic healing.  And how well he does this, can seem to border on the unbelievable.  It is no wonder that he cannot take any new clients at this point, with his waiting room filled with folks coming from all over the continent with children whose brain conditions have resulted in their being turned away from other less innovative and less determined doctors and facilities. 

Our family spent several days away from home in mid March with my symptoms at their worst, in the closest semi-rural and almost affordable lodging we could find within proximity of Phoenix, Arizona, where Kenneth practices.  We drove down the mountain from there to his office as needed for examination and treatment, through what was a large and likely the last snowstorm of the season.  The botanical and organic chemicals that are compounded in his clinic brought down the organ inflammation within 24 hours, as well as 70% or more of my pain within 72, and we are now doing a protocol to assist the various organs and processes.  The problems may reappear, but we hope for the best continued improvement and will be paying attention to the conditions uncovered by him onwards, while nurturing so much appreciation for the persons and means for the current relief and healing.  So much to give.  So much to do!

And this excitement about doing – for you and others and the mission of helping the world – was on my mind as we made the long drive through the surreal boulder and hoodoo covered crags of southeastern Arizona, and on up into the Fir and Pine forested mountains of far western New Mexico with a singing baby on my lap, pounding on the windows in eager anticipation.

Thank you to the many who heard about, and felt or sent wishes for me to feel better.  Tis not so much a professional field that we interact in, but a true coalition of loving friends.

And a Challenging Adventure Getting Home – The Flood & The Mud

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There are seven river crossings for us to cross between the end of pavement and the Anima Botanical Sanctuary, as we usually wind our offload truck down the twisty canyon and between the orange and purple volcanic cliffs.  Reports of the big storm had us pretty certain that the river would be flooding too high for any vehicle, as the precipitation combined with the Spring snowmelt in the higher elevations that feed this watercourse.  And indeed, what is usually a small enough river to be confused for a creek, was running super fast and well out of its bed, spread 15 times wider than when at its lowest.  White capped waves and floating logs made even access by raft impossible, at least with a precious baby, and full sized iMac which I absurdly had taken out to work on while out for the medial help.  The only other way into the property was over a rain soaked ridge, but the computer could not be left since it was already time to layout both the April issue of Herbaria Monthly and the huge Spring issue of Plant Healer Quarterly that released the first Monday of April.  

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There is a fair amount of prejudice when it comes to what are generally conservative rural people, but we have always had experiences that defy the stereotypes.  Seeing our predicament, some cowboy neighbors living a few miles from us insisted on packing our stuff in on their horses, including needed groceries, while baby and family waded waterfalls where there were none earlier, and trekked through up to 8” of mud between.  The journey both tested and exercised us, a worthy adventure compared after the preceding days of 10 lane stop and go traffic, and I savored the happy evidence of a degree of physical recovery.

FDA, SJW, MAGA, & Eruptions of Niceness

In the coming months we will be drawing attention to the efforts of the FDA and big Pharma to further restrict or outlaw the making of herbal products and compounds, one of many vital and immediate issues that have gotten little public notice even as the news and posts are filled with internecine conflict, distractions and disharmony.  

That said, our neighbors’ aide was just one example of enduring kindnesses, along with a revival of sweetness in the herbal world that is hopeful and refreshing!  We have seen so many virtual eruptions of love and caring over the past half year, not only directed at Kiva and I, but between herbal elders and students, online practitioners and clients.  It is as if the political rancor and personal callouts on social media have had the opposite effect that the relatively few but vociferous SJW, MAGA, and other self named brands of trolls might expect, triggering not more anger but compassion and a movement to establish communities and platforms where consideration and understanding serve as antidotes to misinformation and mean spiritedness.  

We have frankly not heard so many kind words, nor seen so many displays of alliance and celebration, since at least a decade ago when the herbal resurgence was just beginning its smiling feral spread again!

An Upcoming Event For The Caring Folks Who Can Make It

For those seeking a community experience for loving outliers, and a safe sanctuary from bias and marginalization, the 5 days long Confluence in Durango this May provides the opportunity.  Whatever your bioregion, education level, skin color, politics, cultural or gender identity, you will find yourself feeling at home at this gathering of plant lovers, excited by the care and celebration, enchanted by the surrounding nature of S.W. Colorado, and enamored by the150 never before taught class topics being presented by both long known and newly discovered voices of the plant healer movement.  From medicine making and ancestral herbalism to herbal beer brewing and mushroom magic, the stress will be not only helping to heal physical, emotional, and cultural woundings, but on the twin mantras of savoring and satisfaction!

For more details, for RideShare, or to purchase discounted online tickets, navigate from:

www.PlantHealer.org/intro.html

This will be the 10th Anniversary, and also the final Confluence of its kind… you might not want miss it.

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