17. True Holistic Healing: Bridging Plant & Human Consciousness - Sajah Popham

The vital intelligence of nature is the force behind all growth, healing, and renewal, and our work as plant healers deepens greatly when we can match whole plants with whole people living inside the dynamic multiverse of the whole cosmos. 

One of the most common stumbling block upon the path of the budding herbalist is the this-herb-for-that-ailment approach to plant medicine. If you ever catch yourself asking "What's this plant good for?" then this mind blowing episode, and my guest Sajah's FREE online video course (which changed my life forever last year by deepening my understanding of what true healing is), is for you:

 Vitalist Herbalism Mini Course

Sajah Popham, founder of Organic Unity and The School of Evolutionary Herbalism, is a student of the universal truths found within both ancient and modern herbal traditions from around the world. The focus of his work is on integrating ancient teachings for a new paradigm of plant medicine, one that is truly holistic in its honoring of the spirit, energetics, and body of both people and plants. His unique synthesis bridges herbalism not only east and west, but north and south, above and below, into a universal philosophy that encompasses Ayurveda, western alchemy and spagyrics, astrology, clinical herbalism, and modern pharmacology. 

Sajah’s vitalist approach utilizes plants not only for physiological healing and rejuvenation, but for the evolution of consciousness, for a truly holistic practice of plant medicine. Sajah’s teachings embody a heartfelt respect, honor and reverence for the vast intelligence of plants in a way that empowers us to look deeper into the nature of our medicines and ourselves. He lives in southern Oregon with his wife Whitney where he teaches at his school, makes spagyric medicines, and practices his art.

In the Intro:

  • The way in which most of us (including me) are called to the plant path
  • It's time to remember who we are
  • The multidimensional medicine of Calendula
  • What I do when I want to remember new information forever
  • How understanding the ancient idea of vitalism changed my approach to plant healing

In the Interview:

  • The real definition of holistic medicine (it's probably not what you think it is)
  • Approaching plant relationships the way we approach human relationships
  • Why a balanced approach to herbal learning includes intellect, intuition, science, tradition, personal experience, and the experiences of others
  • The best way to get to know a plant
  • The two words that Sajah saw in a newspaper while clearing tables at a coffee shop job and how they changed his life forever
  • The role synchronicity played in introducing Sajah to one of his most beloved plant allies
  • Alchemy- the wholeness of the plant and the wholeness of the person integrated into the wholeness of the cosmos, and the importance using plants for the psyche and spirit as well as for the physical
  • Mythic astrology, the archetypes of the zodiac, and plants as bridges connecting our internal microcosm to the celestial macrocosm
  • Lung herbs and grief
  • Ancient ancestral resonances and the memory we carry in our DNA
  • The vitalist approach to herbalism- “something that is created by the whole is going to be more intelligent than something created by the part”
  • Plants mentioned include oregon grape root, devils club, wood betony, ceanothus, osha, and mullein

Show Notes:

15. Intuitive Whispers: Deep Memory & Woven Fate

What fate is your intuition calling you toward? Who do you walk with outside of time? With what and with whom are you most deeply interwoven?

This is the story of a flower I fell in love with and what happened when I made an essence with it. It's about intuitive connection with the earth, the ancestors, and your own deep self.

Show Notes:

Episode 4 guest Asia Suler's online Intuitive Plant Medicine course

My blog post Flower Essences are Story Medicine

 

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14. Reclaiming Yourself Through Nature & the Ancestors - Vicky Salcido-Cobbe

Our human roots go deep, both into the earth and into the past, and we cannot know ourselves if we don't know our roots. Yet most of us in the modern West feel adrift, cut off from those things which fundamentally belong to us and which have always sustained humanity. This sense of isolation and the loss of meaning causes us to feel lost, bereft, without purpose.

A lived, daily relationship with the natural world and an embodied connection with our ancestors are the birthright of every one of us, and more and more of us are reclaiming ourselves by reclaiming these simple, sacred things.

Vicky Salcido-Cobbe is an herbalist, gardener, teacher, writer, and the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants. After years of feeling lost to herself and engaging in self-destructive habits, her life changed in an instant when a clinician offered her a bottle of herbal extract as medicine. She and her husband Russ now work with the land to create small-scale remedies for their herbal apothecary La Tierra Buena Collective (formerly Grandmother’s Medicine.)

In the Intro:

  • The usual, plus my crying toddler
  • Herbal Medicine Giveaway from Vicky!
  • Sorry not sorry

In the Interview:

  • Names as seeds planted by our parents

  • The years Vicky was lost to herself (with some drugs and tall cans), and how she found herself again (with the moon and tall trees)

  • How having big, mystical experiences without proper integration can cause more confusion and pain 

  • How nature and the ancestors have always sustained humanity, why we feel so bereft when we lose connection with them, and how we find ourselves when we rekindle those relationships

  • How this suburban SoCal girl stumbled upon the plant path- “herbalism was the way I reclaimed myself”

  • The realities of running an herbal products business

  • (Random segue into One Weird Use for Breastmilk)

  • Dreaming about Wal-Mart (& what it means when you have mostly mundane dreams)

  • Vicky gets really really real about the evolution of her sexuality- masturbation, porn, the shameful stuff we don’t like to talk about in our culture- and being extremely candid with her husband now that she's figuring herself out

  • 70s v 90s porn

  • Why the dominant image and dynamic of women needing to please men and get their approval in order to gain entrance into a sexual relationship is the opposite of reality, the opposite of biology in most animal species, including humans, and is a dangerous paradigm that upends nature and hurts girls, women, boys, men, and everyone else

  • Vicky’s recent transition from embodying the maiden to mother archetype (without having physically birthed children)

Show Notes:

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12. Folk Herbalism & the Wild Self - Jesse Wolf Hardin

Herbalism has always been the medicine of the people, but most of us in the West have been cut off from our earthbound roots and encouraged to forget our innate, ancestral ability to work and heal with plant medicines. Both despite and because of this, an herbal resurgence is slowly uprooting the dominant paradigm as ever more people heed the calling in their hearts to return to the old ways. No one has done more to share knowledge, encourage people of all skill levels, and bring folks together than Jesse Wolf Hardin (and his partner Kiva Rose).

Wolf is an acclaimed ecosopher, author, ecological and social activist, artist, musician, and historian– a champion of both human and bio diversity, as well as of nature’s medicine.  He has been a leading voice of and for the natural world for over four decades, coining the term “ReWilding” in the 1970's. He has been a featured presenter at hundreds of conferences and universities, and is the author of over 600 published articles in over 200 different publications and over 20 books, his work earning the praises of luminaries such as Gary Snyder, Terry Tempest Williams, Joanna Macy, Ralph Metzner, and Starhawk.

IN THE INTRO:

*How I met Wolf & Kiva

*Story medicine, psychedelic healing, witches & wise ones

IN THE INTERVIEW:

*The Plant Healer vision and how it’s evolved

*A child’s life changing epiphany in an avocado tree at military school

*What re-wilding means, from the man who coined the now-ubiquitous word

*Folk herbalism and the infinite ways to walk the plant path

*The three books Wolf had with him when he came into the land he would go on to steward for the next four decades in New Mexico

*The recent planned unassisted home birth of Wolf and Kiva’s son of Ælfyn Wolfson Thorn Hardin

*The fabulous Good Medicine Confluence- “Any pretense of pretending it’s a conference is over”

*Helping plant people reclaim their own traditions

*Regulation and the assault on herbalism (and women) from the 1700’s to now

*Standing up for who we are as wild-hearted healers in a sterile society 

*How Wolf & Kiva met and why their partnership works and is so creatively productive

*The sense of enchantment that feeds those who follow their calling

*Balancing a rational and magical approach to herbalism

LINKS:

*Find Plant Healer Magazine, Herbaria newsletter, the Good Medicine Confluence, Wolf's books, and more at PlantHealer.org

*The Mythic Medicinals shop

*Medicine Stories Patreon 

*Medicine Stories Facebook Group

*Music by Mariee Sioux (from the song Wild Eyes)

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9. Know Thyself: Weaving Myth & Magic Into Everyday Life - Ariella Daly

Here's the secret about magic: it's not elusive, it's not hard to find, and it's everywhere. Magic happens when we follow the mythic threads that call to our soul and travel ever deeper into ourselves. We court magic when we take our inner yearnings seriously- by paying attention to dreams, symbols, old stories, ancestry, etc.-  and more & more meaning and synchronicity become woven into the fabric of our daily lives.

Ariella is a beekeeper, musician, and storyteller.  A student of the Path of Pollen, she has studied honey bee shamanism and the way of the Melissae for the past 8 years in the United Kingdom. She developed an interested in earth wisdom at an early age, creating her first herb garden and herbal remedies at the age of 15.  Plant lore and an affinity for traditional folk music led her to study the myth and folk wisdom of her Celtic ancestry.  As a result, she has over 25 years experience designing, leading, and participating in Celtic and earth-based practices and ceremony.  She believes in the power of body as guide and nature as ally, and is committed to fostering relationships between the human and non-human world.  She employs her skills with group facilitation in a number of workshops and classes focused on beekeeping, dreamwork, and women's embodied wisdom.  

In the Intro:

  • Dreamwork
  • Me, my birthday, my dead mom, & something meaningful that happened
  • Herb Learnin’- the myth of precise dosage
  • Finding plant resonances

In the Interview:

  • The beautiful stories behind the meaning of Ariella’s name
  • How the tales her father told her as a child planted a seed that started Ari following the mythic threads of her Celtic ancestry a decade later and inspired many pilgrimages to her ancestral countries
  • Reclaiming the lost indigenous and women’s wisdom from your line
  • The grief of displacement and how our animal bodies recognize our ancestral homelands
  • Ariella’s devastating miscarriage and the lessons and healing that followed (including how her lost daughter brought the bees into her life) and how our biggest traumas are what we weave our gold out of 
  • Ari’s initiation into ancestral, shamanic beekeeping 
  • Folklore & magic of place: that feeling when the fae folk/spirits of the land appear and offer you entrance to the Otherworld as you’re standing at midnight on a sacred hill at Glastonbury that centuries of lore say is a powerful portal (a true story)
  • Raven meaning & medicine
  • Spontaneous, heart-opening healing: “the piece of me that left came back in”
  • “My whole life has been led by listening to the animals and plants”
  • Embodying your ancestry through story, music, the land
  • How to study and work with Ari

Links:

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8. Planetary Intelligence, Ancestral Resonance, & the Perception of the Heart - Stephen Harrod Buhner

There is a vast intelligence in Nature, which both precedes and envelopes human consciousness. By opening our doors of perception- the heart, the senses, the nervous system- we can engage in communion with this field and come to know the world in which we are embedded as sentient, responsive, and ever-adapting, just as our ancestors did.

Stephen Harrod Buhner is an earth poet and the award-winning author of twenty books on nature, indigenous cultures, the environment, and herbal medicine. He teaches about the sacredness of plants, the intelligence of Nature, and the states of mind necessary for successful habitation of Earth. 

In the intro:

  • The attentive noticing of the soul
  • An herbalist's perspective on cold & flu
  • Empowerment & herbalism
  • Giveaway!

In the interview:

  • Stephen’s memories of his physician great-grandfather, and how DNA carries more than just physical information down through the generations
  • The tendency toward high sensitivity in plant people
  • Sensory gating channels & discerning meaning from the touch of the world upon us
  • The doors of perception & how psychedelics, or “neurognostics”, effect them
  • Plant perception and the neural networks in root systems- humans do not have a monopoly on intelligence
  • The function of psychedelics in the ecosystem, apart from and long before human use
  • The birth of James Lovelock’s Gaia theory and how real innovation & paradigm shifts can only happen outside of institutions
  • How we can recover the intelligence of the heart in the direct perception of nature
  • Visionary plant encounters & knowing plants through dreaming states
  • Aisthesis- the exchange of soul essence between two life forms 
  • The misunderstood nature, vast intelligence, and ecological necessity of bacterial & viral life forms
  • The age of miracle drugs is over, just as so many people are stepping into the world of herbalism
  • Herbs are much better able to deal with infections and disease than technological medicine is
  • Stephen’s opinion on whether or not humans, and the earth, will survive
  • What happened in the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918: “The thing we haven’t learned is the dangers of our hubris”
  • True self-empowerment v reliance on outside medical knowledge
  • The paradigm shift that happens when you realize that all around you are plants with exceptional medicine that you can learn to use
  • The process of eldering and the point when the inevitability of dying becomes predominant 
  • Herbal lineage, the march of generations, and young folks as the torch-bearers for the future of herbalism

Links:

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4. Multidimensional Plants & the Fabric of Consciousness - Asia Suler

There are countless medicinal plants and fungi out there, and among them are a special class of vision-enhancing gatekeepers to the Otherworld. These beings can expand our consciousness and allow us to perceive more than our physical senses can normally detect.

Asia Suler of One Willow Apothecaries is an herbalist, educator, and writer with a deeply layered, highly intuitive relationship to the medicine of the earth. Her incredible way with words and ability to convey complex subjects with ease have made her a highly sought after herbal teacher (lucky for us she has many online courses!). I love the plant haling and consciousness exploring aspects of our talk, but I also *really* love our conversational foray into living under patriarchy and why the nice girl trope has to die.

In the intro:

  • Bear medicine 
  • My ancient ice age grandmother & the Saami
  • Herbal Tip - drawing salves
  • "The center is the goal, and everything is directed toward that center"

In the interview:

  • How Asia’s full name is "a pretty perfect etymological encapsulation of what I ended up doing with my life”

  • Journeying to ancestral lands & how the ancestors are in the land (literally tho)

  • The fabric of the Otherworld: the limits of our senses, atomic space, the playground of consciousness, and dark matter

  • Dream visitations from the dead

  • Angelica: a visionary plant / opens portals of imagination / releasing trauma & coming in to our bodies

  • Reishi as a psychedelic, and the untapped potential of the subtle

  • Asia’s encounter with a creepy dude in the woods, #MeToo, and how being a nice girl is no longer a good evolutionary strategy for staying safe

  • Ghost Pipe as a tool for releasing ghosts

Links:

Asia's website, One Willow Apothecaries

Sylvia Lindsteadt

Sean Donahue

Rainbow Heart Beams Elixir

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker (READ IT)

Mythic Medicinals herbals

Which Magical Herb is Your Spirit Plant? quiz

Medicine Stories Facebook Group

Medicine Stories Patreon

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3. Becoming the Medicine & Seeing the Wide Arc of Time - Sophia Rose

There is a wider reality behind and beyond the everyday world, and Sophia Rose's approach to plant medicine and healing reflects this in myriad ways. From using herbs in dream work to incorporating plant smoke in ritual to connecting with departed loved ones through flowers, the natural world provides countless doorways into the unseen.

Sophia Rose is a clinically trained and magically minded folk herbalist, word weaver, and educator based in Austin, Texas. Through the long-running La Abeja Herbs and her new project Garden Party, her writing is medicine to the soul and her plant potions are medicine to the body for thousands of people worldwide. I am honored to bring some of Sophia's personal story medicine to more folks with this interview.

We talk about:

  • The archetypal energy of datura (moonflower)
  • We are holographic representations of plants
  • Dreaming with herbs
  • Working with smoke medicine
  • Seeing the wide arc of time
  • Sophia’s healing journey after a friend’s suicide
  • Intuitive grieving and grief as a sacred responsibility
  • Sophia’s radical reconceptualization of what death is
  • The last ancestor who had a whole heart
  • Your name is your first lesson
  • We work with plant medicine so that we can become the medicine

Links:

Garden Party

La Abeja Herbs

Music by Mariee Sioux (from the song Wild Eyes)

Mythic Medicinals herbals

Which Magical Herb is Your Spirit Plant? quiz

Medicine Stories Facebook Group

Medicine Stories Patreon

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2. Lost Lineages & Ever Evolving Lore - Milla Prince

As people and communities move and change with time, stories evolve and lineages are lost. But information always goes where it needs to in order to survive and resurface again when needed. Ancestral stories can guide us on our paths, and lost lineages can be remembered.

Milla Prince is an herbalist, writer, and teacher who moved from Finland, where she had been deeply immersed since childhood in ancestral plant lore from that intact tradition, to the west coast of America about 10 years ago. Her blog, newsletter, Instagram account, Fireweed & Nettle herbal medicines, and The Cauldron zine reach tens of thousands of people each month. But I knew her when... and we talk about how funny that when was, as well as touching on a large range of other topics.

We talk about:

  • The unexpected internet subculture that first brought us together
  • Bear lore and the myth that spans the northern lands and shapes Milla’s online identity
  • Baba Yaga arising in the collective consciousness right now
  • The dream that guided Milla to change her work in the world
  • The circuitous paths we take when finding ourselves
  • Ancestral medicine & being indigenous to a place
  • Cultural appropriation as a symptom of spiritual longing
  • #witch #ancestry #medicine and mimetic expression online (evolving lore!)
  • The trauma of the burning times
  • Working with ancestral lines that are lost to you

Links:

Milla