So welcome to my Herbalism Exploration Blog. I will be getting this blog going and selecting a look etc., but I wanted to give this a new start and, seeing as this is the first day of my 10th year of sobriety, I thought this would be auspicious to begin. Also seeing as the Sun is right on my descendant and starting to “rise” as it looks in the wheel of my chart.
I thought I would start quickly by blogging about how fulfilling it is to be reading Susun Weed’s Healing-Wise at the moment. I happen to be overcoming a cold bug, and I am “gifted” with a dry cough for the time being. A natural food store owner suggested I try using oil of oregano and wild cherry bark extract, which do seem to be adding some good stuff into the mix. I referred to this briefly in my last post on Troy-Albany Trance-Formations (which I do intent on continuing). I just got an inspiration though, to start a new blog on the herbalism because the material I’m reading is so delicious I have to put my thoughts together in some format and expand on it later.
So, to begin: I have finished the first section of Susun Weed’s Healing Wise. I only have one negative impression which I share now: I must confess that because of my spiritual work, when I read a screed against something or other I now check out. My own experience of outrage and righteousness has been that of a verring off-course in my life. I put so much focus on “They did this to me!” and having been hurt/brutalized and I get stuck. I felt that way reading Ms. Weed’s views on the “heroic” school of herbalism. Now, I’m not going to take issue with the subject of what she elucidates. I certainly have my own experiences that are similar. My concern is the how and the where do we go from here. The how seems to be a retrenching and an obdurate stubbornness that keeps brittleness going, and I basically skimmed over it having read fem-ifestos like it in the past.
Perhaps I’m being dismissive, but I have my own experience of the pathocracy, and it’s moved well away from being a male-female imbalance to one of a shoring up of elitism. I can’t really buy off on the idea that it’s all a male thing anymore, having come across quite a few female JD psychopaths. (JD: Juris Doctor, Jelly donut, Jack Daniels, Juvenile Delinquent.) Ponerology knows no gender, no race, no sexuality differences. Rush Limbaugh is Sarah Palin, n’est-ce pas? Qlippoth characters wear many shell-faces. Jehovahsatan is satanjehovah. Why put a focus on that?
I put that up front because it was the one segment I found less than helpful, though I did enjoy the discussion of the “manly” herbs of lobelia, goldenseal and cayenne. And that distorted masculine approach toward “if it tastes bad, it’s good for you” which I’ve discovered is such a lie. Annemarie Colbin in her amazing Food and Healing says that one of the food groups we all must avoid is “food that’s good for you.” There is no reason that healthy food can’t be de-frickin’-licious. The least effective diet is the heroic one. Blech!
And in regards to the scientiric and Wise Woman traditions, I had a better time of it. She seems pretty objective re: the scientific approach, elucidating that unconscious introjected Calvinism that underlies so much of the antiseptic in science. But also pointing to the work of Bernie Siegel, for example (and Stephen Levine is another who comes to mind), who can see a both-and approach with science. Awareness of Ken Wilber’s notion of the pre-trans fallacy helps me here, in that the scientific/rational errs when encountering thoughts and observations that start from the rational but then move to the transrational by deriding such as “magickal thinking.” The rational frequently mistakes the trans for the pre; yet a spiritual understanding of interwovenness doesn’t fall into the pre-, because it acknowledges the rational and includes it. This understanding suffuses Weed’s understanding of where the scientific tradition can go, when it releases the body-as-machine metaphor. Still, that viewpoint is rife in our mechanized and DIY mindset, which also gives rise to looking for the standardized and the OTC. (And I’m just as guilty of looking for short-cuts as anyone.)
Weed’s delightful understanding of the unique as essential to the WW trad brought a smile to my face. In the rooms of 12-step fellowships we do talk of “terminal uniqueness.” Or what I’ve come to think of as exclusvely special uniqueness. WWT looks at a person’s uniqueness as more of an ordinary miracle. And miracles in my life have become ordinary. I am tempted to start to relate this to my life here, but I will refrain from it in this blog (and use Troy-Albany Trance instead… maybe, if I remember). I appreciate that WWT more or less tailor-makes remedies to the individual in all his or her parts. That makes a deeper sense to me than just treating me or anyone else as yet another pain-sufferer.
I appreciated the idea too of WW Trad as loving rough. (As opposed to tough, which seems to be borderline abusive in my own experience anyway. It’s one thing to tough-love a drunk who won’t help themselves. It’s another to apply it to a gay person or somebody whose values don’t align with the vEmpirous culture at large.) I know from my own experience too that I need sometimes to “twist in the wind” a little. Sometimes a little bit of cruelty or harshness is required for a healing to take place. A firm slap to the face can save a person’s life.
The observations underlying the foundation of the WW tradition will be useful to return to again and again. Just to outline them helps:
- Who Is This Old, Crippled Black Woman?
- The WWT Is Invisible
- The WWT Is a Sprial
- The WWT Is Woman-Centered
- The Power of the Void
- The WWT Heals with Nourishment
- Blood Mysteries
- Holographic Understanding Is the WW Way
- The WWT Says Health/Wholeness/Holiness is Ever Changing
- The WWT Is a Both/And Universe
- The WWT Is Heart-Centered
- The WWT Loves Rough
- The WWT Insists on Uniqueness
- There Are No Diseases in the WWT
- The WW Never Asks Why
- There Are No Cures in the WWT
- There Are No Rules in the WWT
- There Are No Healers in the WWT
- Optimal Nourishment
- The WWT Is a Simple Approach
- The WW, Witch Doctor, Green Witch
Reading the book while laying in bed resting, I started to muse about all the different areas of interest I had as a boy. I wanted to be a priest, a healer/doctor, a writer and, although I didn’t say anything about it at the time, a diviner/soothsayer. The first time I saw tarot cards I said “I want those,” and my mother said, “those are tools of the devil.” Case closed, needless to say. In college, I did get them of course, and the tarot and other forms of divination have been my friends ever since.
Anyway, the healer aspect fell by the wayside in college. At the time I could only see the MD route and that wasn’t for me. I didn’t know about naturopathy and homeopathy and complementary medicines. I wouldn’t have been exploring them anyway though, since I became bitten by the fame-as-a-writer bug which also wasn’t me but I didn’t wake up to it until I got rid of all the excess weight.
And now that I’ve kicked away the vestiges of cocoon that had been dragging at this new butterfly-man that has emerged from the chrysalis broken by my magickal explorations, I now see that I’m meant to be a multitalented generalist fellow. The wings of this God that are hardening right now include some healer panels as well as a few others that I had not known of before now. A warrior panel is also becoming more pronounced, and its a warrior with compassion, in his own fashion a healer as well. Also a scientist panel, though one who is approaching science from a place of meditation and really slowing down to the awareness of the breath and the radiance of that acceptance outwards.
Understanding the WWT as opposed to the heroic and scientific traditions goes a long way toward some self-understanding that has long eluded me and that affected a number of areas of my life–particularly those that clashed with the resonating tones of this God. Much of that which no longer works with my energy has vibrated away now, and I’m left with me.
Ms. Weed’s book opened my awareness to take in that I am someone who has long sought to understand the lessons through establishing dialogue with the “bad” parts of myself. I see that yes, I have erred in not saying “no” to certain experiences. But I have not received the nourishment I have desired with the yeses I’ve said either. And nourishment is the dominant theme in my life since I started a journey into abstinence from sugar and flour.
Acceptance is the answer to all of my problems, as it says in the Big Book of AA and that provides the fundament of being. The type of healer I am is one who accepts rather than seeks heroics or a cool scientific approach. I see the value of the other two, but they don’t fit this God very well. No, not when I contemplate the fact that a lot of “healthy” people don’t have lives I particularly want for myself. This culture’s idea of health… well, let’s just say that the pathologies everywhere around us give lie to the idea of anything that is held up as “healthy.”
Yet I am here, and I must live with its twisty-turny contours that have also shaped who I am into this amazing collage of wowza! I am a fractal of this culture dying on the vine (vEmpire) and the new butterfly emergent from the cocoon. I forget the name of the type of cell that appears on the caterpillar’s body when the time has come to form the chrysalis. The caterpillar is alarmed at the appearance of these cells, understanding that it is about the death of the form without understanding it. So the caterpillar, voracious as ever, tries to gnaw the cells off, but more and more appear and then they force the caterpillar to start the spinning which will turn the body into the grey goo matter to be reconfigured inside the cocoon. I see our culture that way. I have been going through my own transformation, and have found myself in the landing pad that is my safe-space. I am here to help others on the way to their own beauteous butterfly selves, but also as one of these cells on the body politic, of the vEmpire’s ever-devouring caterpillar body that needs to cocoon itself into a new quietude and obliterate itself to form the next gorgeous culture that will emerge some day.
Well, this went a bit far afield. Still, I think this is a promising beginning. Welcome to Frostwolf Pines, a foresty breath of the wilderness coming your way.