Becoming a Community Herbalist

by Shantree Kacera, R.H, D.N., Ph.D. Just as the flowers grow from the earth, so the remedy grows in the hands of the physician. The remedy is nothing but a seed that must develop into that which is destined to be. ~Paracelsus The Path of the Herbalist Community herbalists are deeply immersed in the plant community. They know which native or local wild plants can help and which ones are to be avoided. A community herbalist uses more of a folk or traditional approach, which means a deeper heartfelt approach and an emphasis on the interconnection between the plants, the individual, and the movement of the five elements in the environment. A community herbalist is predominantly concerned with the people, the plants, the natural landscape. This speaks of a healing path with heart. Community herbalists look more at the energetics of herbs – whether they’re warming you or cooling you down, whether they’re moistening or drying you. Traditionally, the community herbalist was the shaman, someone in tune not only with the plants and body but also with the energies of the bodies, places and plants. Their healing practices involved considerably more than the traditional, allopathic “treat the symptom” approach. Personally … Read more

Bliss – Living the Life You Were Born To

Every child knows that they are special, with unique gifts to offer the world. Dreams and imagination run wild in their untamed hearts as they prepare for a life of creativity, joy and fulfillment. So what happens along the way that so many lose their inner trust and passion? Why have we made spirited ecstasy – something that is so essential to the healthy development of our lives, relationships, and ecology – an endangered experience– and how do we reclaim this birthright? Bliss – that illusive experience that everyone is seeking yet so few people are experiencing on a regular basis – if at all. We may feel content in our lives, but it seems that feeling fully alive, creative and enthusiastic, often has to be put on the back burner, saved for weekends or that special trip. The weekend comes and goes, the trip comes and goes, the ‘thing’ you bought that you were so excited about just becomes another ‘thing’, and we all silently agree that this is just the way life is. So we work diligently on a spiritual practice hoping it will help us love whatever is happening in our lives. Certainly this is a good … Read more

On Pleasure and Interbeing

We are in a tight situation on planet Earth – our home. We need a new story. Not a tweeking of the old story, because it isn’t working – but a New story. The old story is born from a consciousness of separation. Humans over nature – each other and anything else we can think of. The new story has to be about Interbeing. Many of you will agree with this statement. Some will wonder what in the heck I’m talking about. After all – ‘Hasn’t it always been this way. Man versus nature?’ I say No – these are simply choices we’ve made based on beliefs that have turned into ‘truths’ It hasn’t always been man versus nature. Human’s used to live in harmony with nature, and some cultures still do. Honoring the cycles and respecting the limitations of Her bounty. Always aware to give back when you take. So what has happened that we have become so disconnected that we are destroying the very life systems that we depend upon? If an alien was watching us, they would say that this reeks of ‘insanity’. Yet, we see our actions as normal. The quest for power over & acquisition … Read more

Shifting the Paradigm – 

Pattern Language of Plant Medicine

Energetic Herbalism: Understanding Pattern Language & Plant Intelligence
 We are living in a fast-paced world where there is a great need for shifting the paradigm. The plant world can help us do that very well, by integrating local, wild and native plants that grow all around us into our lives. Their form of communication is the chemistry – the nutrients that move and circulate through the plant. This is what shifts an individual when the individual takes the right plant at the right moment in time. The energetic system of herbal medicine and energetics is pretty much universal throughout the world’s great systems of herbal medicine. Whether you’re talking about Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Unani-Tibb, Campo from Japan, Jammu from Indonesia, Cherokee Medicine, whatever tradition we’re talking about, there’s usually a system of energetics and this is how you match the herb to the person. Hippocrates said more than 2000 years ago, it’s more important to know the person that has the disease than the disease the person has. He was right. And so, what you get with a lot of American herbal medicine up until relatively recently, is “this herb’s good for a headache”, “this herb’s good for depression”.One … Read more

Spiritual Ecology, Rewilding & Permaculture

What is Spiritual Ecology in Action? Spiritual Ecology…is about sticking our hands in the soil – feeling into the roots of social and environmental issues – cultivating a deeper relationship with life that reflects the interconnectedness of all life. The Four Principles of Spiritual Ecology: Interconnectedness Reverence for Nature Stewardship Service How can these principles be rooted in our lives and what are the opportunities and challenges taking these principles into the environmental, social and spiritual movements? What are Rewilding and Permaculture? Rewilding is an ecological awareness idea that is gradually gaining momentum within environmental circles, and it bears significant comparison with some of permaculture’s guiding principles. Permaculture emphasizes the preservation of natural ecosystems and making efforts to repair ecosystems that have been damaged by human activity. Rewilding also proposes people taking a proactive approach to assist natural ecosystems to retain their former diversity and abundance – which have been curtailed by human encroachment on the land. Wilderness management as it is currently practiced seeks to somehow contain or suppress natural processes or managing the environment for the benefit of a single species, rewinding proposes letting nature re-find its own balance – in many ways letting the land turned back … Read more

The Alchemy of Imagination

Who are you choosing to be? What kind of life will you create for 2019? These questions may sound a little corny or naive. But, in fact they are real. We live in a sphere of free will. We have choice. The world we live in now is the result of billions of choices made by people like you and me. We are designed to be the alchemist of our lives. We do it every day in the thoughts we think, the beliefs we hold true and the feelings that empower our beliefs to make them reality. The thing is, most of our beliefs we did not consciously choose. They came from our culture, our family and friends. With the global situation pressing in, coupled with the heightened spiritual energy that is now on the planet because of the inner work so many are doing, people are waking up and asking questions. ‘Who am I – really? What do I believe? What do I stand for in a world that is falling apart?’ And how can I contribute to the new world that is emerging. After all, when something falls apart it is because something else is seeking to emerge. … Read more

The Regenerative Power of Native Plants

Bioregional herbalism originates from the concept that a truly wholistic style of regenerative medicine needs to draw on accessible natural resources within an individual’s local area. This means that the herbs you take do not make extra stress of resources in terms of manufacture and transportation. Many traditional herbal educators and practitioners believe that any health imbalance is best treated within the same environment where the illness originated. Bioregional herbalism is ecological herbalism at its core. I consider this an essential element in supporting the paradigm shift towards a regenerative future. This is a novel notion since we are used to seeing national and even international studies recommending a specific herb as the cure-all for a specific disease, even if that herb grows best only in a narrow corner of the globe. Bioregional herbalism encourages people to learn which herbal healing resources grow naturally in their specific area and to draw on those resources. One example of this, if you had a fungal infection popular herbalism you may decide to reach for Tea Tree Oil that comes from Australia. What resources does it take to bottle that herb and transport it to me? Now wisdom tells us that the people … Read more