One of the most fascinating aspect of working with plants is the how and why of what they do in the human body. I’m the sort of person who is endlessly (and perhaps annoyingly) curious, like an eternal four year old asking everyone –why– about even the most obvious aspects of the world around me.
For this reason, I spend a significant amount of time reading medical and botanical research. It’s the same reason I spend even more time up close and personal with plants and people. All the research in the world can’t begin to replace personal experience and the knowledge that stems from it. Herbalism is, by it’s very definition, a healing art comprised of many overlapping and complimentary fields. From the essential knowledge of how to identify each plant to knowing how and when to harvest to how to prepare medicines to client assessment and diagnostics, herbalists tend to be flexible and broadly knowledgeable folks.
When I first began studying herbalism, I was particularly fascinated by Traditional Chinese Medicine and the way TCM practitioners could match plant to person in such specific and accurate way. Which led me to an extensive look at the energetic systems of many traditional forms of herbal medicine around the world. Which brought me right back here, to my senses and the plants around me. Looking at the underlying principles of all forms of herbal energetics, we can easily see that it is our senses that inform of us of the basic nature of each plant. Feeling and understanding what the plant communicates to us through our bodies (energetics, herbal actions etc.) is a foundational element for the practicing herbalist, just as a working knowledge of botany, diagnostics, harvesting and medicine making (among other things) are also essential.
The way I understand, practice and teach herbalism is simple, common sense and experience-based. I don’t know any other way of doing it. Human physiology and the plants themselves are so incredibly complex and intricate, that it makes sense to me to approach both elements in as practical terms as possible. This means learning what works and passing it on while adapting to the current context and needs. No extraneous fluff or hubris, no bullshit, just what really works for herbalists, the plants they ally with and the folks they help.
The more I’ve written about herbs and their energetics the more emails I’ve received asking for ever more detailed articles about how to understand and use herbal energetics. For many people, reading is a less than ideal format for comprehending and integrating such experiential lessons. I’ve found that teaching energetics/actions tends to be much more effective in person and yet, living in such a remote location I have limited chances to work with people face to face.
So when John Gallagher of Learningherbs.com proposed that we put together an online course focused on sense-based herbal energetics I jumped at the opportunity. John, with his genius for bringing together many elements into an integrated and interactive whole, has made it possible to make a truly multi-media and multi-faceted way of learning widely available. The format he’s created is amazing and really fits into my emphasis on simple and straight-forward, making the information that much easier to learn and utilize.
John traveled all the way to southwestern New Mexico from Washington state to film and record the course so it could be based right here in the Canyon, on the land that has inspired and fueled so much of my teaching and work. In fact, nearly all of it was recorded right on our cabin’s back porch. We even had a little help from Rhiannon in showing us exactly how energetics work and how easy they are to understand and learn.
I hope that if you’re interested in learning more about sense-based herbal energetics you’ll take the time to check this out and PLEASE pass on the information through your blog, facebook, twitter etc., to anyone else you think might benefit from the course! Many thanks in advance for your assistance in getting the word out!
P.S. If you’re interested in hands-on herbal energetics, you’ll also be wanting to check out herbalist and teacher Rosalee de la Foret’s totally free The Taste of Herbs webinar, which you can sign up for right here: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/223964474