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Herbalism as Soul Care

When I left conventional medicine in 2015 it was the heartbeat of the plants and the Earth aligning with the pulse of my own heart that I followed.

For years, I tried to find a way to be an herbalist using the framework of care I learned as a nurse. When that wasn't working, I became certified as a holistic nurse to help me frame the clinical relationship in something even more integrated and whole.

When that still didn't work, I had to take a big step back. I stopped teaching herbal classes. I stopped taking new herbalism clients. I tried a hundred ways to reimagine my role as a clinical hebalist. Nothing felt right. Like a plant sending out dozens of rootlets in all directions searching for water, minerals and nutrients, and then culling the roots on fruitless paths, I was doing a lot of culling.

Where I found nourishment was in the Soul Care Sessions I was offering clients. Sitting in the deep heart of their spiritual lives with them, watching their radiance and beauty step forward from behind well-cultivated masks of performance, my clients were teaching me about my own radiance and deep, whole, integrated self. They were showing me the way to healing through their authenticity, in the same way the plants did. I fell in love with the plants because they were so real, so authentic, so close to the Truth of life...just like our innermost selves.

Sitting in a well-cultivated performance of healer/herbalist/nurse/teacher, I couldn't find my own authentic radiance. I could only find the pressure and expectation that came from performance. I desperately longed to bring the expansive authenticity of Soul Care into the way I helped people connect with plants, but I couldn't find my way there.

Suddenly I understood. I couldn't be a clinical herbalist. That was not a posture that my authentic self could take without discomfort. I could, however, be a community herbalist. I could be curious, connected, excited and in love with the authentic plant and the authentic person and still be my authentic self. Imperfect, limited, fallible, curious, hopeful, enchanted, soulful. All the things I never felt like I could be while being "clinical." I realize that most clinical herbalists don't carry the trauma and baggage of being a practitioner of conventional medicine, and so this reframing may never even present as a problem for them, but for me it was making clinical herbalism impossible.

Once I understood that my herbalism practice could include dreamwork, plant sits, rituals, plant walks, encouraging plant communication in a way that keeps the client and myself looking to the plants as healer, teacher, and guide, I could just be a curious facilitator and companion-in the same way I am in Soul Care Sessions. This has been so liberating for me, as I really do see myself mostly as a facilitator of enchantment and a companion to those who seek depth, authenticity, interconnectedness and healing through belonging.

Even though I call myself a community herbalist these days, I feel more like a tour guide or excited traveling companion, carrying a lamp and a map and a field guide while my clients and I reverently approach the plant teachers and healers for their wisdom. And this way of being feels so much better and so much freer, for all of us.

As I am learning this new way of being with plants and people through Intuitive Herbalism Sessions and Herbal Mentoring Sessions I am feeling walls within me crumbling to make space for new and emergent possibilities. My practice of herbalism is mirroring my practice of soul care, as a way to locate, highlight, celebrate and encourage authenticity and inner radiance and wholeness-both within myself and within the community of beings to whom I belong.

If someone is looking for an herbalist to tell them which plants to take for which symptoms/ailments, I am not that peson. But if someone is seeking a deeper relationship with their own heart and spirit through learning from the wisdom and skillfulness of the plants as teachers and healers, I would love to be a companion on that journey, and introduce folks to some of my wise, kind, gentle, powerful plant friends who may be able to help.

There are many ways to connect to this work of weaving plants and people together in relationshps rooted in the heart and authenticity. To connect to my personal thread in this tapestry (there are MANY humans doing this work!), you could listen to my podcast, subscribe to my Substack or Patreon, or schedule a session for Soul Care or Herbalism, available in person or by Zoom. Supporting my work through Substack and Patreon is what allows me to offer low-cost sliding scale payment options for sessions, and it also powers the podcast. I am so eteranlly grateful to all of my monthly patrons.

To my clients who are reading this update, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have taught me so much about truth, wholeness, courage, and the perfect, incorruptible, untouchable and loving nature of the essence at the center of all of us. It is that essence that aligns so perfectly with the wisdom of the plants. When we make relationships from that place of wisdom and wholenss, anything is possible.


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