Are you a white, gray, or brown? If you’re familiar with Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings series, you’ll know I’m referring to the various rankings of the wizards mentioned throughout the books.
When it comes to the herbalist, various terms are often used to describe a person who uses food, plants, or fungi for wellness purposes, and the color “green” is a common adjective found in many of these descriptive terms.
In essence, the herbalist is a naturalist, a wise woman, a keeper of the old ways, and a healer.
Today, I would like to talk about two very distinct types of herbalists and how to flourish on the herbal path of your choosing!
Joining The Green
When it comes to “joining the green,” there is a distinction I’d like to make between those who practice herbalism and those who are called to it.
I’m a firm believer that God has given herbs to every person on this planet to use for food and wellness purposes, but I also believe that He has gifted some with a natural ability to understand and practice herbalism at a deeper level.
Let me explain.
The Family Herbalist and the Community Herbalist
Herbalism is often called “the people’s medicine” because it is accessible to all people, and it’s simple enough for the layman to understand and use—no medical or science degree necessary.
One way herbalism can come to us is through lineage, meaning it is passed down through families. For example, if your grandmother was an herbalist, she likely taught what she knew to your mother who, in turn, taught you. This is often termed as family herbalism, and it’s similar to ancient martial arts where each family has their own style, or herbal heritage, that is passed down.
Family herbalism, in its most basic form, is quite simple to learn and use. It uses local, everyday herbs for nourishment and incorporates stronger herbs when someone is sick. The family herbalist is often equipped to manage acute ailments, and their practice is centered around family members and sometimes close friends. When a situation is beyond their capabilities, they seek out guidance and help from someone more knowledgeable or experienced to help them.
Answering The Call
Another way herbalism may come to us is through a “calling.” Here in the South, a “calling” is a term that means you are supernaturally or spiritually called, or drawn, to something. Avoiding this calling will often lead to a life that lacks purpose or fulfillment creating a spiritual void in a person.
With that said, I personally believe that God has gifted each of us with specific gifts. These gifts are brought to our attention in various ways throughout our life, and it’s our job to recognize them and put them to good use. One such gift is the gift of healing, and this healing gift can take different forms. Some healing is supernatural, which is often the case with miracles, and other healing comes from knowledge gained and shared with others.
People who are “called” to healing are often naturally drawn toward healing professions, such as becoming a doctor, nurse, herbalist, midwife, counselor, massage therapist, acupuncturist, or another type of health practitioner. These people enjoy this type of work and understanding concepts comes easier to them. This type of “calling” is often an act of service, and when the calling is a true one, it’s rarely done for monetary gain or achieving success. These healers are often the ones that commit their lives to serving others. They feel deeply fulfilled and purposeful when they follow their calling. If these gifted healers do become wealthy or make a name for themselves, they do so while remaining humble and generous.
Those who are called to herbalism as a healer and serve their community are termed a community herbalist. They work with people in their local communities to support them in times of sickness and health. Like the family herbalist, they often use local herbs and know how to manage acute issues when they arise. However, their knowledge and practice of herbs typically go a bit deeper than the family herbalist’s simply because they work with many different people as well as chronic health issues. Therefore, the community herbalist must have a broader understanding of the body and how it works, of disease processes, and how herbs and other holistic practices can be used for wellness support.
Some people use herbs in their life because that’s how they were raised. Even though they may only have a surface-level understanding of herbalism, they use herbs effectively to keep their family well. Others may feel called to herbalism and choose to take their gift and passion even further, growing their knowledge and experience to a deeper level, eventually extending their gift beyond their family and out into their community.
No matter how you came to herbalism or how you choose to use it with others, one thing is true for everyone called to the green—you must develop a personal relationship with plants, and I can help you do just that.
The 2020 Session of The Art of Simpling is now Open for Enrollment
Learning ALL there is to know about herbs can become OVERWHELMING and COMPLICATED quickly. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Instead, when you focus on keeping things simple and work on developing a strong herbal foundation, learning, understanding, and retention take place. Basically, the puzzle pieces start fitting together.
One of the BEST ways I’ve found to do this is through the traditional practice of “SIMPLING.”
Simpling focuses on learning about and using a single herb in your local area for an extended period of time as a way to develop a PERSONAL relationship with the plant. In the herbal world, we call this type of relationship an “herbal ally.”
In the modern herbal world, it’s easy to rely on what others teach us about herbs a bit too much. While learning from those who’ve gone before us is a GOOD thing, if we solely rely on the knowledge and experience of others, so much that we neglect to develop our own relationship with the plants we work with, this can handicap us more than help us.
So I vote for bringing back some of our ancient traditions like simpling and drawing upon them in the modern herbal world!
Starting Monday, May 18th, I’m sharing how YOU can simplify your herbal studies through the practice of simpling, and I’m here to walk you through the process every step of the way in my 6-week herbal eCourse, The Art of Simpling.
We’ll be exploring:
- What “simpling” is
- How to use herbs safely
- How to create an herbal monograph to keep track of what you learn
- The difference between herbal actions and herbal energetics
- How to create various herbal preparations
- Getting to know herbs using your five senses
- How other herbalists have used simpling to learn about herbs
- How to compare preparations and find the best one to use
- Practices and rituals surrounding simpling
- The difference between spontaneous and applied intuition, and
- SO much more!
So throw your hands in the air, and let’s do this thing together!