Reflections from an Urban Herbalist
By Pam Fischer, August 2nd, 2011
Many herb schools are located in the sacred temple of the woods. In these places there is more immediate access to the mindfulness of the plant spirits. There the pace of life slows and we are reminded by the breeze and the buzzing of bees about the present moment. In these temples we find teachers who have created these sanctuaries from the very depth of their hearts. They magnify their love for plants and animals creating a haven in which to learn. The human spirit loves to dance and frolic in these beautiful places.
The urban school has a different flavor, often a bit more edgy and geared toward how to serve. In these spaces we attempt to carry the plant energies from wild areas back to the place of the greatest suffering and pain. In these centers we teach not just about the herbs but how to hold, protect and feed ourselves.It is a warriors path, and not right for all. The vibration quality of the city is much more maniac, constant distractions of noise, lights, and sensory stimulation creates a far different experience. The urban herbalist must carry the wild within them. The city atmosphere requires us to perceive and respond to things quickly with both compassion and urgency all while staying grounded and centered. No easy task in the midst of so many distractions. Urban schools are also a creation from the hearts of the teachers and the manifestation of their work in the world. The urban herbalist is edgy and forthright…a reflection of the world in which they walk.
Mother Theresa work to relieve pain and suffering called her to the most impoverished areas of India, many carry on her work as nameless army doing amazing things to transform the state of the world. The urban herbalist are doing no less in the trenches of the inner city.
We are a hand in timesof cultural mental illness that provide type of sanity and direction to healing. It is not our task to care for (creating dependence) rather to enable all to care for themselves physically, mentally and spiritually (creating independence). We are herbalist, but also counselors, social workers, botanists, chemists and visionaries. We often feel inadequate to the task at hand, but are called forth to spite this feeling to that of the world needs.
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