Monday, August 25, 2008

Come and gone: the reverberations of another WHC

The Women's Herbal Conference of 2008 has come and gone. The bliss of the weekend fills one up full of wonder, hope and strength. Herbal knowledge flows and community thrives. Under the guise of learning herbal healing, what really happens here often has little to do with the collecting of facts - that's just the lacy edge. What really happens is that the soul begins to sew together the torn seams of spirit, of joy, sisterhood and self identity. Missing threads re-appear, often in the most unsuspecting moments. They jump out from women you are destined to meet, a song that unlocks the tears you forgot to cry, or in the moment you loose yourself to the rhythm of the dragonflies. Sometimes it pounds you back to your center when the drums begin to thunder, or unearths while walking blindfolded, hand in hand through the forest; a scale of a snake made of thirty wild women; and the world's constriction dissolves.
Half Moon lake holds the prayers of the women, girls and children who attend each year. The plants grow wild and unencumbered here. The wild blueberries ripe and sweet, the elder drips with copious amounts of fruit, the goldenrod scents the air with honey, and skullcap sneaks into the moist and shady pockets.
And yet the return to life brings the deepest sorrow imaginable. Despite the comparatively 'fine' life I have, fine seems unacceptable. Fine seems more like doom. Filled with bills and deadlines and obligations and 'shoulds', injected with laws and societal expectations, and self inflicted limitations, I spend this in between day to both grieve and to effort myself back to alleged reality. While home is an essential foundation for me - the deeper sense of home meaning rooted in one's being always and often through connection to land or place - 'home' in the modern sense of house laundry mortgage and work is truly the dessication of my spirit. Perhaps this is what happens when the 'home' you arrange, is not aligned with the inner home that your soul is; not aligned with your purpose, needs, and venues of gifts and expressions. Perhaps it is through this misalignment that we become trapped in a vicious cycle of obligatory gratitude and deep despondency. Life traps life in unforgiving ways. Life allows room for only a couple passions at a time.

This phase now holds lessons and mysteries yet to be revealed. I will teach, learn, organize, and sequence. And like a vulture I'll tout the others who reflect most truthfully what I believe, what I do even when you can't see that I'm doing it, when my hands don't hold clay, when I don't have a stage or platform or mic for y'all to hear me, it's what I do, if nothing but vicariously for now. It's political, it's ferocious, it's excruciatingly odd and beautiful. I'll push and bark the women doing it in visible and sonic forms so that it happens. It's got to continue.

So I'll say that the most powerful experience this weekend indeed had little to do with plants (because we know that plants can be the messengers) but had everything to do with art, sound, expression, authenticity, and powerful craft. I'll do what I can to get it to you, too. Do yourself a big favor and book yourself for a show, book a show at your own conference or gathering, and pick up their cd's ......... Rising Appalachia, Leah and Chloe: sisters of Alchemy:

While being anointed with the astonishing sounds of these Appalachian soul sisters, I grew roots. I may have even gotten drunk on the intoxicating rhythms, caramelized harmonies and side splitting humor. My feet pressed closer to the earth and my wings flew me across each mountain and valley of lyrical habitats and cultural diversity. My breath rounded and my latent artist heart began to beat again. Partaking in their 'singing out your soul' workshop we danced, sculpted layered sounds, learned celebratory songs from around the globe, and opened our creative lungs together. I'll be singing these tunes forever. Leah and Chloe if only you knew the vast ripples your droplets make.

So I leave you with an order and a warning: Don't go without travelling on their song journeys, but beware of their resuscitating power.


K. Arana, proprietress, chp said...

What a wonderful post! I have been mired in self-doubt, solitary work and the day-to-day grind of responsibilities.

Any WAHM knows my lament - still, regardless, our children shine and inspire us. And little things glisten and glimmer, remind us to stop for a moment in the chaotic day and breathe...I look for those pockets of inspiration to keep me going.

Rising Appalachia is AMAZING! Thank you for sharing their music. I'm an instant admirer! I'm going to link them on my blog as well, so we can spread the power of their harmony. Woot!

Ms Thistle

Anonymous said...

Wow... I am nearly breathless, this post is so poignant. Your writing here is succulant, hypnotic; you have a gift for taking the intangible and making it live and breathe in words. Wow. I know well that precious space created by women gathering under the auspices of "learning the plants" (from our own women's herbal symposium in Northern California), but I've never been able to put the magic into words.
(Speaking of words... thank you so so so much for the blog nomination... it is such a shot of love and support, coming at the absolute perfect moment, when I am working at saying "no" to other things in my life so that my blog and nascent herbal business may flourish. It's soooo hard for me to say no to anything- it seems cruel to me that life only gives us so many hours, so many days, and we must prioritize one thing over another- and your support is a real affirmation from the universe that I doing the right thing at the right time!)
xoxo much love!!! xoxo

Yarrow said...

This post is so amazing! I agree with kitchenwitch, your writing is awe inspiring. I felt as though I was right there with you. Thank you for sharing it all with us. Many blessings,


The Plant Whisperer said...

Thank you so much for your heartfelt responses. Indeed a diffucult circumstance both personally and culturally. Perhaps our writing about them will cultivate avenues for change and growth.

KW - you are welcome :)

Many Green Blessings and groovy tunes to boot. Enjoy