Thursday, January 31, 2013

Announcing: Free Sample Issue of Plant Healer Magazine!

A Gorgeous and Generous Offering to our Community, from Kiva Rose and the Anima Lifeways School. I personally recommend making sure you have every single issue of this historic (and growing) collection of plant medicine knowledge, practice, and art.
Enjoy! --Love, Ananda

Announcing: A Free Sample Issue of Plant Healer Magazine PDF Download Gift 

140 Pages, 20 Complete Articles, Over 250 Illustrations

“Plant Healer is amazing... the most beautiful magazine I’ve ever seen, bar none!” -Phyllis Light

Plant Healer Magazine Free Sample -

We’re giving away a free 140 pages long Plant Healer Magazine Sample – the size of a small book! Those of you who subscribe, will have already read the 20 articles that appear in their entirety here, but now the rest of you can get also get a feel for the “Magazine Different”... while taking advantage of this gift of valuable information for anyone interested in herbalism, wildcrafting or foraging articles:

Jesse Wolf Hardin: For The Love of Plant Lovers 
Choosing An Herbal School 
Herbal School Directory 
Paul Bergner: Critical Thinking For The Herbalist 
Phyllis Light: Tree of Life 
Rebecca Altman: In Defense of The Quick-Fix 
Stories of The Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous 
Herbalism On The Frontier: J. I. Lighthall
 The Art of Plant Healer: Ernst Haeckel 
Herbalpreneurship & Making a Business Plan 
Kristin Brown: Make Your Own Herbal First-Aid Kit 
Jesse Wolf Hardin: Finding Your Path in Herbalism 
Matthew Wood: The Lymph/Immune System 
Juliet Blankespoor: Growing Medicinal Herbs in Containers 
Sam Thayer: Wild Rice 
Loba: Harvesting & Drying Wild Plants 
Susun Weed: Edible Seeds 
Robin Rose Bennett: Everything is Medicine 
Kiva Rose: Exploring Traditional Models of the Healer’s Practice

Please help yourself to this PDF download, and share it with others. Unlike the Plant Healer subscriber download codes, this link in unmonitored and free for all.

Free Download:

"This is the first publication I've seen in my 38-year career that captures the wild diversity of herbalism in North America while still reflecting excellence and high-level practice... points of view from many regions, traditions, and schools of thought.. for the practicing herbalist from entry level to advanced, inclusively." -Paul Bergner

Plant Healer Described

If you didn’t already know, Plant Healer is the largest, most comprehensive publication ever created for the herbalist and forager communities, a quarterly PDF over 250 pages per issue long, a yearly total of over 1,000 full color pages covering the practice, history, culture and art of folk herbalism as well as wild foods foraging. Plant Healer combines cutting edge science with heartful intuitive practice, practical skills that enable and personal stories that inspire. Enjoy a diverse range of articles on everything from botany and cultivation to wildcrafting and traditional foods recipes, from diagnostics and treatments to coverage of regulations and the history of herbalism, from herbs for expecting mothers and tools for starting an herbal business, to plant art and herbalist fiction. Contributors include:

Paul Bergner, Matthew Wood, Kiva Rose, Phyllis Light, Jim McDonald, 7Song, Sam Thayer, Loba, David Hoffman, Susun Weed, Christa Sinadinos, Juliet Blankespoor, Sam Coffman, Robin Rose Bennett, Sean Donahue, Rebecca Altman, Rosemary Gladstar, Christophe Bernard, Henriette Kress, Kristine Brown, Virginia Adi, Wendy Petty, Mélanie Pulla, Traci Picard, Darcey Blue French, Renee Davis, Susan Leopold, Sabrina Lutes, Catherine Skipper, Sarah Baldwin, Sophia Rose, Katheryn Langelier, Charles “Doc” Garcia, Kiva and Wolf... and many, many more.

Plant Healer Advertising
Plant Healer Magazine provides unique advertising opportunities for businesses, schools and causes we support, reaching a focused and impassioned readership of thousands that includes professional practitioners as well as herb loving consumers. Ad space is also available separately in the Plant Healer Annual book series. For full details please go to the website and download the Plant Healer Media Kit.

Submitting Your Work to Plant Healer
We encourage submissions of compelling artwork and photography, as well as of quality, previously unpublished articles for any of Plant Healer’s many departments. For full details please go to the website and download the Submission Guidelines.

To subscribe, advertise in, or submit you work to Plant Healer, please go the appropriate pages on the website:

To Download Your Free Magazine, Click On:
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Monday, January 21, 2013

The Portal of the Senses

The Portal of the Senses

Romancing the Plants


I can’t seem to keep my nose out of anything. I smell my friends, my kitchen mugs, my mail, my cat ….. I may as well have born with whiskers. My sense of smell is on equal footing with the rest of my senses. Even though it doesn't drive my car or find my keys when they’re lost, they are without a doubt navigating me through life.

As I kneel by the cold rushing river with the newly warmed rays of sun beating down on my winter skin, I let the world enter my body. I deeply Inhale the effervescence of the humid air, I feel the resins lured from the bark by the warmth and reach wide from the tree trunks as if to court the fairies with their perfume, the earthly expressions of the moment speak to me in a wordless language. I am touched by the elements; the air in my eyelashes, the moss warming in my hand, the humming of stone, the secrets of the soil. Animated in my nerves is the life force of the land.

My pulse, perhaps synchronizing with the memories of drums or churning of magma. My iron blood hears stories in the rocks. Medicine drips, milky and bitter, from collected stems, sticking unapologetically to my fingers. Cleavers tags along on my hem, while thorns give warning to slow down. Soggy leaves hide waking pupa. It still might snow. It would be a cruel thing for the fruit trees, but humbling yet again for us two-leggeds with the curse of hubris. In the meantime, my mouth gives health orders:  green, yellow, sharp, salty, sour and bitter! I listen. I eat.

In the same way my eyes feast on flowers and my skin drinks in rivers, my skin dessert is touch and my emotions ride the waves of ecstasy through plant oils. Delicate honeyed Elder flowers, sexy Jasmine absolute, the enlightenment of Rose attar, and the seduction of a good, dark patchouli. I’m servant to the muse and the nuance of emotional evocation. Goddesses call to me, stories write themselves, images dance in my mind. My heart pumps and moves closer to the little bottles of heaven, asking for more. More linden, more fir, more amber. Yes.

Rapture of the senses lets me sink. Beyond the forces of duty, of chore, of old wounds. Sinking like a shaman’s journey down a wet root into a sacred spring where the wise woman waits. She touches my throat with her herbal wand, invites me to rest my burdens in the salty pool. Gems and singing minerals glisten as I breathe. I breathe in the memories of Juniper. The touch of tulsi on my arms and legs. The splash of the water ceremony and lingering smoke of palo santo. Memories of Artemisia bundles and blue glass bowls and women shivering and hugging and laughing. Sandalwood oil soft on my feet helps me stand. I’m wrapped in a warm flax blanket and handed a blank book, with a wooden pencil. In my portal, through my senses, I am taught, healed, loved, touched, safe, connected, and ripe with possibility. Experience becomes play, skill flirts with luck, and joy sneaks up on me often.



For pleasure medicine or a sensory journey of your own, see my new botanical perfumes at my Aromatic Apothecary:

Cocoa ~ Rose ~ Ambrette

Elderflower ~ Rose ~ Silver Fir 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Grit, Glamour, and Staying Grounded Through the Evolution of Personal Dharma.

I always smell roses when my mom is thinking of me.

I had the pleasure of a two hour tea date alone with my Mama yesterday. This is a rare delicacy of time.

We seated ourselves at a rustic table inside a posh little Noho cafe and displayed African Elixir tea, ginger beer, carrot cake, and feta laden Greek salad in front of us.

My mom and I can't spend much time on small talk. It's boring. We go right to the gritty stuff in life. I love that about her - us.

Most of you know already that my Mama is my first herbal mentor. You can skip this paragraph if you've heard my story before. She began training me when I was very young - encapsulating chaparral powder and hoarding stevia before they were banned from the shelves. I have real-time vivid memories of these experiences which are very much based in my olfactory sense. She taught me how to use bitters for clearing up acne, how to do abhyanga. How to do Maya abdominal self massage and herbs for womb care. She helped midwife my children into the world and counseled me through marital and parental bumps. She taught me transcendental meditation, how to make nourishing soup, kombucha, creams, salves, how to talk with plant spirits, and most of what I know at my bone-deep levels about herbal medicine, potion crafting, and self-care. We continue to teach and inspire each other.

So here we sit, me at 37 and her: ageless. Her unruly red curls light up her emerald green eyes and mischievous yet honest smile. I spill my current thoughts as she listens, nods, laughs. I kvetch about not knowing the next step in my work, and about the uncertainties of life. She reminds me that our Dharma isn't always a one-terrain path ... that we can have three or four or more. That often they even seem 'different' but are actually evolutions of itself, blossoming through time. What was once my Dharma may or may not still look the same as it did, but it is not discarded or useless or disconnected. It was the previous terrain on my very own path - not separate.

Wikipedia says this about Dharma  "As well as referring to Law in the universal or abstract sense dharma designates those behaviours considered necessary for the maintenance of the natural order of things.[2] Therefore dharma may encompass ideas such as duty,[3] vocation, religion and everything that is considered correct, proper or decent behaviour."

While Wiki's description seems to infer some degree of martyrdom, my take on it is that Dharma is about us aligning with our most whole sense of purpose and love in life, and are in alignment with our truth, values, and daily actions and spiritual practices. It is not a destination but a flow and a practice of decisions.

Perhaps the "mid-life crisis" time is an opportunity to see where your longing is leading you. Where you have left off and want to pick up. Where you are going and whether you re-commit, or change course, or integrate.

What castles have I built? Are they strong? Beautiful? Functional?

Have I considered my happiness enough?

Am I joyful and satisfied with the results of difficult sacrifices I have made - for my family, my children.... ?

Do I experience love in my life every day?

Do I see myself embracing a future deserving of my energy?

At first, when my Mama asked me (of my work evolution questionings) what in my heart spoke of my truth, my Dharma? .... I answered that I do not know, because I am living a life of choice that is not my first Dharma. That I must be deliberate because of this, and often times this is not a heart-intuitive process at all, but a heart-logical one.

Yet that is absurdity. All my accidents and my choices - even the most heart wrenchingly devastatingly difficult ones - have been rooted in Dharma. And my life is steeped in it even when I have not noticed. When I remember the hours/days I spent as a child contemplating the scent value of every product in one store, and staying up till 2am handcrafting magical herbal medicine pouches for every single girl in my class, it wasn't much less time than I spent dancing or journaling. These are the threads that make up me. And they weave ... different colors, different times, different textures.

Women are shapeshifters. Our titles are fluid, grounded, gritty, and glamorous. One day mother, vomit cleaner, poop changer - another day inspirer, herbalist, soup maker. Another ... artist, lover, dancer, community leader.

These are our fibers .... you are woven of silk and nettle and polyester and wool. I am too. I cannot expect every day to feel like the silk I wove when I was 12, or the nettle I wove clumsily at 22. And I cannot be scared to try the new fibers I see in my life.

Some have resisted seeing me move (away from more simple or common herbal products - which often times *should* cost as much as aromatic items or are one in the same as I often make) into my erogenous zone as an aromatic herbalist (do I *dare* call myself a perfumer?)

Yes I dare.

This doesn't make me less of an herbalist or more of a bitch. It makes me happy. It wakes me up in the morning.

Will I get some flack from the perfumery community? Possibly. But will I give myself less flack? Definitely.

Some may wonder why I don't teach plants and ID and more practical kinds of stuff. (I have. And I'm complete with that at the moment. And I'd prefer to assist you in making your own yarrow & comfrey simples because that's home herbalism - I don't need to sell you that, frankly. My blog continues to offer plentiful ways to make things at home.)

I'm interested in expressive and personal and sensory art. That's always been my lens and my medium. I like the abstract, mysterious, and metaphorical. I like expressing in words but much more than that, expressing what is beyond the capacity of words. I also like dirt and moss and what is feelably real.

Mostly my circumference of community totally gets it, and to be honest most of my fears are me talking to myself. I've had constructive feedback, but pretty close to nothing I would consider threatening or negative. (knock on wood), and primarily the responses I receive are beamingly gorgeous! I am grateful.

So, to dialogue with my own conscience ....  I'm not leaving my gritty, dirt worshiping, weedy ways behind for the glamour of elitist perfumery..... I am doing what I fucking love more that anything in life - in this moment - and yet something that I've always done all along in one way or another as I look back through my life and creations, my aromatherapy work, my potions & plant obsessions. I'm simply daring to step into it more deliberately, more transparently, with more devotion. And it weaves beautifully in complimentary contrast to the other things I've done, been, do, and may become again someday. For now, I'm choreographing stories through my senses, stirring magic up with cordials and unguents, taking good care of the women in my memberships, and considering my goals in a much broader capacity for the near and distant future. And I'm still picking weeds on my walks and doing push ups and plies by moonlight.

While we as plant healers need not be formally hitched to letters on our names or whatever you consider to be oppressive licensure .... what we do need is to take ourselves seriously. Consider ourselves as really, legitimately, women with the capacity to be autonomous - creatively and financially.

I am following the muse, evolving, we are evolving.

It is edgy, it is beautiful, and it need not be tame or status quo.

May your path always be guided by your heart compass, fierce commitment, and sensory wisdom.

And thanks, Mama, for your indelible love, inquiring ways, and generous teaching. You inspire me to be the best me I can be, and admire the best in others.



For luscious aromatic herbal treasures, come visit my online Lair: Amrita Apothecary

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome 2013 - Discount code for Amrita Apothecary

New Sun of 2013

The song of each season
threads together the notes of the next

-the winds to the seeds
-the berries to the fruit
-the flesh to the embryo

We sing in the sun!
lighting our way again

Step into step we forge on
not so slow as to be lost
not so fast as to miss the nectar and nuance

Just right so our footprints are whole
and our way be remembered
by those who join us.

On the wings of samaras
we release our heartful directions
into the elements.

....peace. joy. plenty. health. resolution.
....clarity. belonging. understanding. passion. connection.

We all wish on the same wind
the same stars
the same moon
and walk together in the same forest
drink and swim in the same water
climb the same mountain.

yet our expressions are a spectacular
of diversity
and symbiosis
and potential

waiting to paint the new landscape
of the new year.

May your colors be bright and true,
May your needs be met,
May your sadnesses be soothed.
May your hope be indelible.

May our collective gratitude
transform invisible pains in our culture
and plant them as healing flowers
in our gardens.

~Happy New Year~

Beauty Blessings
with love

Plant Journeys
Amrita Apothecary
My gift to you, to welcome in the new year with senses awake, body engaged, and heart connected to the earth - 
Enjoy a 25% discount for anything in my shop, just for the next 24 hours. 

Use code BLISS2013