Archive for October, 2016

Herbal Medicine Apprenticeship

Herbal Medicine School

Herbal medicine and witchcraft and wild edibles are all things I have always been interested, and never taken enough time to dedicate myself to serious learning. That changed this year and it was a really great change for me. My friend Raven Mack, who writes excellent things and runs haiku competitions, has an equally amazing partner, Suzanna Stone who runs an herbal medicine school, Owlcraft Healing Ways. I met her through him, and took one day class in the fall of 2014. I learned she offered a 9 month herbal medicine apprenticeship course.

After David and I moved to Beaverdam, he knew I’d been considering the herb school. He encouraged me to take the course. Being supported by a partner in a serious undertaking of time and money really meant a lot. I signed up, and have been enrolled for 8 months so far now. It has created this amazing weekly space in my life that I had not anticipated. Classes are once a week on Wednesdays from 10-3:30. I also do a work trade class once a month to cover part of the fees. Most of the women in the class do the work trade too. Some days this means we help weed the medicine garden. We also helped plant and the later harvest a bountiful crop of milky oats. 3 of us have been working on constructing an outhouse where a composting toilet system is going to be used.

The group of women in the class are a very unique combination, including 2 mormons, 1 lesbian, 1 single waitress who has taken it before, 1 mid twenties communal living yoga person, and 1 homeschooling mama return student too. Most of the women are in their 40’s or older. For all of our varied backgrounds the class has been a very interesting and supportive place. I mention those “labels” that could be applied to the students not to hem them in, or reduce them to a label, but just as a simple way to point out how varied we are. Only about half of the women have had biological kids, but everyone has been incredibly supportive about my pregnancy. I never could have planned to be pregnant while in that space, but it has been a wonderful experience. We start class with song and sage smudging and more songs honoring the directions and mother earth and father sky. The class is held almost exclusively outside. We’ve only been inside on two occasions when the heat was at pretty brutal levels. There is a shaded pavilion class is held on, but we also go on plant walks. Having a day of outside time is really good for my mental health. We also always end with a group song. Every class we drink a different tea blend, and try a different herb for a tea proving. Basically it is a great space that allows for a lot of connection with nature, with women, with intuition, with magic, with meditation, with plants and with peace.

I have learned a TON so far, and feel very inspired herbally. I’m so glad I stopped putting off this part of my life, and so grateful to be supported and to even have the opportunity. I just thought of this, but by huge stepback from activism is really what gave me room to engage in another aspect of my interests, herbal medicine.

The class actually held a surprise Blessing Way ceremony for me one day, which was awesome and amazing. Now that the baby is born, he comes with me to class. I’m looking forward to continuing my herbal education with the Richmond Herbal Guild once class is over.

I’m also hoping to attend the GAIA Herbal Conference this spring in Charlottesville.

Heathen Vegan

Heathen Homestead

I am a very open minded vegan, in that I would 10000% people move to eating local and kindly raised animals and animal by products, over factory farmed crap. But I am not personally interested in eating it. My use of vegan alternative products is pretty minimal, they didn’t exist and/or weren’t accessible to me when I went vegetarian and then vegan. I’ve also been doing this a while – veggie for about 20 years vegan for like 15 of that. And I grew up with chickens and cows at home. My mom is a veggie too (like 35++ years) and my dad still slaughters cows he raises and I still prefer he do that than buy from stores. My mom calls em animals that have one bad day. They get to live a good life in fields with food, and then one day someone kills em in the field. I also don’t knock hunters, they are small fries in the cruelty world compared to the corporations. I still cry every time I see dead animals and stuff, but it is preferable to the emotional detachment most people have about their food. If you cant handle the death, which I can not, you really shouldn’t eat it.

We have chickens, and they lay eggs, and I am hoping my family and friends will eat those eggs over eating store bought factory farm eggs. I know how our chickens are treated and I do not see a moral/ethical issue with people eating those eggs.  It is better than purchasing processed crap from a corporation.

Capitalism Invades Relationship

Capitalism Invades Relationship

A phenomena I have noticed, which may happen to other people aside from me, is that I find myself operating as an unwitting agent of the capitalist system. I’m against capitalism, I want to smash the state, and my politics in these areas are pretty firm. The anxiety that the capitalist system creates inside me, or that I allow it to create inside me, has the unfortunate effect of turning me into an enforcer. I see this play out most strongly in my relationship with David. When he is sick, or needs a day off of work, I kind of freak out. I worry about bills. A lot. My initial reaction when he is sick is to hope that he will still go to work. When he calls out of work to do chores around the farm or just have a day off, I struggle to not get really upset with him. It is so bogus. I care about him way more than I do about bills, I understand 1000% the need for mental health days from work, and that working 40+ hours a week is just a totally soul sucking enterprise. I don’t want him to suffer at a job he hates, to miss out on his hobbies and friends and family because of work.

But damn if the capitalism induced anxiety doesn’t still get me. Now that I have identified this issue I can talk to him about it, and also talk myself down internally when I start to get worked up.

I know we are just going to struggle financially for a while at least, and we still have it better than a lot of people. I just have to relax and not let capitalism destroy my life or relationship. I know starting a new family, dealing with divorce and custody, and moving and starting careers and pregnancy etc. are all just expensive and stressful. We are doing ok. We have good supportive families and friends.

I wonder if lots of people have capitalism as the other person in their relationships. I suspect this is pretty common.

Cu Chulainn Orion Bruce’s birth story

Pregnancy/Labor story 8-27-2016
This totally might be TMI for a lot of people. If you don’t want to hear about the amazing stuff my body is capable of, don’t read it!

A week ago, I didn’t know I had less than 2 hours of labor to go before my baby would enter the world. My labor started early Friday morning August 19th, I woke up to contractions. The contractions were somewhat irregular and didn’t prevent me from doing a few errands, although I felt more tired than I was used to. David, Jewel, and I went to my parent’s house for dinner. My uncle, grandpa, aunt and uncle, and other aunt were all in town. I went swimming and that was nice. Throughout supper I had to keep taking breaks for contractions. We ended up not staying to play cards, because I felt like I needed to be home and was tired. We didn’t get much sleep that night. David was helping me all evening and night to time the contractions so we would know when it was time to call in reinforcements. When they got down to 5 minutes apart, I really couldn’t catch any sleep in between them. We called the midwife Nancy several times, and finally decided that she should come by 4am. We also called my mom to come over as she was planning on assisting with the labor. David and I had both been up since 4am Friday morning, so we were already pretty tired on no sleep. David and my mom started getting the house a little more prepared. My vision of having like done all the dishes and cleaned everything before labor clearly had not happened.

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Locker Room Horror Stories Haiku

Donald trump donald
Trump donald trump donald trump
Donald trump donald

The sway of a sac
In a warm breeze. Old man blow
dries his testicles

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