So my first gig as qualified herbalist is appropriately wild and muddy and spent at the Green Gathering, a luscious mixup of rainstorms, rainbows, huge insect bites and boiled thumbs, blacksmiths and Brixton tea parties, dreads and dancing, and a lot of cider. Delicious still cider out of plastic canisters. Never been to this fest before and indeed had not been to one for a while so it was a joyous return.
See pics on Facebook here
Dedj and her crew are a marvellous bunch with a long-time experience of festival first aid and I had a great welcome to my new family of herbalists – ‘Big-up good-natured people who love and know plants’ to quote our friend Oscar from the crew food tent. It is awesome and warming to feel I am entering this world and community especially now knowing it has many quality and very funny folk in it. The fun/work balance was negotiated skilfully and it was rewarding to be in a setting where using herbs was the norm and most comers to the first aid tent were sympathetic to, and more often, very appreciative of this medicine. It was somehow reminiscent of a very different place, my father’s family Dawakhana – a Unani medicine house in northern India – whose location on one of the busiest little thoroughfares I’ve ever seen means a continuous flow of people accessing this affordable treatment, for almost the last 100 years. A colourful English-Welsh hippie festival and a bustling Muslim brass-producing Indian town in the foothills of the Himalayas are not on the surface similar – and yet a very like response to herbal medicine issues from their people. And why? I can only perceive that a large part of the impetus comes from the fact that it helps. A number of first aid tent visitors, as well as asserting their ideological support of herbal healing, said that their experience of our treatment had been effective in the past and so they remembered it and returned. Of course this shouldn’t be, and isn’t, surprising for me as a herbalist after these years of study experience – but it is brilliant to see it in practice!
Much looking forward to doing it again and learning more hands-on skills for this acute side of things, a new experience for me after clinical experience in the longer-term approach to treatment. Bring on the duck poo sprain ointment and the plantain dressings…