So July passed in a blaze, of heat and wanderings, walks and workshops, people and discoveries, swimming and intense summer greenness. It came with a vengeance eh, our long-desired summer! Today is hot again and though it was good some rain came for the plants and the earth, the wonder of a continental-style summer morning in London never stops amazing and lifting the heart. The city is really open and exciting in this kind of time, its possibilities magnified and lightened.
Charm and I have enjoyed our work a lot these last few months, and each bit of time and activity that happened showed us a shift in perspective, in potential, in ways of working, an opportunity to explore how and who we are, to find new paths – like London, our worlds have opened up through working as herbalists with plants and people. As keeps happening everywhere, people show themselves to be the key in change and development – in themselves, in our approaches – people in collaboration with the learnings of the earth that we find around us.
As we started to do herb walks on the marshes, and offer workshops in making natural cosmetics, the energy of people showed me strongly that the work and the future of herbal medicine is here, in the community, and this lesson offers so much excitement for the future. At the Radical Herbal Gathering in Somerset in June, a big collective of enthused folks came together to share their activities and their ideas for working with plants to make good change in social and health injustice, in our relationship with natural ecology, and to make plant medicine accessible to all people. It was a timely gathering for our growing consciousness of all the things that are going badly in the world, and for thinking about how we can repair them, and for my personal learning and journey in being a person and a herbalist.
Working in Walthamstow with a range of different folks this year has shown me that many people, maybe most, have some way of connecting with plants and the wonder of the natural world. It seems the case to nurture the diversity of approaches; if we combine everyone’s different ideas we’ll mix up a rich pot of creative possibility. Much like the biodiversity of Orley Common in Devon where last weekend a group of us visited this ancient area of native grassland and woodland where rangers are trying to replicate the influence of grazing animals, whose patterns and times of eating the plants meant that a very wide range got the chance to flower in turn – meaning a madly species-rich situation. Like the cattle, we can help each other to flower more vitally. Many people have been doing it to me! Go here if you’re interested in reading an account of the Native Herbs Gathering that a few of us attended in Devon last weekend, learning about using our home grown plants as medicine (rather than importing from far afield).
I am off to Italy this month for holidays, which I will truly enjoy, and I’ll be seeking herbs there as ever. Watch here for some pics from that sunny side in the next few weeks. Happy times to you all, and enjoy the glorious energy of summer.
Inspirations for the next season:
Making links with different projects and communities to share the value of herbs
Doing more growing and medicine making, in gardens and allotments Continuing being part of building our networks of people working together for positive change
Learning new practical skills
Writing more stories!
Come and join us.