Tradition & Resurgence. As I’m writing this introduction for you, I can look up from the solar powered keyboard and out the window of this rustic cabin, to a landscape of wild diversity and mind blowing color, a river canyon and ancient ceremonial site for the Mogollon people who first lived and loved here. Against a backdrop of shimmering cottonwoods and pine cloaked mountains, Kiva Rose can be seen gathering the blue-flowered Salvia (Sage) she will make into a calming tonic. In her hand woven basket is an assortment of other examples of New Mexico’s plant medicines, purple blossomed Monarda, Plantain, and what could be the tiny but powerful Anemone. While most of Kiva’s time is taken up with teaching and writing about herbs, she tends her family’s health and rewards herself with intimate time spent amongst the wordless but instructive plants of our Anima Sanctuary.
As you may know, the Gila bioregion where we live is just to the west of Las Cruces, and we share many plant species in common. More importantly, we share with the other residents of the Southwest both a tradition rooted in our state’s Native and Hispanic history, and a contemporary resurgence in self-care and botanical healing. It is in service to the reawakening and growth of natural medicine such as healing herbs of New Mexico that we organize educational events, produce Plant Healer Quarterly and the totally free Herbaria herbal newsletter… and it for this purpose that we will be bringing you a series of informational articles over the coming months on this blog and in the magazine.
You can look forward to short plant profiles to familiarize you with the wild flora of our region and their medicinal uses, medicine making recipes, and tips for treating ourselves, our families, and others. Herbalism is just one way of empowering ourselves in a time of expensive and often harmful medical care, taking some responsibility for our own well being, and increasing our ability to help through the accumulation of knowledge and new skills.
In a few weeks, Kiva and I will head out of our treasured canyon, a trip that will begin with seven sometimes deep river crossings before touching pavement, then a circuitous drive around the mountain ranges of the Gila, through the Rio Grande Valley and then upwards to the alpine meadows of wondrous Cloudcroft. September 17th through 20th at the historic Lodge, we will host our sixth annual event and celebration – for everyone interested in natural health care and the lessons that the natural world provides: The Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference. Herbalists from all over the world will be attending, and we’ll welcome as many of our New Mexico neighbors as possible. All are encouraged, regardless of one’s level of experience, and we’ve listed day passes on the TWHC website registration page for anyone unable to stay for the entire weekend.
If we don’t meet you at the conference, we’ll hope to talk to you here, with the tales and joys of plant medicine. Looking up one more time, I enjoy for another minute the image of Kiva cutting and sorting the earthen bounty, doing the much enjoyed work of our ancestors on every continent, while helping inspire the young and old of a modern generation. A sip of immune boosting Elderberry tea, and then I am back at the computer, evoking a healthful green resurgence on its rhythmic keys….
Jesse Wolf Hardin and Kiva Rose are N.M. authors and artists, caring for a wilderness botanical sanctuary. Their many books on healing, herbs, nature wisdom and sense of place can be found on the Bookstore page of their Plant Healer website, where you can also subscribe to Plant Healer Magazine, and sign up for the free Herbaria ezine full of herbal info and tips: www.PlantHealer.org For more information on September’s Traditions In Western Herbalism Conference or to purchase tickets, go to: wwwPlantHealer.org/intro.html
by Jesse Wolf Hardin