Weekend Getaway: Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference


| 10/7/2010 11:00:00 AM


Tags: Erin McIntosh, Herbalism, New Mexico, Travel, Herb Conference, Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference,

E.McIntoshErin is the Communications Manager at Mountain Rose Herbs and an apprenticing herbalist at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies, where she botanizes and wildcrafts medicinal plants in the magnificent Oregon Cascades. www.mountainroseherbs.com 

Henry wore a straw hat and a friendly smile. Holding a sign that read Traditions in Western Herbalism, his eyes scanned the Albuquerque airport for arriving passengers. One by one, the five of us gathered with bags in arms as we exchanged hugs and greetings. Sparkling with excitement, our small group of herbal adventurers climbed into Henry’s truck and followed the Rio Grande three hours north through rural desert towns and stunning landscapes to the Ghost Ranch in Abiquiú, where the herbalist's revival would soon transpire. 

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Beautiful striped mesa on the horizon.
Photo by Erin McIntosh 

Fragrant sagebrush and junipers ornamented the majestic red and orange painted mesas that welcomed us on Friday morning. We settled into our adobe dwellings, which softened harmoniously
against the exquisite ochre terrain, and prepared for the weekend’s promise. An extraordinary medley of teachers, including Rosemary Gladstar, Paul Bergner, Matthew Wood, Phyllis Light and many others, had traveled from all corners of the country to share their wisdom with eager attendees. The days would surely be steeped in diverse tradition, innovation and revelry. 

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Oregon herbalist Howie Brounstein’s hilarious skullcap lecture.

Photo by Erin McIntosh 

Classes gathered under towering cottonwoods and beautiful wooden pavilions. Around the ceremonial fire pit, Kiva Rose and Jim McDonald led a fascinating discussion of plant energetics and intuitive herbalism through the exploration of aromatics, flavor and form. Howie Brounstein’s lecture on the benefits of skullcap, a nutritive and calming herb, had an unexpected effect on the crowd, instigating thunderous spells of uproarious laughter that could be heard echoing well down the trail! Through powerful anecdotes and cautious guidance, Charles Garcia taught techniques for safely distributing basic herbal formulas like teas, salves and medicinal syrups to help nourish and heal the homeless in our neighborhoods. All the sessions were thought-provoking and deeply stirring.




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