Becoming an herbalist is more than just undertaking an online course. It becomes a way you see the world, and a practice. Here are some tips for beginning your journey into herbalism.
- Spend time in nature -
You can’t just study plants on a screen, and forget about spending time with them in the physical. You will get to know them in different ways, deeper ways, by going on nature walks and listening to the forest. Keep going back to the same place and getting to know one part of nature more intimately.
- Read books that stir emotions -
That being said, when it comes to study time, immerse yourself in literature that inspires you not just naturopathic text books but emotive books written by people who spent time on the land. Read the poetry of Mary Oliver and Emerson, read about Joanna Macy and Robin Kimmerer.
- Become aware of the seasons -
Start noticing patterns in the time of year and the types of plants you are seeing in your local area. When do the trees go to flower? When do the leaves looks lush and green? Notice which birds and animals are showing up at what times of day and season.
- Grow a garden -
This will be the most reliable ground upon which you enter into a personal relationship with plants. You will see how fast or slow they seed. You will discover what soil conditions they like and don’t like. You will begin to understand how they respond to moisture. You will smell their medicine and taste their flavours. You will feel things when (or if) you decide to harvest them.
Herbalism in its truest, deepest, ancestral form isn’t a clinical relationship. You will discover what it is only by allowing nature to tell you.
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