And the story continues


Nature is alive. Every living being on Earth is part of nature, including humans. Nature has connected patterns where the understory repeats the upper story plants. Trees communicate, mushroom communities thrive below the forest duff, rocks hold the land in place, strike the land when necessary and carry the memory of the ancestors. Waters flowing in our rivers to the ocean have been on the Earth since day one of the Earths existence. The harmony we witness when out in the natural world is innate within us; we just need to recognize that we are part of the whole. We feel at home in nature because that is who we are.

Herbs are the people’s medicine. Historically, the wisdom and knowledge was passed on in the family- daughter to daughter, son to son.But some of us didn’t have a medicine mom or Auntie to guide us into the world of plants, wisdom, healing. Some of us are trained in academics and calculations, anatomy and physiology may even be talented medicine makes. But have no connection to plants in their living habitat. Others may have grown up wild, know every plant by name yet have not gained the skills needed to apply plants safely and effectively to the body.

There is no teaching until the pupil is brought into the same state of principal as you are; a transmission takes place; he is you and you is he; then there is teaching, and by no friendly chance or bad company can he quite lose the benefit.-Henry David Thoreau

My philosophy is to build relationship with the plants, know their habitat and growth patterns, understand how they live in their neighborhood, their senses, their personality. But to know plants as medicine to be used in the human body; we need to understand how the body works. Our greatest teachers are the observers, the practitioners who have experienced the transmission of knowledge by seeking mentors, experiences and understanding the medicine they carry.

My initiation from plant person to practitioner was invisible. I woke up one day and found myself with the accumulated knowledge that it takes to put it in to practice. My early teachers were the Aunties of the Tlinget tribe in SE Alaska, my grandmother and the esteemed Micheal Moore. I studied bodywork, somatic herbalism with Matthew Wood and Sean Donahue and learned over and over again the power of plants from the people who walked into my herb shop twenty plus years ago and the clients I see now in clinic. Building relationship with plants takes time. Understanding, practicing and witnessing person to person how plants work within the body takes time. I have taken the time.

As a teacher, I take my roll seriously. I am often called wisdom keeper. I say Thank you but I am not here to keep it. I am here to give it away.

  • Erin Vanhee 2019