The Medicine Garden

In winter 2008 I completed a year long apprenticeship in Sacred Plant Medicine with Stephen Harrod The Medicine Garden paperback coverBuhner; this coincided with getting my first ever piece of writing published as an article in Permaculture Magazine (No. 58). As a direct result of that first article a book publisher approached me and asked if I would like to write a book on the subject. Imagine that! I was blown away and of course said yes. That offer became my first book, The Medicine Garden. The book is about looking around you at what is growing and learning how to use those plants for basic and simple remedies, you know the kind of thing – coughs, colds, flu, scratches, grazes. The following is an extract from the book, the prologue…

Walking in the forest the dry brush crunching, snapping and yet comfortingly cushioning underfoot with every small advance.  The smells, dry, warm and somehow smoky dance across my olfactory like a brush with the softest velvet.  Despite the coldness in the air the sunlight filtering through the upper canopy feels warm upon my skin.  I smile inwardly, recognising a deep sense of belonging, a connection to those that have walked this way before.  A little apprehensive of the task ahead I stalk my quarry, I know I am near, I can sense it.  A little shiver of excitement runs down my spine as there it is before me, a strong presence in the wooded glade.  As I approach there is an automatic pause and deep inhalation as the respect for my older brother fills and flows through me.  I sink to my knees to pray.  I sit for some moments awed by the wisdom of the beauty before me.   A dapple of sunlight kisses my face and awakens me from my deep reverie, permission has been granted, it is time.  I rise to my feet and gracefully, gratefully, proceed from tree to tree slowly collecting offered pieces of older brothers body.  My basket now full I turn to face the glade one last time and with a final deep inhalation say my farewells.  The journey back through the woods to the yurt seems to melt before me. 

Now home, in my kitchen I begin converting my forest friend into a tincture.  Carefully weighing, crushing, mixing, stirring and then the waiting.  Every day for three long weeks I lovingly hold the jar and gently shake it, the alchemy magically occurring inside the brown glass walls.  Eventually the long awaited day has dawned, I unscrew the cap and, like a genie, the presence of my wise green friend once again envelopes me.  The aroma like sparkling flecks of dust in the sunlight twist and curl upwards filling my nostrils with strong vapours of the forest.  I taste, just one drop, and feel the ambrosia cell by cell, like dominoes, flow through my body, to the furthest extremities.  It tastes deep, dark and earthy, now I have medicine. I squeeze the plant debris through muslin and pour the precious liquid into my eagerly awaiting dropper bottles.  My woodland friend with me in the extract made from his flesh and spirit, dormant now, waiting for me to call upon his medicine in the swiftly approaching short, dark days of winter…

The Medicine Garden e-bookIf you enjoyed that extract and would like to read more it is now available as both a paperback and an e-book, here 🙂

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