Wild Medicine, Rewilding & other Sacred Matters…

So I have been a bit quiet recently, but I have been productive! The result is that a new full colour edition of my 2009 title The Medicine Garden is now available! I am really pleased with it. There are some really wonderful photos of the plants featured taken by Stephen Studd. The cover art and internal illustrations created by Wendy Milner are also very beautiful.

Buy your copy now! A full description of the book can be found by following this link.

The Medicine Garden book

copies of The Medicine Garden full colour edition now in stock!

So that has all been rather exciting and somewhat time consuming, but well worth it, and it is good to see the book already selling well on Amazon.

What else have I been doing? Well, last week saw the final instalment of the Sacred Plant Teachers series that I had been running throughout April. It was also the third time within 6 months that I ran the series. It was fun to do and I know the people who came along both enjoyed it and got many teachings from it, so I will definitely be running that again in the future.

Two weekends ago saw the start of this years Sacred Ecology: A Rewilding Apprenticeship. I have a really special group of women whom I am honoured to share this work with. I look forward to the wild depths that will unfold before us in the coming months.

dandelion page - The Medicine Garden

The wild medicine of dandelion pages in the new full colour edition of The Medicine Garden

This summer I will be presenting six wild medicine walks at Wilderness Festival. I have been leading walks at the festival for several years now and each year have had more and more people join me for my daily walks. It seems interest in foraging for wild medicines and taking responsibility for at least some minor aspects of ones health care with natural organic solutions in on the rise – yay!! What this means is that instead of just one walk a day, I will now be presenting two. Last year it was crazy, I think on each walk we began with over 100 people, and although I can speak pretty loudly I think the people at the back were missing detail when I held up a tiny delicate leaf or flower!! The festival is held at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire, a lovely private estate with some absolutely incredible ancient oaks overlooking the scene. It runs from 3rd until 6th August, read more about it here.

Throughout this summer I will be working with this years new batch of rewilding apprentices. I am also continuing work with last years apprentices, who encouraged me to guide them for a second year while they weave their wildness with more confidence into everything that they do. So, it is not until September that I have another workshop with spaces available. It will be a 5-6 day retreat ~ Sacred Plant Medicine Immersion. This will be a residential retreat, camping in a beautiful orchard that is part of a permaculture smallholding. Each day we will work with just one plant. Really taking time to get a feel for what that plant is all about, communicating directly with it. We will use direct perception and our hearts as our primary organ of perception. We will journey shamanically to the spirit of each plant. We will build our relationship with each plant, and finally when we truly know deep in our souls the medicine each plant has to offer, we will make sacred medicinal elixirs to take home. Places are available.

I am available for 1-2-1 sessions if you can’t wait until September! As a taster it is still timely to sign up to my month long Spring Renewal Journey.

stinging nettle harvest

stinging nettle harvest

As we are still in the depths of spring it is prime wild medicine making and wild food foraging time. Gather well and responsibly 🙂 ❤

Stay in touch…

Twitter & Instagram: @mugwortdreamer

Facebook: Gateways To Eden

 

New Year, New You!!

So here we are, another new year, with plenty of good intentions, resolutions even. What are you planning for the coming year? What would you like to change in your life right now? After a fortnight of family time, parties with friends, meals out, treats and drinks I for one intend to eat a bit less, avoid alcohol and exercise a bit more – sound familiar?

But does it go deeper than that for you? Do you want to take it further than a few healthy weeks before slowly but surely slipping back into old patterns?

Rewild Yourself

Rewild Yourself

The most effective way I know to make profound and lasting changes in your life is to welcome in the wild. To recognise the wildness inside of oneself and nurture and feed that part. We all need connection with the wildness in the world, we were all born wild animals yet our lifestyles from birth have tamed us, domesticated us to the point of disconnection with the wider-than-human world, to the point where many people are stressed and anxious, trapped within the walls of our everyday, a circumstance of our own creation.

Humankind, through our high levels of consumerism, through treating the world as an inert object ripe for exploitation (with no come back), has broken off the deep levels of connection we once shared with all life. Instead we replace it with objects, we fill our homes with things to entertain us and in so doing continue on the path of destruction, mining , harvesting, damaging and destroying. We have become insulated from the destruction by hiding away in our homes, avoiding statistics about habitat loss, species extinctions, and pollution events. But it is still all there in the background and we know it.

Most people despite avoidance tactics still feel it, deeply in their hearts. You may not make the direct connection instead perhaps just feeling lethargic, depressed, anxious or empty – but that is a message from your wild heart telling you there is something more, something that you are missing.

My response over the years has been search to for a lifestyle that is more fulfilling. That search has taken me back to my beginnings as a wild animal, dependent upon the world around me for nourishment, for energy, for a healthy state of mind and a feeling of purpose. That journey to wholeness has been one of rewilding and was the subject of my 2015 book Rewild Yourself: Becoming Nature.

Rachel Corby Rewild Yourself Becoming Nature book Gateways to Eden

Last year (2016) I ran Sacred Ecology: A Rewilding Apprenticeship for the first time, to pass on what I had learned to others that feel a similar call. Teaching and sharing what I know has been a great deepening and widening experience as I learned so much from my first year of apprentices, as they all learned not just from me and each other, but most of all from the wild lands which we inhabit, and their own wild hearts.

Booking for this years apprenticeship, which begins at the end of April, is now open. If you would like to remember what it feels like to be wild and free, to feel cold dewy grass on your toes, to listen to the whispers in the wind, to communicate with the Sacred Earth, to make natural medicines and ferments, to forage for wild edibles, to sleep under the stars, to develop your intuitive awareness, to know and move your body consciously, to be aware on every level – then you may just want to join me and see where rewilding yourself could take you. Full details of this years apprenticeship can be found here…

I would love to share this energising, life changing, empowering, rewilding, co-creative journey of reconnection with the wildness of the world and with your wild self, with you. Let this year take you beyond a few weeks of January clean up, let it infuse into every cell of you, make the change, rewild yourself!

Sacred Ecology: A Rewilding Apprenticeship

This Years Learnings, Mulching & Feeding Me Like Fallen Leaves…

So the temperature outside is crispy cold and the sky is bright blue, the leaves are in the midst of changing from green through yellow, red and russet. I love this time of year. As the leaves begin to drop and create their crispy brown litter all around I too find myself shedding much of what the year so far has been to me. Just as the fallen leaves mulch down around the base of the trees providing nutrition as a slow release to be reabsorbed through the winter roots I will use the lessons I have learned this year, the joys and the sorrows, to help inform my path and feed me with insights for what is to come.

fallen autumn leaves

fallen autumn leaves

I have only 2 evening sessions of teaching remaining before this year ends, my energy is turning inwards, so that the darker months can be spent brewing, gestating new ideas to birth when the days begin to lengthen once more and the fresh new growth begins once again. Already I have quite a lot in place for next year with regards to teaching but I do feel a change coming and a need to deepen, to take it further.

imag0239

My first offering of 2017 begins at the time of Imbolc midway between the lunar and calendar dates for this seasonal acknowledgement of the cycle of life; the return of fresh growing leaves from the dark underground depths. Amazingly this series of evenings is already full ~ mass consciousness of plant consciousness is growing ~ what a wonderful thing! How wonderful to witness this growing hunger for listening to the call of the wild, to our green relations.

In response I have added a new set of dates for the evening series “Sacred Plant Teachers ~ the art of the invisible” that will run through April. In May I will be running an “Introduction to Communicating with Plant Spirits” day, and later in the year a week long “Sacred Plant Medicine Immersion”. If you are interested in any of the workshops I have mentioned please go to my workshops page for more details.

Also beginning in April will be “Sacred Ecology: A Rewilding Apprenticeship“, this will be the second year that I am running the apprenticeship. This years apprenticeship was an amazing journey into rewilding and I was truly delighted that even during the first weekend my apprentices were suggesting that they would like a year two, to continue deepening and exploring their own wildness and wild connections. So I am also working on “Weaving Wildness” which will be the follow up for previous apprentices. To read feedback from some of this years apprentices click here…

Hawthorn

Hawthorn

As I sit in my office it is cold, and I am thinking a lovely hawthorn decoction would warm up my chilly little fingers. The hedgerows are still full with many gifts, so if you have not yet stored up for winter it would be good to do so soon. I am going to drain off my last tinctures of the year and pot up some little cuttings salvaged from a dying house plant -not really the right season for this, but hoping the newly emerged roots will take the slow winter months to grow strong – time will tell. While I wait to find out I think I’ll go and put a pan on and simmer up some of those beautiful deep red haws…

 

Rewilding; Why An Apprenticeship Not A Course…

Eight years ago, back in February 2008 I headed stateside to apprentice in Sacred Plant Medicine with  Stephen Harrod Buhner. If you have not heard of him he is a great thinker and prolific nature writer. Julie McIntyre and Trishuwa, Stephens two partners, also took part in teaching us, leading us and holding space for us. Ever since that time I knew that I eventually wanted to evolve my workshops, courses and retreats into a full blown apprenticeship.

100_0423

Why, what is the difference? You may well ask. The thing is with a course, even a long one of two weeks or more, is that it works like a retreat in that you retreat from your daily life, go learn something new, then do your best to bring those teachings back into your day to day. That kind of thing works very well when learning a certified set of skills, massage maybe. You have a series of intensive classes for several days in a row until you have covered all the material, then you go home and put those learnings into practice through your work.

An apprenticeship works better for more ethereal subjects, for work that is more about making big changes in your life rather than just learning a new set of skills. By returning again and again over a number of months or seasons, in some circumstances even years, and working between times with the next level, slotting it into your way of being through repetitive practice over a period of time, the subject of the apprenticeship becomes you. You do not learn it, you learn to live it.

The apprenticeship I undertook in 2008 was hugely important to my life and work, it shaped me. Those three, Stephen, Trishuwa and Julie became threaded into me, they, with their teachings, became an inseparable part of the weave of my being. Of course this happens to a degree with all that you meet, all that is, but especially so with those that leave the taste of themselves, of their beauty, within your being and in turn become part of your beauty.

trees in winter

The rewilding apprenticeship I will be leading this summer is something that will trickle through, imbuing every cell of your being with magic, sacredness, with wild. I cannot recreate what I experienced with Stephen, I am not trying to. My teachings are uniquely mine, a product of all my teachers; which includes my upbringing and adult life in this country, the UK. I have a different seed to sow, albeit deeply infused with what I learned on apprenticeship myself. What I am presenting Sacred Ecology: A Rewilding Apprenticeship is Earth magic and immersion, UK style 🙂

 

Herbal Medicine from an Evolutionary Perspective

As you may already know I am running an apprenticeship programme which begins in May. It is called Sacred Ecology: A Rewilding Apprenticeship. To help me deliver the most amazing material on this journey I have gathered a wonderful and inspiring group of experts to join me. Over the coming weeks and months I am intending to introduce you to each of them with a guest post. The first of which appears below and was written by Kamaldeep Sidhu who will be sharing about the magical, amazing and influential world of bacteria, or more specifically gut health, during the course of the apprenticeship. She is a great friend with an immense depth of knowledge, and this is what inspires her…

kam 2

Kamaldeep Sidhu, Medical Herbalist

 

I’m a Medical Herbalist currently working at the Urban Fringe Dispensary in Bristol, and am developing my practice in Stroud. I met a Herbalist in Bristol 7 years ago while I was doing a Permaculture course. At the time, I was also applying to do Medicine. This Herbalist, called Max Drake, convinced me to do his herb course over the summer. I did it, and found it fascinating. I completely changed my mind about doing medicine. I wanted to help people but I didn’t want to be a slave to the pharmaceutical industry. Learning about the power of plants completely changed the way I thought about health and disease. So I did a BSc in Herbal Medicine at the University of East London.

 

After a six year slog, I finally graduated and realised I knew nothing! I had a foundation upon which to build my knowledge of human and plant physiology, and since then, I have become passionate about the role of nutrition in health, and how we can use plants to enhance our performance and recovery.

100_1492I am interested in the role of the gut microbiome and how we can manipulate it through the foods we eat. This is a relatively new area of research, but its impact will be huge. We are understanding more and more about the importance of having a healthy gut – it affects our physical and mental wellbeing. I have been treating patients in the clinic with many different health conditions, and a lot of them seem to respond favourably to a change in diet. I use herbal medicine to enhance health or to complement a treatment strategy. Ultimately, the most powerful tool we have to look after our bodies is our diet. Yet, it’s the hardest thing to change. Our diet here in the West, which is based on the laughable food pyramid, is directly contributing to the diseases that are reaching epidemic proportions – hypertension, diabetes, obesity, infertility, cardiovascular disease to name but a few.

What’s going on? We have been given prescriptive nutritional guidelines that do not reflect the individual. We have been taught that when you get sick, you go and see your doctor and they will give you some medicine to make you feel better. We are disempowered when it comes to our health. Every day there are more and more conflicting ideas about what we should eat, what we shouldn’t eat, what gives you cancer and how much alcohol you should drink.

The fact is that nobody really knows. We are all acting on the information we receive. Think about major nutritional advisory boards being funded by sugar manufacturing companies. Think about the truth about statins and their relative inefficacy. Think about the diet-heart hypothesis and how saturated fat might not be so bad for you. Think about pharmaceutical companies pushing through drug trials without any evidence for long term effects.

The world of medicine in the West is a marketplace and disease is the currency. By keeping us sick, pharmaceutical companies make money.

100_1212So why not take control of your health? My priority is to work hard to research clinical evidence and continuously learn so that I can give my patients the best information to help them make informed decisions about their health. I practice Herbal Medicine from an evolutionary perspective. We function best when we eat foods that we are adapted to eat. Plants have evolved beautifully alongside us and provide powerful healing properties but also highly potent toxins. By understanding adaptation and genetic variation, we can prevent disease by nourishing our bodies with the appropriate food and medicine that is right for us as individuals. That is my vision

I am so looking forward to what Kamaldeep will bring to the apprenticeship, my tummy is rumbling at the thought!

If you would like to book a consultation with Kamaldeep she is available in both Stroud and Bristol. To see her in Stroud please contact her directly kamaldeepsidhu@outlook.com. If you are more Bristol based you can make an appointment to see her at the Urban Fringe Dispensary 01179 276527.

Sacred Ecology: A Rewilding Apprenticeship

former student communicating with plants

former student communicating with plants

The teaching year for me is almost at an end after a flurry of workshops that has been ongoing since the beginning of September. Next Tuesday evening is the final installment of a four part series and then I am done for 2015. For that reason the workshop page on my website is looking a little empty for the moment; until I get some ideas and dates fixed for next year.

The only event currently listed for 2016 is Sacred Ecology: A Rewilding Apprenticeship.

So what is it? Well firstly I guess I should explain what I mean by apprenticeship, as here in the UK it has a kind of industrial feel. According to the Merriam-Webster online entry the definition of apprentice is: 1b :  one who is learning by practical experience under skilled workers a trade, art, or calling

So my apprenticeship is all about learning by practical experience the art of living more wildly. It is a calling. It is about unlearning the ways of domestication and rewilding. It is about learning to live more in line with natures ways.

It won’t just be me; I have also invited Kamaldeep Sidhu and Poh Eng San to share their wisdom and knowledge in the ways of the wild. read more about them and their areas of expertise.

And the content? We will take time to develop sensory acuity and visceral wakefulness. To work with our bodies through eating cleansing foods and self-massage. We will forage for wild foods and medicines making ferments and remedies from our quarry. We will learn about the livingness of the world and how it feels to inhabit a place where everything is alive! We will talk to plants; and they will talk to us. We will learn from the trees and the rivers. We will shapeshift into wilder, more robust, more aware and awake, versions of ourselves.

lake where we stay in Wales

lake where we stay in Wales

When and where? Our journey into Sacred Ecology, into the rewilding of ourselves will be spread over five months; from early May until mid September. During that period we will meet four times in all. Three of them in Somerset, the other in South Wales.

view from compost loo,somerset

view from compost loo, Somerset

At all stages of this Sacred Ecology journey so far I have been drawn to pray and to celebrate the magic and the sacredness. I was delighted a couple of weeks ago to receive the first deposit payment. I have my first apprentice 🙂 ❤

The question is would you like to join us? To co-create with us? To share and explore with us?

I can promise it will be a deeply magical and life-affirming process.

For more background on my style and the content of the apprenticeship read a copy of my latest book Rewild Yourself: Becoming Nature, upon which the apprenticeship is loosely based.

Join me!

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