I am a medicine woman. My entire life is based around listening to the trees and plants as they speak and as they teach. Their boughs move as I pass. I am respectful of their spirits and their life. I ask before I wild craft. I only take a small amount.
But here is where the whispers try to speak through the voice. I teach. I do not ask the plants and trees if I can teach. Sacred wisdom. Sacred knowledge that was given to me by the plants themselves. I use them to make money to pay off debt. It is one thing to use them to make beautiful medicines and cures for the people-that is my role in this lifetime- but another to exploit them by teaching their secrets. They did not ask for the quiet teachings to be advertised.
I tell myself that I have a responsibility to teach what I know. That this knowledge was nearly lost and I as a steward of the plant people must teach so that future generations can utilize the medicines. But I never actually asked if that was the proper path. For now there are hundreds more people purchasing herbs. Large companies quietly wipe out goldenseal and false unicorn. They take all the ashwagandha. The wild yam. They take in the name of healing. For the plants are there for medicine so we must take them. The pharmaceutical companies rape the forests for medicines to exploit and alter, to patent, and to maim.
You see, I never asked.
My ancestors and the holy people of the world that used or currently use the plant medicines did so without advertisement or school. In fact, my very first teachings were to not disclose where I find the plants. For then in human manner they will wipe them out. They don’t know how to conserve for fear of lack. We have been taught indelibly that we are entitled to all things. But some things are separate and wiser and sacred.
The medicine woman or witch of old would have taken an apprentice when the time was right or taught one’s own children. I tell myself that most people cannot make the medicine work anyway or that they will realize how life consuming this work is and not have time for it or that they will lose interest but in reality hundreds of people that I innocently taught will continue to take. The plants did not reach out to teach. And the students will not grow gardens.
And so I wonder about these things. You know, my own fear of lack and insufficiency and what would become of me if I stopped advertising or if I didn’t have the support of teaching funds. And then of course I know the earth itself cares for me and knows my gifts and lets me be and sends those to me that need me. And I really need to ask.
And so in my gardens, rich and generous, and in my apothecary stores, I hold gifts for the people and sacred wisdom I was born with and the plants picked me and so the universe sends messages and notes to those and they will seek me out and walk through my paths and drink my teas. And an apprentice may come or perhaps my daughter is the only one. The plants will call the people. That is not my role. So seek me out, dear ones, in my garden of cures and light, and I will focus on my real work. The work of the plant spirits lives on.