Who am I?

 

 

 

 

 

00005img-00005-burst20180908140407.jpgI have always been deeply involved in nature it runs in my blood.. I am a mother, daughter, sister & someones lover.

I live in a very remote area of North East Oregon where the Blue Mountains marry the sky.

I have been working with wild herbals since childhood helping my family forage. Then spending a large portion of my teen years hitchhiking across the country, herbs were often the only way I could keep myself whole and more often than not they kept me from going to sleep hungry.

As I aged herbs became how I found an escape from the chaos that surrounded me, often their presence was the only thing I could count on.

Then despite what doctors had told me was possible at a very young age, I became pregnant with my son. During that long, huge, hot uncomfortable nine months I dove into herbal knowing beyond the traditional handed down and picked up along the way knowledge I had in hand.

By the time my daughters seed took root in my womb I had been devouring any and all old knowings from my elders and any books my library would order in for me, you see I was told I had cervical cancer and that the only way to survive this was to at 5 months pregnant have an "abortion" and instantly undergo not only chemotherapy but a full hysterectomy. But I had watched my aunt die not of her cancer but of the treatment so I resigned to give my daughter life even if that was to be my death sentence.

She is now 11 years old and with nothing more than safe simple herbs, deep nutrition, prayers and a LEEP procedure I have been cancer free for a decade. I do believe the act of giving birth was a huge factor in my healing, I also believe if i had listened to the medical community not only would my daughter be dead and gone but myself as well.

I am a firm believer in safe, simple, single herbals. Instant reaction/change does not equate health it is just what the pharmaceutical/instant gratification society we live in has trained us to believe. Healing takes time, healing takes optimum nutrition, healing takes acceptance of our situation and that sometimes the illness can be the medicine we actually need.

These lessons were driven home for me as I endured a brutal three year crippling safe* taper off of benzo drugs (think Xanax/Klonopin/Valume etc) after a decade of numbing traumas. I had no choice but to set with it, in it, through it. There was no quick fix, there were very little herbal allies I could lean on without making the situation worse. This illness became the medicine I needed to truly heal self, to see my own bullshit, to see others bullshit, to finally be aware enough to fully step onto the path I am standing upon today.

I practice what I refer to as true herbalism. Meaning every single thing I craft is made with whole plant matter. I stand strongly against the ever growing instant for profit herbalists who lean heavily on volatile oils for the sake of making quick drug like remedies. Heroic healers.

I practice slow herbalism which in reality is true herbalism. I will wait the 6-8-16 weeks to properly infuse oils and alcohols far away from the sun and heat for whole plant salves, balms, tinctures and more. How gross it is to look at a plant (woman) and say we only want the parts of her that we deem strong enough. To become whole with plant allies we must use them in their whole state.

I practice a deep respect with the plant nations. Only harvesting sustainable amounts of native plants and turning aggressive gathering attention to invasive species when possible in order to give a healthy balance to the often times less aggressive native species. I follow the traditional knowledge passed down to me of harvesting with the phases of the moon, no not for the sake of magic simply to diminish the harm done to any given plant. Especially the tree people. I also pay particular attention to digging root in the correct season, something I see being done backwards more and more. Spring fever and eager herbalists do more damage to roots than many know.

I stand strongly against knowledge held hostage for the sake of profits. Meaning this knowledge the knowledge to heal self and loved ones is the peoples knowledge. I do not fear that my "profit margins" will drop if I freely empower you to take your healing into your own hands, but I do believe my community will solidify into something that will outlast me by doing so! 

I am disgusted on a regular basis and speak loudly against spirituality for sale, the sacred for sale and the ego that it must take to truly think these things can be owned enough to have the right to sell them. There is no amount of money or privilege that can bypass the hard work in takes to connect to the land, to spirit, to your own culture. You will never buy your way to enlightenment and for the love of God no matter how much you pay some soft spoken super privileged white woman or any woman/man/human for that matter you will never be a shaman!

My family is old and indigenous to many lands from the freezing Siberian tundras where reindeer sustained us, to the towering Blue mountain range where roots grow deep in the crisp air, to the river Shannon in the Celtic waters that quenched our thirst and birthed us.

I make proper offerings. I am a seed spreader, root planter and crown splitter. I ensure that not only what I take is replaced but doubled when appropriate for plants and knowings alike.

I carry old ways, outlawed ways, forgotten ways and I have stories to tell you.

April Graham