An Introduction to Basic Herbalism
Though my hope is that there will be many lessons and reflections to be discovered in my writing here, at the very least let this mantra be the singular resonating takeaway from my words:
Always be curious.
Curiosity is a peculiar word that invokes imagery of cats meeting their doom after imbibing too much in its sweet elixir. Like the cat, I am curious to a fault and maybe that's why my artistic identity (or alter ego, if you will) is Khloe Katz. What my feline friends and I share in common is an insatiable nosiness—a desire to delve deeply into the ins and outs of things. Often at our own expense. Curiosity is much more than just a noun to me. It's a form of identification and a statement of being. My inquisitiveness is what has lead to my fairly comprehensive knowledge and understanding of many different aspects of spiritualism. Ranging from crystals to astrology to tarot to herbalism and what some unlearned folk might refer to as "the occult,” my personal vault of esoteric information is overflowing - and I want to present that information in a way that is simplified and straightforward. My purpose is to demystify abstract concepts that can seem overwhelming and to highlight their real-world practicality. Spiritualism and developing your own spiritual practice doesn’t have to be confusing or lofty - it can be enjoyable and revealing.
I want to start by introducing basic tenants of herbalism. Herbalism is recognized as the therapeutic and medicinal use of plants, especially as alternative treatments to the sometimes chemically wrought medicines offer to us by conventional orthodox science. There is, however, something much more beautiful and magical to be found by incorporating flowers and herbs into your life. Just as with crystals, plants carry entirely different vibrations that can help us bring certain energy into our lives and break the limitations of negative thought patterns. Most herbalists choose to exclusively focus on the medicinal qualities of plants and while that is necessary work, it is also beneficial to learn about the spiritual aspects of these herbs in conjunction. Most herbalists can tell you how an herb or plant can heal your body but they cannot tell you how those herbs can be used to heal your soul.
Maybe that's because herbalism as a whole has been co-opted by the same masses who aim to denigrate the intrinsic soul level value of so many practices—whether it's yoga or women's circles or even the use of sage/smudging. All of these things have an inherent cultural association, which has nearly been erased. But I'm here to tell you: herbalism belongs to black and brown people. Rootwork and herbal healing is apart of our connection to our ancestors and to this earth. It's maddening to interact with so many black and brown people who fear working with herbs and liken it to "witchy shit" or dark magic considering this is our birthright. That's a rant for another day, though.
For today, challenge yourself to begin to view your connection to plants and to the earth differently. Start interrogating how certain flowers or herbs make you feel. There's lots of information written from other people's perspectives on how plants interact with the body, but there are tremendous space and power for recognizing how they interact with you. Begin to trust your intuition and open yourself up to possibility and the things you discover will be vivid and clear, unlike anything you've experienced before. Start documenting your interactions with this earth and the messages it's trying to send to you. This is how you begin as a spiritualist (and herbalist) - by opening yourself up to the beauty of experimentation.
With love and light,