Sending Down our roots and remembering the Soul
I studied Herbal Medicine in Ireland on an Apprenticeship course with Herbalist Nikki Darrel. We would often work outside learning directly with the plants, using our senses as well as our intellect. Becoming aware of our ability for non verbal communication and the intelligence of the natural world that we are a part of is a path to healing not only ourselves and others but our connection to nature. Our relationship to the plants we work with is what forms the basis for what is known by some as Plant Spirit Healing.
It was also in Ireland that I first came across the Labyrinth whilst Woofing at Carraig Dulra permaculture farm. The labyrinth can help us to forge a deeper connection with ourselves, helping to facilitate a sense of body awareness and bringing us in to altered states that are conducive to communicating with the plant kingdom. An awareness of the lower abdomen, heart and peripheral vision has been used by trackers and many hunter -gatherer cultures to tune in to the spirit of the land, animal and plant kingdoms. I have recently written and illustrated a short book on this subject called, ”Re-wilding with the labyrinth”.
I love growing and working with plants that have astounding healing properties. I feel that the plants entwined with me when I was a child and have been calling me to work with them all my life.
As a herbalist, I now know that our vitality, our emotional and our physical well-being can be addressed with a holistic lifestyle practice that includes plant medicine. Our spiritual needs can also be met when working with plants and nature at deeper levels of communication. The beauty of weaving all this together can bring whole-ness and connected-ness which is balancing, fulfilling and creates well-being for us all – the people, the plants, the animals and the land.
As well as running my own herbal practice, I have worked with Neal’s Yard Remedies for 10 years, making their herbal tinctures, giving herbal medicine advice in their Customer Care department and contributing to publications and books. More recently I have been teaching NYR herbal medicine courses. I have also conducted many walks and talks for the Shaftesbury Abbey Anglo-Saxon herb garden and in my own medicinal garden at East Stour.
Julie Wood, MNIMH