We’ve just had 2 wonderful weekends of workshops, one in Herts and one down in Dorset.
In a YHA building set in the lovely Lea Valley Park and in a little industrial estate tucked out of the way in the back end of Dorchester in a room with fantastic views out over the hills we met to learn about Sensory Herbcraft.
Sensory Herbcraft is our way of working with herbs whereby you use your senses and intuition to determine the actions of herbs emotionally, spiritually and physically. Each herb has a character and through connecting with the smells, tastes and observing how the plant grows we can get indications or notice signatures denoting to their actions.
The groups studied (using their senses) 4 plants, one loosely representing each of the elements earth, air, fire and water and wrote down their feelings and responses. What is always really amazing is the common experiences within the groups.
Yarrow left one group feeling heady and spaced, all found it bitter and therefore digestive and extremely aromatic. Nettle was earthy, grounding and ‘fishy’. We put this down to the high mineral content, like that that you find in the shells of shell-fish. Cleavers was watery and peppery, for movement around the throat. We use it a lot for swollen tonsils. Dandelion leaf was light green and bitter, the root more sweet and earthy.
We looked at yarrow, dandelion, cleavers and nettle in Saturdays workshop and saw them in their natural habitats the next day.
We decided to focus the walks on making herbal vinegars because they capture the essence of spring and all of the minerals from the spring greens so well. There was lots of delicious fresh greens to tickle our taste buds and fill our vinegar jars and best of all the sunshine came out.
Some of the herbs we saw apart from the magic 4 in Lea Valley, Herts were daisy, horseradish, burdock, coltsfoot, comfrey, willow, snowdrop, blackberry, hawthorn, plantain and rosehips amongst others.
And in Dorset in the lovely Weymouth Lorton Meadows we saw bittercress, pilewort, chickweed, horsetail, wild carrot, alexanders, rosehip, sloe, blackberry, ground ivy, brooklime, hawthorn, sheep sorrel, dock, horehound, daffodil, plantain. And we learnt not to taste lords and ladies because it burns your tongue. We ate Ian's druid bread in the sunshine and chatted vinegars and aching joints over a picnic.
These workshops offer us all a chance to learn more about connecting with the world that grows around us so that we can learn how valuable it is and therefore how much it is worth protecting. They are a forum to inform people and discuss the politics of herbalism in the current climate. How, more than ever it is important to take responsibility for your own health, to make simple home remedies and harvest from natures bounty in a sensitive way.
We have to protect ourselves and nature through learning about the plants and using our knowledge, passing it on to friends, family and children alike, enjoying and appreciating nature.
Thanks for making it so good everyone that was there and for being so enthusiastic.