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Body & Mind

was sitting there, perched on all eight, watching me leave. I walked a few more feet, turned around, and she was gone, hidden in a maze of grass blades, invisible.

She helped me remember

seemed to try to play fear games with me: Was she waiting stealthily under the toilet seat to guerrilla attack me as I sat down? Was she ready to pounce hidden in the roll of toilet paper? That entire year was a pivotal point in my relationship with terrifying insects. I began to try to engage with them—all of them: wolf spiders, mosquito eaters, pincher bugs, ants, centipedes. And all because of the black beauty hanging in my corner.

Finally there came a time,

after my son was born and my mom was visiting, that I thought it was time to reclaim my indoor sanctity and return her to the wild. It was a memorable day. She knew. I knew. As I entered

the room, carrying a jar, her normal predictable movements became erratic and she dropped down from her corner cove with precision accuracy to the floor in a millisecond of exquisite web mastery. Jar in hand, I captured her. I slid the stiff paper under the jar dome and carefully carried her out into the summer day to place her near a backyard creek. My hoped-for response—that of her excitement to be back outside—was met with what I perceived to be fury. She raced at me so quickly I had to jump backward. She lifted her front leg and shook it mightily at me. I explained the situation. My mother was not thrilled to share the single bathroom with her and was frankly mortified that I had lived with this poisonous entity my entire pregnancy. She didn’t care or maybe understand. She charged me again and this time reared awkwardly with two legs waving at me. I apologized, knowing that I had broken the agreement we had lived within for more than a year—an unspoken contract built on trust and a learned, though odd, harmony. I was disappointed in myself, but I also knew that it was either her death by a first-time grandma, or this. I turned to walk away and then looked over my shoulder. She

and begin the practice of relationships with all living creatures and eventually, I began the more serious practice of talking to the more benign but no less intelligent plants. As my herbal knowledge increased and I found myself babbling in all sorts of languages: the newborn–2-year-old language of my first child, puppy dog howling and barking, foster kitty-cat mewing, and of course, the entire farmacopoeia of Old McDonald animal sounds ... I no longer questioned why speaking plant would be any different … I kid you not. And it was this accidental assumption that plants, like all living beings, must speak—and with no rhyme or reason, I would occasionally be given the privilege of hearing a plant speak to me. These incredible and magical moments led me to seek out books, teachers, and friends who might have had similar experiences or even be able to teach me this unique style of relationship.

Out of this journey I found the worlds and writings of many herbalists, but especially the thoughts of Pam Montgomery and Eliot Cowan, to be illuminating and in fact remarkably similar to some of my own. I remember those initial years of questioning wonder and incredulousness, and I think that is why it is so meaningful for HAALo to bring teachers and books for those on similar journeys.

It has been with great

excitement that we have continued to bring both shamanic and scientific herbal classes to our community. We are particularly thrilled for our spring nine- month apprenticeship in Earth Wisdom with Marza Millar starting in March 2017.


For more info please visit our website at 37

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