Grassroots Healing, Plant Medicine

Calling Dr Jones: The ABCs of working with the everyday, and the Forbidden.

 

I am one of those people who see the patterns underlying all things. Not in a mathemagial member of MENSA wizard sort of way, but more holographically. Ethereally. Or as Goethe would have said, phenomenally. I see the patterns on which Creation was founded and made, including the incredible design of the human body. This ability to see patterns has given me a good ability to discern truth and understand the relationship between things. And as I’ve studied healing over the years, including the support I’ve given birthing women, I’ve learned that success comes when you work with that design, rather than against it.  My paternal grandfather had a motto he used to live by. It was “plan your work and work your plan”. The Creator did this, still does it, and expects us to do also. Other professions seem to get this idea – of working to the design – except the healthcare profession. And science at large. And religion. Which is interesting because the world wants you to believe that science and religion have nothing in common, which isn’t true because both believe that human body is inherently flawed.

(Which also isn’t true.)

‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.’” (Rita Mae Brown in “Sudden Death” 1983. No, it wasn’t Einstein.)

So instead we have been caught up in the illusion of the quick fix – the ‘magic bullet’ if you will. It looks good on the surface and it can provide instant relief, but at best it’s a band-aid approach, and at worst it supresses the body’s innate healing intelligence. (I feel like I’ve said that somewhere before) And then epidemic opioid addictions result, and chronic illnesses like cancer proliferate, or complications with the birth process occur.  And people wonder why. And then after a time, many consider this ‘normal’, and ‘that’s life’. But that’s not life, because the design and the patterns nested within it are dynamic and living, and the true reality is that Life begets Life.

The core message of all my thoughts that I share, is to work with the design, rather than against it. It just makes life a lot easier.

There is an underlying Torah – or guiding principle – that is woven into and sustains all creation, and perhaps one day I will expound on that, because that’s THE design that we collectively need to work with, but for now it is probably sufficient to just look at how to work with our personal bodily design. One person whose work I really admire is Steven Horne. I’ve referred to his insights in previous articles and in this article, I want to expand on a pattern which he noticed in his studies of healing that works with this design. I’ve since noticed it in the work of other successful healers, and indeed most traditional systems of healing. And it’s a pattern that I’ve also been working to for some time, because I’ve been working to the underlying Torah. As Life begets Life, truth resonates with truth.

Steven articulates the pattern as an ABC + D approach to healing. As a brief overview, the ABCD represents the following:

A = Activate the healing process. Here we engage and address the higher realms of spiritual and emotional states that underlie an illness when imbalanced. I personally begin this process with praying and meditating in faith on the universal guiding principles. Steven also suggests engaging faith, prayer and meditation as well as using positive affirmation techniques, and visualisation techniques.  Through emotional healing work we work to identify unresolved emotional wounds and trauma, and then address them with the above techniques as well as using appropriate vibrational remedies such as flower essences, essential oils, and sound healing. In this first step, some of us also cast out demons (Yes, really. Wild, isn’t it?). Here we also address the stress response and begin to incorporate stress management skills into daily life.

B = Build. That is, to provide the body’s basic needs and begin to nourish the vital reserves, in order for the body’s innate healing process to occur effectively. These basic needs include ensuring there is good and adequate nutrition, ensuring proper hydration, ensuring good sleep quality and quantity, ensuring appropriate movement, and addressing any allergies or intolerances. This also leads into…

C = Cleanse. In order to be properly nourished (as covered by B), we need to ensure that we can absorb, assimilate, utilise, and eliminate effectively. In this step, we address the need for all pathways of elimination to be functioning effectively (liver, lymph, bowel, kidneys, skin, lungs) so that there isn’t any stagnation and congestion inhibiting the cells from receiving full nourishment, and we remove agents that do not serve our overall health and wellbeing. These deleterious agents include refined and processed foods, preservatives and other synthetic food additives, GMOs, pesticides, toxic cosmetics and personal hygiene products, exposure to electromagnetic smog, fluoridated water, toxic household cleaning products, etc. Steven also suggests doing a short cleanse or ‘detox’ a couple of times per year. I like the Ayurvedic approach to this of doing a short cleanse over the two equinox periods to help the body adjust to the change of seasons. These cleanses may be water fasts, juice fasts, or very light diets depending on the individual constitution.

When all of these ABC’s have been accounted for, we apply D.

D= Direct Aid. That is, we address the specific body system or tissue affected. Nested within this we take note of the individual constitutional pattern, as well as the energetic state of the tissue affected (using the Six Tissue State model, which I discussed here.) This is where we apply very specifically chosen remedies that match these energetic patterns.

You will often be working on all of these steps simultaneously as there is a certain amount of overlap that occurs. These are steps that the everyday person (ie: not a ‘certified’ health practitioner) can apply. And all of these can be applied to any health concern. Including the childbearing year. And cancer.

It wasn’t my intention to go into the dark and dank dungeons of the big ‘C’, but as Earth Poet and Herbalist, Stephen Buhner asserts, one must go where the golden thread of the story that wants to be told leads, and so it has led me here, so this is where we are going. Let’s see where we end up.

I’ve had the privilege of supporting several people who’ve been dealing with cancer over the years. I say ‘privilege’ because, like birth, to hold space for someone at such a vulnerable time in their life is an extraordinary thing. At such time many transformations are taking place on many different levels, so it’s a time of witness and walking alongside as the individual goes inward, becomes self-aware, becomes aware of their mortality and their God, and grows toward the Light. Regardless of outcome (although we pray for and do our best), we hold space for people to face the Void, and surrender to it. It’s important to note here though, that surrender does not equal defeat. Surrender is about trust. Trusting a process, trusting a design, trusting it’s Creator.

At this point, I should probably interject the disclaimer that I do not proclaim to cure cancer. It’s actually illegal for me to even say that I treat cancer. Which doesn’t bother me because I treat people, not diseases nor labels. And I endeavour to treat them how I would like to be treated. The ‘cut, poison, and burn’ mob (did I type that out loud?) are welcome to their mission to ‘fight’ cancer. I don’t claim any cures, of anything. My only claim is that I will endeavour, in all things, to work to the design, guided by the Designer, to procure the best possible outcome. And that’s it.

What I can do however, is share how certain healthcare professionals who did work to the design found actual healing for people with cancer.

Step into my TARDIS. We’re going back to 1911.

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Doctor Who?  (photo & teapot: M.Carnochan 2019)

 

Eli Jones was an extraordinarily common-sensed American eclectic medical doctor with an equally extraordinary success rate in curing cancer (ah, that other forbidden ‘c’ word). In 1911, he published a book of his common-sense approach, very practically titled Cancer: It’s causes, symptoms, and treatment. He was a doctor who got to the point and made it well. I’ve quoted him before, here.  The book is an easy read and although some of the more specific remedies he offers and their rationale of use might be lost on the untrained, his overall approach is one that anyone can employ, and should, and fits the systematic ABC +D pattern that Seven Horne articulates.

At the risk of outright plagiarism, I’ll let the good doctor speak for himself. Chapter One: The Causes of Cancer is superb.

“The medical profession have been theorizing as to the cause of cancer for many years. About once in six months we read under startling headlines in the public press, that the cause of cancer has been discovered! Students in the laboratory and with the microscope, now and then make this announcement to the world, that a serum has been discovered that will cure cancer! Vast sums of money have been expended in erecting cancer hospitals; institutes for “cancer research.” Remedies have been lauded time and again as a cure for this disease, yet the people keep on dying in the same old fashioned way. We have tried to deceive ourselves and the public with the comforting thought that cancer was not on the increase, but the fact is that the mortality from cancer in England is 4 1/2 times greater than fifty years ago. In the United States, in 1890 there were 18,536 deaths from cancer; in 1900 there were 29,222 deaths from this disease. At the present time the mortality cannot be less than fifty thousand annually. Dr. John A. McGlinn, in a paper before the Philadelphia Medical Society says: “That one man out of every thirty-two and one woman out of every eleven die of cancer. After the age of thirty-five one man out of every seventeen and one woman out of every nine die of cancer; one third of the deaths from all surgical conditions were due to cancer.”

It would appear from the above that cancer is not being cured, that it is still numbered among the incurable diseases. It has been the practice of many of the profession to cut out everything that looked like a cancer, but statistics will abundantly prove that a surgical operation not only does not cure cancer, but really hastens the death of the victim. A surgeon can only cut out what is seen and felt under the knife, while millions of cancer germs grow and multiply in the blood, the nuclei of future cancer. Another fact, the surgeon seems to forget that every operation is a shock to the nervous system, it lowers the nerve power, weakens the power of resistance to disease and thus encourages the invasion of cancer.

It is often remarked that after an operation “the wound healed up very quickly”, why? Because nature rebels against such mutilation and repairs the damage as soon as possible. While sticking to the old theory that cancer is a local disease and depending on surgical operations to cure it, the regular profession have not cured the malady. Is it not about time that we should abandon the theory of the fathers and do some thinking for ourselves? The men in this country who have treated this disease successfully have treated it as a constitutional or blood disease. From my own experience of forty years in the study and medical treatment of cancer in all its forms, I am convinced that it is the local manifestation of a blood disease. To say that a disease is incurable because someone else has said so, to sit calmly down and repeat parrot-like “it cannot be cured” is unmanly, is un-American, is cowardly. What are we waiting for, some savant in Germany, France or Italy to show us how to cure cancer? The victims of cancer are dying all around us; what can we do for these poor unfortunates? The object of this book is to get the profession interested in the rational treatment of the disease, that we may at least try to cure them. To treat the subject intelligently we must consider the causes why cancer is on the increase.

I honestly believe that if it were possible to keep the vitality of a person at or near the normal healthy standard there would be no danger of cancer. We find in cancer victims, weakened vitality and enfeebled nerve power; this gives us the key to the situation and tells us how to successfully combat the disease.Every epidemic like typhoid fever, pneumonia, diphtheria, la grippe, etc., weakens the vitality of the people and lets down the bars for the invader — cancer. Every war this country has ever had, every financial crisis, anything that causes worriment of mind and severe strain upon the nerves lowers the nerve power and weakens the vitality of our people and makes them good subjects for cancer, consumption, pneumonia, etc. Tea and coffee drinking weaken the nervous system. In all countries where they drink tea and coffee to excess, there you will find cancer on the increase. Excessive meat eating is another fruitful cause of cancer.

Insurance men tell us that if a man or woman at 40 lose 20% of their normal weight there is danger of cancer, consumption or Bright’s disease. Following out the idea of Dr. William Waugh of having adults examined physically once in six months we would be able to detect the above disease in the early stages. and so by proper treatment be able to stave off future trouble. The chemists and scientists for many years have tried to discover some powerful drug, some deadly poison, some deadly serum which. taken by the mouth or injected into the human body, would kill the germs of cancer and knock out the disease. They have overlooked one fact; a drug which would do all that would weaken the vitality of the victim if it did not hasten his death, any remedy or treatment, whatever it may be, that weakens the vitality of the patient lessens the chance of recovery.

The rapid increase of cancer throughout the civilized world may be explained by the following great causes of cancer:

  • Worriment of Mind. Worrying weakens the nervous system, lowers the “nerve power” and thus opens the way for the invasion of cancer. In all countries where you find insanity on the increase you will find cancer a close second. In Chicago where insanity has increased the fastest in the world, cancer has increased 812% from 1861 to the present time.
  • Vaccination. In all states. and countries where there is enforced vaccination there you will find cancer on the increase.
  • Meat-eating. Meat-eating is a prolific cause of cancer. In England the mortality from cancer has increased; it is 4 1/2, times greater than it was fifty years ago. The people consume 131 pounds of beef per head every year. Is it any wonder that the “Beef Eaters” have cancer? In twenty-five countries using meat largely, nineteen had a high death-rate from cancer, five a moderate and one a low rate. In countries where the diet is almost entirely vegetable there you will find very few cases of cancer. In Bombay, in 1875, the death-rate from cancer was only one in 10,000; in England 5.5 per 100,000. In Egypt cancer is never found among the black races who are vegetarians, among Arabs and Copts, who eat as Europeans. In the monastery of the Grand Trappe, where the diet excludes tea, coffee and meat there has not been a case of cancer for twenty-seven years.
  • Tea and Coffee. Tea and coffee weaken the coats of the stomach and the nervous system and produce various disorders in the human system. In all countries where the people drink tea and coffee freely there you will tend cancer on the increase. Our own country — America — has become a nation of “tea drinkers”; as a result, three out of five persons have some form of dyspepsia or indigestion, and cancer has increased from one in ninety-one in 1850 to one in twelve in 1890. In thirty countries drinking very much tea and coffee, twenty-five had a very high death-rate, five a moderate, and none a low rate. In America we are becoming a nation of nervous, hysterical people, and insanity is on the increase. It must be ever borne in mind that if the nerve power falls below the normal standard there is danger of invasion of cancer.
  • Alcoholic Stimulants. The use of intoxicating liquors is a fruitful cause of cancer. In all countries where they are used to excess there, cancer is on the increase. In England among the wine and spirit merchants, the death-rate is five times greater than other men. Beer-drinking towns such as Munich, Stuttgardt and Copenhagen have a high mortality from cancer.

What our people need is to be taught how to live. There must be temperance in all things. Good pure water, good pure air helps to make good healthy red blood. Unadulterated food, mostly vegetables, easily digested, leaving out tea and coffee, keep the nervous system strong and vigorous. Stop worrying. In this way we can protect ourselves against the dreaded monster — CANCER. A return to the “simple life” of our forefathers is what we need. Modern civilization, with all its luxury, high living and drinking, and filling the stomach with all kinds of food and drink (the most of it never intended for the human stomach), is only encouraging the inroads of cancer.

In a case of cancer, no matter how far the disease has advanced or how bad the case is, there are two things that we have to depend upon for a cure: First. We must raise the nerve power, the vitality of the patient at or as near normal as possible. Second. It depends upon whether the system of our patient will respond to the action of remedies or not. In other words, we must begin at the very foundation and build up our patient to strengthen his power of resistance against the disease.Many times I have noticed this fact that when the eye, the pulse, and the tongue showed the organs of the body secreting properly, good digestion, a strong, full, regular pulse, the disease itself would be at a standstill, but if the signs showed a weakened vitality, the disease would take on new life and activity.”

 

Keep in mind, that this book was published in 1911. Dear Eli Jones’s head would have probably exploded if he knew that the incidence of cancer in the USA alone was estimated to be 1,735,350 cases in 2018, equalling more than 4,700 new cancer diagnoses each day. According to the same report from the American Cancer Society’s journal, which predicted the above incidence, the lifetime probability of being diagnosed with cancer is 39.7% for men and 37.6% for women, which is a little more than 1 in 3. Now we could argue that the population of the US is significantly larger now than what it was back when Dr Jones’ was practicing, but given that above the factors he mentions as causes, as well as industrialised agriculture, environmental pollutants, xenoestrogens, pharmaceutical pollutants, and electromagnetic pollution has been added to the mix, I don’t think a correlation in incidence with population growth means a hill of beans.

Nothing much has changed, because you can’t use the same thinking that causes a problem to solve it. Refer to the definition of insanity.

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Lavender is particularly soothing to the nervous system. Photo: M.Carnochan 2019

In this opening chapter, what Eli does do is identify some of the key factors that he observed as possible causal factors. The first being ‘enfeeblement of nerve power’, or the weakened vitality of the patient. This is where we begin, and what Eli Jones recognised, with the need to address the ACTIVATION of the healing process.

Eli’s go-to treatment plan for activating the healing process and raising the nerve power was with medicated baths. He did this with Epsom salts – cheap, accessible to everyone, and very simple. He addresses this in Chapter Eight: The Medicated Bath.

“If the patient has a bath tub, put one pound of epsom salts in the usual quantity of warm water in the bath tub. The best time to take the bath is just. before bedtime and in the treatment of. cancer it should be taken as often as twice a week. The skin should be well rubbed until all the greasy, gammy stuff is removed from the skin and it becomes soft as velvet. The blood needs the magnesium in the epsom salts. It neutralizes the toxines, it soothes the tired nerves and makes the patient rest like a tired child upon its mother’s bosom. Any treatment for cancer would be incomplete without this medicated bath. Many a time I have had my lady patients tell me “Doctor, I love the epsom bath; it just makes me feel splendid.”

If a patient has no bath tub you may have them add one ounce of the epsom salts to a pint of warm water (use it in that proportion) and bathe the body all over with the mixture.

It will also be found to be a grand thing in many acute diseases, especially fevers. Used once in twenty-four hours or twice a day if there is a high fever. When the patient feels rather languid after the bath it shows that the epsom salts bath has done its work and it should be: used less often. In the treatment of any form of cancer this medicated bath should never be omitted; it is just as important as any part of the treatment.”

This is a wonderful idea, which we now know will soothe the nervous system by way of switching us over from the sympathetic (fright, flight, fight or freeze response), which most of us live in, to the parasympathetic (rest, digest, repair response) nervous system, which we need to be in to heal. This will also relax the person enough to begin to be in a better place to release stored or blocked emotional trauma, which is at the root cause of much cancer development. These emotional traumas may be from the individual’s living experience, it may be inherited via ancestral or familial living experience, or cultural/societal living experience. We might begin by asking where the illness is located. Traditionally, organs and systems were associated with specific emotions. Issues with the lungs may speak of unresolved grief, for the kidneys it is fear, for the breasts it is about how we give nourishment – particularly to ourselves, for the female reproductive areas it speaks to how we receive nourishment, the liver is associated with unresolved anger, and for the colon it might be about our ability to let go of past hurts. Or we might think of past trauma in our lives that we may have not allowed ourselves to process. So, we might ask ourselves, when was the last time I felt truly well, and what was going on in my life that changed that?  In activating the healing process by acknowledging and releasing these emotional wounds or blockages, we can use flower essences and essential oils specific to the emotional wound and add them to the bath, as well as take regularly. We might even begin with the Bach flower remedy Star of Bethlehem for the initial shock of the diagnosis. A nice foot bath can be used if a full bath is not available and sponging all of the body with the solution is awkward. The French herbalist, Maurice Messague achieved excellent results just by using medicated foot and hand soaks.

Eli’s second fundamental approach was to BUILD up the patient ‘to strengthen his power of resistance against the disease’.  We build ourselves up largely by what we eat, and how we nourish ourselves. Sugar didn’t seem to be much of a problem back then as it is now, or if it was, it wasn’t on Dr Jones’ radar, but sugar is a no-go when it comes to cancer, mainly because of the interplay between insulin and cortisol levels (the stress response) and a hormonal cascade that can lead to all sorts of problems such as insulin resistance and increased inflammation, and besides cancer cells thrive on it. I do like the following quote which draws us to looking at the individual and their unique constitution, because each unique constitution will benefit from certain foods over others, and different ratios of the macronutrients. We should reiterate though that across the constitutions, the foods should be whole foods, organic where possible, with no additives, preservatives, numbers, artificial colours, flavours, or isolates, and with a focus on an abundance of anti-oxidant-rich fruit and vegetables.

Study each case carefully and adapt your diet to each individual case.”

 He goes on.

“Now it is a well-known fact that our American people eat too much and too fast. They eat until their stomachs are full and they are in too much of a hurry to chew their food. They bolt it down and depend upon the stomach to get rid of it in some way. In addition to that they drink strong tea that weakens the nerves and muscles of the stomach. As a result of all this abuse, the stomach “goes on a strike” and refuses to do duty. Then we have some form of indigestion, dyspepsia, ulcer of the stomach or cancer. Now the real fact of the case is this, in most cases, patients would do well on one-half the food they eat and that food should be chewed over and over again before it is swallowed. When we eat our regular meals, only a certain part of what we eat can be digested and assimilated. The rest becomes refuse matter. It may produce autointoxication and toxins in the blood. In these conditions we find a fruitful cause of cancer. Now good red blood depends upon pure air, pure foodand pure drink, but if the food is not properly assimilated it will create toxins and not pure blood. To cure permanently any case of cancer we must have good digestion to make good blood, and when we can make good healthy blood, we can fortify the system against the inroads of cancer.”

 

In this stage of building with good diet, we may also consider the medicinal mushrooms which perhaps may be considered as much a nourishing food as a medicine. Chaga and Reishi are among the most studied mushrooms when it comes to immune-modulation or nourishing the immune system. The dual-extract powders are considered the most potent, as both the water-soluble constituents and those only extracted by alcohol are present. These can be made into a tea or a broth along with Astragalus – another immune nourishing herb or mixed into food and taken at least twice daily. Herbalist, Kiva Rose Hardin also reminds us that people who have been have been significantly weakened by this illness (or its treatment such as when undergoing radiation or chemotherapy) particularly in the latter stages, can gain nourishment and regain strength  by using elm bark (a number of elm species may be used, as well as sustainably grown slippery elm – Ulmus fulva) even when no other foods can be tolerated, digested or absorbed.

Throughout the book, Dr Jones refers to the concept of cancer being a disease of the blood. He talks of the importance of clean or pure blood. As herbalist Matthew Wood notes, when the old doctors speak of ‘dirty blood’ or the need to ‘clean the blood’, they are in fact speaking of the Extra-Cellular Matrix – or the inner ocean that exists between the cells, the blood vessels and the lymph, and acts as a transitional repository for nutrient and metabolic waste material  before they respectively enter or exit the cell. The importance of keeping this fluid matrix free-flowing and relatively clean is therefore paramount to the health of the individual overall, and especially more so when cancer is present. This is the CLEANSE stage of instigating the healing process, and the methods used will often overlap with the previous two. For example, we have already noted that the Epsom salt bath can draw and neutralise toxins from the body, and a clean and sensible diet can eliminate a lot of potential causative and extenuating factors. Cleaning up our lifestyles, dramatically reducing or eliminating environmental toxins, and ensuring we sleep well, move well, think well, speak well, is important, as it is that we eliminate well. This is really important. If you don’t eliminate and eliminate well, you become backed-up and stagnant and therefore the toxins we breathe in or ingest, as well as the waste products from our own metabolic processes, don’t get eliminated.

“Many doctors, in their anxiety to conquer the local growth neglect to look after the “general condition” of the patient and their vitality. Many patients have been lost in this manner. Be careful and examine your patients every day — the pulse, the eye, the tongue — so that you know exactly how they are.

Watch the tongue and see if your patients are digesting their food properly. If there is a coating on the tongue your patient is not digesting the food he eats properly. The strength which should be derived from the nourishment is not being obtained. In order to make good blood your patient must have good digestion.

If there is a hardness or tension to the pulse it shows a contraction of the capillaries, a focus of congestion somewhere, you are not obliged to ask your patient if they are suffering from pain for the pulse tells you that fact by its tension.

Your patient must have a regular movement of the bowels every day; the refuse matter must pass off as often as that and not be retained in the intestines to poison the blood. This is just as important as any part of the treatment; if you neglect this you may fail to cure your patient.”

Some alternative therapies such as Gerson Therapy, include enemas and colonic hydrotherapy as a key part of their protocol when helping patients who have cancer. If this is needed, a good probiotic should also be included as a part of the protocol to help restore the gut flora, which is also an integral part of nourishing the immune system.

The popular Essiac herbal tea, and other formulated herbal teas assist in this cleansing process by supporting the organs of elimination. Fasting and intermittent fasting have shown promise in restarting the body’s innate healing mechanisms as well as providing a good opportunity to cleanse the system. There are some parameters around fasting though that should be considered, such as the type of fast and when to fast. It isn’t wise to fast a person who is already considerably weak and depleted such as in the latter stages of an illness. These people need to be built up and nourished in an appropriate manner, such as with a porridge made from slippery elm. Fasting is perhaps more appropriate in the beginning stages of illness and the decision to fast therapeutically should be made with someone familiar with the process, or dare I say it, if a person is in tune with their own body – instinctively.

After covering these aspects of treatment and reiterating it at various intervals, much of the rest of Eli Jones treatise is then dedicated to specific remedies that he had used to treat the varied and numerous cases that came in to his care and attention. This is the DIRECT AID aspect of healing. The remedies and formulas which he worked with were very specific to the type of tissue, organ, or system that was affected. Here a skilled practitioner would also consider the energetics (for example, in the beginning stages the area affected may exhibit a lot of inflammation or heat and redness, in the latter we might see a very cold, depressed, or even withered and atrophied state of the tissues – and the individual as a whole.), as well as considering the innate constitution of the client in guiding their choice of remedy. It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss specifics, and I have already tested your patience enough. (Although at this point, we need to address the myriad of Black Salve enthusiasts. Dr Jones also has something to say about the use of escharotics. That is, if people must use them, then use them ONLY while covering the other A,B,Cs and use them with an accurate understanding of the lesion that they are being used on!)

Some practitioners who are well-versed in homoeopathic practice might also consider any miasms– or inherited weaknesses that may be underlying the issue. And although, as herbalists or holistic therapists we don’t and are legally restricted to treat cancer itself, we will find that this Direct Aid often brings us back to the first step of Activation of the healing process. So, whether it is to try and remove underlying inherited weakness and clear familial or ancestral trauma or assist the person in coping with and accepting the journey that they are on, we may still have an effective and positive role here. Incidentally, there are a number of Australian Bush Flower essences that are specific to this particular aspect of support. These include the essences of Autumn Leaves and Lichen, which help people come to terms with their transition. Herbalist Jonathon Treasure, who has wide experience in supporting people with cancer using botanicals alongside conventional treatment, asserts that as practitioners we often find that our role also needs must transform alongside the transformation that is occurring with the person we are supporting. As I initially drew the comparison to the transformative process that occurs during a birth, here we walk alongside our client or loved one, holding sacred space. We must flow and adapt with their process, and we find that as we take this journey together, we as the practitioner or support person can’t help but let it change us. And I believe that this is also very much a key aspect of the healing that we offer.

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Autumn leaves. Photo: M.Carnochan 2019.

 

As much as I have spoken about the role of the practitioner in this and drawn on Dr Jones work, these steps to healing are in fact steps that anyone can take, and I encourage that they should consider them whether they are dealing with their own health concerns or supporting a loved one with theirs. I have not gone into specifics, which may frustrate some of you, as each person is unique, and so will their journey be. In the case of cancer, these steps can be considered as both a stand-alone approach and in conjunction with conventional treatment if that is the direction that has been decided upon. In fact, employing these steps will improve the outcome whilst having conventional treatment because we are working with the design and supporting the person as a whole being. I encourage you to explore the concepts discussed here further. Begin to see life with new eyes and look for the patterns. And then work to the design.

 

Many Blessings,

Michelle x

 

References:

 

Steven Horne’s ABC+D approach to healing charts are available from:

http://treelite.com/proddetail.php?prod=ch-8   (No, this is not an affiliate link.)

 

http://jonathantreasure.com

 

https://planetherbs.com/research-center/cancer-book-resources/cancer-chapter-i/

 

https://wildlingsherbary.com/blog/wychwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grassroots Healing, Musings, Plant Medicine, Spirituality

On Being Called to Plant Seeds

I have taken on an apprentice. This is my second apprentice. The first quibbled over why my tea bag had a string and informative bit of card attached and his didn’t. I was attempting to teach him how to make a medicinally useful cup of tea. Suffice it to say, we didn’t get past that first lesson, mainly because sixteen is a fascinating age and so is their hair. My second apprentice is a little more eager, although the attention span is also a bit shorter, and she doesn’t actually like drinking herbal tea. Maybe because she’s nine or she’s going on 30. And the second-born hasn’t been engaged to be my third apprentice yet because he’s being called by volcanoes, and dinosaurs, and the ghosts of dinosaurs that were possibly consumed by volcanoes, who also code.

I am of course, talking about my children. As part of their home-school Science/Home Economics/Physical Education and Personal Development (insert other relevant compartmentalised Edubabble here) curriculum I thought I would start incorporating more formal botany, plant identification and herbal medicine lessons into their learning plan. I also had an overwhelming urge to pass on my knowledge so our tradition isn’t lost. I mean, after all, breast milk when they were babies and herbs as they grew and an inordinate supply of hugs, are the only medicine they’ve ever known when they have needed it. It should come naturally, right?  So, we’ve been using the excellent resource that is American herbalist, Kristine Brown’s Herbal Roots Zine – a monthly ‘zine subscription that focuses on a new herb each month. We have also owned the excellent Wildcraft board game since John & Kimberly from Learning Herbs first published it. And we use Jeannie Fulbright’s Exploring Creation with Botany, and Thomas J. Elpel’s Botany in a Day. And of course, we have lived in the bush, or nearby, ever since the kids were born (except that brief exile to suburbia in Melbourne, and that time we bummed around on Currumbin Beach for 8 weeks. Nevertheless, there are still medicinal weeds aplenty in these diverse places). The kids can identify most of the more common medicinals growing around us, wherever we have found ourselves.

Currently, my young Padawan is getting to know Dandelion. We’ve traipsed around our quiet little seaside community in search of it. She has learnt to identify and know the difference between lookalike species, she has harvested leaves and flowers, and dug roots, dried the leaves and sprinkled them in our dinner, picked the flowers to infuse in oil, pressed the plant and recorded interesting information about its virtues in her journal. Yet as I watch her colouring a picture of the Dandelion, I can’t help but wonder – has she heard the Dandelion’s song? You see, she knows the technical sort of details of the plant, but does she know its essence? It should come naturally right? I mean, after all, she has grown up knowing which herbs are what and what I have used them for, surely it would sort of rub off somehow, or maybe she’s inherited my passion.

But then, as is my wont, I pondered some more.

What do you do when the land climbs into your bones,

its green tendrils unfurl through your veins,

and it sings its blooms into your heart?

 

I was somewhat appalled recently when I discovered that a number of naturopaths using herbs have never seen the herbs they use in their original state (that is, as the whole living plant, or even a photo of it, not liquids in a brown bottle, or dried and crushed into equally non-descript pills), let alone be able to identify them if they happenchanced upon them in the wild. A profound sadness filled me. How could this be?! Actually, I felt quite traumatised by this. There is a deep wound here. A deep disconnect. And perhaps as affected as I was, not surprised because we are products of a reductionist society. But on reflection, it reminded me of a conversation I had not so long ago about the meaning of the seemingly unrelated word –Indigenous.  My friend and I were discussing this term in relation to the knowledge of our own Australian Indigenous herbal – or rather Bush Medicine – tradition, and how, it is a largely oral-based tradition that is well protected and not readily shared unless deep respect is earned by the seeker (ie; to people of European descent. Understandably). My friend and I, to the eye anyway, are both of European descent. I have Dutch, Scots/Celt, Scandinavian, & Jewish blood running through my veins, and there has been some speculation that there’s also a drop or two of Indigenous Australian blood in there as well, but whatever the case may be, here I am having been born here, my parents were both born here, as far as I am aware all of my grandparents were born here, and my great-grandparents – well therein is the diversity of where the different blood travelled from. I don’t know the lineage of my friend, but she was born here, she grew up in the bush and spent much of her life feeling strongly connected to it. I felt much the same. So, we began to wonder whether indigenous might also mean something beyond the meaning that we are politically familiar with.

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With all due to respect to our indigenous brothers and sisters and their history, which as a former archaeology/anthropology student and generally someone also experiencing the human condition, I deeply appreciate; this thought process isn’t about social justice or cultural appropriation. I believe herbal medicine transcends these by being the medicine of the people – whichever people you are and wherever in the world you find yourself putting down roots, and it saddens me that we’ve allowed the division from these very emotionally driven political ideas to permeate into our own solidarity as Plantfolk. This thought process is rather, about this thing called being indigenous as the Earth itself sees it – because if you go back far enough, we’ve all been sojourners coming from somewhere and going to and settling down somewhere else, and we’ve all been formed from the dust of the Earth. Some of us have just put down longer roots or sent out more entrepreneurial and aggressive runners. And this may be a bit of an esoteric idea for some, but in attempting to pass on my knowledge to my daughter, I realised that this is my calling, the plants have chosen me. It might not necessarily be hers, and I can’t make it so. Let me repeat that again; the plants have chosen me.

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The Australian Indigenous people do believe that it is the Land that chooses the people, not the other way around. Our descendants may have colonised it, pillaged it, raped it, but they did not own it. We use it for resources, but it only speaks to some of us. To the rest, it is a dead thing, and in my experience, when you treat things that are living as dead, as without soul or sentience, then it will only yield its gifts to you in kind. It’s the quick fix mindset, the extraction of isolated constituents all over again to produce pharmaceuticals that manipulate the body and produce uncomfortable and sometimes deadly side-effects. When there is no respect, you get none in return. You’ll also be seen as devoid of life. Devoid of heart. Which is what we have essentially become.

“For the intense longing of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the children of Elohim. For the creation was subjected to futility, not from choice, but because of Him who subjected it, in anticipation, that the creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage to corruption into the esteemed freedom of the children of Elohim. For we know that all creation groans together and suffers the pains as of childbirth until now.”  (The Scriptures. Romans 8:19-22)

I know this will be difficult for some people to comprehend, that the Land has chosen people. It is akin to the created becoming a god, is it not? But perhaps, think on it this way; In the beginning we had one job. To tend, to care for this extraordinary garden we call Earth. One job.

“We have a remarkable ability for forgetfulness, ingenuous methods for not being present, a delicious capacity for oblivion. It is not difficult for us to forget the shocks of childhood, our nature, our destiny, the divine, and all those tasks for which our soul came into this world. As Antonio Machado once asked: What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?”    (Robert Bly/Marion Woodman as quoted by Stephen Harrod Buhner. Becoming Vegetalista.)

We haven’t done the job. In fact, we forgot all about it. But the Earth knows what its purpose is, it hasn’t forgotten. The plants remind us of who we are and where we have come from, and where we are going, and this is why their medicine can touch us so deeply and profoundly. But in our busy lives of material distraction, we don’t see or feel or hear – except for some of us who were born with eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart that feels and so we hear the silver song and we follow the notes that lilt with the breeze, and we see the golden bark at the bottom of the Grandfather Tree and we feel it’s shimmer and know within our heart of hearts that faeries live here. We become indigenous, we become native, we remember – a kinnection between the earth and man, we speak for them that have no voice that humans might hear. And with our green tendrils we reach into the hearts of those who want to know the way home, and we plant a little seed. And so, the humans only have to tend that one little seed in the garden of their own soul. One job. It isn’t that difficult. But it might be a little painful…at first, because some of us need first to wake up and smell the roses.

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We are chosen, and the plants are our teachers. One day I will write a book on all of these that have taught me. And every year, when the time is right, my feet itch and the Land calls and my heart scouts the edges of the road less travelled, listening for the teacher. My own apprenticeship continues until the day I’m liberated into Light or my bones have returned to the Land and the seeds that have been scattered lovingly throughout my shroud sprout into a meadow of wildflowers.

“Nonetheless, the ecstatic journey has been part of human life for as long as humans have been. And the Earth really is intelligent and alive and aware and communicating with us every second of every day. And there really is a sacredness that flows through everything that, sometimes – usually when we least expect it – touches the soul of us and urges us to begin a journey that, as Mirabai once said, ecstatic human beings have taken for centuries. And for some of us the particular path we are called to take is the path of the vegetalista.

For those of us who take that path, the plants themselves become our teachers. They initiate us into (and surround us every day with) veriditas – a meaning-filled word created oddly enough by Hildegard of Bingen who was okay for a Christian I guess. She cleverly combined two Latin words: veritas and verde – truth and green. It’s a word that means -allatthesametime – the living intelligence of the green world and the sacredness that can be found there.” (Stephen Harrod Buhner. Becoming Vegetalista. )

And the sacredness is this; it is not the created that we worship, it is the created that reminds us, that seeks to work with us. It is the Creator who breathes Life into all, including Earth, a Divine signature; and each plant, each tree, each rock, each crystal, each body of water, each creature, speaks to that glory. Because Yahuah speaks the mysteries in the idiom of tangibles. He speaks in Golden Threads and Green Tongue, and He speaks in pomegranate and almond blossom, in olive, in oak, in cedar, and one day I might tell you the mystery of how the Blue Water Lily healed my root and navel.

“For since the creation of the world, His invisible qualities have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, both His everlasting power and Mightiness…”.     (The Scriptures. Romans 1:20)

Have you ever seen a forest in worship? Each tree, each plant raising its limbs toward the heavens in joy-filled praise?

 And sometimes, when the Pine has had enough of the zombies, it gives everyone the bird.  I don’t really blame it. Sometimes, brick walls are easier to talk to than people (because even the bricks remember that once they were earth).

So, I’m not entirely sure just yet if my daughter has felt this Veriditas entwine itself into her soul, if the earth has called her, or if in this green language, to her Yahuah will speak.

I plant the seed nonetheless, knowing that at least she can tell the difference between a dandelion and a cat’s ear, and that dandelions make a much nicer medicinally useful cup of tea.

 

 

Green blessings,

Michelle x

Grassroots Healing, Musings, Reflections, Spirituality

What is Love? (Baby, don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me, no more.)

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecy, and know all secrets and all knowledge, and if I have all belief, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am none at all. “

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Image Source: Michelle Carnochan

 

 

There is a lot of talk about love in this world. Numerous songs have been written about it, endless poems and stories, movies, and all manner of art have been inspired by it. We particularly like using the word to express our feelings toward each other, toward our favourite food, puppies, the latest fashion, the latest miracle product that everyone is using, and anything else that we fancy.

 

I really really love chocolate.

So why don’t you marry it?

 

We seem to have lost the meaning of Love. Yet every living thing from newborns to those passing on, and every stage of life in between needs it.  As much as there is a survival instinct within each and every cell of each and everything living thing, I believe there’s also an instinct for love. On some level, we all crave it. It makes us feel good, to give love as well as to receive it. Sometimes – all too oftentimes – this need, on both accounts, is unmet, perhaps due to ignorance, to previous hurt, or to anything that has closed our hearts. You see, in order to receive and to give love, we need to acknowledge that we also need to be vulnerable. We need to have an open heart. We need to be able to feel. Because Love is a verb. It’s an action, a way of being and doing and seeing and thinking and feeling, and living.  It is the fundamental principle, and the most radicle (and in today’s world – radical) foundation for optimum wellbeing. So with that in mind, I thought it would be a good place to start in an exploration of the holistic foundations to good health. Consider this Foundational Principle #1.

The ancient Greeks identified at least four types of love, and several expressions associated with love-like feelings. Although I have it on good authority from an authentic source that there is only one word for true love (agape). Nevertheless, I find all of the expressions attributed to love interesting because I found that they can be correlated with the five elements of air, water, fire, earth, and the quintessence or ether (or life force that animates and permeates all things). These are the same five elements that the ancients recognised as the basic building blocks of the entire universe, and which we explored in my previous post on the energetic architecture of our constitutions and tissue states. And like the interplay of the elements that make up our individual architecture, they can become a little imbalanced, some can become a little too dominant, or not engaged enough. But let’s explore these correlations a bit deeper.

 

Love is Elementary.

 

Eros (ἔρως)= Fire. Intense, primal, that initial spark of romantic love. Passionate. Can burn out quickly or become lustful if not supported by the other elements.

Storgè (στοργή) = Water. Kinship, organically flowing between family members, such as a parent and a child. The familiarity of family, and good friends.

Philia (φιλία) = Earth. Brotherly love, grounding. The deep and shared experience between friends. Denotes loyalty and comradeship.

Ludos = Air. Playful young affection. Euphoric. Laughter, banter, light, and carefree.

Agape (ἀγάπη)= Quintessence. Selfless, compassionate Love. Empathy for all beings. Godly, or the Highest form of Love.

Three other forms were also identified, two of which are expressions of imbalance in the elements;

Pragma = A Deep understanding and harmony between two people. Long-lasting love. Really a combination of Storge, Philia, and Agape, that develops out of Eros and Ludos.

Mania = Obsessive love. Stalking, jealousy, co-dependency. Unbalanced Eros.

Philautia = Love for oneself, taking care of oneself. If not kept in check, can lead to narcissism.

Let’s focus on the foundational concept of the Quintessence, the Vital Force that expresses itself through these bodies of ours, and enables us to function in the world. This is manifest in the Agape type of love. It is foundational, because we ALL need it, the world as we know it REALLY needs it. I believe, to that end, that it also represents the goal of optimum wellbeing – to have love for everyone, to have compassion on all living beings. I think, perhaps, that it should permeate all of the other types of love that we express and receive, keeping their elements in balance so we don’t become manic/obsessive or narcissistic, or led astray by lust. We become whole when we become Love. So let’s look at what that is, and what it isn’t. Some of you may recognise these.

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

Love is peace.

Love is joy.

Love is gentle.

Love is faithful.

Love isn’t envious.

Love is not proud.

Love is not full of itself.

Love does not behave indecently.

Love doesn’t seek things for itself.

Love is not provoked.

Love does not reckon with evil.

Love rejoices in truth.

Love covers all, believes all, expects all, endures all.

Love never fails.

Love does not murder.

Love does not have extra-covenantal/commitment affairs.

Love does not steal.

Love does not lie.

Love doesn’t want what someone else owns.

Love sets us free.

Love is merciful and forgiving.

Love makes recompense.

Love is fair toward both poor and rich, treating them both equally.

Love is hospitable to the native as well as the foreigner.

Love does not slander, or gossip.

Love does not take vengeance.

Love cares for the poor and the stranger.

Love is grateful.

Love picks up a wounded enemy out of the ditch and cares for them.

Love is dignified.

Love is integrity.

Love is humble.

Love is wise.

Love listens.

Love feels.

Love hears the still, small Voice inside.

Love heals.

Love is not confusing.

Love is uplifting.

Love is discerning, but does not discriminate.

Love is not idle.

Love is fruitful.

Love is laying down one’s life for a friend..

..…as well as for one’s enemy.

 

Love, agape love, is true love. It is the yardstick by which we should measure our relationships with others. It brought the universe into being, and it sustains it. Being born of it, we can access it if we turn back to it’s Source, and we can then work to cultivate it within ourselves, for ourselves and toward each other. The world doesn’t seem to know this love very well, but it really really needs it, so maybe we should start to focus on being that change we want to see in the world. Maybe we should put down our weapons, tone down our voices, stop listening to those that divide us, lift up our hearts and begin to simply be Love. Are you with me?