Good Medicine Confluence (2021)
I was honored and overjoyed to be teaching three classes at the Good Medicine Confluence online July 16-18, 2021. I will also be teaching there in 2022 -- stay tuned!
This gathering brings together herbalists and lore keepers of many traditions to share rare insights about ways of working with plants and fungi to heal ourselves and each other and the living world we share with our human and other-than-human kin. It is organized by Kiva Rose and Jesse Wolf Hardin, wise, generous, and fiercely loving people who have dedicated their lives to helping people learn to heal themselves, bring forward their unique gifts, and protect and renew the living Earth. For more information, go to: https://planthealer.org/intro.html
These are the three classes I offered. While I have written and spoken on related subjects in various ways and times, the material and approach I offered in each of them was entirely new – something Kiva and Wolf insist on for every class at the gatherings they organize.
Psilocybin, Shapeshifting, & The Sidhe
Psilocybin changes our neural networks and shifts our sense of our own identity and our relationship to the human and other-than-human beings of the living world. The underworld nature of this medicine connects us also with the ancestors and with the Otherworld. Because of this, it is a medicine that must be engaged with clear intention lest we allow our consciousness to be shaped in untoward ways. Drawing in equal parts from the realms of neurobiology, ecology, and animist spirituality with Irish roots planted in American soil, this class will explore the promise and peril this potent medicine can bring.
Cooling The Fire, Easing The Flow: COVID-19 & Vascular Health
Most of us are used to thinking of COVID-19 as primarily a respiratory disease that can also present with a confusing constellation of other symptoms. A deeper look at the illness reveals that most of the symptoms of the disease are related in some way to the vasoconstriction that occurs when the virus attacks the ACE-2 receptors on cells in multiple tissues and organs, disrupting the balance of angiotensin and renin. My approach to both the acute and long term effects of SARS-CoV 2 infection relies heavily on medicines like Hawthorn and Reishi that help balance angiotensin and vasodilators like Yarrow, Lobelia, and Black Cohosh. I outline that approach in this workshop.
Dopamine & The Animal Self
The neurotransmitter dopamine facilitates important aspects of the ways we experience pleasure and motivation and engage in learning and making meaning. At very high levels, dopamine is also involved in our experience of animal spirits and spirits of the dead. In this workshop we explore the nature of dopamine and the use of herbs that elevate dopamine levels like Brahmi and Milky Oats and herbs that potentiate them including Lobelia and MAO-B inhibitors like Damiana and Kava.