About Me

Hi!

I’m never quite sure what people would like to know about me, and although I love talking about stuff I love I’m also really private which makes it hard to try and put myself in print. So here are some random things about me, in no particular order, that you may or may not find interesting, relevant, or just weird.

Not the rolling hills of Tuscany!

Not the rolling hills of Andalucia or Tuscany–it’s California.

  • I am from rural/small town Northern California. I love the mountains and forests of the Pacific Northwest. My family and I have moved a lot though, and I have also spent significant chunks of time in Sevilla, Spain and Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, and smaller, less-pleasant chunks of time in Southern California and Texas.
  • I am an INFJ, sometimes called “The Protector” or “The Advocate” (I previously had INFP here but it turns out I was misremembering–upon double-checking, I am entirely an INFJ). (Want to know your type? You can start here.) I don’t put too much stock in any labels or typologies, but I still find personality tests fun.
  • My favorite holiday is Halloween. I love the feeling of “the veil thinning” and the upside-downness of wearing a costume and staying out all night. Nowadays I usually find that the buildup to Halloween is more fun than Halloween itself, and I don’t know whether that’s me getting older or the times a-changin’, but I think it’s mostly because I view Halloween as sacred play yet take the liminality very seriously, while most people I know view it as a party decorating theme. Also, it’s hard to get into Halloween when you live in a place that has no autumn.
  • Though I am not currently employed in the field, I am a card-carrying archaeologist with a specialty in mirrors and Iron Age Eurasia. In addition to the US, I have excavated/done field research in Sicily, Peru, Korea, Japan, and the Czech Republic.
  • I volunteer for a group that uses social media to help reunite lost dogs with their families.
  • Night owl.
  • I am so clumsy I was once nicknamed “Calamity Jane.” This leaves me with lots of minor injuries on which to test herbal remedies.
  • The Igor to my Dr. Frankenstein is my little mutt dog, Shermie. He’s not very helpful but does lift the mood around here.
  • I’m a supertaster and a synaesthete.
  • I am a collateral descendant and huge admirer of Nicholas Culpeper.
  • Some of my hobbies/things I enjoy or have enjoyed in the past include: sleeping, learning to play the Great Highland Bagpipes, astrology, Disneyland (but not Disney movies), belly dancing, learning other languages, doing my family’s genealogy, road trips, gardening, the outdoors, hardware stores, old movies (especially classic monsters and Film Noir, and anything with Boris Karloff or William Powell), corndogs, fairs, reading, writing, drawing, painting, knitting, sewing, strolling around cemeteries, trains, Persian food, horseback riding (anything horses, really), meditation, vegetables from the Solanaceae family and all kinds of mushrooms, and of course experimenting with herbal remedies and forcing them on my friends and family.
  • Things I do not enjoy include: Brussels sprouts, avocados, condescension, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, artificial sweeteners and stevia, math (though I do like household accounting but that’s because I’m a control enthusiast), mean people, stupidity, skepdicks and proselytizing atheists, patriarchy and racism, when people do not return their shopping carts to the store or cart corral, bad grammar, driving on the freeway, and literal and metaphorical deserts.
Who's got no thumbs and likes to eat my pillowcases? This guy!

Who’s got no thumbs and likes to eat my pillowcases? This guy!

Want more?

Ok then! When I was a little kid we had a small farm, and I remember pestering my parents with questions about what the different plants were. I would sit on the lawn and make “potions” (as I called them) in my mom’s very 1970s orange fondue pot, using things I harvested around the house. I still have a warm spot in my heart for those first herbs, among them birch, oats, wild mustard, and wild radish.

It wasn’t till a few years later that I first learned that plants could be used as medicine, when someone told me that wild radish roots could be used to remove warts. Somewhere, a bell rang… Fast forward to adulthood, and I’ve found I love researching herbs, I love experimenting with them and playing guinea pig, and learning about the history of herbal medicine.

I see myself as continuing the practical, empirical wisdom of traditional Western herbalism (in my own small way). I do not claim to be an expert on plant medicine–indeed I think a person could study plants for several lifetimes and still have more to learn–but I have been accruing empirical experience at a rapid rate since I became my mother’s caregiver and lost my health insurance at the same time. I started this blog to assemble the best information I can create and gather about healing with plants, what I learn as I expand my herbal education, and the results of my experience along this journey. There are many blogs about herbology out there, and they are almost all wonderful; this one doesn’t surpass any of them but adds one voice to a chorus of plant-loving people that I hope is swelling day by day.

Conventional medicine is becoming ever more expensive. It is already unattainable for many people. So there is a huge need for healing that anyone can afford and safely apply, as well as reliable education about such remedies. Not only is it important that people have access to herbs and the knowledge of how to use them, we must also have the freedom to use them according to common sense and our best judgment.

Working with herbal allies, one comes to have a deep love and respect for the green world. Plants are generous with their healing magic, and in return it is our responsibility to ensure that they survive and thrive. I try to do this by using organically grown or wildcrafted herbs, and working in small batches to avoid over-harvesting and maintain quality control.

Sustainability is not just about the environment, it’s also about knowledge and community. One of my goals for this blog is to include information on useful herbs or combinations of herbs that are not very well known. I do this not as a ploy to differentiate myself, but because there are so many wonderfully healing plants that have simply slipped through the cracks. Search engines and social media are wonderful tools in many ways, but they also skew the apparent importance of information: the more often something is replicated, the better known it becomes and therefore the more important it seems. At the same time, very valuable things which don’t happen to be accompanied by a pinnable picture or a lolcat meme don’t get replicated, and ultimately disappear from the collective news feed. In this way, the available knowledge becomes heavier but ever-smaller. I believe this shrinkage of information is a very bad thing, and with this blog I’m trying to do my part to keep the well deep and the horizon broad.

Still want more?

You can visit my Pinterest boards or my PoppySwap store. My Etsy store still exists but I’m not maintaining it. I plan to find another platform to sell herbal remedies since I don’t hold ethically with some of Etsy’s recent policies.

6 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hey most beautiful wordstress healer….
    I was inspired by your Ancient Forest ambling… and all the deep trees that surround us, not the african ones who are far and not so intimate… My beloved husband and I live in the magnificent Canyonlands of southern utah, surrounded by the ancient curves of juniper, pinion, sagebrush, and the stature of the higher ones fir, spruce, pondering rosa… and we and they collaborate in distillation to make exquisite and potent essential oils crafted wild with love and hands… what an honor to make medicine with our local tree and flower, is it not…. please to see our web of site… http://www.HouseOfAromatics.com and we would love to send some samples your way if you are interested in working with these fine oils…. we have a pinion pine oil that we add the ancient crushed resin to… sweetness in a bottle…. oh, and if your ever out our way rambling in the river beds, come and visit….

    Lisa + Eric

    • Oh I’m glad! I’m always happy to find a kindred spirit and fellow herb lover. 🙂 I have been so busy lately I haven’t been able to update the blog as much as I’d like, but I have lots of ideas and plans for the future so please stay tuned.

      I stopped by your blog and am intrigued to see where you will go with it, I like the idea of a Gothy Homemaker. Have you seen Deb Castellano’s blog (http://www.charmedfinishingschool.com/)? If not, I think you might like it. Deb also shares a love of hearth and home on the dark side. (Of course that may be old news to you.)

  2. Hi Alexandra, I am just beginning to think about getting back to my own blog, big changes in my life since I first contemplated it. I found one of your posts a year or so ago and was fascinated– in revisiting it I came across your bio, and realized how many things we have in common. I hope you will be posting again soon, since I find your approach very soothing to my soul. I hope that only good things are keeping you busy.

    • Thank you so much for the kind words! I haven’t been posting as much lately, unfortunately, but only because there are many good changes afoot and so many thoughts swirling around that it’s hard to catch one and hold it long enough to write it all out. I hope you are able to return to your own blog, and if/when you do I shall look forward to checking it out.

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