|By Steven Martyn|

Herbalism, like many traditional skills that were essential to our very survival and our well being for thousands of years, has been reduced to a quaint hobby by industrialization. Yet, I believe many of us feel the pull of this ancient art in our bones. And with the toxicity of modern life and the failings of allopathic medicine, it also clear to many of us that herbalism is just as essential today as it ever was.

For the vast sweep of our existence here on Earth we lived with the herbs. They have always been there when we needed them. They’ve saved us and helped us grow countless times like a good older brother. For thousands of years everybody knew the common uses for what we call “weeds” as food and medicine. Our information came from our elders, who were the authority, without question, and so we had complete faith in them. When we think about how that would have been, we can feel that we have lost much and much has been taken away. We have a long way to go to get back to such understanding and unconditional faith.

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|By Steven|

It’s always good to have an ear open to the truth, no matter where it might come from. There are bigger voices speaking to us from all directions. From the animals, birds, wind and sometimes your seven year old.


the swarm, our biggest ever (the first one)

We are in the summer run, keeping up with the plants, workshops, harvesting and preserving, catching swarms of bees, thinning fruit and of course (before this week) watering. We caught a swarm (one of our hives got too crowded, made a new queen to leave behind in the hive, and the old queen left with thousands to find a new home) right before heading down to the Heartwood Gathering, and then another the first afternoon of our gratitude soaked return.

We were snapped out of our post gathering high to try to catch her, she being our second best Queen who was flying off with ten thousand bee escorts. But everything was against us. First, we discovered that with all our recent swarms and divides we had no more full-size boxes or frames! We called a neighbour who has some old equipment, no answer. So, Megan scrambled and dumped a small hive that we suspected had a laying worker (a worker bee Read More

|By Steven Martyn|Shamanicorigins

When we use wild plants for food or medicine we are taking communion with a mystical order far beyond the grasp of our history, science or even reason. We are drinking from the divine crucible that made us human.


Steven with St.John’s Wort

It strikes me as funny when we try to scientifically justify how herbs work. For me this is like looking at the tracks of something rather then spending the time to look for and at the animal itself. The chemicals we claim to understand (as the active ingredients) are just the calluses on an unseen hand that has done that healing work for ages.


Wildcrafting and Herbalism have nothing to do with scientific methods or thinking. Herbalism, knowing how to harvest and use wild plants for medicine is at its core a mystical practice. Aspects of herbalism are perhaps the last direct legacy of a shamanic existence we all shared long before the advent of civilization.

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