Three days dedicated in prayer, focus, and intention on a vision I had months ago during my last last vision quest. I saw myself as a fire keeper, tending the fire, hauling fire wood, splitting wood, and creating a space of sacred prayer through the purification of the flames. The vision included others around the fire releasing their prayers, the Sacred Seeds Portal, and wholistic integration of ancient wisdom with herbal medicine.
This vision is now fueled by a prayer of a new Native American inspired smudge fan. Prayer fans are used to smudge with cedar, sage, sweetgrass, copal, and many another beautiful cleansing scents. The fan is used to infuse every day with prayer and has healing powers to dispatch a prayer into the heavens and draw the healing power from the sky.
In this moment I am drawing down the vision of continuing my learning and study on being a fire keepers. I know so little but have learned so much from the fire since a little girl tending fire in my house. I learned how to build a fire by the time I was 7years old. Every day and night in winter it was part of my task to keep the fire burning in my home and now I am returning to this vision.
Photo of Native Prayer Fan by April Rameé
In my current studies, I have learned the importance of having a fire fan to fan the flames. I look forward to fanning many fires with this new tool I made out of geese feathers and parrot feathers all that were gifted to me from my community who supports me more than I could ever imagine. The geese represents community and the family unit, making them a priority with a vision and the parrot represents understanding all sides of life and being a good mediator. I think these are good traits for a community fire keeper of purification.
We are all built upon our ancestors and the company we keep. Look around and take a moment to give gratitude for those who support you, your ancestors who worked hard to make sure you are here, and for the earth who gives so many gifts for free, asking only in return that you remember their power.
Here is to the expanding knowledge of the fire I have tended within my heart, performing with fire, and for the community since I can remember. Here is to returning to the learning with a beginners mind, humble, and reverent to the element of fire.
Herbal Warrior of the Light
10 years ago I stepped into Tai Sophia, which was only minutes from where I grew up and I never knew existed. I was there to drink and mingle for a young professional network meeting. As a lover of bookstores and libraries I was blown away by the available books on plants and esoteric materials and the concept that one could get a masters in herbalism. In that moment I KNEW herbalism is my destiny.
Growing up my parents wanted me to grow up to be a professional, have a budding career, and live the American dream. I came home and told my mother that my new path is being an herbalist, even though I was a dedicated accountant already for 3 years, graduated with a bachelors in business, and was thriving in my field. However, I was unhappy at a desk and it made sense that I wanted to be with the plants for the rest of my life. My mother said, “Oh, you are the medicine woman in the family.” Quite frankly, I was outraged that I didn’t know this was a thing for our family and wondered why I had to wait 24 years to know AND that type of education existed only minutes from where I grew up.
However as most journeys in life, sometimes we have to travel far and outside of our nature to return to where we belong. This brings appreciation for what we are to become and an insatiable drive that demands that we live out our destiny. I began every day dreaming, exposing myself to plants, and figuring out ways I could make this destiny a reality. 6 years later I was finally in school for herbalism and found myself on our retreat in the mountains of Georgia, where my ancestors lived. I was not there to be with them but at the same time, I was there to be re-united with my soul.
I came across a book called the Warrior of the Light by Paulo Coelho and I felt once again that undeniable truth that comes and smacks you in the face and you laugh at all the ways you were before that moment. I came face to face with destiny again. I wrote a poem and a whole post about how this changed my life that you can read here, but this is a different story.
Photo of Red Woods by April Rameé
WHAT PATH WILL YOU CHOOSE?
This is a story about NOW, 10 years after the dream and now living the dream. I have spent the past days releasing energies and ways I was before that no longer serve this paradigm. The thing is, I am not regretful of any of the past, in fact quite the opposite. I am in deep gratitude for all the people who have pushed against my boundaries for these enlightened patterns I was living. Patterns that only de-valued the importance of what I have to offer. Patterns that help me live in fear rather than rise up to continue to live fully on my path of destiny. How many of us let this happen every day?
I give gratitude for all that I have learned because each person and failure in life came at that perfect moment to help me grow, to give me a challenge to rise above, and a reason to evolve. I am so grateful for the continued support of the plants, family, and friends in this healing journey for the past 12 years of awakening. I do not think the awakening ever ends. It is a life long path.
I am here as a testament of the path of the warrior. This is a path of true determination to show up for oneself and bring the change you want in the world. I am here to partner with you to make this lifetime the best possible for you and to see that every challenge is another opportunity to be in deep gratitude.
This year I am embarking upon two major chances for you to study with me after the many years of dedication and hard work I have put into my life. I want to share with you the knowledge that has led me to this point of gratitude. It is time for us to work together to make a difference in the world because the world NEEDS the best version of you and the plants are here for you.
The plants are here to be your guides and teachers. I am only a humble messenger of their potency and life force. I am a humble testament to the way the plants can shift your world, create healing, and support you in every endeavor in your life. I am here to let you know they love you!!!
Let me guide you into understanding how to create a relationship with the plants. This way you can begin your herbal education with the foundation to continue to learn for the rest of your life. The plants want you to connect with them. If you have a connection with them already, they are waiting for you to dive deeper into this divine relationship.
In the online herbal apprenticeship, we will dive in together as a small unit into the foundation of building a lasting relationship with the plants. Each week we will go deep into scientific knowledge and also esoteric understanding of the messages of the plants. As a small group, the class is LIVE, DIRECT, and TAILORED to you! There is time for working with plants that interest you, dreaming with the plants, and focusing on your individual desires of knowing about the plants. There are opportunities if you live in the DC area or nearby to work in the garden to have hands on experience guided by me, but let’s be honest…the plants will do the educating.
The herbalism 101 apprenticeship at Common Good Farm is another opportunity for similar learning but in person. There is a focus on learning how to form a relationship with the plants while learning at the garden and having a shorter time commitment.
Contact me by email or phone. I can skype and discuss in details more of the programs. I am so passionate about these learning opportunities that I could go on and on but who would want to read all of that?
So send me an email, click below to apply, or give me a call! I want to hear about your journey with the plants, I want to be here to share with you mine, and I want to be here to talk about the simple gift we are given every day for free…the plants!
I leave you now with wisdom of Paulo Coelho about being a Warrior of the Light; for what are you except a warrior of your own path?
Innately we all know that Earth and Universe has a rhythm, order, an intelligence. We know this from the sun rising every day and setting, the moon going through the phases, rise and fall of the tides, the seasons, a woman’s monthly moon, and the list goes on and on of rhythmic cycles in our own bodies, earth, and the universe.
The plants, mushrooms, and bacteria all have an intelligence billions of years old, older than our own existence. They provide us with the knowledge of how to adapt, heal, and work as communities to be healthy, one with earth, and the universe.
As a collective the plants are waiting for us to remember those rhythms and remember that we are entirely made up of the bacteria, plants, and the earth. That we are ready to learn their purpose and how to communicate their language once again.
Photo of Hawthorn Berries plump in the snow covered carter lake in Oregon
I find that I do not need to always be in a state of dis-ease before I can turn to the plants for support. In fact the moment I feel any disharmony I turn to the plants to find my balance. I find ways to understand their language and hear their messages in dreams, meditations, and by ingesting their inspiring medicine.
In my continued education, for any teacher of herbs will tell you they are a life time student, of the plants I am always opening myself up to a new plant or old friend that invites me into a deeper relationship.
This year in 2018, there are opportunities to gain a better relationship with plants by learning with me online or in person. Look below for the workshops, classes, 12 week online course, 8 week in person course, and more! The calendar on the website is going to be released soon but the events are growing! Subscribe for updates at www.antleralchemy.com
Illuminated by the Intelligence of Earth,
Founder of Antler Alchemy
The adventure of life takes me on so many twists and turns, dips and rises. I turn 34 today in quite an uneventful way, which after many of years being alive with eventful birthdays, that could be a positive (so my dad says). However, I rarely do anything uneventful. In the spirit of my birthday, I share some raw feels in my soul today and the herbs assisting my healing as I look forward to the New Year.
A dear soul I met in Oregon told me once, “Write your life like it is a story and you are a character.” What would I say? I am unsure, as I write this from a free-write process and my story telling through writing is still new. Let’s see where this story goes…
Poetically gleaming out into the world, her eyes are wide as a deer taking in all the beautiful sights and amazing people. The world seems to be a prosperous, joyous place of those who want to be happy. However, mistakes are always made and she feels the weight of mistake after mistake piling upon her heart. The joy is starting to fade and the world seems dim. She looks around and wonders why so many people are here to only gain something, achieve some goal, and look out for their best interest. She wonders…how is she thinking only about herself? Can she reflect a different truth in her work and daily life? She calls her father and mother for advice, because they taught her how to be a woman in this world. Her father says that she is too trusting and even her mother echoes this same sentiment to her, “Why do you trust people so easily? Why do you give away so much of yourself without anyone proving they deserve what you have to offer?”
She doesn’t know why. WHY? Why does her heart urn to be trusting? Why does her heart urn to be surrounded by genuine, trustworthy people, but seems to find those who realize they can take advantage of her?
Rather than stay in a victim mode, she focuses on why she attracts such energy. Where does she hold herself a victim? Where does she hold a sense of lack of self worth? What can she do as a person believing in honesty, trust, and kindness to attract the same beings who genuinely posses these qualities?
She starts to forgive herself for all the mistakes, the people she allowed to come in and control her life. She forgives herself for not being able to hold her boundaries as the fences come tumbling down when the hearts and desires of others bulldoze through. She forgives herself for breaking down her boundaries as this causes pain for those she loves and most importantly herself. She forgives herself that sometimes she is unable to be mean and say no. She forgives herself when she is mean and says no. She forgives herself for wanting life a specific way. She forgives herself for being focused and determined She forgives herself that she ALLOWS herself to feel guilty when others attack her for standing her ground or owning something she worked hard for. She forgives herself for being mean when she finally reinstates a boundary. She forgives herself for taking advantage of others in situations. She forgives herself for selfish behaviors. She forgives herself for not always seeing those who are supporting her. She forgives and forgives because she realizes to attract those who are like her she must forgive herself for forgetting to give herself the love she deserves on the most subtle, unconscious levels.
She realizes that she doesn’t have to forgive those harming her, she only must forgive herself because let’s face it…that is where the anger and hurt comes from. It comes from disappointing herself because she could be better, stronger, bitchier, and sturdier in her boundaries. Her fence could be a fortress and the people that deserve to be there will see there is a door to knock on gently, consistently, and with gratitude for her existence. While those who do not deserve to be inside see only a cold hard exterior, to their detriment because they are unable to see a door of kindness.
Wow! I don’t know what type of story that is, but I am going to be raw here and not edit. I write this to share authentically where I am in the world, I am not down and I am not up. I am here, present in the current moment with joy for being in this body. Understanding there is a purpose to all that happens, to learn, to lean in deep and see the true self. No one is perfect, I am not an angel and I am sure I have hurt others. I am reaping the consequences that come from my actions. They are not bad and not good, it is just what it is, a lesson to help me create vitality in my life. Seems as though the purpose is to wake me up to the joy of life! The interesting thing about it all is I think we could all benefit from some more forgiveness of ourselves.
Thank goddess for the plants that support me! My current go to tea is doing wonders for my heart, processing, and forgiving myself. This is the best birthday gift I could give myself today. Drinking good tea, taking a sweet bath, and honor the divine within myself. 34 years alive feels raw, beautiful, prosperous, magical, and forgiving.
Photo of Tea Honeysuckle (top left), Hawthorn Leaf & Flower (top right) Linden Leaf & Flower (bottom)
Herbs in my current tea: honeysuckle, hawthorn leaf & flower, and linden leaf & flower. I added some extra honeysuckle flower essence my girlfriend gifted me to the tea as well.
Honeysuckle is that sweet bushy plant you might walk by in the summertime and as a kid picked the ends of the flower to extract the tiny drop of honey it provides. This herb is great for respiratory problems and has a calming effect on the nervous system. The flower essence is great for those who are glorifying the past; find it hard to move on over the loss of a loved one, particularly if they are elderly. Good for those who get stuck in regretful feelings about the past, about missed opportunities or unhappy occurrences or about growing old. Honeysuckle helps bring people in the present and let go of the past, or bring it into perspective so that they can benefit from lessons learned from experience.
Hawthorn Leaf and Flower is a well-known heart tonic that is wonderful for high blood pressure, pain in the heart area, and other heart conditions. The flowers and leaves have a relaxant effect to relieve stress and anxiety, inducing sleep in insomniacs. Emotionally hawthorn is to work on the heart chakra, opens the heart to both receiving and giving love, and healing broken hearts.
Linden Leaf and Flower is relaxing remedy when taken as a tea to relieve tension, anxiety, aids in sleep, great for conditions associated with tension including headaches, irritability, and depression. It is another plant associated with the heart for high blood pressure and relaxing the coronary arteries, easing palpitations. Emotionally the plant is closely related with healing matters of the heart and is a symbol of sweetness, peace, and happiness. Increases awareness of our connectedness.
**Herbal info. shorts are modified and restated from the wonderful Anne McIntyre**
Tis the season for Reflection.
I find this time of the year for me to be extremely reflective as I gear up for my birthday on December 29th. I am not sure if you feel this way, but maybe some do, the past couple of months have been quite intense, spiritually, emotionally, physically, and in all ways. I personally have been in reflection since the beginning of November preparing like one of my spirit animals, the bear, to hibernate and I am reminded of my dream of the bear swallowing me whole and the attributes of bear medicine.
Bear is known as an herbalist, believe it or not, since many native cultures studied the bear and watched how they use herbs to heal themselves. Therefore, bear is focused on dreams, the energy of the west, the introspection period of reflection on the year, ending of cycles, and good ‘ole hibernation.
The past three months found me in Southern Oregon harnessing the energy of the west coast as the bears creep quietly throughout the landscape preparing for the coming hibernation. Digging up hidden roots in my soul for exposure, food, and digesting over the winter months. An herb that is close to my heart that can be found in the west is Osha Root (Ligusticum porteri) also known as Bear Root or Chuchupate (an ancient term in Aztec meaning Bear Medicine) in Mexico. This plant is grown in the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Mexico above 7,000ft and is very treasured, as it can’t be domesticated easily and loves the wild. Just as my heart urns for the wild life, having this plant as an ally brings me closer to the wild every time I use it. I have had the pleasure of using it on West rounds in some sweat lodges. I have had elders give it in root form to chew on or burned on the stones to open the lungs and make it easier to breathe in the sweat.
Osha root is a wonderful remedy for the lungs, respiratory conditions, flu, sore throat, and illness’s stemming from sinuses. Seems to be perfect for this time of year as winter creeps around the corner and brings flu’s, bronchitis, pneumonia, and strep throat. I personally always have an affinity for diseases that stem from respiratory conditions and sore throats; this is one of my favorite herbs for combating these illnesses.
Another reflection of the Bear and this time of year, is the darkest night of the year is upon us on the Northern Hemisphere. This day is called winter solstice. From December 22nd on the light increases each day preparing for spring, which is when the bear re-enters the world after hibernating in the den, giving birth to young, and preparing them for the next season. Just as during this time I go within to give birth to new projects for the next year.
Gratitude is my attitude.
At this moment in life the weather is changing and metamorphosis is happening all around us. The trees, plants, water, and the earth echo the changes that happen within our hearts. Letting go, allowing the death to creep in through dormancy into the heart of the mother earth. Returning to the deep soil for reflection and preparing for winter to take us into the time of slow movement, rest, creativity, and focus inward.
As life shifts all around us and many demanding thoughts come in from the media bombarding our sense of peace and connection to what matters, I only know how to bow in gratitude for being surrounded by those such as you who make my life better every day.
In this moment I only have gratitude for every day that I arise on this earth to live my passion. It was not always this way for me, and I remember writing the poem below in 2012 during a time when I was ready to make the ever-pressing change the earth and my heart desired. After two years of healing and education in herbal medicine with plants, I left my job in 2014 after an autumn of releasing and letting go of all that was causing me turmoil and pain. Heading into my passion of being an herbalist, yoga teacher, and answering the call to helping others in the crossroads of their life through the modalities I have and continue to learn.
For the past three years, I have been gifted support from my family, friends, and most importantly the plants. I am so appreciative of the continued opportunities to serve my purpose offering herbal consultations, creating wild crafted herbal medicines, teaching and learning yoga under the Dharma lineage, releasing blockages from those who work with me, learning music, healing with many different plants, integration sessions of plant medicines, traveling creating community, and most importantly serving my home community of DC.
Today, with all that is going on in the world, I want to write to let you know that I love you! I am so appreciative to have this family to share my gratitude for the plants. I am finding so much solace in morning herbal teas, sacred meditations with plants, walks in the mountains, and the changing colors of autumn.
by: April Rameé
Leaves change and fall
Hearts break and split
People lose hope
As the weather turns from sunshine to rain
Those we love break down and die
With the autumn changes
Tears flow and memories of summer fade
The bittersweet beauty of autumn
Rings hard in the collective unconsciousness
Calling us to reflection
Cementing truths unbreakable
Impermanence rains supreme
Bow down to nature
For no matter where you are
Concrete jungle to remote landscapes
You are one with Mother Earth
Read full poem post from 2012 here
Bowing in gratitude,
Warrior of the Light & Founder of Antler Alchemy