Badger Shares Story Medicine

How many of you have read the book, CROW and WEASEL by Barry Lopez? Such a wise, wonderful book, beautifully illustrated, and so worth reading. When mainstream narrative would have us believe that we are powerless and pointless, needing to be dictated, stories like this one show the way back to what is true about each one of us: that we each carry and are a unique and much needed medicine for our community and our times. The mythic and imaginative, and the expansive, complex beauty that is the vital force and the natural world is absolutely woven into each one of us.

What stories do you carry? Which stories inspire you most, or inspire you particularly right now? There is medicine in a good tale. Stories nourish our spirit and soul, and we can share this good medicine with others, so that we all grow in courage, strength, wisdom, and imagination.

As Badger says in CROW and WEASEL (and I relate in the video): “Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.”

We are so much more than the barrage of fear would have us believe.

This short video that I made (just over a minute long) features a quote from Badger about the nature of story, and a little musing from me.

Radio Show – Episode 46 – Vitality – March 22, 2020

In Episode 46 we revel in the vitality of spring with music, plant lore about Nettle, and a story for all ages about the secrets of Nettle. Enjoy Celtic tunes, songs, and more to cheer your heart and enliven your spirits in this challenging time we share.

Hear harp in the music of Siobhán Armstrong and Wendy Stewart.

Listen to this show on demand until April 5!

The second hour is an encore airing of Show 25 – Spring!

12:05: Lúnasa – The Butlers Of Glen Avenue
12:09: Kathleen MacInnes – Gaol ise Gaol i
12:11: Arcanadh – Cé a chuirfidh tú liom
12:16: Skippinish – Land below the Waves
12:19: Rachel Walker – Cadal Ciarach Mo Luran
12:23: Nettle Plant Lore from Tess Darwin – The Scots Herbal
12:27: Flook – Mouse Jigs
12:28: Lisa Hannigan – Flowers
12:36: Kíla – Sean Deora
12:44: Siobhán Armstrong and Les Witches – Miss Hamilton
12:48: Jane Valencia – Annie and the Secrets of Nettle
12:56: Wendy Stewart – Bonawe Highlanders Stirling Castle
13:00: Zoe Conway & John McIntyre – The Curra Road

Caught up in Blackberry Bramble: Herbal Music, Art, and Magic

My “Blackberry Bramble” illustration is now complete. Yes, the melody notated is playable, one that Blackberry shared when I became entangled in this mischievous, merry, and medicinally and nutritionally potent plant! Blackberries are high in flavanoids, notably anthocyanins, which are high in antioxidants and help lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation.

Blackberry Bramble - Illustration
Blackberry Bramble – Illustration and Melody by Jane Valencia. Gouache and pen & in.

One of this herb’s super-powers is Astringency, the ability to tonify and tighten tissues, thus reducing or stopping unwanted release of fluids. The leaf as a poultice (don’t include the prickles/”thorns”!) or a very strong tea can help stop bleeding, and is helpful as a wash in any weepy skin condition.  Decoction of the roots can help slow diarrhea when that function has ceased to be useful to one’s body (such as clearing pathogens and allergens).

This is just a very short glimpse of the power of Blackberry. Of course much of Blackerry’s magic are this plant’s gifts of delicious berries, which reignite our wild child nature, leading us into adventure and feasting amidst the beauty and bounty of summer! Next time you’re involved with Blackberry (such as cutting back the brambles or attemping to remove the whole plant), I encourage you to take a moment to appreciate this plant, to consider ways you’ve enjoyed Blackberry.

Consider its ways of growing and thriving. What can we learn from Blackberry’s ways? What benefits from Blackberry’s presence (birds, insects, companion plants? Who do you notice?). What does Blackberry tell us about the land and ecology in which it grows? Blackberries can be deemed and experienced as invasive, but what is that expression telling us about the land and our human involvement with it? How might we listen, observe, mindfully work with the soil and the plants to restore a balance? In our society most of us don’t know beneficial stewardship practices, so take restoration slowly, mindfully — starting from a place of respect for all life, for all of nature, and for us humans as nature, interwoven.

Journaling Himalayan Blackberry - photo
Journaling Himalayan Blackberry – photo by Jane Valencia