Written by Meghan Rhodes MCPP MAPA
Whether it’s meeting new people who want to learn for the same reasons as you, seeing them season after season to connect with the herbs and each other or making friends for a lifetime, we all know there is power in community.
Not only are we stronger together than in isolation, there is also something incredibly freeing about spending time with like-minded people - that ability to fully exhale and just be, knowing you’re not the odd one out, knowing you can just ask the questions that come to you, connect the dots out loud and share your thoughts and yourself with others. Being encouraged by and encouraging others. Being reminded you're not alone.
And somehow, things just feel a bit more real when you're not off doing them on your own. When you have a community.
Wondering what our community of budding herbalists and herbal medicine enthusiasts feels like? Read on!
Our community is definitely a curious bunch, who aren't satisfied with a list of facts to memorise or sitting in a classic classroom. Our community wants to taste their way to knowledge and develop medicine making skills by getting hands-on whizzing up creams and squeezing out oils and tinctures. We're out in the gardens and the hedgerows growing, foraging, harvesting, identifying (and always munching). Questions are always being asked and responses are filled with context, nuance and story.
When we pause for a gorgeous lunch at one of my workshops or courses, a common thread always seems to weave its way into our conversations - that of awareness. Somehow, everyone realises they're sitting with a group of very switched on people - people who are seeing past the mass marketing, mass messaging and mass media. People who are aware of the damage all the chemicals, toxins, unnatural substances, plastics, etc. infused in wider society are doing to human health and the health of the environment. People who see what big food and big pharma are up to. People who know in the fibre of their being so many of the systems that have been in place for so long are not supportive, nor are they making or keeping us well.
If you're reading this and nodding your head, you know what I'm talking about. And when you've got that awareness - something that's always expanding - it's not always easy or common to find yourself in a social situation with other people who just get it, so you can just relax. But that is exactly what our community is like. Information, resources, insights, connections are all shared.
A Sense of Connection
Whilst many people, myself included, begin their journey of learning herbalism because they have some sort of health challenge they'd like to work through themselves, our community knows we're not just individual entities floating along in isolated existence. We feel a connection to nature (because we are nature). We know we are playing one of many interdependent roles in a much larger, complex ecosystem.
We also have a deep resonance with those who have come before us - our own ancestors, wider generations and civilisations. We understand, appreciate and have reverence for that vast span of human history in which people were observing, trying, creating, refining, mastering, recording and sharing the huge field of knowledge that is herbalism and human health. We take comfort in the fact that what we are learning is nothing new - we are just keeping it alive so it can pass through us to the generations to come.
So I encourage you to find your fellow herbalists. Create those connections. Build that community. And if you like the sound of ours, book on to a workshop or course and join us!