Friday, September 14, 2018

Hi Fellow Earth Lovers,

Like many kids, I spent much of my childhood outside. Our yard housed trees, tiny moss forests, briars thick with animal life, and innumerable seeds, plant pods, and jeweled tree cones. I remember washing the trees and singing to them because they seemed to call out for loving care.

Childhood was magical because the earth was magical. I would spend hours staring through the twisted branches of old oak and black locust trees and loved splashing through the creeks barefoot on hot summer days.

This fascination with the forest and plants never faded. As a young adult, I sought out travel to exotic landscapes and stood among the redwoods, tropical mangroves, and young seagrass.

My favorite rituals in life have always revolved around spending time in secluded outdoor spaces. Preferably ones I get to know over months, seasons, and years. In these spaces, time slows down and I get to experience the budding, blossoming, and fruiting of trees, the playful exchanges among animals, and the eventual blanketing of the landscape with winter's sleep.

Nature teaches the patient. It takes time to form relationships with the environment, with the plants, with our own inner voice and to listen to the wisdom captured inside a drop of dew or a cicada wing. At a young age I learned how to listen to the plants and as a young adult, I learned how to take in their wisdom as medicine. My first herb walk in the mountains of North Carolina was a confirmation of so many things I deeply knew as a child, that the earth loves us and we can love her back. I learned how the plants are like little messengers that connect the physical world to the astral world and how they contain coded secrets that can heal and protect us.

I never wanted this to end. This learning and exchange between me and the plants. So in 2005 I started my studies at a school that housed an appreciation for the healing arts and deep wisdom about the plants and how they work. Three years later I graduated with a masters of science in clinical herbal medicine, started my practice, opened an apothecary and vowed to share this knowledge with as many people as I can.

It was a natural next step. In 2012 I started the herbal apprenticeship program at Sky House to bring others into this deep communion with the natural world. Every class starts with a few quiet moments to feel our bodies in time and space. We move our attention to the breath which connects us so intimately with the plants. We then humbly open ourselves to become carriers of plant wisdom through the material shared in our online classroom. Then, and the clock strikes our closing time we end with a nature poem or wise words from an herbal elder. It is a ritual in itself and time spent in the natural world.

This fall we have a few spaces left in our year one course. If you are looking for a way to bring back your childlike wonder and bring the medicine of plants and nature into your body and mind, come.

Everyone is welcome and everyone will benefit.

Green Love,
Ashley Litecky Elenbaas, MSc., RH(AHG)