(click on a photo to see the gallery)
So I told you about the journey there and back. Now about the actual conference:
First off, there was an incredible amount of diversity at the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference (now in the process of being renamed Medicine of the People). I’d heard as much, but experiencing it was very special. So many different kinds of herbalists with different backgrounds and opinions and experience. So many different kinds of people attending, from Arizona residents who’d heard about the conference but had never studied herbs and were there out of pure beginning curiosity, to herbal clinicians with years of experience who’d flown in from all over the country. And not just hippies. Although just about everyone there was in love with plants and the living world, there were folks there from numerous cultural groups. All this made me happy. I’m quite quiet and shy, especially in large groups, so I didn’t go around introducing myself to many people, but those I did meet and talk to were so very good-natured and thoughtful and interesting. I had the feeling while I was there that everyone was full of interesting stories and unique perspectives on life. And not just because we all love herbs and have that in common…
Second, it was a really special opportunity to have this many excellent herbal instructors in one place teaching on topics they’re clearly passionate about. If you’re interested in what classes were offered, you can check out this list. I had a hard time choosing. Often there were several classes I wanted to attend occurring at the same time. It was really special to have a whole weekend where I could choose classes based on what interested me, and I let myself pick on a whim. Some that really stood out in my mind were: a class on bioregional cooking using local plants as spice blends; a class on women’s health and the importance of herbal medicine in helping prevent unnecessary medical interventions; a wonderful, funny, life-affirming class on herbs for sexual vitality; and a truly amazing class on chronic pain from a Hispanic perspective. It was lovely to attend Kiva and Wolf’s class about the importance of bioregional herbalism and connecting deeply to place (something dear to my heart). Also, Gray and I really enjoyed a herb walk out in the woods sniffing ponderosa pines and collecting pine cone ‘balls’. I love hiking with toddlers. It’s a slow, start-and-stop thing for sure but they just enjoy everything so much and see so many details. Kinda like herbalists out on a herb walk ;)
Oh, and there were concerts! What more could you want? Good music, all sorts of interesting people, and lots and lots of talk about herbs.
And an amazing husband and partner who drove us all the way there and then played with the kids (and the neighboring kids) the whole time while I attended classes. Yes, I know I’m lucky :) It also made me realize in a new way just how much he loves me. Thanks, Love. I had a wonderful time.