The Fifth Season: Herbs for Wildfire Season

Guest student post by third year Cecemanna student Beth Sachnoff. Here in California a fifth season has emerged. As we move from the warm months of summer into the dry winds of autumn we enter what has been the peak time for California wildfires.  In this era marked by extreme drought, years of fire suppression and climate change, fires have raged up and down California and the Pacific Northwest. This year alone, 1,258,880 acres have burned in California[1]. Driving up north to the mountains last month I was met with gray skies and… Read More

Roses

Guest student post by Melissa Reyes. Before I sat down to write, I trimmed several roses from the bushes that grow outside of my kitchen window and put them in a small mason jar. I lit a candle and set my intentions.  It is August 5, 2018, 10 months after hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico. Power is slowly rolling back onto the island and communities are self-organizing to rebuild. Though the official death toll continues to be severely underreported, estimates say close to 4,645 people died as a result of the hurricane…. Read More

Dreamwork as Spiritual and Healing Practice

 Now more than ever, we need all of our tools and abilities to protect and manifest what is precious and sacred. Dreams are generative; they empower us to heal ourselves individually and collectively and to activate our highest selves. This weekly dream group cultivates our healing path and spiritual growth. Each week we will work creatively with our own dreams and share dreams with one another.  We will build our own dream practices and develop our skills as a dreaming collective.

Self-Care as a Political Act

“In the East Bay, women of color and queer people are making alternative health-care practices accessible and culturally relevant to their communities — as well as a key part of their activism.”

Herbal Meditations and Magic for Thriving in a Neo-Colonial World

Guest student post by Avani Mody Sunrise: There is an incomparable beauty to sunrise. The time of the gods, as it is described in Ayurvedic traditions. As a child my father told me, walk barefoot on the earth and take in the green grass at sunrise, to strengthen my eyes. The combination of a luscious green and morning sunlight, calmed my eyes and mind. During my recent, formal herbal education, this advice remains in my psyche. The colors, beauty and feel of the plants, indeed calm my mind, and strengthen my vision… Read More

Remembering Who We Are: Chinese Botanical Guides

Third year Cecemmana student, Bekah, gets to know the plants of her grandmother’s village in Guangdong, China.

Indigenous Mind: Remembering Who We Are

Much of the vision of Ancestral Apothecary is inspired and informed by my experience in the Indigenous Mind Program.  As the founder of Ancestral Apothecary, I, Atava Garcia Swiecicki, received a graduate degree from  from Naropa University in the Indigenous Mind Program in 2003.  The Indigenous Mind Program focuses on reconnecting to one’s indigenous ancestors, no matter what their cultural or ethnic background.  The program was founded by Dr. Apela Colorado, who also is the founder of the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network. Heidi Corning, of White Tigress Ancestry, was also a student… Read More

Save the West Berkeley Shellmound!

Ancestral Apothecary stands in solidarity with the Ohlone people (the indigenous people of the Bay Area) in their fight to protect their sacred site from development.  Please join us in taking action now.

Healing Ancestral Trauma with Plant Medicine

When we ingest and make relationships with the plants that our ancestors lived with and worked with, we heal.  When we ingest the medicine they might have needed to heal, we heal them because we are our ancestors.

Cecemmana Student Post Series: Recognizing Plants

This year, as spring comes, I am recognizing plant friends everywhere. Small chickweed flowers surround a sidewalk tree on my street. The feathery leaves of California golden poppy, not yet in bloom, catch my eye by the side of a road. In a park, I spot the leaves of yarrow, also feathery, but in a different way from California poppy. Walking an urban park trail, I see what I think is cleavers, and touch it just to be sure. Another plant, woodruff, looks enough like cleavers to be mistaken for it by… Read More