The Things that Form Us (and weaving them into life)

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The Holly Hobby lunch box stood behind the vendor whispering.  She whispered of kindergarten, and my old Holly Hobby book, and my favorite quilt pattern.  Of coloring books and the bonnet I still have that my grandmother sewed for me on my fifth birthday.

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“Will you take $10?” I asked meekly.  With a silent question to her partner and a nod she smiled and handed me the lunch box.  I began to cry, which surprised me, but the rush of childhood and innocence and fresh beginnings so moved me at that moment.

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Looking at her dress and apron and her early influence on my life, is she the reason I have such a love for pioneers and the old fashioned?

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Up until my twenties I had never heard that I was possibly Native American.  It wasn’t until I became an herbalist that I started searching for that link. Where does my odd clairvoyance come from?  Where does my innate knowledge of plant medicines come from?  I know now it comes from both sides.  I need to find help to break my genealogy addiction!  I was excited to see that I am the granddaughter of a Cherokee chief but I am not sure what role that plays in my present life!  Is the knowledge and personalities, just as DNA, passed through our grandmothers and grandfathers into us?  That would seem as probable as getting blond hair from a relative through DNA.  Everything that goes into forming us is so complex and fascinating.  Through this journey we became involved in a wonderful Native community and place where both of us can worship.  We have made great friends and I have been honored with their trust of my plant medicines.

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Now standing looking out on the next chapter of our life, literally building each piece from scratch, it is easy to see what parts of us we want to use to create the next step of our life.  Choosing a job, Doug made the decision to not pursue the IT field and go for something different.  He has his third interview with Starbucks as a shift supervisor tomorrow.  If you know Doug, he is very talented in the computer field but he really thrives around coffee and customers.  He is happy and easy going and with benefits and a steady paycheck he will do great and create a fun environment for others working there too.

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I know my calling and I cannot wait to get a little shop open so that folks can find me.  A lot of people thought we disappeared when we left for Calhan and a lot of people have expressed excitement that I will be making medicines and being in one place where people can easily come for help.  We had our second showing on the house yesterday.  Everything is moving forward and as we build our life, we will incorporate gardens, and herbs, and art, simple living, and community.  For community has formed us too.

To Thine Own Self Be True (a recognition of oneself when starting over)

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I am Yeopim Indian and Cherokee proud, and Scottish and English and Irish loud, along with Dutch and Black French and possibly more.  And from them all my genetic disposition lays.  In my hair, in my eyes, in my innate knowledge and intuition, in my sense of adventure and in my search for home do I find glimpses of all those that came before.  All my ancestors, all in me.  But I alone have my spirit.  My true self.  That has been here before.

And in mindful analysis and decompression of the physical frame as each day becomes a bit more mundane the layers of thought and peers wash aside as the essence of being comes forth in glints of light.

“Why do you fear being wealthy?”  “Why do you believe you do not deserve riches?” I am asked.

Struck, I wonder, is this true?  Should I be rich in homes with heightened ceilings and possessions galore?  Is that what my life’s work is for?  I would like to have enough-though that maybe less than many, more than some.  Seeds to grow into food for mind and strength and chickens here and there.  A rambling adobe with rooms for art and friends, for laughter, for cooking, for light, and memory.

Enough to visit new places at whim, for inspiration and to meet people and culture new.  But to watch a sunset from my own porch swing would be as sweet a riches as I could dream.

Sommelier?  I cannot drink more than one glass of wine!  Food industry?  I can’t stay up past nine!  A city plot, cement gardens, and lack of birds, no deer around, no late owl heard?

Impossible.

Homesteader, homemaker, home dreamer am I.  Making a home under the Great Mystery’s sky.

My job is to raise grandchildren when so blessed to have them near.  To teach them herbs, and trees, and birds, and through the wind the Creator heard.  To show them things that schools do not know.

To help those that seek my help, in physical or spiritual need should they ask, to find the right herbs and prayers and songs.

Silence and nature are my friends as the early dawn and the night sky guide my days all year long.

The Life of a Healer- Part 7 (grandmothers and owls)

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As most readers figured out early on, Wildflower was the name my mother gave me as my Indian name when I was born.  I felt compelled to explain to folks what I do, as owning an Apothecary could mean anything from growing pot (we don’t) to being as screwy as the shop I ran into in Old Colorado City (virtual tinctures where the herbs never touch the liquid…uh, okay….), and healer…what does that mean?  But I found I could not tell how I became a healer or what I do without telling how we got here.  The miracles couldn’t be expressed without the rest of the story.  The last six chapters of this autobiography have rarely been uttered.  Why?  Fears of judgment, fears of folks thinking I was nuts, people thinking badly of me?  This is also the first time that I could relive the nightmare that was without having reoccurring dreams or tears.  I felt like I was writing about a past life or someone else’s life and it was quite a healing process.  I just had to write in third person.  It made it easier to get the memories out.  I do hope that it might reach someone out there who needs it.  Perhaps it will save a life, or encourage a young intuitive person, or bring faith and hope to those who need it.  Now, on with the rest of the story.

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Teachers come in and out of our lives seamlessly sharing their knowledge then moving on.  The first medicine person came up to my booth at the farmer’s market quite some years ago.  She had long grey hair and lived in her car traveling wherever the winds took her.  She was kooky enough to have a long conversation with my dog the first time she met him, yet psychic enough to know my family history before I did.  And she was there to teach me.  My son is more psychic than I am and things would happen, like Doug’s grandfather appearing to him after he died, or things would talk with him.  We could tell that there was lots of activity going on in our home in Parker and she came to help get it all out and quieted as it was really bothering my son.  She showed me how to smudge with sage and what to say to put a shield around the house.  She was the first person to tell me about the grandmother that looks over me and that she could see right next to me.  I was skeptical but was trying to be a good listener.  She told me the spirit grandmother was an American Indian.  Now, there had long been rumors of a bit of Indian blood in us and every part of my family has the one or two kids in the group that are darker than the rest.  Including two out of three of mine.  But, we had no proof, no names, and no idea what side of the family it was on.  The grandmother’s name was Mary and she stayed very close to me at all times, she said.

I am using the term Medicine person because in our culture that is what we would see them as.  But medicine women and men are essentially herbalists.  But there are many who are readers, shamans, and spiritual leaders and for the sake of this post, we’ll call them medicine people.  For they were medicine to me.

The Indian woman needed medicine for her dog and after giving her some cash and some medicines she was off to find another place.

A trip down genealogy lane and a little pressure on my grandfather revealed that his father who had committed suicide during the depression was Cherokee.  Then he stopped talking and said that it wasn’t enough to worry about.  His father’s mother’s name was Mary.

Did you know that being Native American was illegal until just a few decades ago?  You could go to jail, you have your land taken from you, your mother would have written on your birth certificate that you were white, and folks didn’t talk about family members.  This saddens me.  I am proud that I have this heritage.

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I also found a picture of my great grandma on the other side of the family who was Yeopim and who was forced into becoming a Quaker.  So both sides had this culture, and of course the Celtic side has a lot of herbalists in it too, so combined into me, it would explain a lot about why I could see ailments and lay hands on someone and feel where the initial injury was and then know how to repair it.  It gave me quite a lot of comfort.  I could use my abilities for more than knowing when the phone would ring.

The next medicine person had been one of my students.  I had a dream that she was my next teacher.  She looks white as most of us are all mixed up now genetically and I had no idea that she was a shaman or the things she had gone through to get to that point.  I didn’t know what she was to teach me either.  She taught me how to shield myself.  I really wanted to learn more cool stuff regarding healing but she was there to teach me how to create shields.  Many healers take a physical turn for the worst later in life after absorbing so much around them.  Healers, including myself, pick up emotions and physical feelings from everyone around them.  After years of this, the body can succumb.  It could very well be the reason my grandmother has had chronic pain for twenty years.  Protecting myself was my next lesson.  She showed me how to walk a medicine wheel praying in each direction and being humble to the Creator.  How to layer on shields around my physical self and how to turn off sound.  I can make someone’s voice muffled if I don’t want to hear everything they are saying.  I love listening to people.  I like comforting folks.  I am happy that people feel they can come to me and talk to me about anything, even if they hardly know me.  That is one of my gifts.  People feel compelled to tell me things and that is healing to them.  But it is the ones who complain non-stop that I have to shield myself from or I end up anxious and sometimes depressed.   It was a great gift to learn how to shield.

The next medicine person is still in my life and is a reader, a Catholic priest, and a hospice chaplain.  He is Hopi.  A calm spirit surrounds him.  He helped me when my friend died so suddenly.  He helped me understand the hypersensitivity that surrounds being a healer.  I cannot be under fluorescent lights very long.  I do not use overhead lighting at all.  Only oil lamps, candles, and twinkly lights.  I love soft music but can’t be around loud noises, and the television drives me crazy.  I simply cannot handle the lights and sounds from it.  Large groups of people overwhelm me.

Many years ago he had done a reading for me that showed how our family was doing.  (Tarot cards are not necessarily of the devil, folks.  If used properly they are simply a tool in helping us see clearly.)  Andrew would very likely become a spiritual leader later on.  Shyanne was often pulled one way or another because of her peace keeping abilities and needed to make sure she didn’t end up in relationships that took advantage of her.  Emily was seen as a strong storm.  Strong willed and well balanced.  Doug and I would continue to grow stronger together and our business would prosper.  He also said that I had a direct connection to the Creator.  Everyone does, but that this was a bit different.  I was going to be used to help the Creator and would increase my healing abilities.  The most recent reading was astounding and powerful.  And exciting things are to come as I let go and let things occur and trust myself and my surroundings.

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The other current teacher probably doesn’t even know he is a teacher to me right now.  He also mentioned the grandmother at my side that is always making sure no one hurts me spiritually and helps me with the herbs.  He is perhaps the sixth person who has seen her without prompting.  He further described her and told me about her history matching where she lived to the ancestry I had been researching.  She was a healer but since it was illegal to practice Indian religions, and herbalism was often seen as part of that, so was therefore illegal, she kept it a secret.  A line of medicine women, a long family history of herbalism was passed down from person to person but all in secret.  Until one day someone was brought to the grandmother who needed desperate help and she healed him.  He told me how she dresses and it is the same as how I dress (long skirts, aprons, a bit old fashioned I suppose) and what she looked like.  It was how I saw her too.

This teacher is a religious leader, a representative for Indian affairs in the schools, and a Shaman, clearing spirits and negative entities from places and people.  He holds knowledge and language that is being lost and our Thanksgiving prayer this year was all the sweeter with his prayer in his Indian language.  At the Talking Circle he runs on Sundays I was given a gift not many people experience.  A ceremony.  A traditional ceremony to restore the spirit and strength of a healer.  It is well known that this year was monstrously difficult for me.  And as the feathers swooshed by the face, and the language floated through the air, and the protection was laid on me, I could feel my spirit soar and my strength regenerated.

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Through the years I have been able to better understand my gifts.  I know that these gifts are from the Creator, and are used to help people.  I understand myself by knowing my genetic makeup.  I understand why I am a little different but that it is not a bad thing.  I understand how to use my gifts to help folks live better lives and teach people how to heal themselves and their animals.  I empower people to not lose faith.  I live on a farm where the animals are safe.  The breezes are peaceful across the prairie.  The views are awe inspiring.  This is my respite.  My healing place.  We grow or wildcraft almost all of the sixty-plus herbs that we use in my medicines.  I am now learning more about the spiritual use of these same herbs.  For instance, Angelica is a hormone balancer yet also acts as protection from negative energies.  St. John’s Wort is named for St. John the Baptist and also creates a shield around a person while virtually stopping depression and anxiety.  Hawthorn heals heartbreaks as well as physically strengthens the outer muscle of the heart.

The owls have been here since we moved in and they are increasing.  They fly over my head into the nearest tree.  They are my spirit animal.  But they are also a sign of transition.  I am nowhere near my peak.  A woman does not come into her complete ability until her menses stop.  I have much to learn still and many people to reach.  I have folks to teach and inspire.  I have more plants to learn from and more teachers ahead of me.  And I am a teacher too.  The future looks bright.

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