The Duck Healer (and other tales in Cherokee Home)

I was standing in the kitchen of the tiny farmhouse we lived in out on the prairie.  A small school bus turned into the winding dirt drive and proceeded towards the house.  Dust pulled up behind it as it bounced along.  I yelled to Doug in the next room, “Did we have a school group coming that I forgot about?”  He couldn’t remember one either.  I wiped my hands on my apron and stepped out the front door and waved.  The bus came to a stop next to the garden and through the windows I could see that this was one big family.  The children came bounding down the center of the bus and out into the fresh air.  A little girl held onto a large white duck.

“Something is wrong with his leg,” she said, looking up at me hopefully, “Can you fix it?”

“What’s wrong with that duck?” I asked, pointing to another one that they had brought with them.

“Oh nothing,” the mother replied, “the ducks can’t be separated or that one yells its head off!”

And so I went about healing the duck’s broken leg.

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My book, Cherokee Home, is my first fiction book, but as all good fiction is, it is nearly entirely based on true stories.

In my book, the main character is an herbalist and her stories are my stories.  The stories of the medicine man came from a medicine man. A dear friend of mine that I spent a summer writing down his stories with as he recovered from a stroke.

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My great grandfather was shot in a cornfield in Oklahoma gathering corn for supper one warm day.  My grandfather was only three years old but the family tale states that his father took his own life.  And perhaps that is so, but in that same time, in that same place, Cherokees were being shot or moved to California so that the oil companies could have their land.

I loved developing the characters who were as familiar to me as myself and my siblings.  I remember my mother reading to us at night as we colored in pictures of a coloring book, munching on homemade caramel corn.

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Cherokee Home came out last fall but I never really had time to promote it or to do book signings.  The other day I came across a picture of that duck from four years ago and smiled.

If you want to read a fun book that touches on history, culture, language, and real tales embedded in fun characters that is great for kids and adults alike, you can find it HERE.

All of my books are available at AuthorKatieSanders.com

(It is nearly impossible to get all typos out of manuscripts, but I sure try.  The one typo in the entire book is on the second page.  Lord, I am less judgmental about errors in books these days!)

Thank you all for supporting my writing!

Yule and the Talking Tree

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The Yule tree is always a conifer because evergreens survive the winter and they are a sign of hope and renewal.

I worked with a lovely Comanche elder for years and he told me the story about taking his children to gather cedar for ceremony.  As the children watched, he asked the tree if he could have part of her dress.  He said he needed a little of her cloak to help the people.

“Dad!  Did you see that?  The tree lowered its branch to you!” his daughter exclaimed.

I smiled and nodded knowingly.  I was taught to honor the plants and trees that I gather medicine from and on more occasions than I could possibly recall, the plants move and respond to voice and request.

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In the book, The Hidden Life of Trees; What They Feel, How They Communicate―Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben, the author forays into the scientific explanations and the mesmerizing experiences regarding trees communicating.  Of course there is science behind everything regarding plants growing better to music and singing or trees lowering their branches to offer medicine, but in my work we don’t need to hear the scientific explanations, we just know.  We see it.

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This is a beautiful time of year to go for a walk, go hiking in the mountains, or around a trail in your park.  There are less distractions and you can get to know an evergreen.  You will find them quite jovial.  When you say hello, it will move in a small area.  Sometimes the whole thing shakes without the help of wind or breeze.

Real magic is all around us, beyond cubicles and meetings, beyond television and bills.  It has always been there.  We are heading to Taos for the weekend.  And in the woods there and along the paths evergreens wish those that pass a Merry Yuletide.

Trusting Plant Medicine

 

IMG_1987I have a rather unique profession.  A calling, if you will.  I have a knowledge that used to be well known.  There were and always will be the medicine people that know intimately the plants and make most of the medicine for the tribe and community.  However, everyone ought to have some basic knowledge.  The empowering feeling of knowing how to break a fever in minutes or to quickly help a sprained ankle is priceless.  Even more empowering to know how to kill strep in twenty-four hours or to help a cat with a urinary tract infection or a child with a severe burn or….

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There is a lot of fear mongering out there regarding holistic health and herbs.  Don’t take this with that (most of it fallacy, the medical community has no idea what the herbs do; it’s not their fault, they aren’t taught herbalism), herbs that cause thyroid failure (are you kidding me?  Salad causes thyroid issues?!), and then of course there are the folks that come in to my shop to tell me about the ten alternative doctors that have been mysteriously killed off over the past year.  They were developing cancer cures.

With all due respect, there are thousands of cancer cures out there in the form of plants.  Any herbalist worth her tincture bottles knows this.  There is nothing that needs to be reformulated, nothing that needs to be created, it’s all done.  I hear things like (oh, I used to say this too), God created people to discover remedies for ailments.  May I respectfully call BS on this one too.  The Creator doesn’t need us to “fix” anything.  It is perfect as it is.  If you knew all the things I’ve seen healed by plants you would be forever a gardener of medicinal plants.

So, how come folks don’t turn to herbs?  Why don’t they think about herbal cures first?  I convinced a friend to come see me instead of heading to urgent care for a virus.  I could hear the shock from her friends through the facebook screen.  These viruses are easily handled with herbs.  But, I am a rarity.  There are not a lot of people that do what I do.  In fact many herbalists I know will simply send people to the doctor.  The fear mongering again.  The herbs at the store contain little to no medicine.  But there are good medicine people out there.  They know what you need.  They know what to take.  They know the current viruses, what’s going around, what interacts, what works for what.  They know.  There are not enough of them.  And some folks would just rather have someone else do it.  And that is alright too.

My shop is a special place.  A mixture of cedar, sage, sweetgrass, and tobacco wafts lightly in the air.  The medicines glow and show off in the window.  Teas long to be brewed.  A sense of calm and peace will overwhelm you as you walk in.  Spiritual, emotional, and physical healing is at one’s fingertips as they enter.  The herbalist is not the healer.  The plants are.  You have every resource at your fingertips.

I ship medicines internationally and all over the country.  Just contact me and tell me what you need.  I don’t just make medicines.  A huge part of my mission is to train more herbalists.  I have three spots left in my master certified herbalist course starting this Sunday.  I have a hundred dollar correspondence course that is very comprehensive and filled with knowledge on how to help anything and anyone.  It’s already in you.

Plant medicine was here before we were.  In the Cherokee stories, the plants held a council and decided to help the humans.  And so they still do.  How lucky we are.

White Wolf Medicine

http://whitewolfherbs.com

796 East Kiowa Ave, Elizabeth, CO 80107 (P.O. Box 2012)

303-617-3370

Wildflower@sacredowlschool.com

 

 

 

 

A Quote that Spoke to Me

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You want to know who’s a real medicine man?  He’s the one who doesn’t say, “I’m a medicine man.”  He doesn’t ask you to come to him.  You’ve got to go and ask him and you’ll find he’s always there among his people.

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He doesn’t go off to the city and open an office.  Once a medicine man leaves his own territory he loses most of his power.  All the sacred plants he knows are where he comes from.  He doesn’t know the plants of other places.  The Creator gave him his gift so he could serve his own people where he’s from.  So he stays home and helps them.  That’s who the real medicine man is.

-Louis Farmer, Onondaga