Journal Pages

Reflections of an Herbalist Light Worker

Valerie Paquette


**This post was originally published in a beautiful family based herbal program booklet. You can find out more about this program here https://www.thelionstooth.ca/

valerian



I think I have been a herbalist my whole life.


I think I was a herbalist when I made dandelion chains and laid in the grass and threw burdock burrs at my cousins. I think I was born knowing how to connect to plants in all their forms.


Plants have just always been my friends. Nature, a place I felt safe and relaxed.


The thing is, I think you have been a herbalist your whole life too, that plants are your friends as well. I think that you can feel safe and find peace there too. Your children probably still know- but maybe you have forgotten a little how to do it.


Each of us has the capacity to connect directly to plants and nature. It is a basic part of being human. We can all receive messages directly from Nature, directly from the plants, and incorporate plants in our lives for healing, on every level.


This is a brief description of my experience with Plant Spirit Medicine, as I know it. I hope it can inspire you to deepen your own relationship with the natural world and just maybe connect to this ever present, ever loving consciousness.


I started to formally study plant medicine in 2011 and was immediately in deep passionate love with this practice of healing with herbs, of tuning in to the messages of people’s bodies and spirits and matching what they were going through with the best herbal allies for their healing in that moment. It has always felt like magic.


But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered Plant Spirit Medicine, and this beautiful healing modality took on new life.


I have a thriving herbal garden and it is my favourite place to be. As every gardener can relate, there is constant communication between the gardener and their plants as we tend with care. A camaraderie develops. I have always connected with my heart in a quiet way with plants, but during a plant consciousness course we were invited to open a dialogue with a chosen plant, and connect daily in communication. My chosen plant was Valerian.


When I began the practice of sitting with Valerian, I saw the Plant Spirit as a wise elder bringing peace and calm and most especially grounding. I had this delightful sense of being held and supported. I had taken it in the past as a tincture and knew it worked well in my body, but this brought in a whole new element. Soon after, the power of this practice played out in my life.


My son had to have surgery, and I was a mess of nerves, spinning in my head and experiencing some of the highest anxiety I had ever had, while outwardly trying to keep calm so I could be reassuring to my son.


The day of the procedure, I walked into the garden, and sat at Valerian’s base, connecting in as I had each day. I asked for calm and for grounding so I could support my son deeply through this experience. Enter the magic.


I felt a gentle energy on my head, and suddenly a sense of perfect calm and grounding. I asked that I bring this energy into my body so I could experience that peace as I needed it.


As every parent can relate, when we worry about our children it can be some of the most highly stressful times of our lives. This day, it wasn’t. I stayed present, and held my son through the whole day, calling on the calm grounding support of the Valerian through me. That whole day. Without a drop of the physical plant medicine. It was astonishing to me, and I felt deeply grateful.


The next time I was in the garden, I curiously asked “Can I connect to all the Plant Spirits in this way?” The whole garden became riotous with energy and an overwhelming YES- like they had just been waiting for me to ask this whole time.


Since then, I have incorporated plant magic in my classes and clinic.

When we taste herbs, I ask that the Plant Spirit of that plant be present, and give us messages. They always do, and they are always profound.


Try it. I think they are waiting for you to ask to connect too. When you are next tasting your tea or sitting with a plant or tree- ask, does this plant have any messages for me? For my body, mind or spirit? Just as every person has a deep connection to their own inner wisdom or intuition, so too does every person have the capacity to connect with plants in all their forms. It takes practice, an open mind, and belief that plants and humans are truly here together for a reason.







Valerie Paquette

artist: Robin Pieterse


 


When the pandemic was in full swing, I began to question what work I was meant to be doing in the world.


It was scary, to say the least, to re-evaluate where I had come from and where I was going. Can you relate to that feeling of groundlessness?

I made the decision to put herbalism work to the side and commit to being home with my two kids.


I questioned if herbalism was still my calling.


Over time, I came to realize that I never stopped being a herbalist, I just took a break from formally seeing people in clinic.


I still grew and harvested all the herbs, made all the medicines. formulated teas and tinctures for friends and family.


It became very clear to me that despite what I do for a living, herbalism is in my bones. It is a lived practice, and like all good practices, it develops and expands with time.


Now, I have stepped back into clinic, expanded into teaching and continue learning from the plants.


Herbalism, I deeply believe, is in all of our bones, and fulfills a special part of our being.


We are ancestrally connected to plants as a birthright, and are only at varying levels of remembrance and practice.


That's why to me, my herbal clinic is very important, but more important still is working with the rhythm of the seasons. Harvesting as food and medicine ripen. Making medicines and kitchen remedies to sustain my family but also my wider community. I know a lot of you are with me in this busy season, harvesting and preserving Summer's bounty.


It feels amazing to share this practical art of herbal preparations.

To gather in community; to make medicine together.


If you would like to join me in remembering or deepening into your herbalism practice, I am offering a weekend of medicine making.


See Courses and Workshops page for more details. :)


 

The Art of Medicine Making

Friday August 26th and Saturday August 27th


🌿 Friday: Herbal Medicine Making Day 🌿

10 am- 3 pm

Connecting to our plants through taste explorations and meeting them in the garden.

How to harvest, dry and store herbs.

Uses for all the plants we will make medicine with.

Creating our own salves, tincture, and elderberry syrup, learning about each method of preparation.

How to harvest and use your medicinal herbs in tinctures and teas.


Take home: Healing Salve, Tincture, and Elderberry Syrup


✨ Saturday: Kitchen Witches Unite✨

10 am- 3pm

Learning how to stock our kitchen so we can incorporate healing/culinary herbs easily into everyday use.

We will make our own Herb infused Vinegars, Herb Infused Sea Salt, Herb Tea Blend and Herbal Oils.

Lots of herb tea tasting and learning with our medicine plants


Take home: herb infused vinegar, herbal salt, herbal tea and herb infused oil.


**Sign up for both days at a discounted price or one day only.




 





Updated: Feb 9

Valerie Paquette, Registered Herbalist

December 16, 2021

I am entering new territory, and there is no map. I am guided by the Spirit of all things, of Nature, of Earth. I am entering into Sacred Contract to do my soul's work.


That sounds really amazing, and lofty, and like it is clear and deep and confident.


Except, I am human. And so I am filled with doubts and stuck sitting on my computer trying to explain what the hell it is that I want to offer the world. The World! Do you see the language? The pressure?


I move back into the small and simple, because really, that is where the Power is. What do I want from my work? What do I want to share with people? And a big one- how can I support the collective world to find healing? Part of me wants to freak out, asking these questions- but then I relax because it IS a calling, not a choice- I choose this, but was also chosen for this.


What I am meant to do is this: To help those precious souls who are ready to open to a greater light within their being. The light that already exists in all of us, and that can be expanded and honoured, to help us all live to our greatest potential. It does help the whole world, each bit of self work we do, each time we expand our light.


And there we are with the big picture again. Each step small step we take to help or heal has the power to change the world. How do we get there- expanding our light and moving into our truest selves? First we ground, and see the steps to get there emerge.


Step outside and breathe, and just like that we are in connection with the plants. I remember a beloved teacher leading a visualization about a planet that had no plant life, no trees. Take a moment and picture that, feel that.


To me, it is empty of Life and energy and color and spirit. Void of an essential part of us.


We all have this instinctive, birthright connection to the Earth and to the plants, whether conscious or not. We all feel them deeply, connect deeply. For those of us who use plant medicines (which is all of us in some form) it is something we recognize as a powerful healing force. They are here to support us. We are here to be in relationship with them, to honour and care for them.


Imagine bringing in the plants in Spirit form. Each of them has a unique energy and power -even a personality. When we blend the physical taking into our body with the energy of the plant Spirit, we can step into a relationship with the plants and meet them as complex beings, as we are. They are longing for that. We are longing for that. We collectively miss it.


This is the Beautiful and unique work I am meant to do with people.

To bring us, collectively and individually, back into connection with the plant world, and to bring the light in through plant spirit and plants in their physical form. To create and support healing that is only for each individual, exactly where they are, and what they need in exactly that time for their greatest good.


Sometimes that means a healing session, to clear old patterns. Sometimes we sip tea together, and feel the effects of the plant in our bodies, together. Sometimes I get messages from the plant spirits for them and so do they. We build relationships with the plants that are already calling their name. Sometime a healing song emerges. And always, we are taking the physical herbs in your life, and they work all kinds of magic, what we could expect and what is beyond explanation.


As I enter into this work, I feel everything fall into alignment. Although I have had the privilege of being a herbalist for quite a few years, there is something really magical emerging since opening to the Plant Spirits. I have always felt that herbalism can be studied for a lifetime and the learning never stops. This evolution opens that doorway even wider. The vast possibilities fill me with wonder and gratitude. I want to share this, yes, with the world, one precious human at a time.


I imagine more and more people becoming connected to the Earth. Until we all care so much we are better, stronger, truer people, living in sacred relationship with Nature, the Plants, and ourselves.