“The most amazing conference, resurrecting the spirit of Western Herbalism – it is the new nexus of a folk herbalism resurgence!“
-Paul Bergner, North American School of Herbalism
“Since its inception, in all of its incarnations, I've made it a priority to attend the annual Plant Healer conferences Wolf and Kiva offer to our community. The reason why is fairly straightforward: they're friggin' great. From the array of presenters and topics to the people who attend to just the overall vibe... it's where I want to be, what I want to be a part of. When this even first launched in 2016, I was given the opportunity to teach, despite being a relatively "new" herbalist on the scene. Each year since then, I've seen this opportunity shared with other herbalists, broadening out to share their understanding of plants with a wider audience. The Confluence isn't just an event, it's connection. It's support. It's encouragement. It's renewal... and damn fun, too.”
–Jim McDonald (www.HerbCraft.org)
“This Confluence is like no other herbal conference. The community of herbal healers all coming together to unite in education and nature is like something out of a fairy tale. As a speaker for the last few years, I cannot recommend this confluence enough. High level teachers, a wonderful healer's market, and tons of opportunities for extra classes like morning qi gong and medicine making. Kiva and Wolf always outdo themselves with this conference every year –– grateful to be involved in such a magical event!”
–Dana Hutchinson (Wildflower Clinic)
“It was a real delight to attend and teach at the Good Medicine Confluence in Durango again this year ... Great variety of teachers and topics, so much learning, community connection, and outright fun. I highly recommend putting this one on your calendar for 2023!”
–Lisa Ganora (Elderberry School)
“Thanks once again for creating a space for the gathering of plant-centered healers. I know you work long hours all year to facilitate this co-mingling of plant-folk. I am still riding the high of being around so many plant people speaking of medicine, magic and reconnection. It really is like nothing else.
I enjoyed this year's conference on many levels. As a student, I was inspired by established teachers as well as new voices. I was excited to see the growing consciousness of gender fluidity in many classes, not just the one devoted to creating safer spaces for trans folks. As a teacher with students in tow, many of whom are queer and/or trans, this was a relief. It is always a risk to bring them to learn from other teachers, not knowing what they might say. My apprentices were glowing with excitement every day. That we were able to bring them was a rare, wild gift. As a teacher presenting at the conference, I had the pleasure of sharing knowledge, both of conservation and mental health, with so many wonderful, grateful people. Their appreciation and insights recharged me and reminded me why I do what I do. Once again, I left this special gathering a little sad to leave but reinvigorated, inspired and even more committed to the great work.”
“From Wolf’s welcoming, (truly welcoming!) address to the variety and quantity of classes offered to the caliber and diversity of teachers present…it was an amazing learning experience. I learned a great deal from the classes and from the essays that the teachers submitted. These essays are very informative and educational. I loved it! Thank you.”
“I had planned to go to another herbal conference and a primitive skills gathering the month after The Good Medicine Confluence and I didn't. The Confluence was what I had been looking for all along, it was the community that I was seeking, the acceptance I longed for, the sharing of knowledge freely that I devoured. The event took away the stuffiness of conference centers, had a carefree culture of primitive events and music! Oh my gosh you made an herbal festival, not just a conference! There's really something special about the event, I just feel it.”
“Monumental! Quite simply, if you are called to work with herbs, you should attend. Period. End of Story. The venue is perfect. The teachers the best in the world. However all of that awesomeness pales in comparison to the sense of community Kiva and Wolf have created. Going to Plant Healer events is like coming home to a place that you didn't even realize you were nostalgic for.”
–Thomas Easley (www.WellspringMountain)
“Wolf and Kiva make the Confluence a grounding space and experience for all to feel centered in a world that feels awfully topsy-turvy right now. Thank you so much for your labor of love conference and everything you do!”
“The days spent left my heart full to overflowing. Wandering solo at daybreak the wild forest paths, gathering untamed and in-tune medicines for my self and my companions; sitting rapt, enchanted, and putting the pieces together as my most cherished teachers tell their stories and speak of their ways; late night mead circles filled with tales more than words could tell; stargazing into the wee hours embraced by the Ancient Earth's surface. Laughter, intensity, dreams, poetry, beginnings. I am so glad I came. Thank you to the Spirits of this Land, to the community of herbalists and plantfolk who who've found their way here, despite all odds.”
–Sophia Rose (La Abeja Herbs)
I am an Indigenous woman from Guatemala raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. My parents could not speak English, yet they taught me how to grow food and tend to plants. As children we never really understand the lessons we receive from our elders. Growing up it was very difficult for me to make connections with others. Traveling to Guatemala every year and coming back to attend school in the United States was difficult, everyone always questioned where I was from and I never understood my classmates sense of humor! I was embarrassed to recognize my Guatemalan heritage for reasons I don’t even remember. Maybe because I felt embarrassed that Guatemala is considered a third world nation, I was afraid to be different, Or I felt ugly. Who knows!?? I constantly lied about my ethnicity!
The people of Guatemala have been in civil war for 35 years. The war ended in the early 90’s. The war was the state against the Indigenous people. Families where lost including shepherds. Many people died wiping out cultures and wisdom. Care takers of the land where lost to pillage and rape. Resulting in natural resources being exploited. Unfortunately, the TVs paint another picture. In the eyes of the average Guatemalan families who lived in the cities, the natives and shepherds of the wild lands were the enemy. The Guatemalan ancestral linage was lost to the fires of the war. My family was victims of colonization 500 years ago and still to this day.
There is a vail of mystery around the topic of colonization and ancestral roots to immigrants. No one questions it. We are so used to being around other immigrants, it all just becomes a big blur. Ancient Indigenous people of Europe where also victims of oppression. Cultures, traditions, wisdom were all victims of the same cruel fate.
As a child, I knew I wanted to help others. The winds whispered to me of healing and revolution. Naturally people reached out and it all flowed effortlessly. Following the trail of my thoughts and the beat of my heart, I sought the truth questioning everything! This path of truth has brought me to The Good Medicine Confluence.
When I heard of the Good Medicine Confluence I had recently returned from InstituteMesoamericano de Permacultura on the shores of Lago Atitlan, Guatemala. Shortly after, I purchased a small property in the Mojave Desert. Most of the money I make I use to develop the land and reinvest in my education. Financially, I could not afford to attend the Confluence. Never taking ‘No’ as an answer, I reached out for any of the listed options: work trade, payments, half scholarship and full scholarship. I received no immediate answer. I waited and then I reached out once more to Plant Healers Jesse Wolf and Kiva Rosa and was told there were no more work trade positions or scholarships, but they were going to grant me a full scholarship anyways. Could you imagine my excitement? Pure Bliss!
Attending the Good Medicine Confluence has been such a blessing and a complete life altering experience. I have never felt more aligned with my true purpose. I am immersed in the river of synchronicity, being taken by the currents and enjoying the ride. Listening to our plant elders and allowing myself to be guided by the Divine. The Good Medicine Confluence is completely cutting edge, bringing light to oppressed topics and holding space for society to shift. I am beyond grateful to be able to say I, an Indigenous woman from Guatemala, against all odds, was able to attend this Confluence and be a part of the shift. The Good Medicine Confluence has such a large ripple effect on humanity. Planting seeds of hope and change, we are the Culture Shifters, Plant Healers, and Edge Dwellers quietly crafting our magic and together changing the world.
Meeting incredible teachers inspiring my path as a Plant Healer, allows us all to not be afraid of embracing our roots but instead celebrate diversity! This has inspired me to truly embrace my culture and allow myself to walk tall for the ancestors, plants included. Human beings have been evolving alongside these plants for millenniums.
The Good Medicine Confluence taught me that we are all one! We are somehow all the same. We all laugh, cry, love, hate, fight, and heal. It doesn’t matter which part of this blue dot in space you are coming from. We are connected through Love, Universe, Creator, God whatever you want to call it! It has led me here writing this vision of a new tomorrow. Free yourself to allow yourself to be what you are meant to be. We are all beautiful, unique, and bring a different type of medicine to people! I am inspired to be a student and teacher in my community, practicing decolonization for all people. Let us not destroy but create, build it up and watch it grow abundant. I am no longer going to let my identity on this Earth bound me to a cage. No more, I refuse. Off with these chains. We deserve something beautiful. I am an Environmental Warrior, Culture Shifter and Sharer of Wisdom, planting seeds with intention, working with children, and spreading this message all over the world. Spreading roots everywhere I am while creating meaningful work. Not only am I inspired to connect with native plants around me but to also connect to the native lands of my ancestors in Guatemala and from around the world.
This is love, Yes, this is love. Thank you to The Good Medicine Confluence for allowing this unfolding of events and collective consciousness. Here’s to a new tomorrow.
Sharing my own personal growth and journey with plant medicine over the past 4 years at The Good Medicine Confluence has expanded my knowledge and heart for this work. Being a part of the foundation of Plant Healer’s events has been my greatest pleasure and filled me with such Joy! I am ever amazed at the beauty, heart and soul of the folks who come and teach, volunteer and attend this incredible event! Let’s keep sharing the good medicine while we open and expand are awareness and hearts together. Looking forward to seeing everyone again!
–Amanda Furbee (proprietor of The Herb Shoppe)
“This event ages better each year, like fine wine or perhaps like the sparkling mead we learned to make in some of the classes. From far and wide, this sacred space draws those who are the wild, the weird, and the wonderful. I tasted rose elixir while listening to poetry about the scent of roses on the salty air, I rubbed myself with pine salve, I felt the edges of my paradigm pushed into something deeper, and I listened to wisdom deeply rooted in practicality. Each time I attend, I find myself journeying closer to the person I want to be and I can feel new growth being born. There is such good energy in this space and so many truly quality people who bring a great diversity of experiences and perspectives.”
–Jenny Solidago Mansell (Solidago Herbcraft)
“As an herbalist and mentor, it is important to me to be involved and immersed in the community of natural healers and allies. With that said, I only attend and put energy into places that really fulfill that entirely. The Good Medicine Confluence is an amazing gathering of knowledge, tradition and experience that really focuses on bringing plant medicine to everyone, and making it easy to understand and accessible to people from all walks of life. The Confluence does an amazing job of merging to local landscape with the teachings. Plant walks, herb identification, local and ancestral preparations and communal learning where everyone can be apart of the experience. I am most excited to learn from new teachers, take courses about entheogenic mushrooms, folk wisdom and learn from leading edge practitioners about how they make and prepare their medicines. Anyone who has interest in learning more about medicine and being a part of this amazing community, I strongly encourage you to join in in all of the fun and knowledge that will be taking place!”
“This event in many ways shaped my confidence in stepping into the herbalism world. I genuinely had no idea it was going on in 2017, I was quite lost at that time in my life coping with being back in the United States after having spent so much time growing in changing and being shaped by people and cultures that were oceans away. Where water was sacred with no question or discussion. I felt I understood on a personal level the tragedies that western society brings upon developing countries, particularly in the exploitation of Africa. I felt like walking up the hill to Fort Lewis one day, I had never been on that trail before. When I got up there I just circled about and found myself in the cafeteria, I saw a group of older women with lanyards discussing Elderflower. I was enthralled at their conversation and waited basically stalking them until they finished. I went up to someone working at the college and asked what was going on. He directed me upstairs to the witch’s market and it is pretty much a wrap from there. I for the first time felt like I could really pursue this. Up until that point my herbal knowledge was passed down to me by elders, witch’s and healers of lands that I was a visitor on. And when I came back, when I was protesting and educating about pipelines I kept coming across people with ailments that I had a knowledge of, or an intuition about. I never really thought of it as anything more than that, it was something to be shared. A common decency to the world and people. I never thought I could do something like this in my life so full on and invested. When I found this event I realized that all of these people with wealth’s of knowledge likely felt a level of intimidation and yet they are all so powerful and sharing. It was then I realized that I could pursue herbalism and alchemy as a career and a way of life. I find that the Herbal Medicine Confluence inspires me, being around mentors that have been living in this way for years, I think that this event in particular has an energy that is humbling in comparison to other events I have attended since discovering this one. It’s genuine. This event is actually the reason that I am doing what I am doing today.”
“I seek good medicine. Herbalism is innate. How petals lift under compassionate fingers, as if we ourselves dripped rain. How animate and alive the world is. We know plants, despite cultural forgetfulness, and the plants know us right back. But this innate relationship has endured violence and is woven into a much larger story of war upon the earth, and war upon stewards of her. This story is so powerful it has repeated itself on nearly every continent. If we are to return to the legacy of relationship with mother earth, herbalism must be rooted in reciprocity. Reciprocity between the maker and plant, the medicine and community, and perhaps most importantly with the larger story of this land and people who have held place relationships for millennia. I am constantly humbled by all I do not know, and I think this is a good thing. So in response to this childlike forgetfulness, I soak up moments to learn like cracking Southwest soil. I am hungry for stories and traditions of my people, but I must also learn how to walk here, with light feet, often barefoot. Practicing with plants, I believe, requires reflection and respect for the stewards of this land. To hold back the well meaning but ignorant child who just wants to take take take take, without stopping to listen, or even ask someone with an ancestral taproot who has known this place millennia longer than your own people. This is a meditation into grace.
With this ever evolving disposition, I declare my intention to study plants. For much of my life, herbalism provided a modality for self and familial healing. I make friends and family tea blends, herbal broths, and salves. In chaotic adolescence, St. Johns and Valerian offered a pathway out of antidepressants. Healing blooms in ecology, but must find place in the bones of socio-structural. This shifts then into an inquiry of how we come together. This coming together is the annual Confluence of Good Medicine for self empowered people, withare dozens of practitioners and over 150 classes ranging from nurturing mothers to healing from abusive relationships to tincture making. There was even a class on Appalachian Doll Making, where some of my people first immigrated to the United States, that I was extremely emotional about attending! I’m drawn to this event as it centers radically redefining our paradigm through returning to old roots of healing. Once again, I’m reminded of how important grace and cultural respect are in this context of healing with and beside the land. This confluence offers full and partial scholarships, and I especially encourage any friends who are of color / low opportunity and access to apply. I brought my own questions of reciprocity and respect for Indigenous people/traditions into this gathering of passion and people and plants, and was welcomed. My wish with herbalism is that I will always return to doing right by this community, stewards of the land, my ancestors, the plants themselves, and my own soul. So, I will always sing to the rose that grows outside my house and seek opportunities of grace as we reimagine what it means to be a human in a community and heal.”
“I took two planes, traveled across two time zones, and then drove 3.5 hours to get to Durango, and it was all worth it! The wealth of information, education, and pure passion for healing and health was awesome! I met some really wonderful people, whom I have since connected with, after the Confluence. The one instructor who really stuck out for me was Laurie Quesinberry. Her stories and passion for the Appalachian culture was everything. I look forward to seeing all of these people and many more next year. My grandson even wants to come.”
“Plant Healer events are a mix of instruction, inspiration, education, empowerment, and magic. You come to these confluences with the excitement of the class offerings and teachers you’ve wanted to hear from and when you arrive, you find yourself a part of something infinitely deeper, more intimate and also welcoming and accepting. Though there is a huge information download to be had at this event, there is something else that exists at the core, under the surface and penetrating the entire weekend, the classes and everyone there. Some of the words I can think of to describe it are community, acceptance, opportunity, understanding, radical, weird, connecting, spirit!
The first event I attended was the very first they had, 13 years ago! I was a baby herbalist, just dipping my toes into the flowing waters of herbal medicine my wildling self. The Traditions in Western Herbalism conference was my first look at the possibilities and I saw a window into a family I didn’t realize how much I would come to love. I remember feeling a little intimidated, but also very excited. Three years ago, I managed to make it out for the first confluence in Durango and after my experience coming back, I knew that I would always find a way to be there, that I belonged. The following year, not being financially able, I asked for aid to attend and was surprised and delighted when Wolf and Kiva invited me to bring my knowledge to the community and teach some classes and it has been my joy and honor to do so every time since!
This year, the Good Medicine Confluence will be taken to new heights! Not only will we have our plant healers there, but we will also be blessed and immersed in artisans of all kinds; rewilding, brewing, fiber work, homesteading, forest schooling, music, divination, sharing meals, dances, spirit, folklore and more! It is almost as if this event evolves right alongside you, alongside the culture shifting happening all around us! I wouldn’t miss it for the world and I truly hope you decide to check it out and join me! It’s like coming home.”
–Kate Viers (Cottonwood Herbal Collective)
“Each year I attend Plant Healer events, the preparation seems intense, but in a good way. I credit Wolf and Kiva for staying in close contact with all of us as we plan our annual sojourn to the enchanting Southwest. They work their arses off the year round to ensure the event is run as seamlessly as possible, and that it remains fresh, vibrant and world-changing. For both years I’ve attended so far, by the time I arrive I take a breath of contentment as soon as I arrive in Durango. The scenery, mountain air and overall vibe of the event have a magical combination of being completely rejuvenating yet also packing my head with new thoughts. Not just new knowledge, of which there is more than enough to go around. There are also the thought shifts. Things that have been dwelling deep within me but that I never thought had the right audience or were even feasible to pull off suddenly come to the forefront. My head swims with ideas for future projects and the realization that the crazy things I want to happen in the world are not only possible, but they will happen! Credit for this goes to every single person who attends the event. Not only have I made close friends for life, who I reconnect with every year, but the hive mind of everyone involved makes me feel that anything is possible. Skál to Wolf and Kiva and Skál to y’all!”
–Jereme Zimmerman (author of Making Mead Like a Viking)
“I have to say I had a really lovely, rewarding, soul-satisfying and beautiful time at Plant Healer’s event this year. the magic you all weave with your clear intentions was a relish to feel and am excited to be part of how this is evolving and the way the vision is shifting to earth connection and rooted love. It was fantastic to be part of this tribe that so nourishes my heart. And I love the idea of fewer teachers next year at the Enchantment Faire, the Hogwarts feeling houses and all the wonders around that theme!”
“An amazing experience, I especially love the balance of science and spirit that is present. I am always trying to tailor my mind to understanding the spirit in science and the science in spirit, and your class offerings are a great balance and full of knowledge and wisdom.”
–Warren Kistenbroker (Evolved Alchemy)
“I am grateful for the opportunity to teach and be part of this community. I have found the unique inclusiveness, the wisdom, kindness, humor, and integrity inspiring. I deeply honor Jesse's rare and beautiful vision that creates a space each year for us to gather and connect with like-minded people, to renew and revitalize. I go home brimming with inspiration."
–Lisa Valantine (founder of True Food Beauty)
I personally enjoyed sharing the magic of my little window of the world to other people who also reflect the great passion and wisdom that grows as we connect with the plants and places of our home. I am delighted to be in the presence of other humans who are in love with the green growing world and celebrate the wild spirit in ourselves and in the land. I also feel the depth and integrity that you have been cultivating in the intention and with the community over many years. I feel honored to be a part of it. It is delightful for me to be mingling with so many beautiful plant people! Much love to you all!
–Katrina Blair (Turtle Lake Refuge)
“The Good Medicine Confluence is not only a sharing of plant wisdom and healer's knowledge, it is also a gathering of kindred souls, sharing in the co-creation of the healthful world that so many of us want to see and live in. The energy of the people and the celebration of the good life, the deeper life, is so alive and vibrant with this group! I highly recommend this Confluence to anyone interested in living in a powerful, natural, and enlivened way."
–Cody Reinheimer (DJ CodeStar)
“The Confluence has its finger on the pulse of the branch of American herbalism to which I feel allied... justice-minded, empowerment-focused, not afraid to be edgy and divergent from our mainstream society, and unapologetic...”
–Jade Alicandro Mace
“Thank you so, so much for a wonderful Confluence experience! I don't believe I've ever felt as much a part of a tribe in my life. I've been to other events, festivals, and conferences before hoping to make friends but only managing to make vague connections or acquaintances at best. But at the Confluence, I feel like I actually made a few friends, which is a big deal for this introverted gal.”
“I have been attending this gathering for over 6 years and I can’t imagine ever missing it. To be able to return to a place year after year, where I not only feel like I can be amongst many who speak the same language but to walk among others who may stem from the same origin and mirror to me my place within & among them. To be fully seen, appreciated & invited and to show up with all that I have and all that I am is an invaluable gift to receive. I find that the interaction fills me, confirms the medicine I have to offer, and encourages me to keep doing the work I do."
“Every year I leave this conference feeling excited about the future of herbalism and all of the badass people that are contributing to it. Setting aside time from work and home and traveling to the conference can feel overwhelming and draining and yet I always leave feeling full of possibilities and energy from all of the new connections I’ve made and old friends I’ve enjoyed seeing. I appreciate Kiva and Wolf welcoming classes that might be controversial in other places and allowing myself and other teachers to talk about the subjects we are most passionate about. This years classes were even more diverse and gave me the opportunity to learn about making hydrosols and perfumes alongside clinical classes on liver physiology and constitutional models. It is a part of my year that I look forward to and this year delivered the same great classes and community that I’ve come to expect from this conference. Thanks, y’all!”
“Thank you for pulling together a fantastic event and sharing your beautiful ceremony with all of us. The confluence far exceeded my imagination, I feel full and inspired.”
–Deb Swanson (Dancing Willow Herbs, Durango CO)
“I’m hugely inspired after the Good Medicine Confluence, re-dedicating myself to carving out more time for teaching, writing, and maintaining and building my clinical practice, while – like many of us – trying to pay the bills. I started out nervous (always having struggled with the right to claim space), but I got over it, really enjoyed presenting the classes, and appreciated the kind words I got from folks after. This was a big step out of my shell for me., not so much giving talks, which I’ve been doing for more than a couple of decades first as a scientist in academia and then as an herbalist... but more related to convincing myself that I had something worth sharing with other practicing herbalists and teachers. I think the moment it hit me that maybe I wasn’t just putting s**t out there that everyone already knows, was in the Osha Substitutes class, when I asked if anyone had ever used Turnera for colds/flu and no one raised their hand. While I’ve loved and been inspired by every iteration of this gathering that I’ve attended, I felt even more plugged in and amongst my tribe as a teacher this year. And now, to find the time to read the class essays book –.good goddess!”
“I saw misfits, star gazers and romancers of science. I saw plant gatherers, witches, philosophers, and fairies. I saw childlike wisdom that every answer has infinite questions and there is magic in the trees and all that surrounds us. I saw the essence of beauty, shared for an instant, defying description. I saw basket weavers, revolutionaries, healers and spirits. I saw love, stumbling around true and unfiltered. And i saw hope, vulnerable but without fear.”
“Oh god... Wolf & Kiva, this year was so incredible. It's always so incredible, but this year there was some extra special magic and sweetness and a buzz of newness. I did so much crying (unusual for my melancholic-choleric self in public) in classes, out of classes, at the beauty of it all. There's also this extra layer of tragedy and heartbreak at the end of every conference at all the people I didn't get to spend time with, like you two. I feel lucky that we live so close and hope that sometime in the next year I can make it down to hang out with y'all. Cash was also totally smitten with you--talked about how tender and kind and excited and heart-led you were. Thank you a thousand times for nurturing and growing this incredible community for all of us. I remember sitting in class at Paul Bergner’s feet at your first Plant Healer conference and realizing that he was definitely the only cis.man for whom I would move to godforsaken Boulder, and now being on the other side of that, a teacher now in my own right. And all of these things because of you two, and your bravery and heart and passion and stubbornness and drive. I feel so much like my whole community, my whole found family, is thanks to your work. Phew. Still crying...
So thank you for gifting me with so, so much. Thanks, too, for your faith and love in inviting me to teach. I had the best time, and got good feedback. Practicing taking that in instead of letting the me take over and ONLY coming away with the things I wish I had done differently. Phew.”
“It was good medicine indeed to be with everyone at the conference, to be in the presence of so many eager, thoughtful, sensitive, interesting folks, and to connect with herbalists of such deep knowledge and inspiration whose work I admire and whose personalities I find so charming. Thank you again for making it happen.”
“I came out of the gathering with a deeper understanding of myself and a clearer sense of my path ahead. A pivotal moment was at the dance, I’d had an emotional day of joy and sadness, feeling connected here and so isolated at home, but I looked around at all the people mingling and dancing and enjoying themselves and I realized, ‘everyone here is a herbalist’. And there really are as many ways to be a herbalist as there are people who love plants. I love that the Plant Healer magazine and events us together through our common passions and awareness and then welcomes, honors and celebrates the diversity of every person who embodies plant connections and healing in their own, unique way. Through this four-day immersion in a world of inspiration and wonder, I realized that, although I feel a need for more herbal community and diversity in Australia, the best thing I can do to foster that, is to follow my own heart and joy, the world doesn’t need anything from me, except to create and live a life that I want to live (…it’s that simple, right?). Deep deep gratitude and love to every person I connected with at the conference, our roots are entwined, I hope to meet you again.”
“So much gratitude for the teachings, magic, connections, vulnerable rawness, and friendships made there. I am so blessed to connect with this incredible plant people community, and to have the time and space to hear and speak in this common language in all its nuances. So much love and gratitude for the inspiration each of your personal medicines have brought to me and through me for others in the future.”
“What an amazing week! Quote of the weekend was from Guido Mase: ‘These are the authentic green-hearted herbalists... you can't buy that shit!’ I'm flying high on gratitude for my community, authentic, creative, caring, radical, grounded and so brilliant! May we take this energy with us and continue spreading it throughout our communities, I know I will!”
–Shana Lipner Grover (Sage Country Herbs)
“I am still buzzing like a happy little bee after that incredible weekend at Plant Healer’s Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference. Looking around at my community of plant folk, I can't help but shift between feelings of immense giddiness and tearful emotions of gratitude and humility. WHAT A LIFE! Thank you for gathering all the lovely flowers together, and to all the teachers who continue to impart your essence and life lessons, thanks for keeping me perpetually curious.”
“I'm touched and grateful to be a part of this community of people fighting to reconnect that which was severed; to restore something that most people don't even realize they've lost.”
“Austin, Texas to Cloudcroft, New Mexico and back for the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference: A total vortex of dense plant power that drew in all four seasons in a weekend. I ate shooter marble-sized hail frozen with fresh spruce and pine, and we ran around like fools naked in White Sands. Thank you to all the teachers this weekend, formal and otherwise - what a beautiful community. Endless gratitude for the opportunities to examine my consciousness and make room for shifts in my subconscious. I took you ALL home with me and you will continue to be gifts in my life. Until next time everybody XOXO”
“It's such a gift to have a place where we can share our concoctions, ideas, experience, lessons, hopes, fears, dreams and medicine. It's a gift to have a space where we're all just our normal weirdo selves, whoever and however that self may be. Thank you to Kiva and Wolf for putting on the best event around!”
“Thank you sooooooooo much for your efforts in putting together yet another absolutely beautiful conference and also for allowing me to be a part of it! I loved every bit of it. I'm excited at the prospects of next year in Durango! You two are such beautiful souls. I send you all the best of sparkly love and grace. Thank you being you(s). “
“I have come to expect the best in herbal conferences from Kiva and Jesse like a Frenchmen enjoys his favorite wine at a fine bistro. Perhaps I had become slightly blasé knowing the best classes and presentations were awaiting me. At this I humbly apologize. The Conference blew me away! An incredible variety of classes shocked the minds of all attendees. With so many well known presenters to choose from many attendees simply used the flip of a coin. (Or in one case I saw rock-paper-scissors.). I would do a disservice to the classes and presenters I was unable enjoy due to lack of time so I will not point out any specific one for special treatment. But I heard kudos from students about every class they attended. The feeling of celebration permeated the entire experience. Can it get any better? Yes! Five solid days of herbs, healing, learning, music, and love. See you there!”
–Charles “Doc” Garcia
“All of the Plant Healer events feel like a family reunion - with a family you can’t wait to see! When I was in school with Paul Bergner, you guys were only in your second year at Ghost Ranch - and Paul already recognized what an amazing gathering you had created. A group of us went and absolutely felt it - the energy, the love, the respect, the boundary-pushing. Every year since then a different small group of us do whatever we can to come and we always leave motivated, refreshed, and revived.”
–Penney Garrett (Dream of Green)
“What an amazing thing you guys have manifested, it is bigger than any of us or even all of us put together. A true sense of community – blended with equal parts of spirit and nature.”
–Paul Bergner (North American School of Medical Herbalism)
“Plant Healer’s Good Medicine Confluence movement is fueled by the boundless energy and committed drive of some of the most creative and cutting-edge herbalists out there today. The topics presented, the products and formulas at the Healers Market, and the infusion of social consciousness into every Plant Healer event is innovation at its finest. And at the foundation of it all is a deep respect for the plants on all levels. If you want to know where the future of herbalism is headed, getting involved with this forward-thinking scene is a must.”
–Phyllis Hogan (Winter Sun Trading Co.)
“Plant Healer’s class topics are inspired. We were offered a balance of practical issues and equally essential forays into the heart and spirit. Wolf and Kiva managed to be in 50 places at once, taking care of details and people nonstop. They kept their arms around us the whole time.No small trick with over 300 people to look after. How did they do that!? Integrity shines through the entire event, from the organizers, to the teachers, to the people I sat next to during the classes. And the forest, of course... After several days of being in such beauty with people who understand what life really is, what's important – who we are and how we fit into the larger fabric of life on this beautiful planet – it's been difficult to reenter the not-so-real world of everyday life. But I have come back changed, and full of gratitude for this experience. So many blessings, and a thousand thanks.”
“What an event... never in my life have I had my identity, my experiences, and my damn stubborn sureness of the necessity of this meandering branched path mirrored back at me from so many directions.My deepest gratitude to Kiva Ringtail Rosefor her honesty, tenacity, and trailblazing.”
“Once again, you should be pleased that all your hard work managed to produce a wonderful gathering. There were so many wonderful presenters and topics, it was really tough to choose, I was inspired and energized! The site is perfect; the fellow travelers, delightful; the classes, valuable and diverse. (The shopping's pretty great, too). I found Julie Caldwell's "Sentience of Place" a particularly moving and profound experience. Wow! I definitely left in an altered state!”
“I want to thank you and Kiva again for putting on such an amazing gathering. The variety of voices makes us stronger. I felt an upsurge of energy and passion from being around so many people dedicated to healing with plants.”
“Among the land brand new to me, surprising new plants, tastes and smells, beautiful new friends...
The healing power of story stood out for me as a theme in this conference. What's more magical than a good story, told mindfully, and listened to all ears, that comes at the perfect moment with just the right message, and opened up space. Some of my favorite story medicine was in the 'Hawthorn' class, with Sean Donahue and Jim McDonald, and Kiva and Wolf's 'Our Medicine, Our Path'.
'... And see ye not that bonnie road
That winds abut the fernie brae?'
There was a palpable calmness, inclusiveness and friendly vibe at the event. Kiva & Wolf were present, welcoming and delightful. It didn't feel rushed like other conferences can be, tho it went by so quickly!
Still wandering in the yellow flowers, still listening to the stories, allowing them to change my being.”
“Each year Plant Healer’s gathering is a coming home party – a Nettle Tribe family reunion like no other! Thank you so much to Kiva and Wolf for the crazy amount of work and organization it takes to create this experience for all of us each year, and to the medicine makers and crafters who sell and trade their one-of-a-kind wares, and to the teachers who push their own limits to offer cutting-edge classes you won’t find at other conferences. These events go far beyond, taking on an exuberant, sun soaked, Ponderosa Pine kissed life of its own filled with heart, learning, laughs, spontaneous dance, music, sharing, acceptance, encouragement, passion, and a serious stoking of the herbal fires. Plant Healer events will expand your field of herbal possibilities and change your life, whether you’re just beginning or are a life-long student. Be there!”
–Julie Caldwell (Humboldt Herbs)
“This is a gathering of diverse teachers and skills, an invocation of ancient and resurfacing traditions— a wild, wide and expansive invitation to re-imagine the worlds in which we all live. In short, it was a celebration. Not only of the groundwork, the bedrock, the wellspring of herbal and earth-based wisdom— but the sheer diversity and individual nature of its resurgence.
In between the life-expanding classes, the sheer depth of knowledge presented and shared, there were moments of profound arrival. Underneath, and around, and within the heart of this gathering is a call— not only to come to know the green beings of this world, and the ways in which they create space, but to find your own place within the nature of existence. Instinctively, each plant can feel and find its own distinct niche to prosper and grow. While tall mullein thrives alongside the sun-baked highway, creeping chickweed is at its most succulent in the cooling shade of giant ponderosa pines. People, healers, herbalists, teachers are no different. Each one of us has a sacred place in which we alone have the ability to root, receive, flower forth and grow. In their cornerstone class: ‘Our Medicine, Our Path: Recognizing Our Unique Gifts, Carving Out a Niche’ Kiva and Jesse delivered an eloquent and inspiring summation of the true blessing of this conference. The divine encouragement of this gathering is not simply to explore the charted terrain of the communally given, the known, but, as Jesse so eloquently summarized, to develop a ‘personalized relationship with self, earth, plant and purpose.’
The teachings at the core of this event: change, find oneself, honor the diverse and healing being that you are, and seek out the transformation you alone can carry into this waiting world.”
“I am always amazed by the fact that year after year, Kiva and Wolf send participants home fired-up and ready to take herbalism back to their communities.The people who come share a calling. Each is lured by the plants to spread a message of empowerment and independence. It is an honor, and a blessing, to be a part of that community.”
“This is bigger than an herbal conference; it's a movement and a cultivation of a new way of being. I am so appreciative to have found you both and this community, and will continue to do whatever I can to help and build the mission.”
–Betsy Costilo Miller
“This gathering has been life changing for me. There is a spark of soul calling that runs through the whole event and every single person there. I always come home full of fire, motivated from a place of deep inspiration and personal calling. I've gone with my family for the past three years now, and we're already plotting getting there next year. Huge gratitude to Kiva Rosethorn and Jesse Wolf Hardin for all their hard work and passionate dedication in bringing this vision to life, and keeping it going and growing...”
“This was my first time to attend an herbal conference!I am fairly new to learning about using herbs for my health. But once I discovered them, I knew this is what I had been looking for. I so appreciate being able to attend and learn from such magnificent teachers. I met many new friends and look forward to seeing them again. I took in much and have much to learn from reading the teachers notes. I want to thank you, Kiva and Wolf, for the amazing amount of work you did and continue to do, including the fantastic magazine that I have enjoyed since its birth and before that the many herbal articles that were published online. Blessings and thanks to all.”
–Mary Everson, Natural Endeavor
“The best damn herbal conference I have attended EVER! Hands down the absolute best. Thank you thank you thank you Kiva Rosethorn & Wolf again for a life changing event.”
“Plant Healer events Rock! I already miss the mountains, and the people, and the magic of the Southwest.”
“The best conference I've ever been to. The sparks of creation set ablaze at the Good Medicine Confluence will echo into the future of herbalism in North America! Thanks for letting me help yours and Wolf's dream come true!
“Make plans for next year! This conference felt like the beginning of a new herbal era. I honestly believe it will be looked upon as an historical moment.”
–Rosalee de la Foret
“Thank you so much for organizing such a wonderful conference! I'm biding my time for next year! I left feeling empowered, inspired, and rededicated to my path and calling in this life. You, Wolf and everyone involved have taken making the world a better place to a whole new level.”
“These events are truly inspirational, upbeat and on target with the info provided, leaving me feeling so invigorated and so energized. I loved the whole gestalt; making new friends and reconnecting with folks that I love, plant walks, herb classes and the West. I feel a kindred spirit with you both.
“I loved this conference. When I read the class offerings I realized I didn't want to miss a minute of it. Every class was different, each one was amazing. The people presenting were clear, concise, funny, personable and extremely knowledgeable. They were alive and passionate about herbalism, and ready to share their knowledge at a variety of levels. I wish I could have been three or four people during the conference so I could have done everything. I am at the beginning of my herbal learning, which I am doing informally so far, and I didn't know what to expect from this weekend - I was amazed and inspired over and over again. I don't think I could have learned as much as I did this weekend in months of book-study. I wish I had words to express how powerful this conference was for me. I attended with my five year old, and we were both thrilled by what we learned - now that he's home he is interjecting things he learned into conversation, and it's exciting, he's inspired too- and he learned a lot about the southwest and the plants of New Mexico. I love to hear, over and over, that herbal knowledge is attainable, and that we can become our own healers instead of having to rely on the experts of whatever sort to tell us everything. I loved being in New Mexico, but was glad to return home to my local plants Who I want to get to know so much better.”
“The new physical vistas were a taste of things to come once I began to meet and interact with the beautiful students and teachers of this conference. I am not a conference person. I don't like the confinement of crowds, or the distance I've felt at other gatherings between students and teachers. I usually end up just buying the lecture CDs and skipping the social aspects of conferences that sometimes feel uncomfortable and stilted to me. My first social interaction at the Good Medicine Confluence? A warm welcoming hug from Kiva Rose who recognized me immediately from Facebook! I found all the teachers to be just as approachable, connecting from a deep heart space with the students, sharing their passion for plants and healing. It was real. It was vital. I have rarely felt so connected during a group event since the 60's and early 70's. I took away so much from this conference. It was not just the lectures and wisdom shared. The passion for life and the commitment to follow that passion to learn, share, and serve the community and the Earth was a primary message that I received.
How nurtured and re-energized I feel! I have made a few changes since I returned home eliminating some meaningless activities from my life and making more time for things I am passionate about. I have been on this path for awhile, but my experience at this high vibration conference has infused me with joy and purpose. Many thanks to Kiva and Wolf for organizing these events. I look forward to another rendezvous next year!”
–Christine Tolf, Lichenwood Herbals
“To us, Plant Healer’s resurgent events represent an unfolding evolution of modern herbalism that is at the forefront of holistic health. The Good Medicine Confluence beautifully brought together the grounded expertise and extensive experience of leading educators and practitioners that have run their clinics and schools and had practices for many many years like Paul Bergner, Mimi, Robin Rose, 7Song, Howie and many others, together with the diverse experience of newer herbalists and educators that are breaking new ground in so many important and unique areas of interest. We see this conference as the weaving of a beautiful tapestry where the strength of the warp and the possibilities of the weft can come together to form new and beautiful patterns not previously possible, based on the wise and thoughtful integration of diverse traditions of herbalism, healing and community.
Perhaps most importantly it feels like a conference for truly inspired and serious herbal folk that want to come away not just having had a good time, but to come away feeling reinvigorated in their herbal pursuits and practices and having learned valuable skills that are immediately applicable to deepening herbal skill and knowledge. This conference seemed to offer enough for beginning students to feel both inspired and appropriately overwhelmed as well as an abundance of learning opportunities for intermediate and advanced students as well. What a great balance! and we hope that you keep the advanced classes coming.”
–Hanna Jordan & Chris Smaka, School of Traditional Western Herbalism
“The most prevalent thing I took from this event was the acceptance I received from the other herbalists. At first I was a little apprehensive and felt a bit out of place because all the other attendees (not to mention presenters, many of whom I've learned about it school and was a bit starstruck to be in the same place with) work in the "real world" and are practicing herbalists and I didn't think I really belonged there. I planned to just keep my mouth shut and absorb what I could. That feeling quickly passed and I felt so included and accepted when it seemed like everyone agreed that, no matter your education or experience level, if you use herbs to help people, you are an herbalist. It was also really incredible to be in a place with so many other people who talk and listen to plants and to not be looked at like a freak because I do. I learned that my feeling that this is something I am called to do is not a feeling that should drive me to seek therapy, but should drive me to seek more plants - that herbalists are called to it. I learned that I have a lot to learn outside the classroom as well as in it and that it's OK to ask for that help when I need it. I found a lot of resources to use to get that help and found that no one is going to turn their nose up at me for asking. The change this has made in my life and my attitude about what I am doing is something I can never fully describe to you. It has allowed me greater acceptance of part of myself - a huge, important part - that I always thought I had to try to suppress and could only talk to some people about. There is nothing I can say or do that will ever express my thanks to you for that enough or to tell you how blessed I am to have been able to be a part of The Good Medicine Confluence. The best I can do is improve my efforts to learn as much as I can and work even harder for the plants. From the deepest parts of me, thank you!”
“I long to be back together with such a wonderful group of people... family. What a great experience. Words can not express how much I loved the conference.”
“Every year I attend these gathering I am filled to overflowing with joy, passion, and awe. From the teachers and the new friends (human, plant and in-between) to the new sights and welcoming people of Cloudcroft- this experience reaffirms time and time again why I am an herbalist, why the wildness of the plants and their medicine is so undeniably important for this planet and those who are a part of her, and how crucial it is to spread this message of healing and empowerment with every action. It’s such an incredible, profound experience - the message that seems to permeate through the classes, the teachers and the very land itself is trust- of plants, of self and of life. Thank you!”
“I love that the focus here is on the building of community and resilience through celebration of difference. I have the most fun with this strange brew of folks and love getting the chance to let all my colors show and to model that for the rest of the community alongside so many other excellent, compassionate, generally loving and lovable folks.”
“By far the best event I have ever been to, and I feel privileged to have been a part of it.”
“Jesse and Kiva hold a container for community that is unlike any other! Over the years, it's become something of a pilgrimage - returning to the core of the community to tend and nourish those roots, and to watch them grow. In this community I find people I deeply respect, and whose company I look forward to. This conference is a time to take a break from caring for others and take some time to nourish my soul!”
–Katja Swift (Commonwealth Herbs)
“Plant Healer events continue to build a legacy of deepening our connections as herbalists, providing a stellar opportunity to learn from one another, and sowing the seeds of the herbal community’s future. During the last many years since I first became part of the Plant Healer community, I took what I learned from our annual gathering and from other sources in my life and used it to create something that would spread those roots even deeper. I started a community herbalism program that has encouraged a wide range of participants to improve their own lives, built and implemented an all-volunteer restoration crew that is actively rehabilitating native plants in nearby public lands, and also offered many hours of free and low-cost herbal and ecological education for kids and adults. Through the gatherings and Plant Healer Magazine, the elders give rise to new and emergent voices in the herbal community, which in turn invigorates the whole tribe. Now I wonder how many of you have similar stories unfolding in your own herbal lives or perhaps have dreams on the verge of manifestation? Go for those dreams; make it happen without fear of failure. We, the Plant Healer family, are in this together. We are the roots and shoots of a new herbal community.”
–Dara Saville (www.AlbuquerqueHerbalism.com)
“This conference allowed me to come out of my snail shell, to stop being worried that I wasn’t experienced, and to simply let experience happen. Thanks for letting me a part of it all.”
“Passion and Authenticity... Traditions is a special herbal conference for me, and I know I’m not the only one that feels this way! I immediately felt like I was visiting a long lost village home filled with some people I knew and many I didn’t, but that didn’t matter, I felt I belonged. This is a feeling I have often not felt in mainstream America so on the rare occasion I do, it’s memorable. For the last two years I have had the pleasure of teaching at Traditions. I’m so incredibly thankful to Kiva and Wolf and everyone involved in making this conference happen as well as managing Plant Healer. They have been absolutely foundational in helping to create a solidified community of passionate, authentic plant lovers.”
–Shana Lipner Grover (www.sagecountryherbs.com)
“I’m heart achey and grateful for the gift of the most astonishingly bright and inspiring community of plant geeks and tree hugging freaks out there. I can't tell you how exquisite it was to return to New Mexico, the land of my heart as a part of my pilgrimage to the mind-blowing community that Kiva and Wolf have so carefully crafted all these years. It's just the most special place in the world to me, and every year I am undone by the magic. How unfathomable to have a place where connecting with everyone is so easy, especially for those of us who walk the fringes... Friends: thank you for your light. I return home with a fire in my belly.”
“The past 5 years of attending Plant Healer events has shaped and formed me in so many ways, I am forever grateful. And thank you to all the mamas, papas and teachers for loving our children like your own.”
–Briana Rose Wiles
“I went to Plant Healer’s Traditions in Western Herbalism conference to learn about plants, yet what I learned most is more about myself... This has been a remarkable expression of love for life. True appreciation. A group of loving beings all in one place for one reason: to grow together, in all senses of the word. Thank you Wolf and Kiva Rose Hardin. You have opened me up to my own place in this world.”
“I am bursting with gratitude that I have the opportunity to be involved in such a remarkable community of healers, astounded by the quality of the people... not quite sure how I became so blessed. Thank you for such a lovely and enlightening event. Can't wait to see you all again next year.”
“I've had to admit that I can't fully sum up what is a return to a home and community that I cannot imagine being without more and more every year. I come back wiser, more skilled, surer footed, and more whole We are not only allowed to hold our space, our passions, our fascinations, our wounds, our struggles, our hard earned wisdom but this is upheld as our keys to the path forward. Classroom and clinic is not held above experience and presence... Person, plants, place. I overflow with the child-like joy I once thought lost to me, with the reminders that I no longer have total cause to feel like an isolated weirdo, at home within this rebellion of healers with a fearless commitment to integrity unbound by need for validation beyond witnessing the gifts of healing, transformation, and relationship. In all my years as a complex and crabby radical, I cannot say that I've ever known a more fundamentally radical and transformative space in it's feral, ornery, deeply personal, un-box-able, joyful, and incorrigible self-defined beauty and once again I couldn't be more grateful.”
“A Plant Healer event is truly one of its kind: it’s not just a conference. It's a crucible for thought, connection, change and rooting us even deeper into our tradition. It's where we all meet up and come from our separate areas where we forge ahead alone, with our own intentions that are all pretty similar (how many of us exist to connect people back to the earth?) and because we have such a similar drive, when together that drive ignites and is re-inspired. That inspiration and connection, when you sometimes feel so very alone in the world, is so very. very. important. So, no, it's not just a conference. Not at all. Thank you to Wolf and Kiva, your love for your mission has this ripple effect that trickles into everybody there and it inspires everyone. And everyone who is inspired goes back to their little corner of the world feeling their own missions come to life again, creating lasting change in the world. It’s magic, what you do!”
“The site is very beautiful, the surrounding grounds spectacular, filled with beautiful plants and a big beautiful pond with fish and wild herbs. I loved that the location was in the mountains. It was all very inviting and comfortable... perfectly serene. I am very grateful that I was privileged to attend.”
“It has taken me a few weeks to integrate and put into words my experience. There are so many facets and layers that make up the journey to now… all of the classes I attended were kick ass! Before I left for the Plant Healer gathering I was at a crossroads in my life…not the first time and certainly not the last but I sensed that this time it was different. When I arrived at the event site the shift in my senses was kind of surreal; I was not certain if it was the altitude or if I had stumbled into a sweet energy spot that my soul totally tuned into! I have moved through my life in stages of self-destruction, self-medicated numbness, and self-preservation to finally arrive here with the most clarity I have ever held when looking back through and into myself. I can look back and see that it was the plants, the trees, the wind, the water in all is various forms and the solid earth beneath my feet that have always healed and nurtured me bridging the gaps and closing the circle. A significant shift transpired in the seat of my soul, and I left a different person.”
“Nestled in the high mountains, I found the deepest parts of my soul calling. What happened during this journey was far more enriching than the wealth of information I gathered. I learned deeply about my true nature through the parallels that form between plants and I and our interwoven destiny. This was not only a conference, it was a soul retreat, a communal gathering of wise, genuine and brilliant beings who share a sacredness. This sacredness can not simply be taught, it must be lived and experienced.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you. The conference was beyond any expectations I could have possibly conceived. My experience was intensely tribal, informative, inspirational and to quote Wolf, 'Supremely Wild! A place and space where Free Spirits unite.. Thank you for welcoming me to the tribe. Thank you for the incredible plethora of classes, which exercised an immense freedom of choice venue: Awesome. Scientific. Heartfelt. Spiritual. Stimulating. and a whole lots of fun.”
–Linda Lea Stephens
“I have been attending herb conferences for 30 years and this one was by far the most inspiring and educational. I loved it!”
“Thinking back on this event’s diverse elements of intense delight, joy, inspiration, learning, questioning and challenging, I feel further validated as the edge-walker, clinical herbalist, artist, and quirky gypsy I am. I feel more confident with sharing what I know, being honest about what I don’t know, and asking all the questions that arise between.”
“The Plant Healer gathering was punctuated by mirth and merriment, tears of joy and deep healing, and an overwhelming sense that we were all truly in the right place at the right time!!”
“I couldn't begin to express how much being able to participate in the Plant Healer community means to me, and the depth of the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, affirmation, and challenge that come with being surrounded by so many wonderful teachers and folks of overlapping paths. It is a truly wondrous joy... creating a home for all of us.”
“So tremendously grateful for the magic and power of Plant Healer events in all their iterations. Continually amazed at the way that sinking into deep connection comes so easily with other people who have devoted their lives and hearts to the wild places, both within and without. Thanks as ever to Kiva Rose and Wolf for crafting the enchantment and bringing all we glorious freaks together.”
“The Gathering created a space to come together and celebrate the history of our interconnectedness with each other and with our beautiful Gaia. When could there be a more valuable time to do so than now? In this modern age it was refreshing to learn from the leading teachers of our herbal community in a setting that focused on kinship rather than prestige. What an honor it was to be part of this grassroots event and celebrate plant medicine with my fellow Herb Folk!”
“Was I enchanted? Yes. The roots of herbal medicine are actively being resurrected in this humble gathering. These are my people. You are my people, my tribe. Our feet may live in shoes for a season or two, but HerbFolk for me now marks the season to let our roots – you know the ones, the ones growing from your toes and creeping out the tops of your boots – show to ourselves, each other and the green world.”
“I’m feeling so fulfilled, inspired, activated, blessed, and enriched by this radically meaningful weekend with healers and plant medicine workers in the magical forest! Plant Healer events are the essence of leading a meaningful life, doing what feels beautiful, taking your time to learn from plants and elders. HerbFolk fulfilled me with inspiration, new spirit companions, role models, and affirmation that I'm walking a good path! Experienced wisdom lineage about Hopi sunflower medicine, TCM creation cycles, curanderismas, medicinally and ritually revered salvia species, special herbal formulating from David Hoffman!, the heart magic of reishi, and so many groovy connections with fellow earth stewards. Thank you Plant Healer Magazine and Plant Healer events! Feeling so inspired that I wild-harvested mullein, vitex berries, yarrow, creosote wild onion, and calendula for medicine crafting on this special Autumn Equinox day. The classes warmed my heart, stimulated my brain, and nourished my soul as well as helped me to articulate, define, and take pride in why I work with plants and see plants as teachers. Thank you for bringing these beautiful people! This was the best weekend of my life!”
–Chloe Groom (Rainbow Bliss Botanicals)
“A beautiful event, filled with inspiration, knowledge and passion.”
“Plant Healer events are the kind of experience that we herbalists look for as a means to deepen our connection with the natural world and natural medicine. I’m a seasoned herbalist who has practiced for 15 years, and yet found much new and exciting material. The good work in the world may now continue!”
–Heather Luna Keasbey (Nevada City Herb & Tea Company)
“Hills of ponderosa pine and soft rosettes of mullein. Afternoon thunderstorms and a bounty of golden amber light. This year's gathering was rich with so much life. From the depth of the classes to the wild grandeur of the Fairy Ball, every day felt like a new enchantment. The atmosphere was suffused with so much openness, expectancy and excitement. Over and over again I heard tales of such sweet synchronicity and unexpected connection. People came from across the globe to gather with this tribe and most everyone I encountered felt like destiny had a large hand to play in their arrival. I witnessed so many moments of personal transformation, revelation, revelatory celebration and that distinct feeling of coming home. The sensation of such strong community is not one you often find. But here, around cups of tea or under the starlight, it seemed to be everywhere. There was truly something in the air this time. Much gratitude for all the organizers of this unique gathering, for the spark, the fire and all that continues to come alive. Until next year!”
“I just wanted to share with y'all how amazing of an experience I had a few weeks ago at the conference, and how thankful I am for having the opportunity to attend by work trade. It was my first time, and I loved it. It's definitely the most comfortable and inspiring herbal conference I've been to. I loved being among herbalists who were talking about magic, intuition, and emotional healing and at the same time speaking to the political and social conditions we're living under and how we hope herbalism can play a role in changing that. I've been involved in community organizing for over 10 years and studying herbalism for about 5. Where I've lived most of my life, in Memphis, it often feels like I'm living and working in two separate realms. I see them as obviously connected. However, most of my friends are either in one of those worlds or the other, and usually don't see the connection. My radical friends think herbalism is too soft, and my plant friends think I'm looking at the world in too negative of a light. It's a really difficult space for me to navigate and feel supported in. In contrast, this conference was so comforting, inspiring, and affirming for me. I'm so grateful that you have created such a supportive, down to earth, and visionary space. It really was a life changing and transformative experience. I will definitely continue coming to the conference and spread the word! If I can support or participate in anyway in the future, please let me know. I appreciate all that hard and rewarding work you do.”
“When I was a teenager growing up in suburban Massachusetts, the Earth First! Journal brought me news of struggles to protecting old growth ecosystems from the Redwoods of California to the Cedars of Alaska, and I dreamed that someday I would be part of giving voice to those ancient forests. Among my greatest inspirations was Lone Wolf Circles, and the Earth First! Warrior Poets Society that he helped found.
After a decade and half on the frontlines of opposition to the violence of late capitalism -- visiting war zones, blockading weapons factories, planting sunflowers at nuclear power plants -- I left the city for the woods, and eventually found myself teaching and practicing herbal medicine in the Pacific rainforest, a few hours' drive south of Clayoquot Sound, where forest defenders made their stand in the '80's and '90's, and the Walbran where friends and students of mine will soon prepare to put their bodies on the line in defense of some of this island's last old growth. I venture from my forest home to come into Victoria to teach and work in the clinic at Pacific Rim College, to buy groceries, and to lift weights late at night when I am the only person in the gym. And every summer and fall I find myself on the road, teaching at herb conferences.
Plant people are some of the best people I have met, and they make me feel welcome everywhere I go. But, I have to admit, among all the amazing gatherings I attend, one has a very special place in my heart: The Good Medicine Confluence, where, a few years ago, Lone Wolf Circles (now known as Jesse Wolf Hardin) and Kiva Rose took the risk of inviting an unknown herbalist with no formal training and a strange, poetic manner of speaking in spirals to come talk about my relationships with wild plants. They earned my eternal gratitude then by making room for a new voice, and I have watched them continue to do the same for others, as brilliant people who sat in some of my first workshops have begun to emerge as new, clear, strong, creative voices in our community.
Wolf and Kiva invite people like me to teach not in spite of our strangeness, but because of it. They recognize that, as Albert Einstein may or may not have said, the problems we face will not be solved by the same thinking that gave rise to them. I was particularly moved by the amount of space consciously and deliberately created for neurodivergent voices at this gathering.
But that doesn't mean the conference is a free for all. The strange truths spoken in the high desert are grounded in lived experience and must pass through the finely tuned bullshit detectors of those willing to challenge what passes for wisdom, be it conventional or unconventional. The same rollicking spirit that inspired me when I first encountered Earth First! lives on in a conference that grew out of the movement of deep ecology from road blockades into medicine.
I thank you so much for creating this odd community that feels closer to home than anything I have known before. I am already counting down the days until September.”