Craving Miracles: On Healing + Expectation
"May I, can I, or have I too often?
May I, can I, or have I too often now?
Craving miracles, Craving miracles..."
Thunderbolt by Bjork
In the overculture of the United States there is a big business of constructing, marketing, and administering magic pills that will cure us of our ills (if only to plague us with a long list of not-so-nice side effects). I think that the quest for that magic pill promoted by profit-driven pharmaceutical framework takes advantage of a deeper craving held by many humyn creatures for the miraculous, the uncanny, the infusion of mundanity with mysticism. As a herbologist and someone who works as a facilitator between humyn and plant cultures, I feel that part of my work is to facilitate the re-enchantment of the lives of those folks who have fallen out of rhythm with their own mystery. When someone comes to me seeking a cure, miraculous or not, I begin the process of sharing with folks what I can offer by ways of the mysterious and not-so-mysterious, and hopefully we find the common ground needed for us to work together.
In my practice, I recognize that part of our healing work is an inward-gazing journey investigating lineages of bloodlines, trauma, assimilation, isolation, the hurried flight of an endangered soul, and the ways we compartmentalize our experiences to survive. Another part of inhabiting our wellness turns the gaze outwards to the cultures we were raised in, the bioregions we were grown in, the ones we live in currently, how we relate to others, and the ways the world may seem duller than those burstingbright moments when we might have believed in it all, however fleeting or far-between those pieces may be flung on our path. Each of us is an ongoing expression of existence, a sort of embodied oral tradition, with our stories communicated through the lines of our bodies, their shapes, colors, textures, temperatures, and temperaments. Everyone's journey holds stories of the miraculous and it is those kinds of miracles that I try to guide the cravings for cures into the desire to make the journey of wellness, however uncertain and clouded.
On the path of the miraculous, my approach to healing is rooted in the idea of engagement, which includes the values of accountability (to self and others), sustainability (of environment, culture, practice, and relationships), and mindful cultivation of the revolution of evolution (we grow as individuals, evolve as a community). In a framework of engagement the practice of blame (which I find to be a common infestation of the pharmaceutical miracle market) is an unnecessary and rather harmful tool that has a tendency for folks to adopt mindsets of believing that “the illness is my fault” or their bodies/minds/emotions are somehow “broken” and they need something outside of themselves to “fix” the problem. While there is always time for discussion of how previous choices or environments may have led to certain aspects of illness, I try to guide folk’s healing narratives beyond the role of victim while still keeping space for stories of victimization and especially of survival. Through engagement of personal stories, a shift of perspectives takes place, allowing for a new narrative to emerge: the knowing of how I seek my wellbeing is my responsibility along with a growing sense of empowerment to be nurtured, sparked, and re-inspired throughout the journey of wellness.
The green growing ones are ever present through our work. Engagement opens the heart to building relationships with the allies of your healing journey. We begin to engage with the miraculous that resides within, without, and between all things, including our green allies who can help to relieve the symptoms of dis-ease and also guide us to the core imbalance. What is more miraculous than our own powers of healing and the healing powers of plants working together towards a common goal of wholeness?
The philosophies of practice I hold and continue to evaluate and expand upon are informed by my own spiritual work which is guided by a whole lot of magickal thinking – another post for another time. For now I will finish my exploration of the miraculous by sharing with you the tender spot in my wee heart for the mystics among us who attempt to articulate the ecstatic, knowing that it will always be imperfect, and hoping that nonetheless it will induce a sense of bliss. Saint Hildegard von Bingen was prolific in her visions and a woman of many skills, including being a wonderful herbalist. While her mysticism is steeped in a Christian worldview, albeit a rather rogue and feminist Christian perspective, I find her words to be the sort of miracles I seek in my own life.
A human being is a vessel that God has built for himself and filled with his inspiration so his works may be perfected in it. Hildegard von Bingen, letter to Elisabeth of Schönau, c. 1152
What I love about the quote above, especially after I apply a panentheist twist of that we are both God/dess and God/dess is independent of us, is that we are our own journeys of perfection. We have what we need to be whole and to revel in that wholeness in our continuous cultivation of health and wellbeing.While not as eloquent as Hildegard’s original words, my own take on her verse would be:
A humyn being is a vessel that our Love/God/dess has built for ourselves and filled with our inspiration so that our works are perfected in it.
That is the miracle.
 I do, however, hold space for folks who follow religious traditions that do place responsibility for illness on the person who is unwell due to previous transgressions. In these cases I still encourage a focus on present accountability to seeking wellness while acknowledging a person’s need to address previous actions of wrongdoing.