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Wanderings of a Wildcrafter

Jennifer Keir

Posted on October 17 2016

Wanderings of a Wildcrafter

I get asked a lot what Wild Craft really means; I walk the woods and forage, I am always on the look out to spot an old friend or to meet a new one, plants have a way of speaking to me, literally jumping out at me, catching my eye with a sparkle, calling me over. That is what I call Wild Craft, a calling to learn, harvest, to inspire new ways to think about the earth, how we connect, the ease of gathering and learning from the ever-changing landscape of seasons, how plants seem to appear just as they are needed. These plants are in their prime, whether the digging up of roots in the fall, when nutrients hide in their dark depths, storing sugars and their magickal medicine, the life force, until spring calls to send the energy back up to the sun, the vibrant spring flowers intoxicating to the bees and pollinators, the promise of abundance, fragrance, fruit and sweetness. The mystery and lore, traditions lost only to be found and reinvented, creating something from what so many overlook. I never know what I will find when I head out to the forest; many times I am feeling lost or lonely, that is when the forest calls me the most, my only purpose as I force one foot in front of the other, instead of many usual avoidance or distractions of household chores or must do’s, is to clear my head. I never get far before the sound of the rain, a sunbeam through branches, a leaf falling and landing at my feet, the call of a bird, stops me in my tracks and time stops. I linger over pine branches, follow deer tracks, often nibbling on spruce tips, touching the bark of trees, bending to examine the smallest flower, watching the ants as they track across the forest floor or lay in the wet sand at the river, listening to her rushing sounds and watching the clouds…and there it is again. Magick. Connection. One-ness. How did I forget?
I stuff my pockets with wild findings, a few poplar buds over here, one or two clover blossoms, a clump of pine sap found dried on an old wound, a handful of rowan berries, a bouquet of yarrow and fireweed flowers. Once I am home I start playing with my findings. Some I place in sunflower oil on my window sill, to soak up the light of a month of moons, the heat of the sun; some I sort and dry in trays, others I bundle and hang to dry for a few weeks, every time I pass by, the light brushing of my arm on the stems releasing a sharp scent of peppermint, sage, oregano or anise. Then the dreaming starts…a tugging, a thought, a glimmer from a dream, and I will be in the kitchen pulling out this jar and that, a little dried plant, a cup of golden yellow infused oil…who wants to play with who? A thought turned to form.

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