Thursday, June 23, 2016

The School of Liberatory Medicine's Online Summer Herbal Freedom School Program begins July 1st

Hello! Happy Summer Solstice! 

In these first weeks of summer the School of Liberatory Medicine is opening it's doors.
In just a few weeks the Herbal Freedom School online program will begin.

Check out the Welcome video here.


The program will last 5 weeks from July 1, 2016- August 5, 2016.
Registration closes on July 8th and there are a limited number of seats.
The first 10 to sign up by July 1st will get $20 off (email queeringherbalism [at]gmail[dot]com for the discount code).
If you pre-paid for Queering Herbalism 2 (now the 4 volume Queering Herbalism Encyclopedia) email me for your discount code.

*Sliding scale is available, message me at queeringherbalism [at] gmail [dot] com to know more about this option. There are a limited amount of seats.
*If you don't have the means, please message me, there are a limited number of seats available to those who don't have the funds to participate.

Register at: https://coursecraft.net/courses/z9Qhy

Register for Lesson 1 only at: https://coursecraft.net/courses/z9QXJ Lesson 1 begins July 8th.

See you on your first day of Herbal Freedom School!



Saturday, May 28, 2016

Liberatory Medicine, QTPOC Healing Histories, and Online Knowledge Shares

May has been a busy month. I returned from a few weeks in Puerto Rico building with some amazing co-visionaries: Maria Reinat-Pumarejo (Colectivo Ile- Africa en mi piel, Africa en mi ser), a phenomenal organizer and Raul Quinones Rosado (C-Integral), a liberation psychologist. Both do anti-racist trainings with PISAB and also facilitate Latino Challenges Toward Racial Justice workshops. We talked about anti-racism, liberation, colonialism in PR, decolonization, psychology, organizing, health and healing, and so much more. So needed and nourishing! I also got to spend some time with brilliant herbalist, organizer, and author Maria Benedetti of Botanicultura (FINALLY!) We ate and sang and she discussed her new novel, Dolores y Milagros. I also went to Finca FlamboyanT, a queer land project in Sabana Grande. It is a sanctuary, artist retreat and home with so many fruit trees and medicinal plants. Speaking of retreat- I stayed with Michelle of the Nietas de Nono in Patio Taller- another amazing artist retreat  space (and space for youth organizing and so much other amazing work) with a beautiful herb garden and fruit trees. Hers is located in Carolina. We shared such insightful conversation about community, organizing, art, herbs, you name it. I also hung out with some created family members who really helped me out when I was living in PR last year. Without them I would not have survived. En serio. I restocked my zines and added some new ones at La Chiwinha, a fair trade ecotienda in Rio Piedras. And last but not least, I revisited Casa Mucaro high in the mountains of Las Marias. This communal land houses musicians, puppeteers, and artists of many persuasions. I stayed there in 2014 and was able to really focus on the Queering Herbalism Encyclopedia and I did a talk for the Sistah Vegan Conference (organized by genius, diversity strategist, scholar and critical theorist Dr. Breeze Harper) "The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter" entitled Transvisibility, Survival and Solidarity which was part of a joint talk “ALL Black Lives Matter: Exposing and Dismantling Transphobia and Heteronormativity in Mainstream Black ‘Conscious’.


Yes! My trip ...no...journey...was as inspiring as it sounds. I am so grateful for the amazing people in my life who are doing such tremendous work. My heart was so full. I was so nourished during my journey this month.

When I returned I began working on two new zines and I put together the Liberatory Medicine Collection which contains the 4 second edition volumes of your decolonial herbal favorites: Queering Herbalism 1, Herbal Freedom School 1 and 2, and the new Partnering with Plants guide. Through this Sunday 5/29 the collection which has a $40 value is $25.

You can purchase here:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/281840666/liberatory-medicine-collection

Partnering with Plants is also only $5 through Sunday 5/29. Use the code: PWP2016. <3
https://www.etsy.com/listing/290061139/partnering-with-plants


You can email me at queeringherbalism@gmail.com for sliding scale discounts on the collection or to barter/trade medicine, knowledge, techy skills, etc, etc...I really need help designing flyers, websites and online courses and on making audio and video courses more accessible to those with different abilities.

In June I will be at the Philly Trans Health Conference sharing on QTPOC healing histories and your purchases will partially go toward making that happen.

So what's this about online knowledge shares? Well, after much ado and some folks asking to be my "students" I decided to finally put together a little something online to see how it goes. A couple prototypes if you will. I won't reveal too much yet but I will say that one accompanies the Partnering with Plants guide and will be 4-6 weeks long and is a mini-program of sorts, while the other online knowledge share is a longer course- a full 3 month program- that explores all the volumes of the Queering Herbalism Encyclopedia. Ok. Cats out the bag. Hold me accountable to rolling these out this summer. Send me some messages and emails letting me know of your interest so I know all this hard work is going to resonate with some of you out there.

Well- I guess that's "it" for now. Be on the lookout this month for the mini-program/online knowledge share. I'm working on the flyer as we "speak". The registration page will be up soon.

Healing and Justice,


Toi

Friday, April 15, 2016

Partnering with Plants zine


Well hello again,

I've just finished up the first edition of my new Partnering with Plants zine. It's available at the Afro-Genderqueer online store (etsy) and at Harriet's Apothecary Spring Edition next week.


Here's a description:


Description: This resource guide centers black and brown ancestral healing histories and focuses on the ways our ancestors built relationships with and partnered w/ plants through various ceremonies, rituals and medicine making. There are plenty of reductionist “this plant for this illness” texts that we see so often so I have tried not to replicate those texts, although some articles on medicine making basics can be found within the guide. In addition to non-european healing histories you will find articles about creating sacred space and suggestions on how to begin/continue partnering with plants in various ways. There are essays on plants and their role in spiritual baths and baños/sahumados de vapor. After medicine making articles a final section about healing ourselves and each other is included. In this section you'll find articles that address internalized and historical trauma and remedies for stress, anxiety and depression.


** Limited amount of printed copies available at the Liberatory Medicine Making: Partnering with Plants for Inner Peace and Liberation knowledge-share and during Harriet's Apothecary Spring Edition 2016


Also, I've got the 2nd Edition of the Africa and African Diaspora Queering Herbalism Encyclopedia Special Edition.

Description: This volume was written to center black healing histories, simultaneously challenging the prevalent anti-blackness in "modern western herbalism" and "holistic healing" by directly talking about the colonization of Africa, traditional medicinal healing in Africa and its Diaspora, black Trans and queer healers healing and transforming our many different communities in various ways, and birthwork and midwifery in the black community. The volume includes articles on ceremony, ritual and medicine making and a final section about healing ourselves and each other that addresses internalized and historical trauma and contains remedies for stress, anxiety and depression and an elixir for the heart.

I'm hoping to get the Ceremony, Ritual and Medicine Making volume of the Queering Herbalism Encyclopedia completed late May. I'll be back in Puerto Rico again for a couple weeks and I can't wait to be in the mountains and on the beach and with the trees and plants that healed me not so long ago.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Spring and Solar Return



Happy Spring!



Yesterday I celebrated another solar return (birthday) and I'm feeling super reflective. I've been thinking about these Queering Herbalism Encyclopedia volumes and all the work that has gone into researching and compiling them over the past year and a half. I've been thinking about how much more expansive I've wanted them to be. You know, the information has always been about black and brown liberation, liberatory healing and the reclamation of our healing histories. It's always been about including suppressed histories and beginning/continuing a conversation about the healing legacy of queer, trans and gender non-conforming folks and honoring the place of spirituality and ceremony in our medicine making of many different varieties. The special edition on Africa and the African Diaspora confronts anti-blackness in the current  (modern western) "herbal revolution" by providing a closer look at African (and it's diaspora's) spirituality, medicine, and healing traditions. I am excited to start working on a more in depth Pan-African healing volume with an anti-colonial focus. And, the special edition of the Women*, feminine healing energy and resistance volume honors the feminine healing energy, women organizers and healers and there's so much more I wanted to include but needed to pare down into two parts! As the volumes expanded I knew that there needed to be another medium for all the seeds that were emerging to be planted. This year I hope to do more knowledge shares and collaborations with this information.






Osain- West African (Yoruba Ifa) spirit of Plants and herbal medicine


It's been a long road. I've been going through a lot of "health stuff/trials" this past year. I've struggled with having life-sustaining medication denied, not having insurance, not being able to afford obamacare and not qualifying for medicaid and patching together sliding scale medical assistance and self-pay treatments. I've had a really intense (short-lived) 80 hour a week organizing job. I've had my body react to the winter conditions and a lot of the toxins here in the D.C. area. Suffering from environmental illness (as Aurora Levins Morales calls Multiple Chemical Sensitivities) is no joke. Having a life-threatening autoimmune disorder and no health insurance really takes up a lot of time, space and energy. Every month I've struggled with not knowing if I can get a refill, afford a refill or a doctor's visit to get a refill. I've wondered if I'm going to deal with a paternalistic doctor and I've lamented that I don't have enough to pay for holistic practitioners- acupuncturists and naturopaths or herbalists. A lot of my healing has come from my own inner knowing and lots of research about the plants, herbs, medicinal mushrooms, vitamins, etc. that are accessible and affordable to me. I also have been able to reach out here and there to friends who are holistic practitioners.

I still dream of nationwide networks of POC healers who ARE each other's insurance and practitioners. A loving exchange network practicing affordable preventative holistic medicine and lifting up each other's healing work. I know these informal networks exist and it takes some digging to find them locally or regionally.  I dream of being a part of these sacred healing villages like Harriet's Apothecary provides every season in Brooklyn and other locations. Or the free clinic Ola's herb shop in Pittsburgh provides monthly. Or similar healing circles and events in Oakland. It's crucial that we keep supporting these spaces in whatever ways we can. Ola's is in danger of closing and is raising funds here.

So what's next for Queering Herbalism/ Queering Healing? Well, my health has become my primary focus for 2016 so while I'm navigating that, I'll  also be finishing editing these volumes. I'm hoping to publish them this Spring and I've already got the special editions up on my Etsy page along with new editions of Queering Herbalism and the Herbal Freedom School volumes. I thank you all for your patience and understanding.  I promise to continue putting my all into these volumes and to be a conduit for the compilation of this important healing wisdom. I'm committed to finding different mediums to share the information as well. This month I'll be at the Harriet's Apothecary Spring Edition and in June I'll be at the Philly Trans Health Conference sharing about QTPOC Healing Histories.



June 9-11, 2016


If (physically) able, I plan to make it to the west coast and to a few more places here on the east coast and even Puerto Rico again. Send me a message if you'd like me to share with your community (whether it be a community center, gathering, conference, college, or other institution) on this journey.

Healing, Justice and Joy,


Toi

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Happy Autumn!

The seasons have been flying by. I returned from Puerto Rico this spring, spent the summer in Austin and now I am unexpectedly on the East Coast. As I've been transitioning in PR, TX, and the DC/MD/VA area, so has Queering Herbalism 2. What started out as one volume and 200 pages has now become 5 volumes with a total of 505 pages. As I've struggled with health and housing and food insecurity, I've managed to keep writing and compiling slowly, but surely. Back in December my computer died, which set me back some months as I wasn't in the financial position to buy a new one. I kept at it, though and a very generous transwoman donated an old laptop to me. The ancestors have definitely been at my side saying "Keep walking."

So, as the months have gone by, I've found each section/volume getting richer and richer. Namely, the Ceremony and Ritual chapter and the Women* Healers, Healing and Resistance chapter. I was able to take a step back and really think about the perspectives being represented (or not represented)  and really "go in". In the Ceremony and Ritual chapter went in on many aspects of different ceremonies and the histories and cosmologies informing them, plants' rightful place in these ceremonies and had a little discourse on gender/sexuality and ceremony.

In the Women* healers, healing, and resistance section/volume I was able to spend more time with the questions of...who is a woman healer? what is a healer? And what stories are not being told when we speak of women* healers? This allowed me to add more articles about transwomen and their place as healers in our history and though I was not able to find what I wished I could have on gender non-conforming femme and feminine healers, I was able to write about how this perspective is largely absent in the current literature and literature of the past. You know, our history is oral and this colonized way of legitimizing written history is an issue anyway. But ,where does that leave those of us searching for our predecessors, lineages and legacies?

Well, we are definitely in a new and exciting time where we have to sit down together in living rooms and at kitchen tables and compare notes over meals about who we were and who we are becoming. The next Queering Herbalism is an encyclopedia of 5 volumes that is a window from the past into the present and future. I can't wait to share the completed versions with you. Though I'm working double shifts tirelessly at my day/night job, I am even more committed to getting this completed. Please support by pre-ordering your copies which will be in e-version for now. Also, if you have any printing hookups, please let me know. This will make the reading more accessible to those who are not able to access ebooks or read ebooks online. I'm thinking of doing some audio for some of the sections but that is a few months out, at the least.

Thank you to all who have supported Queering Herbalism 2 and to those who have pre-ordered and waited patiently for the book to come out. I know these volumes are worth the wait. You will receive a special thanks consisting of the full encyclopedia.

Healing and Justice,

AGQ

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Queering Herbalism 2




Hello and Happy Solstice!


Queering Herbalism 2 is available for Pre-order

This second volume reflects a deepening and asks you all to journey deeper into plant medicine and the wisdom of black and brown ancestors. We walk farther away from "modern western herbalism" and deepen our connection to healing practices, spirituality, and cultural and historical context, and the stories behind different traditions' relationship to plants. We also unapologetically honor women healers and our queer predecessors and trans*cestors by acknowledging and reclaiming their legacies through learning more about queer and trans* healers, queerness and healing.  And we honor the importance of healing ourselves and get a better understanding of internalized oppression and internalized trauma and learn herbs that support us with our depression, anxiety and trauma.


In this volume there are sections dedicated to:


-Understanding Health and Healing and healing history


- Understanding and partnering with plants
(plant history and biology, ancestral plant traditions, exercises/suggestions for connecting with plants, plant and tree stories)


-Traditional indigenous healing
(in West Africa and the diaspora, New Zealand and the Philippines)


-Ceremony and ritual
(4 sacred medicines, baths, temezcal, creating sacred space)


- Two-spirit healers/queer/ and trans*cestors
(pre-modern Asian and Pacific Islands, Africa, and a critique of colonialism and the western gaze)


-Women healers, healing and resistance
(history of women healers/shamans, Mexican women reclaiming indigenous ceremony for wellness and body autonomy, a profile on a partera, birthwork in the black community, and a call to indigenous women and two-spirit people to be accountable and do the work of decolonization)


-Medicine making


-Healing ourselves from historical trauma and internalized oppression
(with remedies/recipes for anxiety,depression and trauma)

This is the first edition and there are nearly 200 pages.
*Contents may vary slightly after final edit.


**PRE-ORDER today .PDF ebooks available. You must send your email address!
*limited edition printed copies. (only 25 available) Message me to purchase a printed copy. (additional shipping costs).

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Queering Herbalism 2 and Herbal Freedom School 3- Coming Soon

Just a quick note...

I've been working diligently on the content and structure for the next volumes of Queering Herbalism and Herbal Freedom School and I have to say I've been truly motivated and inspired by feedback, my new home and surroundings, and re-emerging interest in the first volume. I hope to have previews available by the first week of December and the new zines online before the new year. Luckily I've just gotten my computer back from the repair depot in awesome condition and that's no longer a barrier. If I could just get my hands on a decent printer/copy machine and ink and toner I would be in the best shape. Til then, copy shops and e-books!

Speaking of best shape...

I have so much gratitude for my friends who have shown an overwhelming amount of support through my illness by sending me wellness packages of herbs and salves and linimients, vitamins, and natural mosquito repellant. I never knew that community care could look like this. A circle of friends as your health insurance? As in, actually ensuring your health. I am so grateful and it has opened my eyes to what our communities are capable of when it comes to supporting each other's well-being, whether that is emotional, psychological, physical, or spiritual. Though many of my friends are struggling we try to find ways to be there for each other in whatever ways we can. And that's what truly matters. A phone call. A care package. An uplifting e-mail. A text to check-in. Even with a handful of friends, this goes a long, long way.

 


I can't wait for ya'll to see the new volumes. They are natural next editions, reflecting a deepening and asking you all to journey deeper into plant medicine and the wisdom of black and brown ancestors. We will be walking further away from "modern western herbalism" as there are enough texts concerning this and we will be deepening our connection to healing practices, spirituality, and cultural and historical context, and the stories behind different traditions' relationship to plants. And yes, more information about queer healers and queerness and healing.