Monday, November 28, 2016

Join the Herbal Freedom School Fall Session


Hello folks!

Herbal Freedom School Fall Session will be offered again from November 29th- December 29th.
There's no application necessary for this session and it's self-paced through the last week of December with on-going enrollment.

Were you in the program for the very first Summer Session? You're invited to continue deepening on your liberatory medicine journey by taking the Fall Session for 50% off. Those who've been in the program before will see more exercises, new readings, and a few new videos.
Email herbalfreedomschool@gmail.com for details.

Interested in one of the limited partial scholarships available? Email for info.
Register by 11/30 and get $15 off. Email for code.
Register soon, there are only 15 seats available.

Register here:
https://coursecraft.net/courses/z9QXJ

Friday, October 28, 2016

A Note on learning at the Herbal Freedom School

People from so many different backgrounds and awareness of healing knowledge come to the Herbal Freedom School and it can be a challenge to provide a space that engages everyone and has material that resonates with every single person 100% of the time. In fact, it's not possible. I stressed a lot about this in the Summer Session. I wanted this space to be everything for everyone all the time! After all, people paid to have this! I quickly found out how implausible (or maybe just misguided) this kind of thinking was. In a conversation with a fellow queer brown person and educator doing healing work I reflected on the School of Liberation Healing and Medicine (née School of Liberatory Medicine- lulz) and the Herbal Freedom School and what exactly it is we're trying to do here. Largely, because my friend brought up that some students were lamenting over the fact that there wasn't more medicine making.

At the Herbal Freedom School people are on a journey and there's a specific process or path. People really have to come to terms with the first few lessons before we get to the medicine making. I know many are always so keen to just begin making medicine and work with the physiological healing aspects but there's so much to unpack and unlearn- especially the ways we relate to our medicine, the energy we unconsciously put into our medicine, and our disconnect from our ancestral healing histories, medicine, knowledge and ways of being. But, people are so quick to want to know how to make a tincture or a salve, etc. I get it. They want something practical for right now. Though, that's not what the School of Liberation Healing and Medicine is about. Medicine making is a part later in our 12 week journey. (Or 6-week if you join during the 2nd part of the session.) Though you'll find aspects of it interweaved throughout because from the beginning we are partnering with plants by sitting and dreaming with them. There are many workshops out there with amazing folks and many books as well where folks can learn how to make oils, tinctures, salves and remedies. People have plenty of access to that information - and many times for free.

In the Herbal Freedom School we set a foundation defining terms like liberation, health and healing and liberatory medicine for ourselves and we sit with what anti-racist, decolonial healing looks like. We discuss the impact of colonization on our healing histories and medicine and these are the first steps in the journey of connecting back to our ancestors and our own medicine. Then we are able to move on to achieving a more in depth understanding of medicine and how the ceremony and rituals and spirituality of our ancestors is inseparable from the terms "medicine" and "healing". In the final part of our journey we are ready to strategize about our healing which brings us full circle to the first lesson in which participants are asked what they need to feel liberated, what they need to release in their lives and to begin healing.

It's understandable that different parts of the journey speak more loudly to different folks. We are all at different places on our path. The point is- in the Herbal Freedom School program there is a method and the journey that we take is not linear. It may seem so on the surface, but folks can quickly determine for themselves that it's not.

Folks can take this program over and over and it can be different every time because they are peeling back layer after layer and different parts resonate and they connect differently with the material each time. Also, the material is influenced and shaped by those in the program- the interactions and conversation in the discussion boards and the live online class sessions.
I tell folks in the beginning- this program is what you make of it. You can go really deep with it or you can go with the motions and put little effort in, only doing the minimal. While I'm somewhat a guide on the journey, I don't hold your hand or smack it with a ruler like some belligerent teacher if you don't "do the work." Only you can be the captain on the journey. It's your choice to connect or not and there's no shaming or guilt around what you are able to do. Rest assured- something will resonate if you come into the program with an openness, few expectations, and the will to connect with the medicine of our legacies.

The Winter Session will begin January 13th and we're taking applications through November 15th to be in the program. Once accepted enroll by November 28th. Now, this is Part 2 of the program and you can join in January even if you haven't been part of the Fall Session (Part 1). This is an experiment so we'll see how this goes. (See above discussion for why!)

You can enroll for Part 1 after November 21st and you'll have access to the material such as video and audio, readings, etc. but there won't be any live components or feedback on your reflections. It'll be self-paced and the online material will only be available through 12/26/16.
Apply and enroll early folks because there are a very limited number of seats.

Apply Here for Winter Session 2017: https://goo.gl/forms/9HMcdLAkmyhE9qoX2




Sunday, September 11, 2016

Support the Herbal Freedom School Program

     Support the Herbal Freedom School Program

Help co-create an anti-racist, decolonial space where we can share our histories and ancestral knowledge while centering indigenous, black, brown, queer, two-spirit, trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming communities.



Contribute monthly and you'll
help us to create:

- More video (class videos, interviews, and vlogs)
- Podcasts
- Live and pre-recorded knowledge shares  
- Programming on a more navigable platform
- Zines using material discussed in the program

In return, you'll get access to:

- Private posts about what's happening behind the scenes and upcoming knowledge shares,
- Video clips of interviews and exercises from the program
- Monthly e-zines 
- Access to the zine and video library and

- Seats in the Herbal Freedom School program


Find out more about the School:



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