Tuesday, October 21, 2014

5 questions with Portland Apothecary


My dear friends at Portland Apothecary invited me to answer their 5 questions! You can read this sweet interview here or below! 

Portland Apothecary is a beautiful herbalist project that offers Community Supported Herbalism Shares four times a year, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter: delivered on the Solstice and Equinox. One half of Portland Apothecary is my friend Kristen, who is a magical, amazing, creative, brilliant herbalist, acupuncturist, gardener, plant nerd, and creator of beauty. Everything she does inspires me!


5 Questions with Dori Midnight & Portland Apothecary




I have the chills after this interview with Dori Midnight, one of my favorite wild-hearted healers! She is an inspiration, with such dedication to the health of our communities on every level. Many thanks to Dori for her work and presence in healing, activism and friendship. To find out more about Dori's work please do explore her offerings - including intuitive counselingcharmed honeyrituals/ceremony and many classes & events. You East Coast folks are lucky! This interview is part of our ongoing 5 Questions interview series where we explore plants, art and healing. *Photo credit to Charlie Curtis. 

1.  What motivates you to do the work that you do?

I am motivated by love! I come to this work by my heart, which is open to, in love with, and sometimes broken by this world. I am moved by all the people I work with, this magnificent earth, the wise plants and stones and animals, and people’s struggles and capacity to heal, and I just want to be in service to what I love.

And of course, like so many of us who hold space for other people’s healing, I also come to this work from my own healing journey, which I’m obviously still on!



2. Do you use plants in your work and if so, how?

I have a teacher who might say the plants use her, which I can relate to! I sometimes feel like I’m doing a dance piece or art project collaboration with plants. (I often romanticize about the lives of my dancer friends; like it must be so amazing to not have to use anything other than your body and other people’s bodies to work!) So I suppose I’ve brought this fantasy to life in my work and often work with the plants through my own body, my hands and breath. Though I’m trained as a clinical herbalist, and many times I’ll send someone home with a bag of dried herbs for tea, or make up a tincture, more often I am working with the plants in a more subtle way. Some people might say I work with plants spiritually or energetically- I like those words too-  I like to say I’m collaborating with the plants.

I send people home with little bundles for them to burn or dream with or throw in their baths. I also burn a lot of plants- mugwort, juniper, cedar, sage - for clearing and protection and movement. But most of all, I make and work with essences and use them for hands on healing.

Essences are both gentle and powerful, working in invisible and mysterious ways. I love them because they are low-impact on the land- like you don’t even need to pick the plant to gather the healing properties- and are so affordable and accessible. And I love teaching people how to make their own, which is such good, deep medicine!



3. Is there a certain piece of advice you find yourself giving to your clients often? If so, what is it?

Lately I’ve been leading a lot of guided meditations to meet one’s elder self. So you imagine you are sitting with yourself at 75, 80, maybe 90 years old and you feel their weathered old hand on your back, or in your own hand, lending that kind of sweet, ancient support that some grandmas and grandpas give us. It’s so powerful to connect with that part of ourselves, especially because it evokes a kind of gentleness and compassion (and sometimes fierceness) that is often hard to cultivate for ourselves. If someone wants advice, I encourage them to ask this elder self. Our 85 year old selves give really good advice, like “break up with that good for nothing!” or “quit your job, girl!” or simply, “it’s going to be okay, honey.”




4. What do you turn towards for inspiration? If you include books, artists, other makers, music, etc can you include some links?

I am really inspired by social justice movements and indigenous resistance, people who are reclaiming and sharing ancestral and folk healing traditions, the healing justice work of people like the Kindred collective (http://kindredhealingjustice.org/) in the south, community healing spaces at places like the AMC and community healing clinics (http://farmacyherbs.com/ and http://thirdroot.org/), mutual aid and disability justice movements, and so many other artists, change makers, farmers, dreamers and healers!

I often turn to my dreams for inspiration or clarity, or ask for guidance from my ancestors of blood and spirit, and I also look to the lives of my fierce and wild elders like Juliette de Bairacli Levyhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBY76schtNU and Miss Major Griffin Gracyhttp://www.missmajorfilm.com/.

My teacher/mentor/spirit mother is someone I have been working with since I was 22. Cybelehttp://www.cybeleswell.com/ mentored me in intuitive healing practices and stone medicine- she is a beautiful example of someone who brings an artist/poet’s sensibility to the healing arts, like my dear friend Kristen of Portland Apothecary, who is also a total inspiration!

5. Please include 1 instructional for a quick project someone reading this could incorporate into their own lives.

MAKE A FLOWER ESSENCE!

What you need:
A bowl or vessel (something pretty, preferably)
Spring water (or the water from your tap that you are grateful for)
Flowers
A jar
A small dropper bottle
Brandy
An open heart

Choose a flower, or rather, let a flower choose you, that seems to be growing abundantly and is calling your name. This could be a plant that you’ve always loved, a plant that visits you in a dream, or a plant that grows right outside your door the day you decide to make an essence. I particularly like making essences on new moons, full moons, or eclipses.

Fill your bowl with water.

Ask for permission: extend gratitude and ask if you can make an essence of this plant. If so, you can pick a couple of flowers and place them in your bowl. Place the bowl in the sunlight or moonlight near the plant or in a special spot for a few hours (or as long as you feel is right) and have a seat.

Notice everything: where this plant grows, what plants it is growing near, the color, shape, smell, and the pollinators who love it. Take note of any words, images, memories, or sensations that arise while you are sitting with this plant. Even if it’s unpleasant, this is good information about what this essence might be for!

When it’s done (approx 3 hours), gently remove the flowers with a stick. The water in this bowl is calledPotentized Water. Fill your jar halfway with brandy and then fill the rest of it with the Potentized Water. This jar now contains your Mother Essence. Label it with the name of the flower and the date.

Pour what is left of the Potentized Water on the ground near the plant with gratitude and/or take a small sip and share the magic water with friends.

To make a stock bottle, fill a dropper bottle with 70% water, 30% brandy and place 3 drops of the Mother Essence into the bottle. Label it!
To take your essence, you can place 3-13 drops under your tongue, in your tea or water bottle, or in your bathwater to help support your healing and bring more magic into your life!


Dori Midnight is a community healer, herbalist, and educator, weaving traditional healing practices and social justice in her work.  Drawing on her training as a clinical herbalist and interfaith minister, as well as her heritage of Roma, Ashkenazi, and First Nations (Cherokee and Shawnee) ancestry, Dori's work is grounded in self-determinism, collective liberation, and the belief that healing ourselves is inseparable from healing our communities and the planet. Dori lives in Western Massachusetts, where she maintains a local and distance healing practice and teaches magic and community healing.




Thursday, May 29, 2014

MAY new moon : queer ancestors, flower magic, bees, + chickens


It's a gorgeously bright and sparkling day and all the bees are talking about it. The new moon brought rain - both outside and in. The spring is such a good time to cry, to drink more water, and to get rained on to wash away the winter stuckness and what wants to grow.

Some exciting things are growing here!
 A flower essence workshop in July in which we'll play in the garden and make essences, Queer Ancestral healing with myself and Atava Garcia Sweicicki from Oakland in August, and beginning in the fall, I'll be offering a 6 month intuitive arts immersion, dates tbd. Details below.

With all these weird and wild astrological rides and what felt like an intense transition from a deep, arctic winter to this fancy gift of spring, I've been collecting magics of time and space and flowers and stones in bowls and brewing up a new elixir for transition magic. Between the Worlds is still in the pot, but should be ready for imbibing in late summer and is good support for big change & transitions, saturn returns, and gender magic.
 
and finally, there are some new additions to the family this spring:
 I'm in love. 

Wishing you all a beautiful late spring and sending quenching rains and golden sunshine to your new moon seeds.
with lots of love from the Witch Barn,
Dori

SUMMER OFFERINGS

the magic and medicine of flowers
a workshop on flower essences
Sunday, July 27 10am- 3pm
$36- $54 sliding scale
Witch Barn in Amherst, MA

Come learn about making and using flower essences for personal and community healing. Flower essences are affordable, accessible, low-impact remedies that are both deeply powerful and infinitely gentle. We'll make one or two essences for you to take home and talk about some favorites!

Queer Ancestral Healing 
a four day intensive
with Dori Midnight and Atava Garcia Sweicicki

August 21-24 (Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon)
 The Witch Barn in Amherst, MA
We are thrilled and honored to announce this special workshop on queer ancestral healing and remembrance. We’ll be gathering at the Witch Barn in Western Massachusetts for a four day intensive of profound and magical healing in community.

• Group and individual practices to connect to our ancestors both of blood and spirit
• Ritual and ceremonies for healing
• Dream work
• Healing with plant and stone allies
• Connecting to the elements of nature for healing and connection


Cost: $500-$425 sliding scale (does not include lodging)
To Register: Contact ancestralapothecary@gmail.com  or dori@dorilandia.com for a class application. 2 Work/trade and 1-2 scholarships will be available based on enrollment.






Friday, February 14, 2014

Back to the Future

Last fall, when my parents were moving, I went out to L.A. and retrieved boxes of letters, old clothes, and a ton of weird junk I was still keeping in the closet there, including my "nature collection" which is what I called the one million tons of rocks, old branches, dried mosses and lichen and things rotten beyond the point of recognition. I also found a giant folder of my childhood and teenage writing, mostly written by hand or on my dad's electric typewriter- remember when we didn't have computers?

Among these pages of poems about dripping candles and mortality, treatises of feminist rage, and a story about what basically seems like a magical lesbian island where everyone wears roller skates, I found a draft of a "fake journal entry" I had submitted to a contest in 1990, when I was 14 years old. The assignment was to imagine you had found a page of your diary or a letter written from 2015, which by the way, is next year even though it still sounds like futuristic space alien time to me.

I did not win this contest, perhaps because, as you will soon see, my vision of the future is terribly bleak and it probably freaked the editors out so much and maybe is one of the reasons I was referred to talk to the school therapist who actually turned out to be an awesome lady named Leni Wildflower who let me beat up her couch with a tennis racket. Anyway, my entry was pretty intense and so wild to read 24 years later. I'm so curious about how other 13 year olds envisioned the future then! I certainly did not have high hopes and also, whoa, was I onto something about the future water and oil crisis! How scared I must have been at this time to write something so desolate. It makes me think about kids coming up in this time, when climate change is even more of a reality, and how I can support them. On this full moon, I'm holding the uncertain predicament of our planet and thinking about how vulnerable it is to be alive.
Here it is in all it's glory...an imagined diary entry from the future written by me at the tender age of 13 or 14.

With love,
Dori

April 8, 2015

Dear Diary, 

I can't believe I have been keeping a journal since the 7th grade! So much has changed. I used to actually write in my journals with a pen on paper, and now I speak into a microphone I wear around my head and it prints out on a screen. A carpool driver used to take me to school, but now we travel through air-tight tunnels. Oh, that's right, we used to be able to breathe the air then. Now we just look at it outside the bubble of our Vitoppidum- that is latin for LifeTown. Each Vit- that's what we call them- is a little see-through bubble with tubes connecting the other Vits. We live in a smaller one, near where Malibu used to be. Malibu was a beach when I grew up, but they closed it because the pollution was so bad. The only water my children know is the one bottle we get each week. That's all we get for drinking and cooking. Instead of taking showers, we clean ourselves with a method kind of like dry cleaning with a powder made from ground up seashells and we brush our teeth with that too. 

I haven't seen a plant, well a real one, since I was 17, in 1994, when I graduated from high school. That was our cut off date. See, the Vits were built not only because the smog and pollution was so bad, but because there were hardly any trees left to create oxygen. All of the trees were burnt down in wars. Now, there aren't wars like before because there aren't planes or things to make bombs with. 

There's a "park" about 10 minutes walk away from here. I take the kids there once a week, but it's not the same. There are no more birds- all the animals have been killed off, except for dogs and cats, who survived because at first they were being used for experiments for testing air quality and cosmetics, so there are all the descendants of the survivors. We have one dog and two cats and I love them so much. 

The government is made of regular people who get together in a circle and ask the needs of everyone. No one is homeless. There isn't a very great difference in class between people because there's not much to own. There aren't any prisons. There are no wars. Finally they realized there was nothing to fight over, and the state of the environment was so dire that they couldn't waste their time on wars. But by then, it was too late, so we had to start working on making new ways of living. 

My dream of becoming a marine biologist couldn't come true because the animals in the oceans are all dead. I became a doctor, but I use my mind and hands to help people rather than drugs. We found new ways to cure AIDS and cancer, and because people are living better in some ways, people are healthier. People still get colds though! 

Kids still go to school, but they learn real things, like how to make bowls, start fires, and tell stories. In my daughter's history class, they are learning about the Desert Storm War in 1990. That was when we began converting to electric cars and trolleys because there wasn't very much gasoline left. That cut down on the pollution a little. Our waste goes through a hole in the Vit, but I don't know what happens to it after that. Maybe the same thing they used to do- just put it in the ground and bury it or throw it in the ocean. 

Even though things are different, I try to stay positive. I'm glad to be alive and try to enjoy little things, my work, helping heal people, and making a difference in the world. 

Well, I need to charge my journal, so I'll sign off for now. 

Love,
Dori


full moon 
snow day

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Witches, Bitches, and Hos near you


Wondering where you can find some Boundaries in a Bottle? Looking for some deep support for your witchy, bitchy, and ho-y friends?

Support these witches!

Lis Goldschmidt's Five Pins Project in San Francisco. 

Lis is an acupuncturist and an artist. She brings an artistic sensibility to healing and a healer's hand and heart to art making, which basically means she's a witch. So visit her, get a treatment in her beautiful space (which is healing in itself), and while you're there, check out all the magical goods she has in stock, including my wee bottles full of stone and flower essences.


Homestead Apothecary in Oakland.

Flowers in jars, dream pillows, grounded herbal wisdom, and more dispensed in this magical shop recently opened by my friend Nic Weinstein in Oakland. Visit for an affordable herbal consult with Atava Garcia Sweicicki or Kara Sigler, take an amazing workshop, and find some good healing stuff here.

Otherwild in Los Angeles.
It is a little known fact that this little witch was raised in Los Angeles. Good and magical things happen in that bright, pink, oceany, weird land, including Otherwild, a sanctuary of things hanging from the ceiling, ceramics, art, jewels, pretty things, gay things, fancy things, clothing things. I saw this shop in my mind before it existed because I know the brilliant artists who made it happen Marisa Suarez- Orozco and Rachel Berks and I hoped it would take form on this plane. It has! So find your way to this magical shop if you find yourself in L.A.




With love,
Dori