Living with an apprenticing herbalist is the most magical experience. I’ve been privileged to live with Arifa Awadallah from May through November of 2020. During that time I’d been gifted with the magic of her medicine and of being able to be witness the medicines being born.
Medicine making is a long, slow process with many steps, none of which can be rushed. The process begins in the mind. There’s so much training and study that goes into understanding the names, identities, applications, origins, and cultural significance of every part of the plants that are used. Within that a single part of a plant can have multiple uses and applications depending on when it is harvested, how it is processed, how much of it is used, how long the plant was growing before it was harvested, and all manner of other things. Becoming a medicine maker is a lifelong commitment to learning and maintaining these practices: growing, harvesting, storing, extracting, labeling, teaching, distributing.
My experience of living with someone who is a medicine maker was this: I would notice out loud that I had a headache or was anxious or my sleep was disturbed or whatever. If Arifa was around she would then say, “take some X. It will help with that.” Or she would just show up at my bedside with a bottle of something, an infusion or a warm cup of tea. She would lovingly administer it to me or leave me with the instructions and then float away.
In this way I began to begin to understand what plant partners can help me in which ways and when. I now have a little collection of tinctures and salves, a personalized traveling apothecary. All of these are things that Arifa lovingly made that support my most common physical and emotional ache and pains.
I am not the only one who can say that Arifa regularly mails kits out to folks. She is using the knowledge and skills to resources our communities she does sell things on etsy at Arifa Creates. I’ve lived with her though and I can tell you two things:
1)the prices that she sells them for are nowhere near the value of the labor that goes into the medicine. Plus you can not put a price on the love, care and intention that goes into it.
2)She gives away way more than she sells. This is not about the money. This is not about her not knowing the value of her work. This is her commitment to our liberation.
I am inviting you to support my communities by sending some money her way. Arifa launched her patreon today at https://www.patreon.com/ARIFACREATES. You can become a sustaining donor.
You can also send a one time love offering to