You don’t do the kind of work I do without get banged up at times, so this blog is something of an homage to traditional ways of healing.
Grandmother’s knowledge of these traditional ways is encyclopedic – name a medicinal herb or plant property and she can tell you whatever you want to know and lead you into the woods, plains, or mountains to show you where it can be found and the correct manner in which to harvest it.
You don’t just uproot a plant or start indiscriminately whacking away, there’s a way to go about these things, a protocol involved that’s long on respect and appreciation with an eye to the future….. conservation.
Grandmother has a knife that belonged to her grandfather, it’s her favorite tool I’ve come to believe.
Good in the kitchen, good for cutting most things with the exception of sewing material as there are scissors available, and good for the harvesting of plants and herbs – keeps it razor sharp as well.
When honing it I once offered to do it for her, she assured me she was grateful and I was “skilled” at such things but something she preferred to do, and so she does, leaving all other sharp instruments to grandfather or me.
I don’t blame her either as this knife is very personal to her – unlike other ethnicities a person grandmothers age has few if any “inherited” items from their grandparents.
She told me once when she hones it she thinks of her grandfather, the man he was, and the way our people lived then, that she can still see him going about it, the care and attention he invested.
For us that has been pretty much the way of it, memories and stories told, no photo albums to go through, keepsakes, or old letters to read again.
Grandmother’s knowledge of the medicine ways didn’t come from a book or a website, and she’s not selling any licenses like Crow Dog, they weren’t transcribed as lessons to study – they were imparted verbally and demonstrated hands on, she spent more time in the “classroom” that any doctor or nurse have ever been required to, and she’s passing that on to her daughters.
So, when it’s a strained muscle, a nick, cut, or bruise and grandmother says drink this or applies a salve or balm she’s made nobody asks “what’s this” or “does it taste bad”, she’s probably going to volunteer that information anyway, doesn’t matter whether she does or not though as it works.
Grandmother’s big on maintaining a balance, saying all things have a connectivity and if that balance isn’t observed problems arise.
This balance translates to harmony and mutual respect in the home, to eating in a good way, being active, having responsibilities and attending to them, personal hygiene in thought and body.
Introducing nothing like alcohol or drugs into the body it cannot handle and will disrupt the bodies balance.
To always be united as a family, to demonstrate that so no doubt arises in others and to remember it isn’t about me but us – us as a family and us as a people.
Healing properties exist in these things just as they do in herbs, plants, and ceremonies – that’s why it’s important to protect and nourish them.