the traveling medicine show || early Summer

"To Travel" is not a question--it is an answer.

Welcome darling friends, kin of mine, and yet to be met plantfolk alike! I invite you to put on a kettle, make yourself a cup of tea, and settle in cozy for an epic cross-country journey with La Abeja and the Traveling Medicine Show.  The first of this year's Summer travels, we set out from our home in Northern New Mexico amidst the month of May to gather wild plant medicine and to share wisdom in the woods of California with our Sisters at the Spirit Weavers Gathering.  From the misty embrace of the Gathering amongst the Redwoods, we then forged on Northward visiting our loved ones, strewn like constellations and stretching all the way to the border of Oregon and Washington.  Coming and going, we trod the dusty dirt roads of Arizona, and discovered lush flowers that the desert promises for only a short moment each Spring.   It was, as I said, an epic journey.  Our month on the Road was all things--as life and travel inevitably are.  It was hot, it was cold.  We got hopelessly lost in the unbroken stillness of mossy roads, long forgotten.  There were rainbows, and double rainbows, and laughter as well as tears in equal measure.  We cooked dinner beneath the stars and shared Elderberry Mead beside the friendly fire.  We dried wildflowers upon wildflowers and bundles of California Bay in our tent. We woke many a morn to dew covering our eyelashes. Friends were made, and love was deepened.   Lessons were learned and then learned again.  Oh, and we took So. Many. Photos.

And it is here that we have come to recount these tales for you now.
So, won't you join us?

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the highlights
the technicolor prickly pear blossoms covering the landscape,
the totally magical wild burro we met at dusk,  and getting
to meet my childhood muse, Alicia Bay Laurel

what we learned
rise with the Sun
rest during the heat of the day
and come alive once more at nightfall

our dream day
waking before sunrise to take in the symphony of sounds that exist in
the desert in the brief space of the the inhale which precedes the dawn,
meditating in the growing light of day atop a rocky crag, surrounded by silent lizards
and wizened saguaros; late morning and afternoon spent bundling juniper in the
shade or soaking up the indigo bliss of a desert swimming hole, deep and cool

the plants
we rejoiced the blooming of prickly pear, yerba santa,
saguaro, palo verde, primrose, ocotillo and manzanita
along with many other favorites growing wild

To my delight, Spring had donned her best and brightest as we made our way across New Mexico and entered Arizona. Stretches of highway miles long were covered with what appeared to be popcorn, but were in fact millions and millions of white primroses.  When we stopped to take them in, we found that they were in good company.  Above, you'll see Evening Primrose and Mariposa Lily -- two favorite medicines growing side by side in Arizona.

Visit the Apothecary to learn about the gifts and lessons
these two gentle beauties have to share.

Saguaro [Carnegiea gigantea]

Cacti hold big medicine; their flowers in particular.
But, more on that further down the road...

Saguaro [Carnegiea gigantea]

Opuntia spp.

posing with Ferocactus cylindraceus 

Alicia, In The Embrace Of an Ancient Sycamore

How special it was to spend the morning wandering the creek at Red Rock Crossing with my childhood hero, forever muse, and a woman I now feel blessed to call my friend--the gentle Spirit and visionary artist, Alicia Bay Laurel. Click here to read the interview which planted the seed of our friendship last Summer.

It felt nearly mythical to meet this woman who, through her books alone, planted such a vital and singular seed of love for the Earth in my young Heart, matured now into a blossom and preparing to scatter seeds of its own to the wind. It is my prayer that they will take root in the fertile soil of the Hearts of all those I met along this journey and most especially in the lives of the Sisters I was so blessed to share with at the Spirit Weavers Gathering. 

Sophia Rose + Alicia Bay Laurel 

[ Cercidium microphyllum ]
Palo Verde, above, produces what has got to be one of the
sweetest tasting flowers in the desert, or anywhere else for that matter.

a feral donkey browsing at dusk

rise with the Sun
Opuntia spp.

The Flower Essence of Prickly Pear [Opuntia spp.] provides nourishment to the deepest parts of the Self and allows one to find sustenance in places where it once seemed absent. It offers support for those who wish to release habits of eating which do not truly feed them. Prickly Pear is a useful remedy for collectors--of things, people, accomplishments; for anyone who always desires that which is just beyond reach rather than enjoying the abundance which they already possess. This essence reconnects one with softness, receptivity, and the a gentle awareness of the delicate dance that is Life.

Visit the Apothecary for a Prickly Pear Essence of your own.

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the highlights
there were far too many to pick from!
the entire Spirit Weavers Gathering, however, definitely ranks as a
peak experience not just for this trip but for my entire life, thus far.

what I learned
that there is a totally phenomenal community of women and friends
on the West Coast.  that the diversity of ecosystems and plant medicine found in 
California, is enough to keep me enchanted and learning many lifetimes over. 
and just as fertile as the land, is the creative spark I sense within the hearts and homes
of many of the folks I was fortunate enough to connect with.  so, if you know of
the perfect home for us in West Marin, we're looking....

our dream day
gathering elderflower, mimulus, and bay in Lucas Valley
stopping at late morning garage sales in San Rafael; tasting ALL the peaches
and strawberries at the farmer's market; meeting up with friends to share stories
over an early evening picnic of cold wine, freshly picked blackberries, wild greens,
grilled salmon, and soft boiled hen eggs

the plants
elderflowers, mimulus, yarrow, redwoodcalifornia poppy, usnea, bay
magnolia, horsetail, and blackberry leaf all found their way into tea,
our tent, and made their way home with us in one form or another

photo by Britney Gill

[ T H E    S P I R I T    W E A V E R S   G A T H E R I N G ]

I was invited to teach at last year's Spirit Weavers Gathering in Joshua Tree, CA.  I spent months and weeks dreaming of the classes I would offer, gathering herbs to share, fixing up my little caravan to bring along.  And the time to travel West came.  And my car broke down. Twice.

This year, however, luck was on my side and arrived without so much as a flat tire. There is no way I could have anticipated the experience that awaited me beneath the canopy of those wise and elder Redwoods.  Spending six days and five nights in the forest with five hundred wise and wild women, defies description.  And despite the urge to shout from the rooftops about how wondrous this Gathering is, I have vowed not to tell a single woman that they "should" go.  Just as all potent medicine calls clearly to those who need it most, if this is an experience, a ceremony, an invitation that truly calls to you, you will be there.  You will be there whether or not a single word is spoken of it to you.  And I hope you will be...

The Traveling Medicine Show

photo by Britney Gill

A Glimpse Into The Sacred Moontime Rituals Sharing Circle

Down by the creek with Kelci and her daughter, Sparrow

Wearing the Antique Serape Coat from Kelci's beautiful selection of vintage

The Redwood grove where I shared
classes during the gathering, including // 

The Full Moon Tea we sipped during the Sacred Moontime Rituals Sharing Circle
photo by Britney Gill

photo by Britney Gill

Kelci and Salihah

To the Women I shared space with during this sacred time--thank you Sisters. Thank you from the bottom of my Heart. Thank you for the love, for the beauty, the generosity.  Thank you for your unwavering presence. Thank you for the laughter, for the tears, and most of all for showing up fully as your real, messy, perfectly imperfect selves.  I am are forever changed and blessed by this experience we shared and look forward to continuing to deepen with each of you in the months and years to come.  A deep bow to every one of you and a prayer of foggy thanks to the Forest who held us so sweetly through it all.

photo by the inimitable Kacie Tomita

I could never find words which would fully express the magic of the week spent in the Redwoods with our Sisters at the Spirit Weavers Gathering. However, this beautiful video by Leslie Satterfield hints at the smell of the forest, intimates the way the sunlight played upon us through the boughs of the ancient Standing People and points toward the felt sensation of the experience. It is a glimpse and I hope you enjoy it.

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[ N O R T H E R N   C A L I F O R N I A ]

 images out of order

Golden Gate Bridge and Sticky Monkey Flower [Mimulus aurantiacus]

Redwood Medicine
After being held in the gentle embrace of the ancient Redwoods throughout the Spirit Weavers Gathering, I spent a sun dappled afternoon in the shade of their canopy making a new batch of one of our favorite medicines, the Redwood Elixir.  

Redwood connects us with the timelessness of Life on Earth. It re-sets our inner clock to the ancient rhythm of the forest & the trees. "Old As Time, Old As Time," is the refrain heard in the gentle rustle of Redwood boughs. The medicine of this tree has a profound ability to heal long-held and inherited grief, particularly as it relates to loss of home, loss of place, loss of way of life. It is a valuable remedy for connecting with one's own ancestral roots as well as finding communion and harmony with the Spirits of the Land where one lives. The greatest gift offered by the Redwood is sense of ancient support, one which exists beyond time or space. It's effect is at once grounding and enlivening, making it a choice companion for meditation and tasks that require both careful focus and relaxed attention.

Visit the Apothecary for a Redwood Elixir of your own

Our Lady Artemisia

Mount Shasta

Protea cynaroides

 Magnolia, currently infusing in honey

Magnolia blossoms are seductive.  And equally so across species lines.  Attracting pollinators ranging from bees to beetles, these regal blossoms are the stuff of epic poetry. So, it is not surprising that the medicine of this magnificent flower has an immediate and noticeable effect on both the pericardium and the precious organ which it eternally embraces, the Heart.  Reminiscent of orange blossoms, the heady perfume of Magnolias and its attendant aromatic compounds induce an immediate and mind-bending broadened sense of sensuality.  The fragrance of the flowers and the aphrodisiac effect which follows closely behind is reported to be most intense by Moonlight.  In addition to their more *exciting* actions, the blossoms are moistening, relaxant, and possess a neutral energetic -- they are neither particularly hot nor cold.  Petals steeped in honey and taken by the spoonful act as a respiratory sedative, deepening the breath and increasing the capacity of the lungs.  This same honeyed preparation acts as a cerebral circulatory stimulant and would likely pair well with rosemary as a bio-regional remedy to allay headaches and the like.  As with all things, this increased circulation is multidimensional and seems also to incite a subtle psychic opening.  It is a plant worth exploring as a dream ally and psychic aid.  The flower essence is one which helps to reveal the "higher path" that can be taken in any one moment and provides a profound aura of spiritual protection to those with weakened emotional or psychic defenses.

Harbin Hot Springs

The Yuba River

Amongst The Usnea + Oaks

Whiskey Town Lake

Traipsing Through The Dunes With Sylvia of Wild Talewort
as she tracks some mysterious creature, gone before.

.   .   .

Keep an eye out this Autumn for some collaborative Moon Medicine
Wild Irises

Abbott's Lagoon

Velella velella

Len at Nick's Cove

California, I love you. 

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[S O M E S    B A R]

Somes Bar is a speck on the map, located somewhere within the vast Klamath Wilderness. Len spent last Summer here, building a traditional timber-frame home with two of his friends.  I spent last Summer here, crying in our tent while listening to Joanna Newsom on my iPhone, reading Women Who Run With The Wolves, harvesting Usnea and fat blackberries, and swimming in the creek for hours at a time  We returned to visit those friends, this place, that creek.  It is wild there, and very beautiful.

dress by my new friend Tysa, of Tysa Designs

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the highlights

soaking in wild hot springs water in a claw foot tub in the woods
beside my best friend of eleven years on the full moon + visiting another
one of my nearest and dearest as she neared nine months of pregnancy

what I learned
look for dead or decaying trees in the canopy above you before setting up your tent!
one night we were awoken by a thundering crack from above. certain that great a branch
or entire trunk was about to descend upon us, my sweetheart valiantly positioned himself
above me in a gesture of protection.  thank heavens, the tree did NOT fall on us.
but it did wake everyone on the property and, long story short, we crawled into 
bed with my dear friend Hannah, happy for the safety of a roof over our heads.

our dream day
waking slow to the sound of leaves overhead,
the soft light of morning. sitting silent and solitary, creekside; 
watching the current of life as it moves trickling past.
then a hot cup of tea, cozied up on a sheepskin with my sleepy friend,
breakfast on the deck as the sun makes its way through the clouds;
an entire day spent gathering wild roses, poppies, cornflower, doug fir tips. 
Soaking in the hot healing waters in the last light of day
before building a fire to sleep beside amongst the trees.

the local plants
violet, cornflower, elder, california poppy, trillium, plantain,
solomon's plume, and oxalis each sang to us of their medicine stories.
our next trip to Oregon will have to very intentionally include a good
long visit to the lair of our longtime ally, Devil's Club.

[H O O D   R I V E R]

Multnomah Falls



gathering California Poppies
Hannah, radiant beside the Roses

M I L K   t e a

[formulated for Hannah and appropriate for all nursing Mammas]

made with // wild hops, rose petals, fenugreek seeds, lavender,
marshmallow root, chamomile, and raspberry leaf

Gathering Wild Roses

The Rose is one of the most ancient botanical medicines known to humans. Used for everything from menstrual complaints to liver congestion, this flower inspires not only poetry + romance but superior health! Above all else, its blossom aids us in recalling the sweetness of life. Rose is Queen of the flowers--unabashed in her beauty + uniqueness. However, it is the powerful protection provided by the thorns of the plant that allow for this expression of fullness without fear or apology. Rose Petal Elixir helps one to embody this same courage and to live as the most sincere + vulnerable version of themselves, trusting that they are always protected.

Visit the Apothecary for a Rose Petal Elixir of your own.

What an honor and delight it is to call this Woman my friend and to visit her in her Nest as she prepares to welcome new life into the world. It was such a treat to photograph her, as her most radiant, mamma-to-be self in a forested field near her Home of twenty years. I love you Hannah I cannot wait to meet and welcome you Saylor Hawk.

[B R E I T E N B U S H]

This was not the road to Breitenbush Hot Springs, despite the insistence of Google Maps.

The Breitenbush River provides all of the [hydro]electricity
to sustain both the hot springs resort as well as the community!

Full Moon Soak

Garth and Len, reunited

[K L A M A T H    L A K E]

This sumptuous harvest of wild rose petals will be coming with us to El Cosmico's Trans-Pecos Music Festival as a part of our first ever Honey Flight. In their sweetest possible form, nonetheless, alongside Magnolia Honey, Redwood Honey, and a handful of other divine nectars gathered along our travels.

Click here for details about the upcoming Honey Flight

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 part two

ok, this Joshua tree was technically in California -- but, it was almost in Arizona 

Len, gathering Ocotillo [Fouquieria splendens]

Len Processing Ocotillo In The Field // Fouquieria splendens 

Processing the Ocotillo Harvest [Fouquieria splendens]

Saguaro [Carnegiea gigantea

The sturdy, fragrant blossoms of the towering and ancient Saguaro Cactus [Carnegiea gigantea] help to heal the relationship with the Father--one's birth Father, the Father within each of us, and the divine masculine forces of the Universe. This is a plant which commands great respect through its presence alone, and which teaches humans to walk with a similar dignity, holding all that is within them as truly precious. This essence is of great use for anyone who seeks containment or fathering through lovers, friends, or partners. It empowers us instead to see how to best support and nourish ourselves from within, take steps to meet our own needs, and to claim full responsibility for the one life that is ours to live. As my own father would say, “You've got to paddle your own canoe,” and Saguaro helps us in doing just that.

Visit the Apothecary to order a Saguaro Essence of your own.

A Saguaro Flower

Len Harvesting Agave

And so, after a month on the road, we began the bittersweet journey back to our high desert home on the Taos Mesa. California and Oregon showed me many new terrains within the landscape of my inner world. There was talk of moving and talk of moving on. Life is so precious, so fragile, and there is still so so much yet to come. A deep bow of gratitude and many warm and salty tears of thanks to all of the Beloved friends who opened their Homes and their Hearts to us in these last weeks. We love you dearly.


  1. Oh my goodness, you are beyond blessed. I can only hope that someday I will get to make a similar trek.


  2. There were many moments filled with that feeling on this trip. Thanks for saying hello! Your blog is already inspiring to me at first glance and I can't wait to explore more of your work! I too hope you make your way on a journey that leaves you feeling filled.

  3. This trip looks amazing! We just came back from Colorado and northern NM- We are looking to move out that way. Can't wait to get back!!! Thanks for sharing your wild adventures!!!
    Shine on!