Archive for August, 2012

Never Act Your Age! by Rhiannon

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Rhiannon's Happy 12th Birthday

Never Act Your Age!

by Rhiannon Hardin

I had a fantabulous 12th birthday this year!

One of my favorite recipes (in a cookbook Mama Loba let’s me borrow) is called Cloud cake.  It has no flour so I don’t have to worry about the gluten problem. I made a double batch, and layered the cake… very fun!  In a much loved Redwall book entitled Pearls of Lutra there are six rosy pearls, so I made six marzipan balls covered in rose petals and stuck them on the top. I put 12 cherries in each layer, adding 4 cherries as bonus around the cake. It was pretty fancy, and I was very proud of myself for pretty much making it all on my own. My friend Cassandra was here and was quite helpful with the cake. She had a very good time. ☺ We danced, played, sang, cooked, and altogether had a wonderful time!

Rhiannon & Cassandra in ageless playland

It seems very sad to me that so many people act only the way that they’re expected to at a certain age. An old man is expected to act like an old man, to be grouchy and do nothing but sit around complaining with his friends. A 14 year old is often expected to act snooty and slump around, a 6 year old girl expected to like pink and purple and play with dolls. We needn’t act according to people’s silly stereotypes, we should be us, be fully ourselves and like whatever we happen to like!

I still like to play with dolls and pretend friends.... so what?

For example, me: I’m 12 years old, and 12 year old girls are expected to be obsessing with boys, to have abandoned dolls and pretend friends, to “hang out” with their friends and such and such. However, the things I like often have little to do with how old I am. I still love playing with dolls and making up complex stories to go with playing with them. I like purple, cleaning my room, decorating, Russian history. I love horses like other girls my age, but I am truly myself, not liking things based on how old I am. I think that if anyone has an interest that doesn’t fit in with how old they are, they should still nourish that interest.

Cassandra has learned to have fun while she's helpful

I am very excited! I have a wonderful new room that our much appreciated WOOFer volunteers have help build  with Danny’s guidance. It is a beautiful room and I spend lots of time playing with dolls ☺ and playing pretend in there. I am very thankful to all the hard work that has gone into my room!  And for the donation I heard came in to help with it!  It is a beautiful room facing the sacred cliffs, a wonderful view! With how tall I’m getting I no longer fit into my beloved treehouse. So we’re working on converting the porch into this large and amazing room I’ll be able to fit in even when I’m a grownup.

Thank you all for listening!

Rhiannon's New Room

Offensive and Obscene: A Healthy Investigation

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Offensive and Obscene:

A Healthy Investigation

by Jesse Wolf Hardin

“Profanity, like herbs, has its place in healing.”
–Charles “Doc” Garcia, Cuarandero



We recently posted a Medicine Woman Roots blog excerpting from an interview I conducted with the much respected but bawdy curandero and street herbalist, Charles “Doc” Garcia.  We printed his earthy vernacular verbatim so as to capture rather than conceal his characteristically colorful and eloquently irreverent style.  If you ever walk the avenidas of a barrio, administer herbs to the homeless living on the streets of cities like Oakland, put time in the military, or even find yourself for whatever reason occupying a chair in a police department day room – as the Doc has – you will have heard enough cuss words not to take it personally.  The entire, lengthy, uncensored interview will appear in the pages of Plant Healer Magazine in 2013, in what Kiva and I consider to be a good demonstration of both the diversity in herbalism and the power of passion, a balance to the more temperate language and remarks of our other learned interviewees.  It may be, however, that not everyone will be happy about it.



One reader wrote that she would no longer recommend the Medicine Roots Blog if Kiva didn’t remove all profanity and negativity.  Another, called Doc’s responses “offensive” and said that he couldn’t be a real curandero if he talked like that.  I cannot suppress the resulting inspiration, as you might guess, to address this issue of acceptable and unacceptable wordage.

When I brought it up with Doc, he explained himself this way:  “I spent ten years as a cop and ten more years as a teacher of the deaf.  Believe me, both groups swear like… well, they cuss alot!  I keep my language clean at dinner, holiday dinners, sometimes funerals, with old people with the exception of ex Marines and sailors, and I keep my mouth shut when I’m in the mountains looking at a stream of water I hope is clean.  Otherwise I call a spade a spade…not a digging tool.  Legally, I can’t say someone is a fraud or an idiot… but I can say ‘Bullshit!’  And ‘fuck’ in all its variations, even in the written form, makes any point crystal clear, as in:  ‘Hey Doc, I heard the Governor wants to make herbal tinctures illegal without a Rx.’   Fuuuuuck!    Everybody would understand such a comment.  Profanity, like herbs, has its place in healing.”


A once clean shaven Doc first learns to express himself.

The word “offensive” derives from the Latin “offens”, meaning “struck against.”  To be offensive means to take the initiative to attack, whether verbally or physically, and the word only later came to be used to describe any word or gesture that caused someone to feel angry or hurt.  Just because we are discomforted by a word doesn’t make if offensive, only objectionable.  Someone cussing as they walk by us may be indelicate, insensitive and unpleasant but there is no offense.  Truly offensive language is that which is directed towards someone.  Whereas a racist calling someone a “filthy nigger” is clearly offensive, street kids saying “What’s up, nigger?” to each other is not.
It would have possibly been more accurate – if indeed more subjective – to have assailed Doc’s use of words for their “indecency”,  which the dictionary defines as “failing to conform with generally accepted standards of behavior, language and propriety.”  Both I, Kiva, and Plant Healer Magazine actually strive to avoid the limiting conformism of today’s contemporary standards, and challenge propriety whenever it takes precedence over authenticity, liberty, purpose, passion or personality.

In Plant Healer Magazine, we don’t want to offend anybody, any group, nor even any opinion or position.  We do not find any joy in upsetting those with a stronger allegiance to propriety than ourselves.  We will never, however, censor ours or an interviewee’s opinions or language out of fear of arousing someone’s moral indignation.


BP Oil: Green Sponsor of The Olympics


True obscenity is not the F-Word, but rather, the way that abusive husbands screw over their wives, the way both Democratic and Republican administrations align with corporations and screw us big time, how the handicapped, the poor and colored and hippie and punk and alternative and very old and very young have always been screwed up, screwed over, and screwed to the ground.  Obscene, if I may be allowed to say, is clear-cut forests with logging companies funding the elections of Senators, and oil-spilling BP being chosen as a “Green Sponsor” of the International Olympics.



Not only obscene but offensive, are children going homeless on the streets of America and beyond, and the child who is starving in Sudan.  Offensive is feeding kids crappy plastic food, dosing them with insecurity, filling them with fear and teaching them to diss’ someone over the way they dress or talk.  “Offensive” is once-open minded, unprejudiced, and probably occasionally cussing kids growing up to judge, stereotype, reject, hate and condemn themselves and others.


In the interest of reason as well as compassion, we might all do well to focus more on meaning than words, on folks’ good intent more than their unconventional style, on people’s loving hearts more than their sometimes bawdy mouths… on seeing and facing what we don’t like, without flinching, while focusing on what’s needed and what’s meant, what’s good and what’s right.


(Feel Free To RePost… and to always speak your mind)