Introduction, Opportunities & Resources
“The Animá Tradition is a contemporary herbal and lifeways practice rooted in the lessons of the natural world, and manifest in intuitive ways of healing. At the core of this comprehensive practice is personal response-ability, trusting our intuition and instincts, feeling empowered to act on what we know, believing in our calling and power to help heal ourselves, each other and our world.”
-Jesse Wolf Hardin
The Tradition Defined
The Animá Tradition of Herbalism – including its books, courses and classes – were developed by Kiva Rose with the help of her partner Jesse Wolf Hardin, in order to fill the need for a relevant, contemporary based system of empowerment and healing… one that inspired and informed the healing of not only our physical but emotional and energetic selves, and not only us but others and the larger world of which we are a part.
Throughout human history there have been certain people who felt called to the demanding role, as truth-sayers, healers, agents of nature and the great mystery, intermediaries between the visible and invisible or spirit worlds, and repositories of wisdom and story. Such women and men have been increasingly sidelined in the modern age by invasive allopathic practices, the synthetic drug industry and a hegemony of institutionally indoctrinated male doctors. While holistic herbalism and naturopathy are on the rise again, they often follow the same errant model of intervention and cure that besets the larger industry. Likewise, models of alternative medicine often suffer from superficiality, commercialism, well meaning nonsense and New Age superficiality. The Animá Tradition is a return to earlier iconic practices, pointing out the lessons inherent in trauma as well as the miraculous natural means for wellness. And like never before, this is a tradition dedicated not only to the wholeness of the self, but also to the whole of life.
Animá books, soon to include Kiva’s upcoming herbal, are found on the Books & Recordings Page. Animá Herbal Correspondence Courses include life changing self awareness skills along with practical information on vitalism and energetics, medicinal plants and their uses, the Animá Medicine Wheel as a guide to constitutional diagnosis, formulas, wildcrafting and ethics. Coming in Spring of 2011 is a 7 month long on-site intensive herbal program for those interested in gaining an in-depth education in botanical medicine.
Students of herbalism can also participate in the powerful annual Traditional Western Herbalism Intensive that’s held at the amazing Animá Lifeways & Herbal School each Summer, and our Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference near Santa Fe each September, featuring some of the best teachers in the field. This site is also here as a free resource for you, with Kiva and Jesse’s articles and other materials online your use (please credit them to us and include our url when sharing or reprinting). These are grouped for your perusal under the categories Principles and Practice of the Tradition, Animá Medicine Wheel & Energetics, Materia Medica & Plant Profiles, Therapeutics & Nutrition, Terms of the Herbalist’s Trade, Simple Medicine Making, Recipes from the Hearth, and Botanica Poetica – Stories & Poetry. Those of you excited about plant medicines will want to subscribe to Kiva’s award winning Animá Healing Arts Herbal Blog.
Kiva also accepts a limited number of applications for her personal Herbal Consultations, in conjuction with the Animá Healing Arts Health & Herbal Clinic,
Animá Tradition of Herbalism Correspondence Courses & Classes
One of the very best ways to learn the particulars of the Animá approach to plant medicine and healing is by enrolling in an herbal Correspondence Course or Distance Program.
Click on the Correspondence Courses Page to Register or Read More
(These courses are being developed as you read this, will soon be open for registration, and will be fully described on the Correspondence Courses Page)
May 7th-9th, 2010
Animá Herbal Tradition Intensive
(for both women and men)
With Kiva Rose & Jesse Wolf Hardin
An annual workshop taught by Kiva Rose with Loba and Jesse Wolf Hardin, held at the beautiful Animá School and Botanical Sanctuary in S.W. New Mexico.
You are invited to an exquisite three day long herbal intensive at the Animá Botanical Sanctuary in beautiful southwestern New Mexico. This powerful set of classes are specifically designed to encourage, inspire and inform both aspiring and practicing herbalists and medicinal plant enthusiasts. We will be focusing on foundational spects of the Animá Tradition of Herbalism, a vitalist approach to Traditional Western Herbalism, including sensory-based herbal energetics, medicine making, defining and recognizing basic constitutional types in the human body, discovering our plant allies and so much more! Wonderful, nourishing feasts including many wild and local foods will take place twice daily. Each day will be themed around a specific wild Canyon herb and the lessons they hold for us. A joyful immersion in wild plants, authentic being and earthen wisdom!
You can help spread the word by printing and posting a Animá Herbal Intensive Flyer
Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference
Ghost Ranch, near Santa Fe, N.M. – Sept 17-19, 2010
Rosemary Gladstar • Kiva Rose • Paul Bergner • Phyllis Hogan • Jesse Wolf Hardin • Matthew Wood • Jim McDonald • Howie Brounstein • Phyllis Light • Chuck Garcia • Donna Chesner • CoreyPine Shane • Darcey Blue French • Monica Rude • Pam Hyde Nakai • John Gallagher • United Plant Savers • Herbmentor.com
•2 Nights of Music • Healer’s Market•
Dozens of in-depth presentations by some of the leading teachers and practitioners of herbalism in the Western world, along with pre-conference intensives, a Michael Moore Tribute, Healer’s Market and special Friday and Saturday night concerts. PreRegistration opens in December 2009, with applications now being taken for Sponsorships, Vendor and Practitioner spaces, and work exchange positions.
For more information, to Register or Volunteer, please go to the
TWH Conference Site
Animá Tradition of Herbalism
by Kiva Rose Hardin
In the Animá Tradition of Herbalism, to be truly healthy is to be whole, and medicine is anything that contributes to that wholeness. The Animá Traditions provides a unique collection of tools and insights that contribute meaningfully to that wholeness of self, of our loved ones and community, and of the living land we’re each a part and extension of. It teaches the use of whole plants rather than isolated constituents, the healing of the body, emotions, psyche, family and ecology as inseparable, interrelated and interdependent, providing a combined lifeways and healing practice that encourages not only physical well being but the fullest experiencing of conscious existence, not only curing illness but heeding a calling and fulfilling our dreams.
The Animá Tradition takes a vitalist approach to all of living and healing, aware of and tapping the power of the anima – the animate essence and motivational force impelling all of life… from the unfurling vine tendril to the wheeling ravens overhead and the herbalist gathering her special plants, inspiring and providing our body’s innate ability to heal itself, the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly, the impetus for each plant to focus its energy into procreative flower and fruit, the insistence or sprouts. It manifests in our conscious creativity as well as the unconscious call for healing focus when we’re hurt, in the instinctual urge to either run from or confront a threatening situation, and through expenditures of will such as when we respond to an urgent need with renewed vigor no matter how tired we thought we were.
The vitalist perspective leads the Animá herbalist to facilitate healing through nourishing the body’s natural processes and triggering gentle shifts, rather than forceful suppression or other heroic methods. Like the land we gather herbs from, the Animá practitioner knows that the human body is also a complex ecology that thrives upon diversity. Viruses and bacteria are seen not as enemies or “bugs” to be automatically eliminated, but as both coinhabitants to be kept in balance, and as a means to better test and know ourselves.
The Animá Tradition teaches that health is not a state of final, static perfection with no discomfort, but rather, a dynamic balance contributing to this essential wholeness we’ve been talking about, a never ending process that sometimes includes painful change, stretching and growth. While modern allopathic medicine wages war on dysfunction and disease, the Animá herbalist perceives them as imbalances to treat, needs to meet, challenges to strengthen and lessons to learn from. Pain is one way that our anima-informed bodies alert us to situations, conditions or activities we need to urgently alter or heal.
All people are born with constitutional tendencies that are affected by life experiences and environmental factors, and recognizing these patterns allows the healer to be much more effective in finding the appropriate herb, food or therapy for each person. Therefore in Animá we look at the whole of each person, listening to their stories, noticing the subtleties of their constitutional makeup, as well as watching for a pattern of underlying disconnection, absence or excess that might be causing their illness or dis-ease. To assist in diagnostics, we utilize a dynamic Animá Medicine Wheel that we continue to develop, an aid in charting constitutional types as well as other energetics-based phenomena.
We know that in addition to caring for humans, our work is also in tending the land and plants that give so generously to us, and thus intentionally participating in the gifting wheel of consuming and producing, living and dying, giving and taking. Thus there’s also a strong focus on promoting ecosystem health through sustainable harvesting methods, conservation, bioregional herbalism, and giving back through plant propagation and devoted caretaking. Every Animá herbalist is also an ecologist in a sense, intensely and intimately concerned with the well-being of their own bioregion, as well as the planet as a whole. Great care is taken in the selection of nourishing, traditional foods from sustainable sources both for the self and also when making dietary and nutritional recommendations to others. Wild foods and herbs are prized as superior sources of healing that contain all the complexity and primal vitality that humans evolved to survive and thrive on. Wild and locally grown foods and medicines also allow us to celebrate the special botanical blessings of our bioregion and give us further impetus to take care of the land we live on and with.
The study and practice of Animá helps each person to realize that they have the wisdom, capability and knowledge to make a positive impact on their well-being, and that healing is not a commodity dealt out by pharmaceutical conglomerates or even well-intentioned doctors and so-called experts but a birthright, wisdom waiting to be tapped and acknowledged in each of us. We teach that authority rests solely with the individual and with the community, to determine who is able to called to heal and teach. No outside source can effectively define what constitutes good health for every person, or determine who can or can’t credibly help themselves or others.
In the Animá Tradition, every moment is considered a decisive moment, every choice pivotal, and every action of significant consequence. The individual is indeed response-able, able to respond to the shifting balance of their self, relationships, surroundings and world. Like the medicine women and shamans, grannywives and curanderas that came before, the Animá Herbal practitioner rallies when there are things to be done and accepts credit for our accomplishments, contributing to wholeness every day and in their individual ways, consciously co-creating our world and our lives.