The Foundation of Holistic Principles

The Golden Age & Wei Wu Wei, A story: The Foundation of Holistic Principles Vitalism implies there is a force that organized matter into complex structures like plants and animals and is named Life. This life-force is measured by its effects as it animates. We do not see the wind but things carried on it like clouds or birds. Complex biosystems like an animal maintain a dynamic equilibrium through the physical transmission of information in their physiology e.g. neuropeptides. There is intelligence or mind in our physiology meaning that mind directs life and life organizes matter. Conversely, life is involved in matter and evolves up to the point where mind, once hidden, is now manifest. Mind evolves until it reaches self-awareness or sentience. From self-awareness, self-will blossoms. Self-will implies free will or the ability to override our genetically programmed actions i.e. consciousness and conscience direct the individual and create...

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Let the Trees Sing

Many years ago during the first lunar mission, I watched an earth-rise across the lunar horizon on television. It seemed profoundly significant that people all around the world were simultaneously sharing in this vision of our earth as one being, illuminated by the sun. Blue oceans, brown deserts and green jungles could be seen with white clouds streaming over it all. More recent aerial photography has revealed a few startling major circumstances. The desert areas are expanding and the jungles are shrinking at an alarming pace. What intrigued scientists the most, though, was the formation of clouds by forests. You can literally see clouds being born and lifting out of the forests and traveling around the world. In other words, lack of rain does not cause droughts and deserts, lack of forests do. During our Canadian winters we can all see our own breath as we exhale. What we don’t...

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We Need Herbs

We are presently living in a world that is in constant upheaval. To find stability, we must hold onto something that is deeply rooted. Traditional Herbal Medicine arose long ago, at a time when mythology and history were indistinguishable and cultural values were very different than our own. It is the source from which modern (scientific) herbalism, pharmacological medicine, hygiene & dietetics and holistically oriented herbal medicine are nourished. Taproot and heartwood lay hidden whilst we harvest fruit and leaf. What are the perennial truths in medicine and in our understanding of life? Herbs have taken a special position in our ecology. They have as their purpose the joyful task of reconnecting us to our roots, reintegrating us with the other life beings of this planet Earth, nourishing all life, reminding us to breathe fresh air and to bathe in the light. Herbs in various forms and formulations can help...

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We Have It On Good Authority

There is a time in everyone’s life when we rebel against authority. We all develop or gather our own ideas, principles and values to help us navigate through life. Authority is the power to compel action from others. The authorities can come and take you away. We all want to have free will and prefer to choose how we will decide on issues. On the other hand, when we are researching information in order to help us choose a course of action like purchasing a car or selecting a surgeon or treating cancer, we want to find authoritative sources. This kind of authority is compelling in that we are linking knowledge to truth. When we say someone is an authority on a subject, we mean that he or she is able to comprehend it and make their understanding available to us, the public. We consult the authorities when we need...

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Universal, Eternal and Comprehensive

During the Peloponnesian war, the great Athenian leader, Pericles, could see the end of the golden age of Greece. His building and rebuilding of the Acropolis left a legacy for the world. Using his tremendous oratorical skills he told the citizens of the great city-state that they should not mourn the demise of Athens. He explained to them that the Parthenon would last a long time but the exalted lifestyle of the citizens not so long. To assuage their grief, he expounded how Athens was not just a city-state but a state of mind. Pericles elucidated his vision of Athens as the eternal city, placing it into the realm of ideas and concepts of justice and democracy. Plato wrote The Republic to describe the perfect city-state with comprehensive descriptions of all facets of life. When Gandhi began his Satyagraha movement, his compatriots chided him that he and all he stood...

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The Winds of Change

The winds of change are blowing across the land. What are the signs we are looking for? When we watch for the change from summer to autumn we look for the brilliant transformation of the leaves or a shift in cloud patterns. If we observe nature closely we will realize that it is not when the sun crosses the equinoctal plain that spring begins, but when we feel a particular wind blowing from the southwest. Next we will see the buds begin to burst open and the gradual greening of the land. It is comforting to most nature enthusiasts to be able to recognize these seasonal patterns of change and rely on a measure of predictability. We look to the sky and ask: "Is it going to rain today?" We examine the soil and ponder which plants we might grow in our gardens this year. Picture this scene from a...

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The Heart of the Matter

When the original characters were gathering at Findhorn, a certain English chap took interest in their work as he had some overlapping experiences with them. As a young man he had been diagnosed with a heart condition that made him need to care for himself in a special way. He had to always be aware of his heart and its state of activity. R. Ogilvy Crombie, or” ROC” as he came to be known spent his life monitoring his heart and training his mind in academics. His was a gentle soul and he spent much time in nature to be sure that his pace was even. When not in some bucolic setting, he would wander in the large parks and gardens of Edinburgh. One day whilst resting at the base of a large tree, he spied some small children dancing around. Upon closer examination he realized that they were fairy...

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Suzerain or Steward

There is a saying that many of us are familiar with and it will be paraphrased here:

“ And you shall have dominion over all the Earth and all the creatures thereof…”
How we interpret this dictum will determine how we make many of our choices in life. We may be the reflective type and try to consciously deliberate on the consequences of our actions before embarking on a particular course. Deeper yet, we may observe that all of our actions are the manifest consequences of our thoughts and desires. When we organize our thoughts and desires using values and attitudes we begin to have rules and boundaries on our conduct. Many of our thoughts are given to us through culture and language. We participate in a social contract whereby we make “agreements” within ourselves as to the meaning of words & ideas and act accordingly. If we participate in...

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Some Basic Concepts

We are trying to define and legislate what is a herbalist and how do they operate. The Taoists have a parable about our original nature. In the Golden Age there was no history recorded; there were no great deeds and there were no great people. Birds flew in the skies and nested in the trees. Deer ran in the woods. Cobblers made shoes and farmers grew the crops. Children respected their elders. Since everything was as it should be no one thing was “great” and so there was no history to remember. Chuang Tzu advocated wei wu wei, “doing by not doing”. He meant leaving things as they are and not interfering in the natural way of life. Somehow simplicity is no longer considered a virtue. We have involved ourselves in such complexity that it is hard to perceive or believe in a natural order existing and persisting behind this...

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Should We or Should We Not?

At a “World Symposium of Herbal Medicine” (1995), sponsored by the OHA and Mohawk College, I attended many classes as well as after hour discussions into the night. I even gave a presentation. Speakers came from many countries and represented numerous national organizations. At a class on Premenstrual Syndrome that was filled with about forty women and two men, a lively discussion ensued as the floor opened up. Long lists of the usual “Do’s” and “Don’ts” were quickly tabulated as if the group seemed to have rehearsed the information. When the speaker made the last call for input, one of the men meekly raised his hand and suggested that some of the “Don’t” list items were high on his “Do” list. Specifically, he suggested strong cups of (black) tea ad lib, and chocolate, dark chocolate, the good stuff! Soon half the room confessed that they could recite the healthy litany...

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Medical Herbalism Course Beginning January 10th, 2019. For out of Toronto students, we will live stream on ZOOM. Payments for the course are done by e transfer to susan@viriditasherbalproducts.com. Please use password MHC