I’ve always loved having a beautiful home, dating from my first proper bedroom as a child – which was all in shades of blue and full of unicorns – right up to my current cottage, shared with a partner who is a red headed, Viking blacksmith. I sometimes see herbal clients here, at my home, in my kitchen, sat up to the kitchen table with a cup of tea, and one of the things that really puts a smile on my face is the expressions of delight as folk cross our threshold for the first time. Our home has been described as an alchemist and apothecary’s home, a witch’s cottage and a faery house at one time or another, and this is before I even get started painting trees everywhere! Mulling this over, earlier this evening, it struck me that I do this sort of decorating not only because it delights me but because if I have friends and clients stepping through my front door who greet my home with that indrawn breath, that sense of wonder, then half the job is already done. The indrawn breath, the shoulders that relax, speak of someone who is already opening to the herbs, ready to receive whatever the plant allies can give.
Come in and sit down at my table with a cup of herbal tea and tell me your woes – the battle is already half won. Tell me what troubles you, with the herbs hanging over head, drying for new batches of medicine. Your gaze is darting all round the room, taking in all the nooks and crannies, the books and bottles and jars and potions that fill all the corners – and that’s ok. Because you have relaxed, you are able to open fully and talk to me about what troubles you. The brown bottle full of herbs you will take away at the end of the consultation is only part of the medicine – coming here, sitting down in a safe space and returning to your childhood, that is part of the medicine as well. Even if your childhood was dreadful, going anywhere that makes you realise what childhood should be, that brings your inner child out from hiding, is always going to be a good thing.
Here also is solace for me. For all of my life, ever since I was a small child, I have loved tales of witches in their homes – herbs hanging from the rafters, pots and pans and jars and bottles littering every surface. Hoary tomes in jewel coloured bindings crammed onto overstuffed bookshelves. Candles and arcane words and spider webs in the corners. Here, now, I have created safe space for me and mine, a sanctuary at the end of the long day, a haven of calm and potent mystery that sustains me and allows me to care so much, so very deeply for every person who comes to me for help and support. Without this space, these oddities, these odds and ends and peculiarities littering every surface, I would not be able to give as I do. Above my head hangs twine hanging rails full of herbs – at the moment Herb Robert and Cranesbill, but later on in the season there will be Meadowsweet, Mint, Hyssop, Rosemary and many others. Baskets of flowers will gradually accumulate on the surfaces over the coming months – Daisies and Calendulas, Elder and St John’s Wort. Bottles of colourful oils will fill the cupboards, and pots and jars of salves and balms will stack the shelves. All tools of my medicine, my healing, both for me and for others. All made possible by this mythic home of mine.
Some folk may say I am living in a fairy tale. Perhaps I am. But it is a fairy tale of my own making, that I dwell in fully and joyfully, hands in the mud, heart soaring above the tree tops. You are always welcome to join me here!