My guest for this episode is Stephen Harrod Buhner, who has authored numerous books on plants and herbalism, including The Lost Language of Plants, Sacred Plant Medicine, and the book that introduced me to his work: Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers. This last one is a definite for any home brewers library.
I interviewed Stephen at the request of my teacher and friend Ben Weiss. Stephen’s work was on my radar, but given the many potential guests filling that screen, and the release schedule for the show, it can take time to get to someone. Hearing from listeners, of which Ben is one, helps change priorities so a guest you are interested in gets included in the show sooner.
What intrigued me about Stephen, as you’ll hear in our conversation, is his eloquence and viewpoint on a position. He’s spent a lifetime on the path that I intersected at the time of this conversation, and it shows. His pursuits result in a breadth of knowledge and consideration for his interests.
When preparing for this interview I encountered this idea on his website:
“He is a tireless advocate for the reincorporation of the exploratory artist, independent scholar, amateur naturalist, and citizen scientist in American society – especially as a counterweight to the influence of corporate science and technology.”
That forms the place where we start the conversation. Along the way we talk about education, sense experiences, the difference between schooling and education, holistic knowledge, community, and also to trust the individual genius of people. As always, that is only a glimpse of the depth that Stephen shares with us. For those of you who are more familiar with his herbal work, that will need to be discussed another time.
Though I’m still contemplating many of the things we covered in this interview, some points stand out.
The first is that Stephen found his own way and has been crafting a life out of it ever since. Though the path has crossed many jobs along the way, his direction continues ever onward. As many of you heard from my story of permaculture, there are many way to get where we want to go, so long as we remember the goal and enjoy the trip along the way.
The second is to trust the individual genius of people. We all have gifts or talents that may go untapped in our day to day lives but those can be rekindled. You can reconnect with your own life, your community (however that is defined), and with the earth to live the life you want. Pam Warhurst and I spoke to the of trusting people as well, something I find we don’t always do. If we want to build a better world, that requires us to trust in our self and each other.
Third, is to find your own education. Become an educated person in your own right. For some, that may be schooling because of the niche they fill, or to read, write, and discuss with others to ask questions, consider the results critically, and find your own answers. To become that citizen artist, philospher, or scientist that finds more connections about the world, and the way we can think differently.
The last point is to trust your own feelings. We have a role to play in this greater world, and in finding our own satisfaction. Society doesn’t value all these things equally, or at all, so you may not be able to make a living at your passion but that doesn’t mean that because it doesn’t make dollars that it doesn’t make sense.
In whatever way you use this information, remember to never let discouragement set you off the path. There are many stories of success that forget to mention the failures that happened along the way. As I said in my tale, it took me over 15 years to get to the point where I could even consider the road I’m on. And I’ve got a long way to go yet.
But I’m glad you’re along with me for the journey.
If you ever have any questions or comments, or there is a way I can help you on your path to permaculture, never hesitate to contact me:
E-mail: show (at) thepermaculturepocast (dot) com