STATS – Day: 29 | Distance: 4462.5 miles | Location: Honor, Michigan| Money Spent To Date – Gas: $461.36| Food: $327.17| Play/Misc: $107.73 | Lodging $480.50
I booked at room on Airbnb.com to stay in upper Michigan, hoping to re-energize for a few days. The host’s bio read that she had traveled by herself for 30 years and was offering the room of sanctuary for single travelers only until August 24th. I thought, “What amazing luck!”
So I’m in Honor, Michigan on a 150-year old homestead that is used for healing and sanctuary. The steward is a medicine woman who comes from the Anishinaawbeg tribe.
SHE IS AWESOME!!!
Cindra (sounds like “Sin-Dra”) is of Anishinaawbeg descent (also called Ojibwa) and has turned her family’s homestead, which used to be part of a native encampment, into a healing center. Her rural clinic is a beautiful 100+ year old building just off of the main house; there she practices physical, emotional, and spiritual healing arts through Thai massage, Reiki, plant medicine and oodles of just plain wisdom.
Every Wednesday she hosts a Medicine Woman Gathering Circle where seeds, plant knowledge, medicine and life experience is passed through the craft of storytelling. And YES, I was invited to attend the gathering she was holding during my stay.
SO FREAKING COOL!!!
We sit in a circle on the clinic floor, in front of us are bowls filled with sage, kinnikinnick (sounds like Kin Nick Kin Nick), wood shavings and other offerings. A candle is lit, a blessing is given and we begin. Stories are shared about yarrow, lemon balm, dandelion and mullein – the many ways each plant can be used, the proper way to make a tincture (creating an extract), the importance of gathering together and not being afraid of speaking your truth, and the necessity of storytelling.
The telling of stories and RE-TELLing of stories because it not only passes down history and knowledge, it teaches lessons. Someone can hear the same story 10 times and receive 10 new lessons if one would take time to hear them.
Note to Self: Stop and think before telling someone “oh, I’ve heard this one before”.
When doing some of my own research on the Anishinaawbeg, First Peoples, I came across these “Seven Grandfather Teachings – Gifts of Knowledge” that I want to share.
- Wisdom: to cherish knowledge is to know wisdom.
- Love: to know love is to know peace.
- Respect: to honor all of creation is to have respect.
- Bravery: to face life with courage is to know bravery.
- Honesty: is to be honest in action and character, be faithful to fact and reality. To walk through life with integrity is to know honesty.
- Humility: to accept yourself as a sacred part of creation is to know humility.
- Truth: to know of these things is to know the truth.
“I take infinite pains to know the phenomena of the spring, for instance, thinking that I have here the entire poem, and then, to my chagrin, I hear that it is but an imperfect copy that I possess and have read, that my ancestors have torn out many of the first leaves and grandest passages, and mutilated it in many places. I should not like to think that some demigod has come before me and picked out some of the best stars. I wish to know an entire heaven and an entire earth.” – H.D. Thoreau, Journal
If you are interested in starting up your own medicine women gathering, Cindra as “White Doe” has written a lovely handbook as a guide. To purchase the handbook for $3, please go to www.medicinewomengather.net
Cindra is both a supporter and has been featured in United Plant Savers, a group of enthusiasts committed to raising public awareness about our wild medicinal plants, and protecting them through organic cultivation, sustainable agricultural practices and replanting of native species back into their natural habitats. To become a member or learn more, go to www.unitedplantsavers.org
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