Corinna’s Corner: Laying on the Earth
Corinna Wood
Director, Southeast Wise Women

In the midst of the freedom and fun of summer, we also can find ourselves overwhelmed with all the fullness! One of my favorite “remedies” this time of year, is simply, to lay on the Earth. As children, we were naturally drawn to run barefoot –to lie in the sweet summer grass, to play amid the autumn leaves, to sit on the ground. As we reclaim that joy, we actually plug in to the vast, free body of healing energy, of the Earth herself.

A large body of research has now verified what ancient people knew about “earthing”—lying on the Earth for guidance and comfort. Even just a few minutes a day of simply lying quietly in the park, in your yard or garden or in the woods benefits physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

Lie on the Earth, belly down, to receive nourishment and healing energy. Lie on your back to release and let go of tension, grief or anger—energies that may be “stuck” in your body; allow them to flow through you into the soil to be absorbed and transformed in the healing arms of the Mother.

Much like cuddling with a beloved, laying on the Earth allows your mind and body to rest, relax and receive. Even if you can’t fully recline, simply taking off your shoes and walking for a while in the grass or sitting on a rock or log and feeling that attachment is calming and restorative.

So go on . . . wiggle your toes.

Download Corinna’s new ebook for more Wise Woman Ways to connect
Being a Black Community Herbalist
Once I’m out of bed in the morning, I look for the things I need to honor my ancestor warrior healers: singing bowl, nag champa incense, prayed over stones, orisha candles and lemon water. I call out the names of the African, Indigenous, and white blood and spiritual grandmothers whose shoulders I stand on. These are the women who birthed babies at home, cooked only food they grew or raised, knew which weeds to eat and when, and sat with the dying as they transitioned.

I am a black herbalist, and as such, I am required to do healing work constantly connected to the past, relevant to the communities I’m accountable to, and in service of the future I want to help co-create.

My herbalist praxis, as defined by Paulo Freire, is reflection and action directed at the thing that I wish to transform. I fight against the same conditions that the people who come to see me are struggling with; stress and anxiety which can lead to hormonal imbalances that cause sleep disturbances which impair your immune system and render you vulnerable to depression. These disorders are also connected to the fact that we live in a society founded on racism, patriarchy, misogyny, and capitalism.

The guiding principles of my practice are intersectionality and holistic health. My intake forms and session questions take into account that a client’s psychological health, financial flexibility, support system, positive self-identity all impact how their bio systems work. The healing plans that I offer are action plans that help folks transform from sick to well, scattered to whole, and from isolation to connection.

Being an openly queer, women of color, engaged on social media, writing for web and print publications, and calling myself a black Community Herbalist, helps dispel the myth that people like me don’t exist. We have always existed. My visibility brings to center the black/brown bodied “women’s work” which has been historically and currently marginalized or invisibilized.

My job is to get folks access to herbal remedies by any means necessary. This means I see clients in their homes, at coffee shops, on the back porch of their mama’s house, during the baby’s nap time, via skype or Google Hangout, and in a beautiful Wellness Center. It also means that I offer workshops using popular education fundamentals. This style of teaching acknowledges that we all start from a place of collective expertise and invites participants to be co-facilitators in their learning process. My commitment to sliding scale fees and barter exchanges allows folks with a wide variety of access to resources to utilize my services. I remind all of my clients that self and community care through a connection with our herbal allies is a toolkit that is available 24 hours a day and that using those tools is revolutionary.

Kifu Faruq is on staff at Southeast Wise Women with the Programming Team and Unity Village leadership. Kifu began her training in herbalism and food as medicine from her mother at 8 years old. She uses that training combined with a science degree and 15 years of clinical research experience to follow in the tradition of her mother and grandmother as a Community Herbalist. Her life’s focus is reconnecting people back to earth based practices for self-care and self-empowerment. Kifu is is also a trained facilitator in dismantling organizational, interpersonal, and internalized racism and oppression. She applies this training to her work as an herbalist to create safe learning spaces which encourage folks to honor and value one another across lines of difference.

Volunteering (formerly “work-exchange”) is a vital and fun part of the Herbal Conference and helps bring the event to life. We rely on the commitment and competence of the volunteer crew each year – women whose conference experience is as much about service as it is about attending classes. We have three volunteer programs: Partial, Full, and Inner Circle, each with various arrival and departure opportunities. Read more

Please note: we have had some technical difficulties with our volunteer application over the last few weeks. All the kinks are now worked out. But if you submitted an application and have not heard back from us, please contact Carey Jackson 
Racial Equity at the Conference
The Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference welcomes women of all ages, spiritual paths, races, sexual preferences, colors, shapes, stripes, and sizes! As organizers primarily of European descent living in the Southeast United States, we especially acknowledge the unique struggles that African American, Indigenous, and other women of color have endured in these lands, and continue to face today.

We’ve found that focusing on inclusivity and racial equity allow us all to have access to the most rich and robust body of healing knowledge available–from a diversity of cultural and ethnic perspectives. In today’s world which is still very much impacted by racism, we believe that racial equality, is an important part of health and wholeness for all of us.

The conference focuses on women’s health, including empowerment and self love (which includes overcoming internalized oppression). All women are affected by dynamics of racial oppression. However, for women of color, day-to-day experiences of systemic racism, micro-aggressions, and internalized oppression add up to health risk factors.

Therefore, we consider racial dynamics an important component of women’s health to address, individually and collectively. By acknowledging the impact racism can have on women’s health, we are actively working to provide resources to counter its negative effects.

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