I live in a mass-produced,over-processed, superficial, hyper-kinetic society. A society that worships technology and industry while it rapes and pollutes nature. A society in which we are arrogant enough to believe that the artificial is superior to the natural. That we can make better medicines than the master chemists in nature, Plants, Animals and Minerals, who have been making medicines for millions of years.
Thankfully, there is a counter-culture of health food stores and alternative practitioners giving people relief from the drug companies and physicians with God complexes. What saddens me, however, is that many if not most alternative practitioners and health food stores offer their clients "natural remedies" that are impersonally mass-produced on machines in a manner not too different from the drug companies. I have used and still use many of these products, but when I remember my grandmother and the way she made her "bush medicines" I am left feeling short-changed by all this slick packaging and sterile, uniform products that are largely devoid of real essence.
I come from a long line of Afro-Caribbean herbalists and bush doctors. I was born in Trinidad and was first exposed to natural healing by my maternal grandmother who was a well-respected healer. My grandmother was quite a character. She wore a white turban and used a crystal ball. She put herself and others into trances and communicated with the spirit world - but that's another story. She would go into the rain forests of Trinidad to wildcraft plants for her bush baths, teas and medicines. Everything she made, she made in her kitchen or in the backyard.
It was wonderful seeing sick people who the doctors had sent away to die get healed.
From the age of 18 on I used massage and herbal remedies to heal myself and my friends and the people around me. I had no intention of becoming a practitioner since I was consumed with my photography and film-directing career, but life stepped in and changed my path. I was almost killed in a car accident. What horrified me the most was not the accident or the injuries it left me but the treatment, really mistreatment I received from the emergency room staff and the doctors who dealt with me. It made me realize how many other people out there were suffering from the poor care and drugs they were receiving from Western medicine. I decided to become a full-time healer and do what I could to help as many as I could. It was not easy to switch to being a part-time artist after 18 years but I did it nonetheless. So here I am, a full-time homeopath and herbalist based in Canada. I never forgot what I learned from my grandmother, and the most important thing she taught me was to make my own medicines.
In healing everything is part of the equation. Who the healer is a huge factor. You bring everything that you are, everything you have ever done, everywhere you have have ever been, everything you have ever touched on any level to the healing. If you cannot come as a healer with clean hands, clean energy and a clean heart you contaminate the healing. How the remedies are made and where the materials come from is also a crucial factor. As I said in the beginning of this page, I already live in an impersonal, automated, mass-produced culture. Do I want the medicines I am giving to people to be machine-made, impersonally mass-produced, with materials that I have no idea where they came from, what condition they were in and who grew or collected them? The answer for me is: not if I can help it! I can't make every remedy that I use, some things are just too hard to get right now, but I am determined to make everything that I can. Right now I am growing and wildcrafting everything that can grow here. I also acquire some things from the gardens of local permaculturalists and friends. I can guarantee you that the spirit of these good people influences the medicines made from their plants. I make my tinctures and homeopathic medicines in a more expensive and time-consuming way than the norm but have no regrets doing it because you can tell the difference in the finished product. For example we use Jamaican Overproof rum as the most-often used alcohol in our menstruums. Yeah, of course I would be attracted to rum being from the Caribbean, but I also know from experience that this alcohol has life and creates remedies with powerful energy and purpose.
I was gathering "seaweeds" at the beach last week and many people came up to me to ask what I was doing. They were very puzzled at seeing me spend so much time and energy gathering things they hadn't given a second thought to. It struck me that we, including myself, are so oblivious sometimes to the medicines all around us. I think back to the countless times I have been in beaches and forests and other wild places and didn't see the medicines. I think of how we whacked and kicked dandelions when I was a kid growing up in Toronto. I think of the 1400 or so species of medicinal plants that go extinct every year in the Amazon basin alone.
If it sounds like I'm completely against science and technology, I'm not. I don't believe that there is any natural conflict between science and magic or between technology and art. As a photographer I learned that if you are too fixated on the technical you will never be able to develop your vision and will never create art. And if you ignore the technical aspects you will never have mastery over your craft.
I make my remedies with the technical aspects in mind. I use dry-weights, solubility factors, specific gravity, acidity and other technical factors to inform how I make remedies, but never to the exclusion of the magic and emotional relationship between myself and the substances. I spend a lot of time and focus a lot of energy on the remedies. I think about who they are for and what ailments they are meant to address. I think about where they came from and whom they came from. I synchronize the making of the remedies to the cycles of the moon and get a lot of excitement watching the tinctures and remedies develop over the six to eight week maceration period. I greatly enjoy the different colours and textures and aromas. It can be a very sensual experience.
I have promised myself to no longer be swayed by packaging and brand names. I want to know where my medicines come from, who made them and how much healing energy they have before I use them with my clients and loved ones. As a healer I want to keep my medicines as raw and natural as possible.
I think my grandmother would have been proud.
To arrange a consultation with me or to ask any questions about the holistic treatment, e-mail me.
Holistic Viral and Immune Specialist