Folk Art Self-Study

Folk art comes from direct experience with the landscape. Specific adaptations to local environments give rise to unique forms of creative expression, born out of necessity. The oldest known form of magic, pictographs and patterns have been used for millennia to tell our stories and appeal to natural forces for help in navigating worldly challenges. Because we are living through a time of great transition, I’m wondering how we can we use the collective power of our traditional folk art forms as seeds for reclamation and healing. In order to explore this potential, we would need to reinvigorate forgotten skills that were once passed from generation to generation. But I realize that many people don’t feel they have a connection to any folk art traditions.

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Seasonal Affective & Self-Love

Once the Yule log has burned out, the wine has been drunk, the feast consumed, gifts opened and songs sung by family gathered and now disbanded again – the darkness of the season finally sets in. It really is the most wonderful time of year, but on the other side of the holidays, there’s a struggle waiting to be wrestled with each and every Winter. I’ve always found that the darkness has value – as it allows light to shine, and the cold has value – as it allows the land to restore itself before fruiting again in the Spring, but with this utility comes suffering. I imagine that a diminutive Persephone lives inside of us, our emotional wells drying up with the deep freeze, becoming brittle after giving so much and having more still taken against our wills. Understandably then, we are in need of self-care this month – inner reflection and outward projection of our best possible selves. 

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Wildcrafting

This whole solar cycle has been a roller-coaster, with sharp emotional ups and downs, for a variety of reasons – both public and private. At this point in the year, after so much turmoil in the news and in our communities, it feels numbing just to keep up with the deluge. Like trying to drink water from a fire hose, we’re fighting every day just to remain balanced and resist the dark side. One thing that I’ve found to be a grounding force, however, is a foray into medicine gardens, herbalism and wildcrafting. The quiet times I’ve spent researching, gathering and cultivating have paid for themselves by opening up a space for calmness to creep up, displacing the inner melee.

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